March 2, 2018 at the National Press Club, Washington, DC
"So what explains the special relationship if there is no strategic or moral imperative and if most Americans do not favor it? 
Our answer, of course, is the lobby." - John Mearsheimer

Rush Transcript

Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi

How and Why the Israel Lobby Is Suppressing Free Speech and Academic
Freedom on College Campuses.

Dale Sprusansky: Thank you very much. Our next speaker is Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi. She is the director and senior scholar in the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas, an associate professor of ethnic studies and resistance studies at San Francisco State University. She is a co-founder and editorial board member of the Islamophobia Studies Journal for which she is co-editing a forthcoming special issue on gender, sexuality, and racism. She is co-author of Mobilizing Democracy: Changing U.S. Policy in the Middle East, and co-editor of Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging which is for sale here today. Her work has appeared in seven languages in academic journals, and she was the winner of the 2012 National Arab American Nonfiction Book Award.

As many of you are aware and as was referenced, she and San Francisco State University have been the target of a Lawfare Project lawsuit claiming that the school fosters a hostile environment for Jewish students. But that case was thrown out by a judge in November. As her bio and work show though, she has not let this smear campaign define her career. We are pleased to welcome her to discuss How and Why the Israel Lobby is Suppressing Free Speech and Academic Freedom on College Campuses.

Rabab Abdulhadi: Good morning. Thank you so much for having me - Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and the Institute for Middle East Research Policy. I also want to begin by acknowledging that we are convening on indigenous people’s stolen lands. I want to acknowledge the people who are fighting day in and day out against all forms of racism and racial discrimination - from the people who are fighting against white supremacy to the people who are fighting against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anti-Arab discrimination, as well as people who are trying to clean up Washington. Thank you for having me.

Last week President Wong of San Francisco State University issued a statement saying that Zionists are welcome on campus. He had met with members of Hillel and he basically came out with the statement that I can share the slide with people. The one for my presentation, I wanted to just answer a few questions. What does the statement mean - to welcome Zionists to the campus? What is the history behind President Wong’s statement? How does it relate to our discussion of the Israel lobby and where do we go from here?

Immediately after President Wong issued the statement, I issued a statement right away saying that San Francisco State is abandoning its social justice mission by welcoming Zionists. I called upon people to reclaim the social justice mission of San Francisco State as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 San Francisco State strike. I also argued, as Barry has argued before me, that there is no equivalence between Zionism, Israel, and anti-Semitism. They are not one and the same.

What happened also, in addition to my statement, is that there were multiple statements published that the General Union of Palestinian Students published. The Black Student Union published a statement, along with other black student groups on campus. A new group, Jews Against Zionism, has just emerged amongst students and published a statement. Jewish Voice for Peace published a statement condemning President Wong’s statement.

This is something that we would not have seen 15 years ago or 11 years ago when I joined San Francisco State. This is something that’s really important, and it also attests to the argument that Barry is making. Things are changing. The tide has turned, and I think we really need to keep that in mind. When we know that the tide has turned, we know that attacks are going to become more vicious and they will target us more and try to silence us.

I also sent another statement last week also citing the words of Richard Spencer who said on Israeli TV that I’m a white Zionist, as well as Yair Netanyahu, the son of Netanyahu who basically trashed people who argued and organized against the white supremacy in Charlottesville and said that actually organizers around Palestinian rights are more damaging to that. Obviously we know where the alliances are.

So meeting with the Hillel, the president, what does Hillel stand for? I would just read a couple of points. Wherever we stand, we stand with Israel. Hillel, actually as a national organization that is involved in silencing us does not allow Jewish students to belong to it who are for boycott, divestment and sanctions. It is not allowed inside Hillel. One of the questions we are raising is, again, is Zionism, Israel, and Jewishness are one and the same? Or who owns Jewishness? Barry has talked about that, so I’m not going to get into it.

