Last month, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), once a champion of academic freedom and scholarly integrity, presented two of its most prestigious annual awards to anti-American, pro-BDS apologists for terrorism, Rabab Abdulhadi and Deepa Kumar.
Abdulhadi, director of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies Program at San Francisco State University (SFSU), was one of three recipients of the Georgina M. Smith Award. Specifically, she was lauded for exemplifying a "commitment to global scholarship that builds mutual understanding," the press release gushes, which "is evident in the collaborations she has initiated."
Here's a taste of the kind of mutual understanding and collaboration Abdulhadi favors: she shepherded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SFSU and An-Najah University in the West Bank, a school so friendly to terrorists that Hamas called it "a greenhouse for martyrs," while an expert noted its "terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and radicalization of students."
She is a founding member of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BDS). In keeping with such bigotry, she declared that Zionists were not welcome at SFSU, which forced her own university to disavow her statement, an action that, in turn, sparked a lawsuit by Abdulhadi against her employer. (Earlier, in a lawsuit naming Abdulhadi, SFSU was sued for its history of antisemitism and hostility toward Jewish students.)
Kumar, an affiliated faculty in Middle East studies at Rutgers, received the Marilyn Sternberg Award, given to one who "demonstrates concern for human rights, courage, persistence, political foresight, imagination." She pursued "a goal of equity, security, and dignity for all."
Except, of course, for Israelis and other victims of terrorism. Then, "dignity for all" is jettisoned for apologias for terrorists. "Most mainstream accounts of the Palestinian Hamas organization present it as a bunch of rabid fanatics, bent on violence and motivated by an irrational hatred of Jews and the state of Israel," she wrote in 2009. But when "we separate propaganda from reality ... what we find is a group that has taken on the mantle of national resistance against Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands." In 2015 she tweeted "Yes ISIS is brutal, but US is more so."
But to give the AAUP credit where it's due: if these awards seek to elevate professors who perfectly reflect the organization's malignity and corruption, it couldn't have done better.
Winfield Myers is director of academic affairs at the Middle East Forum and director of its Campus Watch project.