San Francisco State University (SFSU) is taking pains to hide its partnership with a Palestinian college in Hebron that is known to demonize Israel and promote jihad, a recent investigation by a campus watchdog group revealed.
According to Campus Watch— a project of the Middle East Forum — SFSU signed a low-key memorandum of understanding (MOU) with An-Najah University in 2014. The move was initiated by Rabab Abdulhadi, director of SFSU's Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED), who is also a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, the report said.
Abdulhadi praised the partnership between SFSU and An-Najah in an April 2015 reception, where she said the MOU "is the first time what we have any agreement with any university in the Arab or Muslim world and we are very excited about that."
The university's president, Leslie Wong, also hailed the MOU at the same reception, stating, "When I returned from Palestine two years ago, I said I want to be one of the first major universities to sign an agreement with An-Najah or any of the other Palestinian universities, or any of the universities in the Arab world."
Since then, SFSU appears to be keeping its partnership with An-Najah from the public eye.
While the MOU was signed in 2014, according to Campus Watch, "SFSU's administration officially only corroborates the MOU indirectly on its website." The relationship between SFSU and An-Najah is not listed on SFSU's website of exchange programs and partner universities. The An-Najah MOU is, however, buried in a SFSU May 2015 annual report under exchange programs and other cooperative agreements. According to the annual report, the MOU is based on a "proposal for scientific and academic collaboration."
According to an Anti-Defamation League report, An-Najah is a hotbed for radical jihadist activity and "a flashpoint in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians since at least 1980, when violent anti-Israel protests led the military to close the school intermittently." The school's student council is known to advocate for violence against Israel and actively recruits students into terrorist groups.
Majority of the council, the ADL report said, is "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.'"
SFSU has its own share of anti-Israel activity. As reported by The Algemeiner, an April campus lecture by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was disrupted by anti-Israel protesters who carried Palestinian flags and wore checkered kaffiyehs. The demonstrators yelled, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!" — a chant calling for Israel's destruction. Many raised their fists, screaming, "Intifada!" in implied calls for violent attacks against Israel.