But we have a history of silencing Palestine at San Francisco State. So what’s going on with the Lawfare lawsuit that the judge dismissed on November 8th but gave them leave to amend? So they may come back and amend, and they already said that they are going to be amending. The Lawfare Project is actually aided by a law firm in San Francisco that is almost a thousand lawyers, pro bono. I have two incredible and amazing pro bono lawyers who are standing by me day in and day out, and I would not change them for anybody. So we are fighting and justice is on our side. That’s really important.

But who is attacking Palestine at SFSU? It is what we call an Israel lobby industry network. As the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network report of 2015, it outlines who are some of these donors and the fact that the Israeli government also has put in millions of dollars in this. So we are not talking about the cottage industry. We are talking about people who are quite organized. These are the list of the groups that I don’t have time to go into it. The only two groups that have not directly attacked us, although we’re getting a public record request, is the Brandeis Center - Kenneth Marcus. I’m sure he’s on the horizon somewhere. Friends of the IDF have been involved, copied on emails, about attacking us but they have not directly attacked although we do have Israeli soldiers on campus that continue to be in active duty in the Israeli Army.

So we are calling this new McCarthyism. The reason we’re saying this is because it’s exactly as McCarthyism in the ‘50s worked. What it does is that it attaches a terrorism label. It incites Islamophobia, uses Islamophobia by building Arab Palestinians as Muslims are terrorists so immediately it’s crossing people’s minds. It engages the anti-Semitic smear. It spreads misinformation and false allegation. The university invents new rules and regulations every single time they’d like to curb freedom of speech and our ability to organize and teach. They police activists, organizers and scholar. They try, as the Lawfare has done as I will continue telling you, to ruin careers.

Basically the Lawfare co-founder, Brooke Goldstein, said that we are going to make the enemy pay in a video in 2016 in which she also said there are no Palestinians and Islamophobia does not exist, and also said that San Francisco State University is one of their main targets.

So by trying to ruin my career, they would like to teach a lesson to other junior scholars and recent PhDs whose careers are on the line, watch out, this is what might happen to you, to silence people and engage in McCarthyist attacks to prevent people from speaking up, from organizing, from doing anything about justice. Basically stay away from Palestine.

They also, at San Francisco State, one of the main targets has been to starve and defund our program - that is part of my contract when I came to San Francisco State in 2007 - and rely on donors, pro-Israel donors who are pouring millions of dollars in the university and tell the university that we will continue funding you if you are able to discipline Palestinians students and silence Rabab Abdulhadi and basically shut down the AMED studies program.

One of the ways that they do it is backroom deals, lack of transparency, no accountability. A lot of the stuff is happening in secret. They don’t even release the public record FOIA request that we submit. They don’t release, period.
The reason we actually have the public record request is because the university gave it to Lawfare and my lawyers asked the university to just give us a copy of the public record that they gave to Lawfare. They dragged their feet and finally gave us. We don’t know if they gave us everything. They’re claiming that the officer who does the compliance is not in touch with other people. You’d think with such a high profile case in a federal court the university lawyers would be watching the whole question of compliance on what’s going on. But that’s what they claim.

I’m not going to give you all of this history, but this is from at least 2002. It goes Palestine has been silenced, intimidated, bullied, criminalized, policed, and smeared at San Francisco State both by organizations within and outside the university. So when we talk about a war of attrition has been declared, we’re talking about groups outside of the university that are collaborating with groups within the university. We don’t see the two of them divorced from each other.

In 2002 for instance, the San Francisco State president, after sanctioning clubs, Palestinian students said they asked him to remove the sanction and he said, why? So you guys can go start throwing bombs in January? He just actually said that. It’s part of the university records.

One of the things I really want to talk about is that in 2005-2006 the Palestinian students proposed to have a mural. San Francisco itself is known for murals. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo lived in the Mission District, painted murals. San Francisco State has multiple murals on its walls, so Palestinian students wanted to build a mural. This is the first rendition that was painted proposed by two artists, Dr. Fayeq Oweis a Palestinian artist and Dr. Susan Greene, an art designer and Jewish artist.

