Pro-Palestinian Activists Targeted With Racist Posters At Colleges

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Palestinian rights activists at California universities are being targeted with racist posters as part of a campaign meant to slander them and their movement.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrator confronts individuals dressed in Israel flag on street

Faculty and students are being slammed as anti-Semitic terrorists with Islamophobic posters on San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley campuses because of their activism with the Palestinian solidarity movement. 

The hatemongering posters are part of a vindictive smear campaign spurred by David Horowitz’s controversial group The David Horowitz Freedom Center. Despite his liberal past, Horowitz is an outspoken radical conservative whose extremist views conflate violence with Islam. 

Rabab Abdulhadi, SFSU Ethnic Studies professor, was depicted on a poster in 2016 as “a leader of the Hamas BDS campaign” and a “collaborator with terrorists.” The hashtag #JewHatred appears next to a caricature of a scowling Abdulhadi.

“Obviously it’s really devastating to be accused of things that you have no relationship with,” Abdulhadi told the San Francisco Chronicle. “This is very racist, it is Islamophobic.”

Abdulhadi is a faculty adviser for SFSU’s General Union of Palestinian Students, a group that advocates for Palestinian liberation.

Still, the professor didn’t let the comments get to her. She claims the posters are simply an attempt to “silence us.”

“More and more people in the U.S. are recognizing the question of justice for the Palestinian community,” she said.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center defended its posters on the SFSU campus, claiming they were combating “the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values and disarm this country.”

Among the posters plastered across UC Berkeley, 13 members of the campus community were listed by name

“I’m shaken,” Smadar Lavie, a Jewish scholar-in-resident at UC Berkeley who was listed on the poster, said. “It’s my holiday — I’m on my holiday. It’s Rosh Hashanah.”

Horowitz’s attempts to paint advocates for Palestinian justice as anti-Semitic are not only malicious, but could, unfortunately, convince others that standing up for Palestinian rights is tantamount to anti-Semitism — which couldn't be farther from the truth.

These posters are Islamophobic propaganda that conflates criticism of Israeli policy with anti-Jewish sentiments. The Palestinian liberation movement is calling out the injustices executed by the Israeli government and calling for equality for both peoples — an inherent Jewish value.  

Furthermore, SFSU and Abdulhadi are also the targets of a lawsuit by the Lawfare Project, the “legal arm of the pro-Israel community.” This lawsuit hides its anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiments by claiming it's protecting Israel and the Jewish people. 

In reality, Lawfare Project Director Brooke Goldstein has claimed Islamophobia is a “made-up term propagated by the Muslim Brotherhood” and remarked that “there’s no such thing as a Palestinian person.”

A statement defending Abdulhadi against these remarks has been signed by 350 Jewish supporters who agree that portraying Palestinian solidarity as anti-Semitism is wrong and hides the Islamophobic intent of these campaigns.

Both UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ and SFSU President Leslie Wong have spoken out against the incidents, but some have argued these attempts aren't enough.  

Campus police at UC Berkeley have begun an investigation into Horowitz's actions as a hate crime, and it seems only fitting. 

Targeting individuals because of their opposing point of view is not only a cheap, manipulative tactic, but it also paints an ideological foe as a cultural enemy, which only further deepens the divide between both sides of this issue. 

Banner/Thumbnail Source: Reuters/Darren Ornitz

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