Saturday, June 20, 2015

  • Saturday, June 20, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon

profProfessor Andew Pessin is a Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College.  He studied at Yale and earned a PhD at Columbia University.  He is the author of five books, including most recently Uncommon Sense: The Strangest Ideas From The Smartest Philosophers.  He is also friendly to the Jewish State of Israel and in opposition to political Islam for reasons having to do with social justice and human rights.

Professor Rabab Abdulhadi is an Associate Professor of Race and Resistance Studies at the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.  She studied at Yale and earned a PhD from that university.  She is the author of many papers and a contributor and co-editor to the recent Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, and Belonging (Gender, Culture, and Politics in the Middle East).  She is also unfriendly to the Jewish State of Israel and highly critical of Zionism for reasons having to do with social justice and human rights.

Both of these professors are sometimes thought of as controversial for reasons concerning the Arab-Israel conflict - although one is more the political activist than the other - and both were recently involved in difficulties within their respective universities over that conflict.

The difference is that while SFSU stood behind Professor Abdulhadi, Connecticut College was far less supportive of Professor Pessin.

The question is "why?"

Understanding the answer to that question depends upon not only understanding the specific differences between the two controversies, but also the ideological atmosphere within American academia concerning the Arab-Israel conflict.

The short answer is that Abdulhadi is highly critical of Israel during a period of rising anti-Semitic anti-Zionism in the West and, therefore - given this political moment - receives financial and moral backing in the academe.

Pessin, on the other hand, is highly critical of Hamas, an organization that calls specifically for the genocide of the Jewish people and he is, therefore, reviled as a "racist."

Let's dig into the specifics.

Professor Andrew Pessin

On August 11, 2014, during the midst of the Israeli military push-back, Operation Protective Edge, Pessin posted the following on his Facebook page as part of a larger discussion concerning Hamas and the other genocidally-inclined rocketeers in Gaza who had been giving little Israeli kids post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over the course of the preceding years.

Pessin compared Hamas to a "rabid pit bull chained in a cage."

For this he was excoriated as a racist not only by hard-left students in organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine, but also by faculty.

The fact of the matter is that Pessin was referring to Hamas and other such violent Islamist organizations operating within Gaza.

The ironic thing is that it is not he who is conflating all Gazans with terrorists, but his allegedly "anti-racist" detractors who are doing so.

Pessin's Facebook page, above, needs to be understood within the larger conversation.

He was not referring to Palestinian-Arabs, nor Gazans, in general.  He was speaking quite specifically about the kinds of Islamists who call directly for the genocide of the Jews, as Hamas does in its charter, a document that is not quoted nearly enough, but reads in part:

Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised.
 As David Bernstein writes in the Washington Post:

I have seen his previous Facebook posts on the Gaza war last Summer, and they are full of criticism of Hamas, and don’t say anything nasty about Palestinians more generally, suggesting that he was, in fact, referring to Hamas.
I have seen those Facebook posts, as well, and concur.

Professor Rabab Abdulhadi

Professor Abdulhadi's circumstances are a tad different and I have previously written about her and my disappointment with San Francisco State University.

Abdulhadi was the faculty adviser to the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) at a time when the SFSU president of that organization, Mohammed G. Hammad, took to social media in order to threaten violence against Jews.

As he held aloft blade in a "selfie," this is what he wrote:
I'm sitting here looking through pictures of that f—ing scum (name removed to protect the soldier) … Anyone who thinks there can be peace with animals like this is absolutely delusional, and the only ‘peace’ I’m interested in is the head of this f—ing scum on a plate, as well as the heads of all others like her, and all others who support the IDF. The Liberation of Palestine can only come through the destruction and decimation of this Israeli plague and it can’t possibly come soon enough.
otmnIt is not Abdulhadi's fault, of course, that some of her students want to kill Jews for political reasons.

She just happened to be standing nearby.

She was also the adviser to GUPS during the celebration of a mural to the late anti-Semitic professor, Edward Said, on that campus, wherein members of GUPS, and other student organizations, held aloft signs reading, "My heroes have always killed colonizers." 

Just who these "colonizers" in need of killing are is speculative, but I feel reasonably certain that when students associated with the General Union of Palestine Students hold up little signs calling for the murder of "colonizers" that they are not referring to the Amish.

How Connecticut College Responded to Pessin:

Pessin, as a consequence of opposing Hamas, was subject to a campaign of defamation that became international.  He was initially condemned as a "racist" or "Islamophobe" by a former student, Lamiya Khandaker who previously founded a branch of Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn Technical High School and is quoted as saying:
I truly believe that if more American citizens gain more knowledge on this conflict, then we can pressure our government to do something, and if necessary, break our bond with Israel.
Break our bond with Israel.

Other students, following Khandaker's lead, wrote into the school newspaper that “Professor Pessin directly condoned the extermination of a people. A member of our community has called for the systematic abuse, killing, and hate of another people.”  As David Bernstein notes, writing in the Washington Post, such a charge is probably libelous.  If that is the case, it would also be actionable.

Pessin, however, probably just hoping that the non-controversy would go away so that he could do his actual work in peace, made the mistake of apologizing.