If you notice, on your left side you see Handala, the cartoon character of Naji al-Ali, carrying a key. On it it’s written al-Awda - return. On the other hand, he is carrying a pen because the pen also signifies the Palestinian saying [speaks in a foreign language] - my word is my sword - that or my gun. That words are really important to emphasize the intellectual value of learning and teaching in Palestine. Because when you don’t have a passport [sounds like], the only thing you have is your education, right, and you have to stay [sounds like].

But the San Francisco State University president opposed Handala, the key, and the al-Awda. He wasn’t the only one - the Jewish Community Relations Council and the designs organizations. He said that this cartoon, in particular by Naji al-Ali where the kid, the cartoon character, the non-existent cartoon character throws a stone at the Israeli flag actually gives him nightmares. It makes him wear bulletproof vest and has to have therapy. This is the final approval of Handala and of the key. We had to remove in 2007 Handala, the key, and al-Awda and basically put in its place a sabr, a cactus.

Two things had happened. One is that the cactus is long living. It doesn’t die. But, two, is that on the day of the unveiling of the mural, all Palestinian students and their allies came to the mural unveiling wearing t-shirts with Handala on them. Handala now remains part of our oral history.

In 2006 it continues, with the JCRC, also lobbying San Francisco State not to have a conference of al-Awda that was organized by students. In 2009, following the 2008-2009 war on Gaza, San Francisco State College Republicans and the Israeli team organized an event supporting Palestine condemning Hamas. This was the approved poster, but this was the unapproved poster that went up, that basically throws a shoes at la ilaha illa'llah Muhammad rasul Allah and says let us throw a shoe at Hamas flag and win prizes. The poster stayed up, but students took it down. Palestinian, Muslim, black, Latinos, indigenous students, Asian - they all took it down. But the university, they are not going to take it down because there’s freedom of speech. Watch out to see what else.

After the second anniversary of the mural, when Omar Barghouti came to speak about BDS, San Francisco State president cancelled searches we were conducting for two faculty lines to build the program. His chief of staff testified they had the Board of Supervisors opposing the cause to lift the blockade of Gaza and obstructed a reception we were trying to do with diplomats from Arab and Muslim majority countries to ask them to send their children to our university to learn.

The campaign escalates more in 2013 even though President Wong, the new president, met with the Arab community. After his investiture, he immediately took an all-paid trip to Israel. And we were gearing up to the AMED proposal. So the linkage between this is that we were building the program. They have already canceled the sessions. They have already started the program. The program now ends up being one person, one faculty member with no operating budget, no staff, no other faculty. Now is the time to go for the kill. So the attack escalates because we were about to institutionalize a program. Because once a program is institutionalized, it doesn’t matter if you have a person or you don’t have a person, it works.

In 2013 Israel lobby groups called AMED, the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies initiative at the time, and accused us of glorifying the murder of Jews. San Francisco State president did not investigate but immediately condemned anti-Semitism, and for seven months stayed silent when I was being attacked left and right. He also condemned speech and he was reprimanded by free speech groups in San Francisco and collaborated with the Israeli consulate and the FBI investigating students.

In 2014 I was going on a sabbatical and I led a delegation to Palestine in which we began to talk with An-Najah National University about setting up a memorandum of understanding collaboration because our university president wanted the university to become a global university and engage with other institutions. So I was really acting upon his wishes because I have relations with the Palestinian university. I don’t really need to formalize them in order to have them happen. I was doing it. This is when, with the delegation, we met with [indiscernible]. We met. Where is it? It disappeared. Okay. Anyway, it may be down.

Then they started again accusing me of terrorism, anti-Semitism, and also accused me of criminality - misuse of taxpayer’s funds to go to Palestine because we’re not allowed to be going and learning about Palestine. Taxpayers funds should be used to build bombs and nuclear weapons and kill people and fund Israel and its occupation. They demanded a criminal investigation. I was audited by the College of Ethnic Studies, by the university administration, and every single audit came out saying that I did nothing wrong. All these allegations are unfounded. The university took 20 days to publish a public statement just to say these are the findings. Twenty days they resisted.

