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SF State must stop the incitement of hate

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Controversy arose at SFSU last week after a conservative group plastered posters around campus accusing students and a professor of supporting terrorism. (Courtesy General Union of Palestine Students)

San Francisco has traditionally had an open, embracing environment. However, the one area where our city has failed to live up to this reputation is with how we handle differing viewpoints addressing the Jewish, pro-Israel community.

Recent events at San Francisco State University are proving Jewish students who speak up support of Israel, the only Jewish state in the world, are being outright attacked verbally and psychologically. A segment of the campus population is uncomfortable in its own environment. They have every right to, and should be expected to, stand up for themselves and fight back in one way or another.

When the university states that it “is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy living and learning environment,” Jewish students have the right to demand that they be included in that commitment.

It’s no secret that SFSU has bent over backward to actually tolerate hate mongers, lead by the Students for Justice in Palestine, the General Union of Palestine Students, and their faculty adviser Rabab Abdulhadi. Back in my time spent on university campuses, not only did our sanctioned campus clubs need to adhere to a level of respect and mutual existence, but rogue and uncooperative groups were summarily shut down. I see every bit of evidence that such Palestine hate groups would clearly fit the criteria for removal. They have far surpassed any threshold to trigger this.

These very groups and their supporters infiltrated an educational event on SFSU campus this past April, booing and shouting profanity with purpose to end the event and drive featured Nir Barkat, the Mayor of Jerusalem, off campus. The groups’ action is textbook, tell-tale bullying of an intolerant thug mob. All the while, the reaction to this deplorable event from SFSU security and President Leslie Wong was laughable at best, with little done in earnest both during the event and subsequently. The university code of conduct states that students are expected “to be civil to one another and to others in the campus community, and contribute positively to student and university life.” Yet this code has been breached on many occasions, most recently by the Students for Justice in Palestine and the General Union of Palestine Students mobs.

Fast forward to last week, when posters were placed on the SFSU campus by a Los Angeles watchdog organization with the purpose of exposing the perpetrators of last April’s hateful mob action. They’ve been called out, in a very direct identification of each of them by name, and their support for Hamas terrorism. Yes, Middle East-style terrorism.

I applaud this action calling them out wholly. Although the exact wording and depiction of the calling-out may be extreme, I agree with the message: Their hate speech and fascist methodology must stop. Their links to terrorism groups exposed. I am dumbfounded as to why Abdulhadi isn’t on the official “no-fly” list, along with any of the seven students, for her ties to Hamas and recent travel to meet with a known terrorist and a financier.

As a 15-year resident of San Francisco, an active member of the Bay Area’s vibrant Jewish community numbering in the literally hundreds of thousands (which dates back to the mid 1800s), and candidate for our city’s Board of Supervisors to represent the Richmond District, I urge an immediate review of the campus activities of Students for Justice in Palestine and the General Union of Palestine Students.

Hate speech anywhere is offensive, as our city’s LGBT, Latino, black, Chinese and other minorities can attest to. Our government cannot tolerate such activity at SFSU. My message should serve as a clear warning: If you can’t play nicely and meaningfully on our campuses, then you can’t play at all. President Wong must act to stop the incitement of hate and push SFSU to fulfill its mission as an educational institution and not a proxy rhetoric warzone.

Richie Greenberg is a candidate for San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 1.

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