Lawsuit Brings Day of Reckoning to SFSU's Rabab Abdulhadi

Rabab Abdulhadi, director of San Francisco State University (SFSU)'s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Initiative (AMED) and a founding member of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, is feeling the heat.

The Lawfare Project is filing a lawsuit—in which Abdulhadi is named—against SFSU alleging "a long and extensive history of cultivating anti-Semitism and overt discrimination against Jewish students." At the same time, the Middle East Forum/Campus Watch (MEF/CW) campaign to end SFSU's Abdulhadi-brokered Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with terror-promoting Palestinian university An-Najah presses forward.

Meanwhile, a Launch Good campaign is underway to raise money for Abdulhadi's "legal defense fund," on the grounds that she has "filed several grievances" against SFSU over a "hostile and unsafe work and study environment for Palestinians, Muslims, and Arabs on campus." Donations will allegedly go towards fighting "Islamophobia, anti-Arab discrimination, and hostility to Palestinians at SFSU campus [sic] and to supporting the AMED Studies program against destruction."

AMED, it should be noted, offers courses titled, "Islamophobia: Roots, Development, and Contestation of Hatred," "Comparative Border Studies: Palestine and Mexico," and "Colonialism, Imperialism, and Resistance," while providing a scholarship named after the late Columbia University anti-Israel professor Edward Said. State budget cuts have long threatened AMED's funding.

Predictably, the Abdulhadi fundraising drive accuses CW and MEF, among other "right-wing pro-Israel groups," of engaging in "relentless bullying." Moreover, the accompanying video narration makes the oft-repeated error of describing Freedom Center President David Horowitz as a co-founder of MEF. In fact, MEF President Daniel Pipes was the sole founder of the Forum and neither MEF nor CW's missions include being "right-wing" or "pro-Israel." MEF promotes American interests in the Middle East and protects Western values from Middle Eastern threats, while Campus Watch critiques shoddy, politicized scholarship in the field of Middle East studies with the goal of reform.

This is not the first time that Abdulhadi's cohorts have responded to the Najah campaign with hysteria and smears, and it's unlikely to be the last. However, Abdulhadi's complaint now appears to be primarily with her one-time ally, SFSU President (and MOU-facilitatorLeslie Wong. According to the fundraising drive, she filed a grievance with SFSU in March 2017 that "will soon move into the hearing phase." Coming as it does amid the Lawfare Project's suit, Wong is feeling the pressure from both sides. Given his dismissiveness towards the long-documented concerns of the University community, it couldn't happen to a more deserving fellow.

Abdulhadi, meanwhile, can't escape the consequences of her role in SFSU's decline. Her false claims of victimhood and persecution have come full circle.


Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at This article was originally posted at