A former president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has criticized the organization for recently giving an award to a San Francisco State University professor who engaged in hate speech and against “Zionists” and Jewish students who supported Israel.
Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi — founding director of SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies (AMED) program — was presented the 2020 Georgina M. Smith Award for “a person or persons who provided exceptional leadership in a given year in improving the status of academic women or in academic collective bargaining and through that work improved the profession in general.”
Speaking with watchdog group Campus Reform, former AAUP President Professor Cary Nelson called the award “deplorable,” saying he “would have condemned” it.
The honor, he noted, was a “reward for promoting hatred and discrimination” and reflected “the significant number of fierce anti-Zionists in AAUP leadership positions and the organization’s increasing willingness to politicize its identity and social role.”
In response to the announcement, famed UCLA Professor and Turing Award winner Judea Pearl called for the IRS to investigate the AAUP’s tax-exempt status.
“The Tax Exempt status of AAUP should be examined for compliance with its stated educational mission,” he tweeted.
Miriam Elman — executive director of the independent pro-Israel campus group Academic Engagement Network, called the AAUP’s decision “appalling” and a “poor choice.”
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin — director of the AMCHA Initiative — told The Algemeiner, “It is both shocking and disappointing that an award exists for faculty who bring activism onto the campus and into the classroom.”
In 2018, Abdulhadi engaged in vehement hate speech that attempted to exclude Jewish students who supported Israel from campus life, following a statement friendly to Zionism by then-SFSU President Leslie E. Wong.
“I consider the statement below from President Wong, welcoming Zionists to campus, equating Jewishness with Zionism, and giving Hillel ownership of campus Jewishness, to be a declaration of war against Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians and all those who are committed to an indivisible sense of justice on and off campus,” she wrote on Facebook.
In 2019, Abdulhadi proved she had not mellowed, posting a large banner on a department’s official Facebook page saying, “Zionism = Racism,” and, “Boycott! Divest! Sanction!”
As a result, 80 Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, led by the AMCHA Initiative, wrote California State University Chancellor Timothy White that they were “deeply concerned about the unlawful use of the name of California State University or any of its campuses to promulgate anti-Zionist propaganda and promote a boycott of Israel.”