By Ben Cohen/JNS.org
Like many others in the Jewish community, I first became aware of the dire situation facing Jewish students at San Francisco State University (SFSU) back in May 2002, when John Podhoretz published an op-ed in the New York Post exposing the anti-Semitic activism plaguing the campus. Podhoretz quoted from an email written by Professor Laurie Zoloth, then the chair of the SFSU’s Jewish Studies department, in which she confessed, “I cannot fully express what it feels like to have to walk across campus daily, past posters of cans of soup with labels on them of drops of blood and dead babies, labeled ‘canned Palestinian children meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites.’”
Twelve years on, not much appears to have changed at the university that revived the ancient and despicable “blood libel” against the Jewish people. This time, SFSU is engulfed by a scandal involving allegations that one of its professors “misused” $7,000 worth of taxpayer funds for a January research trip to the Middle East that included meetings with representatives of terrorists and Islamist organizations.
Notably, one of the individuals whom the professor, Rabab Abdulhadi, met with was Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who has himself voiced the blood libel. “You should ask,” Salah told an audience in eastern Jerusalem in 2007, “what used to happen to some of the children of Europe, whose blood would be mixed in the dough of the holy bread.” Salah in this quote references the matzah, or unleavened bread, eaten by Jews during the Passover holiday, which medieval Jew-haters claimed was prepared with the blood of Christian children.
In a letter sent on June 25 to California State Controller John Chiang, a coalition of Israel-advocacy groups led by the AMCHA Initiative charged, “Abdulhadi indicated that the primary purpose of her trip was academic: to deliver a paper at a scholarly conference in Beirut. However, Abdulhadi never attended the Beirut conference. Instead, as she herself acknowledged… the trip was a ‘political solidarity tour’ to Jordan, the West Bank and Israel, whose primary purpose was to promote ‘resolute actions in support of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.’” The groups urged Chiang to conduct, as part of a proposed investigation into “this potentially fraudulent use of taxpayer dollars,” a state audit of SFSU.
What does Professor Abdulhadi have to say about the matter? When I emailed her to ask for her side of the story, she promptly sent me a “public statement” which she has distributed to friends and colleagues. In that document, Abdulhadi says her non-attendance at the Beirut conference was the result of delays “imposed” by SFSU, because she was traveling to countries deemed “high-risk” by …read more
Click photo to download. Caption: The Israeli security fence in Bethlehem is pictured here painted with graffiti depicting Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist Leila Khaled. Rabab Abdulhadi, a professor at San Francisco State University, met with Khaled on a trip funded by the state of California. Credit: Bluewind via Wikimedia Commons.