In an emailed statement, Abdulhadi wrote me that the current campaign against her "seeks to whip up hysteria, Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia to divert attention from Israeli criminality against Palestinian education and cover up the complicity of the Israeli academy in furthering violations of Palestinian rights."
"The McCarthyist attack by Campus Watch/Middle East Forum, led by Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz, [who are] named as leading Islamophobes by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is no more than a witch hunt campaign aimed at silencing me and our commitment to justice-centered knowledge production," she told me.
It will not shock that a "scholar" so morally challenged as to ally with a terrorist-friendly institution will have trouble with basic research. Abdulhadi apparently relied on the erroneous information in this petition for information on CW/MEF. Had she used primary sources rather than ideologically-driven secondary sites, she would know that the Forum is an independent nonprofit with no connection to David Horowitz. She would also have realized that the Southern Poverty Law Center hasn't called Daniel Pipes anything; they simply exclude him from their coverage. Then again, one who favors primary over politicized secondary sources might also avoid another glaring weakness of Abdulhadi's reply: her reliance on cant rather than facts in her failed attempt to rebut the charges in MEF's petition.
For even one as gifted in the ars minor of academic jargon as Abdulhadi (and we readily acknowledge her proficiency in this field) cannot hope to disprove the facts laid out by MEF for a simple reason: they're true. Ad hominum fallacies ("Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia") disprove not a single one of the Forum's carefully researched and painstakingly explained charges against SFSU, Abdulhadi, and An-Najah, as summed up in the Forum's petition:
- Matthew Levitt, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, notes that Najah is known for "terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and radicalization of students."
- According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Najah's student council "glorifies suicide bombings and propagandizes for jihad against Israel."
- At least two events were held on campus to honor "martyred" terrorists in 2016.
- In 2015, Najah student Maram Hassoneh was killed attempting her second knife attack on IDF soldiers.
- Najah suspended its 2015 student elections indefinitely for fear of a Hamas victory.
- At Najah's June 2014 graduation ceremony, students held up three fingers to represent Hamas's kidnapping of three Israeli teens.
- In 2013, an entire Najah graduating class was named after Abu Jihad, the founder of Fatah and mastermind of countless terror attacks.
- The names of 19 "shaheeds" (deceased terrorists), all Najah students, appeared on the back cover of a 2004 "information kit."
- Najah students constructed a gruesome replica of the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria Jerusalem suicide bombing.
Nor does the most favored, hackneyed, and self-serving cliché of the academic left, the charge that dark "McCarthyist" forces are seeking to silence those engaged in "justice-centered knowledge production." Aside from the obvious fact that MEF has no recourse to government power over citizens, anyone seeking to engage in "knowledge production" centered on justice might begin by condemning terrorism, cutting ties with universities praised by Hamas, and pursuing objective, empirical scholarship.
Until Abdulhadi and SFSU president Leslie Wong take the first steps along this path by scrapping their MOU with An-Najah, their intellectually vacuous defense of the indefensible will continue to disgrace their university.