Tammi Benjamin of the AMCHA Initiative is leading the effort to ensure that San Francisco State University actually does something in response to the fact that the president of the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) held up a knife on his Tumblr page and waxed poetic about stabbing a Jewish Israeli.
You guys know this story and I feel no particular desire to dive into it again.
Mohammad Hammad, a student leader, called quite specifically for murder. He did so against certain people, in general, and he did so against a specific Israeli Jewish woman.
While he most obviously broke the SFSU Student Code of Conduct, and should at least be disciplined on that basis, he may very well have broken California state law, as well.
We should give the university a reasonable time to go through its procedures.
In any case, here is Tammi Benjamin's recent letter to SFSU President Les Wong:
Dear President Wong,Professor Benjamin is fighting the good fight here, but I tend to disagree that the problem is only of anti-Semitism. When they held up signs reading, "My heroes have always killed colonizers," they were calling for murder. Who are these colonizers, in need of killing? Jews? Sure. But not just Jews.
Last week you issued a public statement regarding an on-campus General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) event glorifying the murder of Jews and numerous antisemitic social media postings by GUPS President Mohammad G. Hammad, including postings expressing his desire to murder an Israeli soldier and "all others who support the IDF." In your statement, you say that "first and foremost" the University community must be "firmly committed to free speech," although you also claim to work hard "to achieve a balance where both expression and safety are fostered."
Therefore, we ask you to clarify your position on this matter:
Is it acceptable for a registered student organization receiving university funding to display or use rhetoric that glorifies or promotes violence against Jews?
Is it acceptable for a registered student organization receiving university funding to display or use rhetoric that glorifies or promotes violence against African Americans, Hispanics, or Muslims?
We look forward to your prompt response. Unless we hear otherwise, we will assume that your answer to these questions is "YES," and we will inform the Jewish community that Jewish students, and all supporters of Israel, are not safe at San Francisco State University.
Co-founder, AMCHA Initiative
Co-founder, AMCHA Initiative
CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White
CSU Board of Trustees
CSU Interim General Counsel Andrew Jones
Kenneth Monteiro, Dean of College of Ethnic Studies at SFSU
California State Senator Leland Y. Yee (San Francisco)
California State Senator Mark Leno (San Francisco)
California Assembly Member Philip Y. Ting (San Francisco)
California Senator Carol Liu, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education
California Assembly Member Joan Buchanan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee
California Assembly Member Marc Levine
California State Senator Marty Block
California Assembly Member Das Williams
California Assembly Member Jose Medina
California Senator Lois Wolk
California Assembly Member Richard Bloom
California Assembly Member Steve Fox
California Jewish community leaders
In any case, I fail to understand how the CSU system can be in the business of funding student organizations that quite literally call for murder.