[Correction: Fred Astren is not the "the head of the Middle Eastern Studies Program" at San Francisco State University. He is professor and chair of the Department of Jewish Studies and a member of the Middle East and Islamic Studies faculty.]
San Francisco State University is among the most racist universities in the United States.
It is therefore fitting that it would partner with what is probably the most racist university in the world - An-Najah National University in the Palestinian Authority controlled town of Nablus.
The link above is to a Fall 2014 facebook posting by Professor Rabab Abdulhadi of the SFSU College of Ethnic Studies that I was alerted to by "Dusty" at Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers:
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.
You may recall that it was professor Abdulhadi who was the university adviser to the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) when they held up signs threatening murder during a celebration of a mural devoted to Edward Said who we actually have a photo of (above) throwing rocks at Jewish soldiers.
The ADL has this to say about An-Najah National University:
An-Najah University, in the West Bank city of Nablus, has been a flashpoint in the conflict between Israel and Palestinians since at least 1980, when violent anti-Israel protests led the Israeli military to close the school intermittently. Today the student council of An-Najah is known for its advocacy of anti-Israel violence and its recruitment of Palestinian college students into terrorist groups. The council, almost completely controlled by factions loyal to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, glorifies suicide bombings and propagandizes for jihad against Israel. Hamas has described An-Najah as a "greenhouse for martyrs."
Matthew Levitt, the director of the Washington Institute's Stein Program on Terrorism, Intelligence, and Policy, has this to say:
Al-Najah is the largest university in the territories and "the terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and radicalization of students for which al-Najah is known typically take place via various student groups," among them the Hamas-affiliated Islamic Bloc. "Of the thirteen members of Al-Najah's 2004 student council, eight," he says - "including the chairperson - belong to Hamas's Islamic Bloc."
After the kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers last year the graduating students of An-Najah University held up the three fingered salute in solidarity with the kidnappers:
Palestinian Media Watch tells us:
The Facebook page of the National University's Islamic student group of An-Najah University in ?Nablus, a school funded by USAID, called for murder of Jews posting this picture ?of a religious Jews hiding in fear and the Islamic source from the Hadith that the PA interprets as ?anticipating the genocide of Jews.
Tree: "O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a ?Jew behind me – come kill him."?
Note: The Islamic belief that Jews will be killed ?by Muslims as a precursor to the Resurrection ?appears in the Hadith (sayings and practices ?attributed to Islam's Prophet Muhammad).This ?Islamic tradition asserts that as the killing of ?Jews progresses, Jews will hide behind ?stones and trees, but they will expose the ?Jews and call out: "Oh Muslim, servant of ?Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill ?him." Only one tree, called the Gharqad, will ?hide the Jews from the Muslims. ?
And it was at An-Najah University that they created a "grotesque shrine" to the Sbarro pizza parlor massacre.
Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Mel Alexenberg tells us:
A group of An-Najah art students constructed a replica of the Sbarro pizzeria, site of the massacre.
Visitors pushed to see realistically sculpted body parts and pizza slices strewn throughout an environment set for a performance artwork.
Wearing a terrorist's military uniform and black mask, the performance artist entered the mock pizzeria under a sign reading "Kosher Sbarro" and set off a simulated explosion to the cheers of the crowd. Upon entering and leaving, the visitors enthusiastically wiped their feet on Israeli and American flags used as doormats.
And this is the only university throughout the entire Muslim Middle East that San Francisco State University chooses to partner with?
In truth, however, you cannot blame the entire university for the stupidity of the All University Committee on International Programs, headed up by professor Trevor R. Getz of the history department.
I was a little surprised to find that Getz is the chair of the committee, merely because there is an element of coincidence to the fact. It was Getz who emailed me after the Edward Said mural celebration in which the General Union of Palestine Students publicly called for the murder of "colonizers"... by whom, of course, they meant Jews.
Getz took particular exception to a piece that I wrote for my blog at the Times of Israel calling out my old professor, Fred Astren, for not standing up publicly against this kind of thing.
On the contrary, Astren makes a point of defending the university, but this is neither surprising, nor really reprehensible, given Astren's position of leadership at the university as the head of the Middle Eastern Studies Program.
On the question of SFSU bigotry and disdain for, if not the Jewish people, certainly the Jewish state, Astren says in the university newspaper:
"We've heard this kind of message before – it doesn't correspond to the reality that characterizes our campus and our campus community," Astren said. "If you ask Jewish students or Jewish faculty, you are going to have a hard time finding people to corroborate that this is an anti-Semitic place."
Astren is correct.
The truth is that Jewish parents should feel confident sending their kids to SFSU, because the chances of actual anti-Semitic violence are low. As long as the kid keeps his head down, does not in any way stand up for the Jewish people or the Jewish state of Israel, he or she should be just fine.
When I was there in the late 90s and early 00s we had all sorts of student organizations rallying against the Jews in Israel. I will never forget the surreal moment of walking past the Malcolm X Student Center and seeing an African-American student organization holding aloft an American flag with fifty little Stars of David in it.
That was fun.
There is nothing quite like watching a bunch of young students shaking their fists in a violent manner toward yourself and your own people. I have to say, that kind of thing makes an impression. It is certainly an impression that has stuck with me for a long time. My inclination when it happened was to write a letter to the editor of the school newspaper.
My inclination today might be a little different.
I might be inclined to go up and say "hello."