Following the unceremonious YouTube dumping of her webinar featuring terrorist Leila Khaled, Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, the director of Director and Senior Scholar of Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies at SFSU, has continued to express her frustration on Facebook – including this revealing post:
SFSU President is saying that she did not silence us. I beg to differ. Here is my email again to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, asking the university for help. The response? Radio Silence? The question is why are Palestinian narratives exceptionalized and why SFSU president siding with Zionist defamation, silencing and bullying?
From: Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 5:56 AM
To: Jennifer Summit <email@example.com>; Tomomi Kinukawa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Urgent-Need to hear ASAP from SFSU Administration of how the webinar on “Whose Narratives” will go on today as scheduled at 12:30pm PST
Dear Provost Summit:
Thanks for your email. Professor Kinukawa and I are extremely troubled that the university seems to be accepting Zoom’s decision to cancel our open classroom webinar. This censorship violates our freedom of speech and academic freedom as faculty to teach, deprives our students from the right to learn, and denies the general public the right to hear from speakers who are not readily available on mainstream media. SFSU and CSU should not participate in such censorship directly or indirectly. Rather, SFSU and CSU are obligated to defend us against the vilification and smearing by an Israel lobby that is troubled by and seeks to silence Palestinian narratives and scholarship, teaching and advocacy for justice in/for Palestine.
We therefore expect the university to seriously and publicly challenge Zoom’s attempt to control higher education and the content of our curriculum and classrooms. The privatization of our education is a serious development. As a public institution, SFSU must refuse and resist.
Most immediately, we don’t believe that the two of us should have to fix this problem of censorship instead of preparing our lesson plans and communicating with our students who are already quite anxious due to the pandemic and are now experiencing more anxiety because a simple academic webinar has become the grounds on Zionist and white supremacist are trying to crush Palestinian voices.
We expect you to take this question up with Mr. Roderick, come up with solutions, and inform us of how to move forward to host the open classroom webinar. Please get back to us as soon as possible with instructions on where to tell our students and the public to go to attend. As educators and public intellectuals, we intend to honor our commitment to our students, colleagues and the public.
We have less than two hours left before the webinar is scheduled to start at 12:30pm PST.
Please keep in mind that we need the university to communicate with, and give us the list of over 1500 registered webinar participants who received a cancellation notice, presumably from me. I also received an email saying that my webinar was cancelled when I did no such thing.
Finally, thousands around the world have already expressed interest on various social media platforms. They are in different time Zones and some of them are puzzled by this communication that the university has cancelled the webinar. Like our students and colleagues, they too need to be assured that SFSU is not perpetuating nor participating in this censorship.
We look forward to hearing from you immediately,
Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, PhD
Director and Senior Scholar, Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies
Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies
College of Ethnic Studies
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Ave, EP 425
San Francisco, CA 94132
From: Jennifer Summit <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 12:21 PM
To: Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Tomomi Kinukawa <email@example.com>
Subject: possible alternative platforms for your event
Dear Professors Abdulhadi and Kinukawa,
I learned last night that Zoom will not allow your classroom event to proceed on their platform and that they may block it. While we don’t know whether they will follow through, I have asked Academic Technology to research whether we have any alternative platforms that might be able to host the event in place of Zoom. If you would be interested in exploring whether any of these potential alternatives might suit your needs, please reach out to Andrew Roderick firstname.lastname@example.org
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
San Francisco State University
While Abdulhadi’s post is meant as a complaint against SFSU, I am appalled the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs made an offer to help provide an alternative platform for a terrorist; what makes this even worse is it seems she did so proactively, without even being asked by Abdulhadi. This is indicated by the words “I learned last night that Zoom will not allow your classroom event to proceed on their platform”, as well as the lack of “re” in the subject line that might otherwise indicate this was a response to another email.
Remember, she did this almost certainly knowing who Leila Khaled was, given the controversy surrounding the webinar and the ensuing backlash.