In the meantime, the lobby wasn’t happy. So they petitioned the comptroller of the state of California to investigate me further. San Francisco State ordered a five-year audit of my international travel. Not a single question was about missing receipts or a penny. Every question was political. Why are you doing this? Why there is an MOU with An-Najah National University? What does this mean? What does she travel to Palestine? At the same time, the provost revoked my trip to Palestine. That’s a week before the State Department issued an advisory not to travel. So this was not as a result of the advisory. It was before the advisory.

In the fall of 2014 we passed a memorandum of understanding, the president and the provost meeting with the College of Ethnic Studies. We discussed how the AMED studies program would be supported. The provost twice said to me, in front of everybody, we do not fund Holocaust deniers. No reason. That is no reason. I teach actually the Holocaust and Jewish history and Jewish studies in all my courses and so on. And the president wants to maintain silence. Nobody goes to my defense.

We were able to approve the minor, but the Senate could unanimously approve it in the spring of 2015. President Wong promised to reinstate the faculty lines, and we began to work on something called the Edward Said Scholarship. That was donated by one of the graduating students who wanted his university to have a scholarship so that when his daughters go to the university, they can apply for it and have excellent education.

The main residents, the Zionist residents on campus, tried to obstruct the Edward Said Scholarship. But Mariam Said, with the An-Najah [phonetic], intervened and made it happen and we now have the Edward Said Scholarship.

In spring 2014, after we passed the minor, now we have a minor, we have the Edward Said Scholarship, we have the memorandum of understanding. How are they going to get rid of us? I mean, they used to be certain. So they escalate further attacks. This happens during -- we go on a delegation to Palestine - the Prisoner [sic], Labor, and Academic Delegation. We held two conferences, one with the Birzeit University and one with An-Najah National University. We observed military tribunals of children who are being held in Israeli courts. We go to organize an accord [sounds like] and we come back and we report. We build reporting and we issue a statement.

San Francisco, the university hosts Nir Barkat, the racist mayor of occupied Jerusalem, who slings a machine gun and calls for the killing in [indiscernible], so students attacked and protested. The other students organized a hunger strike. This is the delegation and this is where we were meeting with the family of Mohammed Abubakr [phonetic]. This is the protest.

Then we get put on the Canary Mission, myself and the students. They give away their home addresses, their work. Some of our students received sexual threats, of violence. President Wong issued a statement to apologize to Nir Barkat and re-invites him to campus.

In the summer the university had an independent investigation who concludes that students, yes, did disrupt the speech but it was against him and Israel and there was no violence involved. And it was not about anti-Semitism, it was against Israel.

In the fall of 2016, we have this past year attacks after attack. Campus Watch of the Middle East Forum launched a petition to demand that An-Najah, the agreement with An-Najah ends. They called Palestinian universities terrorist universities. They are called the Anti-Defamation League, by the way. They accused me of terrorism. TruthRevolt also calls for me to be fired. This is the petition, the Canary Mission.

Then David Horowitz and the Canary Mission put out wanted ads, that basic wanted style ads all over. Twenty-six posters were found. Students took them down. The police said there were no cameras. All of a sudden there were no cameras that day and there was nothing. They just saw nothing. Faculty was very supportive. The majority of organizations, I don’t have time to say. This is part of the campaign. This is the poster that appeared on campus, all over campus including on the garage of the administration building, that everybody in the administration went to park and saw the poster and did not do anything about them.

During that period, we got two courses approved, the Palestinian mural, the Art of Resistance, and Edward Said. GUPS held its standing-room-only celebration of the mural. The students held weekly teachings to protest the coming of Trump. This is the mural. In February they held a Know Your Rights fair which is now also under investigation attack. They also organized events to support Palestinian prisoners who were on hunger strike in April.

