SFSU Department Hosted Beirut Conference With Terrorists – On September 11

The AMED department of San Francisco State University (SFSU) hosted a two-day conference titled Memorializing Sabra & Shatila Massacre: Bearing Witness, Resilience, & Accountability in Beirut, Lebanon, on September 10 and September 11, 2022.

The conference was led by SFSU professor Rabab Abdulhadi, who two years ago organized for palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled to speak to students, and admitted she idolizes Khaled for actually going to a plane and hijacking it. So it will come as no surprise to learn that this conference featured individuals involved with US-designated terrorist organizations, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

  • On September 10, Salah Salah, one of the founders of the PFLP, spoke on a panel alongside professor Abdulhadi. Conference organizers introduced Salah as one of the PFLP’s co-founders, and Salah and Abdulhadi even embraced each other during the event.
  • On September 11, Prof. Abdulhadi interviewed Sami Al-Arian, a former professor at the University of South Florida who pled guilty in 2006 to assisting PIJ. Following a short period in prison, he was subsequently deported from the US and moved to Turkey, where he currently resides. AMED may have paid for Al-Arian’s trip to Lebanon from Turkey and his accommodations, though at the moment this is unclear.
  • And of course Leila Khaled was also set to participate, according to the itinerary. But it looks like she did not appear in person. During the session where Khaled was supposed to participate, the sound was completely cut off, and, on two separate occasions during the session, an unseen individual spoke over Zoom (3:49:53-3:51:50, 4:44:27-4:45:37). This individual may have been Khaled.

By hosting these terrorists – including an airline hijacker – on September 11, it seems Abdulhadi is thumbing her nose at the US.

And perhaps also SFSU. Based on the open letter of support for Abdulhadi published in Mondoweiss this week, it appears that SFSU’s administration was aware of the Beirut conference (and another conference in Tunisia that Abdulhadi will lead later this month). According to the Mondoweiss letter, SFSU pressured Abdulhadi not to affiliate AMED with the conferences: “SFSU has since taken a series of injurious actions in order to seize control of and diminish the AMED program,” including “Threatening Dr. Abdulhadi with disciplinary action for listing her academic affiliation with AMED in conjunction with two conferences on Teaching Palestine which she is organizing or co-organizing, and in which she is participating as an SFSU faculty member.” It appears Abdulhadi has disregarded SFSU’s request, seeing as the Beirut conference and delegation proceeded.

These latest AMED events, in collaboration with individuals convicted of terror offenses, are part of a broader trend occurring across US campuses in recent years, in which radicals exploit academic forums to indoctrinate impressionable young students with extremism. This phenomenon is all the more troubling when it occurs at public universities like SFSU, which is financed by the American taxpayer.  

I should point out that it is unclear if US taxpayer funds were used to facilitate this specific conference. If taxpayer funds were used– such as paying speaking honorariums to members of terror groups and individuals convicted of terror-related offenses – AMED (and SFSU by proxy) might have violated US anti-terror laws, including 18 U.S.C. § 2339A and 18 U.S.C. § 2339B.

Here are some potential contacts for drawing attention to this troubling event:


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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