Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism’s Antisemitic, Anti-West, and Terrorist Connections

A new initiative called the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism, aiming to “support the delinking of the study of Zionism from Jewish Studies” while framing Zionism as an illegitimate movement for Jewish self-determination, has formed.

The Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism aims to support the delinking of the study of Zionism from Jewish Studies, and to reclaim academia and public discourse for the study of Zionism as a political, ideological, and racial and gendered knowledge project, intersecting with Palestine and decolonial studies, critical terrorism studies, settler colonial studies, and related scholarship and activism.

The Institute approaches Zionism as a broad set of colonial and repressive work and solidarities, efforts to curate knowledge and identities, and to dismantle movements that resist it. In other words, Zionism’s project extends beyond the borders of Palestine.

Many scholars and activists are working to illuminate such “other work” of Zionist institutions and discourses, historically and in the present, to shape the material conditions of life, the movement of capital, the construction of racial identity, and more.

The Institute supports this expansive work with fellowships to support academic and activist work, conferences, and publications that expand the reach of scholars’ and activists’ work into political culture.

Antisemitism and Terror Support

The Institute’s “Founding Collective” includes:

  • Rabab Abdulhadi, director and senior scholar of SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies program, who has repeatedly hosted events with members of the US-designated PFLP and PIJ terrorist organizations, and once said “We really idolize somebody like Leila Khaled, somebody who actually stands up for herself, speaks for herself, actually goes to a plane and hijacks it.”
  • Emmaia Gelman, board member at the Sparkplug Foundation, a NY-based 501(c)(3) that has funded radical groups including the terror-supporting Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM).

In a recent interview published on the website of the “Speaking Out of Place” podcast, Gelman seems to have reveal an antisemitic attitude when she says (at 20:40):

“Without minimizing how Zionism operates directly on Palestinians and implements anti-Palestinian racism, we want to tie it [Zionism] to this much larger western supremacy and white supremacy that’s been endemic to these organizations even since before they were Zionist organizations.”

The ICSZ has announced its plans to hold a launch conference on October 13-14 at UC Santa Cruz and the NYU Law School, focused on “Battling the IHRA definition.” The conference’s co-sponsors include prominent members of various antisemitic and terror-supporting groups, including:

  • National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP)
  • NYU Film and NYU Law SJP, who once wrote an antisemitic letter stating that “The Zionist grip on the media is omnipresent”
  • US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), who once led a Day of Action to protest “the lockstep censorship by Facebook, Zoom, YouTube, and SFSU of an Open Classroom” featuring terrorist Leila Khaled
  • Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), whose Executive Director, Jonathan Kuttab, is a co-founder of the Israeli-designated terrorist group Al-Haq

Anti-West and Anti-American

Similar to the institute’s hostility towards Israel, and in line with the founding collective’s worldview, the institute promotes an anti-American, anti-Western ideology, as seen on its website:

Like the US, Israel is a settler colonial state.

Based on the website, it appears that the driving forces behind the institute are also deeply involved in the movement to promote the anti-American iteration of critical ethnic studies in California.

For example, as of August 08, 2023:

  • At least 3/10 of the institute’s founding collective are ethnic studies professors.
  • At least 2/10 of the co-sponsors are academic ethnic studies entities, with the others related to the ethnic studies movement or supportive of it.
  • At least 5/15 members of the Conference Planning Collective are ethnic studies academics (all based in California).

Most of the individuals mentioned above are situated in the Humanities Division at UC Santa Cruz.
This Division at UC Santa Cruz offers a course titled “The Struggle for K-12 Ethnic Studies,” first offered in 2022 and described on the university website as a “Critical analysis of the movement for K-12 ethnic studies in historical and contemporary time periods with a particular focus on the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (LESMCC),” an ethnic studies consultant group which advocates for the integration of Critical Race Theory into ethnic studies.

LESMCC has signed contracts with multiple California school districts to implement ethnic studies programs in schools and has been the subject of reports detailing its anti-American ideas.

I have long felt that these groups – and the ‘woke’ movement as a whole – seems to parrot communist talking points and are probably even funded by Russia and possibly China in an attempt to bring down the West. And when Gelman says in the podcast I mentioned earlier above (at 18:25):

“Zionist institutions – long before they were Zionist – were involved in anti-communism, in trying to expand the reach of western power, in what you might think of now as orientalism, but we also just call it racism if we want.”

it just reaffirms my thesis.

The ICSZ may be a harbinger of what’s yet to come; if left unchecked, years from now, there could be entire university “Departments of Critical Zionist Studies” dedicated to studying “Critical Zionism Theory” in universities across the US, inculcating antisemitism into the next generation of Americans.


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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