On May 3rd we have another set of posters, wanted style ads, a second set of posters appearing on campus. In June the Lawfare lawsuit that you’ve heard about. I actually only found out about it from Campus Watch tweets because nobody in the university bothered to tell me.

I was not appointed a lawyer until a month afterwards. That’s why I sought and fund my lawyers. We refused to be derailed. We organized a big conference on Constitution Day. We co-organized with other colleagues at the university and we had a very big participation. But on September 21st Horowitz again puts -- this is the poster. What’s the response? This is what the associate students did. They put up the Palestinian flag. They published posters: Hate speech is not free speech. They said we will not be silent, and we will not be silent.

What we do we continue to do. We continue to teach our classes that are full to the capacity. We continue to do with no resources public education programs using the classrooms to bring the community, the faculty, the students, multiple people together to organize every single day, and we continue to teach Palestine.

I’m very proud to announce that in two weeks we will be holding two conferences at Birzeit University and An-Najah National University on teaching Palestine pedagogical practices and the indivisibility of justice because we will not be silenced. We will not be stopped. We will not be derailed. Justice will prevail. Thank you.

Questions and Answers

Dale Sprusansky: Thank you very much. That was kind of [indiscernible]. We have about ten minutes or so for questions. So if you’re holding on to any cards, find an usher and do send them forward. We will begin with a question for Dr. Trachtenberg here. Someone wants to know if you could elaborate on the State Department definition of Anti-Semitism, when was it adopted, what president or administration was in power when that happens, was it done by a congressional action, and was it done without public knowledge?

Barry Trachtenberg: I’ll do my best to answer that. I don’t know all the specifics. I think it began around 2009, so during the last administration. It was in appropriation of this working definition that had been undertaken by this European monitoring group. That was really just a working definition so that they could begin examining this phenomenon and trace anti-Semitism in Europe. But it became encoded into State Department policy. You could actually go online. I had actually peeked over your shoulder and saw that question, so I looked it up. If you just go to the State Department website you’ll see it.

The primary definition isn’t particularly offensive in any way. It says anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews, which seems very straightforward. Rhetorical and physical manifestation of anti-Semitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals, their property and so on. This all seems fine to me.

The problem is where they give you the examples of what contemporary anti-Semitism is. The first few are fine. It’s about demonizing Jews, making certain allegations of Jews and so on. But then where it starts going, saying things like accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide.

Then there’s a whole section on anti-Semitism related to Israel, and this is where that speech of exceptionalism begins to be encoded into policy. If the Anti-Semitism Act goes through, it will be encoded into law where –- and it has this, what we call the three D’s. It’s about demonizing Israel, playing a double standard for Israel, and delegitimizing Israel. So it says that if you use symbols that are associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis, and I tend to agree with that. But then it has other comparisons which are totally in my mind illegitimate, such as drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

But this happens of course all the time among Jews. You know, I’ve been called the kapo. You hear Israelis talking to one another and accusing one another of acting like Nazis in all sorts of ways. So what they’re saying is Jews can say things to Jews, but non-Jews can’t say those things to Jews without somehow being anti-Semitic and that’s a violation of the law. This is where that problem of exceptionalism comes in. Such comparisons began even prior to the creation of the state of Israel.

There’s this famous letter that Albert Einstein and others signed when, I think, it was Moshe Dayan came to the United States. He, Hannah Arendt and others declared that he is a fascist and he shouldn’t be allowed into the United States, making a clear comparison to the writings [sounds like], I’m thinking in ‘47, where the tragedy just occurred in Europe. So they’re making these comparisons. Jews have been doing this really certainly since the beginning of Nazism, making this kind of comparison.

