Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

The spirit of '68 lives on! Palestine advocacy and the indivisibility of justice
by Rabab Abdulhadi
July 14, 2017

False allegations of attacking professors who criticize Israel
Falsely alleged connection to David Horowitz
False allegations of being a Zionist organization
Misc. Corrections
False accusations of being part of a lobby or conspiracy
False allegations of connections to other organizations

Original text from The spirit of '68 lives on! Palestine advocacy and the indivisibility of justice:

Excerpts of text referring to Campus Watch:

Part One

I found out about the lawsuit from a Campus Watch tweet. I have been receiving alerts ever since I signed up for a twitter account and would be notified whenever my name is mentioned. Except for the two weeks when Mondoweiss tweeted about the two-part article I wrote about Palestinian-Puerto Rican solidarity celebrating the release of Oscar López Rivera, I have dreaded opening up the email notifications. Increasingly since September's attack by Campus Watch launched a Twitter campaign demanding that SFSU end its collaborative agreement with An-Najah National University in Palestine but focusing on attacking me, the notifications I've been receiving have been of more nasty attacks. Campus Watch is a right-wing and racist Zionist organization that belongs to the same network as the Lawfare Project. Campus Watch was founded by Daniel Pipes whom the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as one of the top Islamophobes in the country.

The September attack by Campus Watch labeled An-Najah National University as a terrorist university, citing none other than the discredited Anti-Defamation League (ADL). . . . The ADL is part of the right-wing network of pro-Israeli organizations to which AMCHA, Stand With Us, Horowitz, Campus Watch, Middle East Forum, the David Project, and the Lawfare Project belong.

. . . While the Lawsuit names several SFSU administrators and staff, Campus Watch, David Horowitz and other Zionist groups have focused their poster campaigns on me and GUPS. AMCHA, Horowitz, Canary Mission, Stand With Us, Zionist Organization of America, Campus Watch, the David Project, and the Middle East Forum have launched one smear campaign after another to extinguish the Palestinian activism and advocacy for Palestine on campus.

Part Two

Not surprisingly then, most of the citations in the lawsuit are drawn from other discredited members of the same pro-Israel network. . . . The network also includes the AMCHA Initiative whose discredited director claims African American Studies and Ethnic Studies programs in institutions of higher education "help to pave the way for the dramatic increase in campus antisemitism," David Horowitz, Campus Watch, Stand With Us, the Zionist Organization of America, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Middle East Forum, the David Project, the Brandeis Center, Hillels on campuses, the Lawfare Project, and the Anti-Defamation Leagues (ADL).

Campus Watch Responds:

Rabab Abdulhadi, director of San Francisco State University (SFSU)'s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Initiative (AMED), has penned a two-part (click here and here) approximately 7,000-word response to a Lawfare Project (LP) lawsuit—in which she is named—against SFSU alleging anti-Semitism and discrimination against Jewish students. In the process, Abdulhadi blasts the Middle East Forum/Campus Watch (MEF/CW) campaign to end the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)—also cited in the lawsuit—she brokered between SFSU and terror-promoting An-Najah University in the West Bank. She also commits countless errors and misrepresents CW with the hackneyed clichés to which we've become accustomed.

After acknowledging that she discovered LP's lawsuit not from SFSU's administration but from "a Campus Watch tweet" (we aim to please!), Abdulhadi recounts how she "dreaded" her Twitter notifications due to CW's "nasty attacks." The latter, in fact, are criticism of her role as the architect of the Najah MOU—an extension of her rabidly anti-Israel academic track record. It's nothing personal.

Abdulhadi, the paragon of virtue, brands CW "a right-wing and racist Zionist organization that belongs to the same network as the Lawfare Project." Where to begin? CW is neither right-wing, racist, Zionist, nor a member of a fictional network containing LP or any other organization. CW is an MEF project that critiques shoddy, politicized scholarship in the field of Middle East studies--like, say, Rabab Abdulhadi's. We evaluate academics without regard to political, ethnic, or religious affiliation, and we don't limit critiques to scholarship on Israel. While CW has collaborated with other organizations on occasion, we do not belong to the so-called "Israel lobby" Abdulhadi elsewhere credits with being the fount of all her woes.

Her view of reality is upside down. Just after quoting the discredited, politically-motivated Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)'s mischaracterization of MEF President Daniel Pipes—who has long contended that radical Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution—as "one of the top Islamophobes in the country," she lambasts CW for citing "the discredited Anti-Defamation League (ADL)" in labeling Najah "a terrorist university."

CW has never employed that phrase; rather, we have presented evidence of Najah's well-documented history of promoting terrorism, radicalism, and anti-Semitism, not to mention the many Najah students who have perpetrated terrorist attacks. Moreover, we have done so based upon a myriad of sources, including those as disparate as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Palestinian Media Watch, and Hamas (hardly a member in good standing of the "Israel lobby"), which proudly dubs Najah a "greenhouse for martyrs."

Abdulhadi conveniently ignores these sources and instead launches an endless tirade about the ADL that concludes with yet another reference to "the right-wing network of pro-Israeli organizations" to which the ADL, CW, MEF, LP, and others ostensibly belong.

By this point one is likely to hear the voice of a child in the back seat whining, are we there yet?

Alas, Abdulhadi is only getting started. She quickly commits yet another error by claiming that CW and David Horowitz are among the "Zionist groups" who have "focused their poster campaigns on me," when, in fact, CW has never launched a poster campaign, period. The David Horowitz Freedom Center did so in 2016 soon after MEF/CW initiated the Najah campaign, but never the twain did meet.

Nonetheless, Abdulhadi lumps CW, MEF, and all the rest together again for allegedly having initiated "one smear campaign after another to extinguish the Palestinian activism and advocacy for Palestine on campus." CW has neither the inclination nor the need for "smear campaigns," given the mountain of publicly-available evidence demonstrating that Abdulhadi and her academic ilk are nothing more than political activists. She proves the point by equating her own scholarship with "Palestinian activism and advocacy for Palestine on campus." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Before concluding Part One of her War and Peace-length screed, Abdulhadi claims that the LP lawsuit "regurgitate[s] the archives" of CW and the "Israel lobby industry" (now we're an industry) in its supposed "assertion of white, Eurocentric, and colonial privilege." If CW's archives demonstrate anything, it's that all the tired, leftist political clichés in the world cannot prevent the public from deducing the obvious: Abdulhadi is a radical under whose influence anti-Semitism at SFSU has progressively worsened. Repeatedly bashing Jewish endeavors as she does here (SFSU's Department of Jewish Studies, Hillel, the Jewish Community Relations Council) doesn't help.

Speaking of regurgitation (and we can understand if readers are feeling the urge at this moment), Part Two of Abdulhadi's rant repeats many of the same talking points, but with an occasional added flourish. For instance, the sinister web of groups she insists is behind LP's lawsuit has now morphed into the "pro-Israel industry network" and it's said to include CW, MEF, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, ZOA, and just about every other organization in the country short of the Rotary Club.

With all this supposed coordination, we're surprised Abdulhadi didn't think to liken us to the ruthless collective of conquering aliens in the Star Trek universe, the Borg (against whom "resistance is futile"), but that would seem just a tad outlandish. Or paranoid. Not that there's anything wrong with that .

(Posted by Cinnamon Stillwell, Campus Watch West Coast representative)