Bernstein tells us:
The result was an international controversy that included threats against Pessin and his family, knee-jerk reactions from academic departments throughout Connecticut College denouncing their colleague’s purported racism, denunciation without investigation by the usual suspects in the world of academic philosophy, and a school-sponsored “community conversation on free speech, equity and inclusion” that was so “inclusive” that the two Jewish students who spoke who criticized the Pessin witchhunt were, depending on the account, either booed or at least “met with derision.”
The Connecticut College history department, not wishing to be outdone by its own students, put out this note as a rebuke to Pessin, which reads in part:

To the Campus Community,

The history department would like to clearly state that we condemn speech filled with bigotry and hate particularly when that speech uses dehumanizing language and incites or celebrates violence and brutality. In response to the many events that transpired on campus prior to and during spring break regarding a Facebook post by a member of our faculty, we join the CCSRE in condemning hate speech.

How SFSU Responded to Abdulhadi:

While many people in the local Jewish community in California, most notably Tammi Benjamin of the AMCHA Initiative and "Dusty" at Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers, objected to this outrageous behavior of students under Abdulhadi's authority or tutelage, the university was largely indifferent to such concerns. Even Professor Fred Astren, the head of the Jewish Studies Department, could not rouse himself to condemn much of this in a public manner, although one presumes that he spoke up behind the scenes.

SFSU, nonetheless, funded a trip for Abdulhadi and a few select students to travel to the "Occupied Palestinian Territories" in order to meet with terrorist plane hijacker, Leila Khaled.  This visit was not merely an academic exercise for purposes of research.  It was a political trip among student activists with a professor who has a serious bone to pick with the Jewish people in the Middle East and who is not the least bit shy about buddying-up with violently inclined racists like Khaled.

In fact, SFSU even went so far as to reward Abdulhadi by agreeing to partner with An-Najah National University in Nablus which is probably the most anti-Israel / anti-Jewish university on the entire planet.  It was students at An-Najah who put together a "grotesque shrine" in celebration of the Sbarro pizza parlor massacre and which the Anti-Defamation League has referred to as a "greenhouse for martyrs." 

Abdulhadi, in gratitude to the university, wrote this:
Today San Francisco State University's All University Committee on International Programs unanimously voted to recommend that SF State formally collaborate with An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine. This is the first time that SFSU will collaborate with any university in a Palestinian, Arab or Muslim community.

I am proud, excited and grateful to my colleagues @ An-Najah. It is my honor to be working with you. Thank you Mira Nabulsi for your amazing help in writing and producing the proposal. Thank you Dean Kenneth Monteiro and the College of Ethnic Studies for your consistent and unwavering support.

At The End of the Day

The essential point is that San Francisco State University is standing behind a professor that normalizes terrorism and, ultimately, hatred toward Jews.  Connecticut College, on the other hand, both students and faculty, harassed a Jewish professor who opposes anti-Semitism and the spreading of political Islam.

The reason for this is not because of anything peculiar about either institution.

The real problem is not San Francisco State University, nor Connecticut College.  The problem is a rising atmosphere of hatred toward the Jewish State of Israel and, thus inevitably, toward the Jewish people, themselves, not only in Europe, but increasingly within the United States.

What we are witnessing, and what these two cases illustrate, is not merely a new phase of Jewish and Israeli relations to western academia and to western culture and civilization.  It is, in fact, a new phase in what it means to be "liberal" in the West today.

The western-left is passing down the toilet the very values of social justice and universal human rights that it claims to ground itself within.

The sympathies of western academia will go wherever the combined sensibilities of the professors and the students take it, but when it favors Hamas over the Jews in that part of the world it has forfeited any right to be considered "liberal."

By accepting political Islam it has also betrayed women in the Middle East, Gay people in the Middle East, and Christians in that part of the world.  It even has betrayed Muslims in the Middle East to the extent that Muslims are the primary victims of political Islam.

This little story of two professors in the Age of Obama is a story bigger than San Francisco State University and Connecticut College.

It encapsulates a moment of shifting political sands in which the very notion of universal human rights and social justice are being thrown aside in favor of a failing multicultural ideal.

Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.

Sorry, I posted this on the wrong day...

EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz





For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs


#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty Amnesty 2022 analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art Ashrawi ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Biden history Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence CAIR Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day CEDAW Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision CJ Werleman Clark Kent coexistence Comix Community Standards conspiracy theories COVID-19 Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum David Miller Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Ellen Horowitz Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features Fervent Embrace fisking flood libel flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry Ghassan Daghlas gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow IJ Benjamin Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia infographic international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter Joe Biden John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Judith Butler Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia Marc Lamont Hill Marjorie Taylor Greene max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nasser al-Lahham Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO Nick Cannon NIF Noah Phillips norpac NSU Matrix NYT Occupation offbeat olive oil Omar Barghouti Omri Boehm Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB philosophy poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals RealJerusalemStreets reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Landes Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians Seth Rogen settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Sovereignty Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tlaib TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Trump Lame Duck Test Tunisia Turkey UAE Accord UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra vaccination Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks Winstanley work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Best posts of the past 6 months


A new, better definition of antisemitism

Blog Archive