Interestingly at the very end there is this little caveat. It’s in italics. It’s set aside from the rest of the definition. It says, however, criticism of Israel, similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. So as long as you’re criticizing other countries along with Israel, it’s okay. But if you chose to sort of focus your attention on Israel, somehow it’s anti-Semitic, which is like saying that if you’re an organization that is trying to defend the human rights of North Koreans - and that’s the focus of your organization - somehow you’re anti-Korean for doing so because you’re just having a focus on one country. So again they’re insisting on this exceptionalism aspect to this code.

Dale Sprusansky: I have a question for Dr. Abdulhadi. Someone wants to know the extent to which the Canary Mission has intimidated students on campus and if you have noticed in your classroom and on campus a reduction in students willing to speak out for fear that it could jeopardize their career going forward.

Rahab Abdulhadi: Yes, the Canary Mission has. The good news is that Twitter took down the Canary Mission account. So at least we know that there are some people that are holding folks to the same kind of accountability. But it wasn’t just Canary Mission. Canary Mission has definitely intimidated and scared people on campus. It also is the various ways in which what I call the Israel lobby industry within campus is working in the sense that now students can’t even find rooms to reserve at a time when we want to have events.

Now the new head of risk management on campus is our main resident lioness on campus. Now they force the college to ensure the room where we have an event, Palestine at San Francisco State on February 7, which was the first time in 11 years of my being at San Francisco State that that conference room of the college gets ensured. First time. I objected before it happened. They said this is constructing us as dangerous people when you’re saying students’ safety. Why is student safety being endangered? Actually we never had problems. People love –- our only problem is we have too many people. We don’t have enough space on campus. Sometimes we have to go out to the yard to have events.

So why is this being constructed? What this means is that now every single event that’s going to happen in the College of Ethnic Studies also has to be ensured [sounds like] in order for them to show that there is no disparate treatment.

So yes, it’s been really, really difficult. We’ve had rooms that were cancelled. Students are very afraid to speak up. Last week one of the students had an argument in one of the classes about Zionism. The Zionist student went and complained to the administration that they made her uncomfortable. As a result, the student was called to the chair’s office and she actually had to go with a lawyer from Palestine Legal because she did not know what’s going to happen because students are being prosecuted left and right even though that independent investigation came out saying that there was nothing anti-Semitic.

There was no violence involved in the Nir Barkat protest. Nonetheless, the university, two days after the lawsuit was filed on June 19th, on June 22nd or 23rd came out with a statement saying that the Nir Barkat event shows the ugly face of anti-Semitism. It doesn’t make sense. But the only way it makes sense is because San Francisco State University has only now one-third of funding from the state of California. So rather than going to the state back and saying fund education, what they are doing is they’re relying on donors, private donors. This is the defunding of the education. So the university becomes accountable to the donors who say we’re going to give you $1.5 million in Koret Foundation funds and take it away if you don’t discipline Palestinian students, if you don’t stop the program and so on.

All of this stuff is actually making it very difficult. It’s not just the Canary Mission. The point is that it’s actually much bigger than that. One of the ways that we’re demanding is transparency - transparency and accountability. Let’s get all of the stuff in the spotlight and let’s see who is actually following the law, and who’s violating the law, and who’s trying to silence us. If we are really wrong about our insistence on justice-centered knowledge production, let’s put it out there. When we put it out in public space, people support. As we know, this is what’s going on. Thank you.

Dale Sprusansky: So now we have a question for Barry again. Do you believe in the concept of hate speech? Is it ever a good idea for the government to police hate speech or lobby on that?

Barry Trachtenberg: I’m not a free speech expert or a hate speech expert. I mean I do think there is hate speech certainly when it’s targeted against particular groups based on racial identity, ethnic identity, sexual identity. I think there’s many categories of that. And I think that it makes sense for universities to be always debating these subjects.

I am concerned about codes of speech, although I think there are times where they are necessary such as what we’ve been seeing. We saw on Charlottesville, for example. It shouldn’t be allowed on college campuses.

But I think these are really, really tricky questions. It’s very, very hard to identify often what hate speech is, especially in a case such as this one where you have people who have instrumentalized speech against Israel and have been able to successfully make the case that it is a form of hate speech, and insisting on this association that Israel is the Jewish people, that Judaism is Zionism, when these things are not the case.

Dale Sprusansky: Rabab, a question. Have Palestinian professors across the country developed communication networks to try and coordinate a plan to counteract the Zionist campus message?

Rabab Abdulhadi: Can I answer that question and say something about Barry’s question?

Dale Sprusansky: Of course. Go for it.

Rabab Abdulhadi: Yes, there are networks. People interact with each other. But as we know, there has been a very big blow to Palestinian solidarity organizing in the U.S. both because of the fear that the Israel lobby -- and I always say Israel lobby, by the way, this is not a code name for Jewish organizations. Because people think that this is not, as Barry has explained in his paper and as I’ve explained in many, many instances, but as a result of fear mongering, as a result of targeting people’s attacks and so on. We are in touch with each other. But it’s not just the Palestinians. I think it’s really, really important to emphasize that the people who are working for justice and for Palestine are not only Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims. This is not a special interest group.

This is a question that involves justice. This is a question that affects all of us. It affects all of us who are involved in justice for and in Palestine. It involves all of us who are interested in maintaining our campus as spaces for critical thinking, for debate, for learning, for not being scared every single time, feeling policed if you want to say something. It’s really important for us to protect that, so it is not just about us. The whole McCarthyism is not about us. The stuff that’s happening to professors across is not only about Palestinians.

I think the problem is that in our imaginary we think about Palestine in one part of our brains and we think about other things in other part. But we really need to think about them together. If we think, if we institute the framework of the indivisibility of justice, then we can see how these things are connected. We have at San Francisco State the union. Our union twice passed a resolution. Now it went to the San Francisco Labor Council that passed twice resolutions in supporting us, first time in history, resolutions on Palestine. This is really important and this is really significant. This connects the issue.

The fact that young kids -- last Friday, Palestinian students were on campus and I wasn’t on campus. When President Wong’s statement came out, it was other students who took it up on themselves to choke, to put on the grounds that Zionists are not welcome. Zionism is racism. It wasn’t us. It wasn’t even Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims. Our coalition includes people. Jewish Voice for Peace practically live on campus. People from the ‘68 strikers, people from Black Student Union, and the Panthers, people from the Japanese community, Asian community, from poor working people, from Latino communities. We have a huge coalition and I think really, really important.

I’m not going to, I’m not going to do your question.

But I think this is really important to think that -- one thing that I think we really need to remember is that the majority of the world community supports justice in/for Palestine. I think in the United States, because this is a world [sounds like] place to think about Palestine because of the excessive support for Israel from the government - from the government, not the people - people do not realize that the people in the United States are joining the rest of the world community in supporting justice for/in Palestine.

This is not an exception. The same thing happened during the apartheid in South Africa. It takes a while for people in this country to join judging by how –- who voted for the person in the White House. I mean it’s not rocket science, but there are more and more and more people saying, no, this is not okay and I’m joining the world community. So I think it’s really important to say we’re not alone. Yes, we do get targeted. It’s very, very difficult and it’s really hard. But every single time you think about all the people who are struggling, all the people who are coming together, this is an amazing coalition for justice. It gives you power.
I think the most important thing is that people in Palestine are steadfast and refusing to move. They are staying put. They are experiencing what we call [speaks in a foreign language] in Palestine. Those of us who are, and the rest of the world, are also responding to that and working according to justice. So I think it’s really important not to think only about Palestinians or Muslims or Arabs or Jews, but to think about a very broad community that comes together to build this indivisibility of justice.
Dale Sprusansky: All right. We’re out of time. I think that’s a positive way to end the panel. Just to note, Dr. Abdulhadi and Noura Erakat will be signing their books by registration. Now it’s time for lunch. Lunch will be served behind those doors. That’s Greg who runs over there. And we’ll see you after lunch. Thank you.

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