The following open letter is available at the Black4Palestine website:
Dear President Wong and CSU Board of Trustees:
We are writing on behalf of Black for Palestine, a national network of Black activists and organizers committed to supporting the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice, peace and self-determination. We integrate our work around Palestine into the global and domestic struggles for Black liberation and human emancipation.
We are dismayed at the lawsuit and charges levied against the university, which target the General Union of Palestine Students, Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas program, and College of Ethnic Studies professor Rabab Abdulhadi.
Dr. Abdulhadi has been a tremendous resource and ally to Black for Palestine and to larger struggles for justice across the country and across the world. Her contributions to the “indivisibility of justice” are ones that benefit us all.
We view this lawsuit in the climate of increasing vilification and attacks on Muslims at home and abroad, and coordinated legal attacks on the movement for Palestinian rights.
We also view this lawsuit as an attack not just on Palestinian students, faculty and their advocates, but on freedom of speech and freedom of protest, which communities of color are always at the forefront of leading and the frontlines of backlash.
We have watched for years as Dr. Abdulhadi has sought university protection in vain from attacks on her academic work with Al Najah University in Nablus, Palestine and on her AMED program at large.
Last spring, one of our members was present on campus while GUPS and other students of color were attacked for their protest of the racist and discriminatory policies of Jerusalem mayor Nir Birkat. This member saw the university coordinate with police and Israeli officials to throw its students under the bus.
And this spring, we witnessed the university fail to protect Palestinian students and faculty from rightwing attacks on campus, via the dissemination of posters labeling them as ‘terrorists.’
We understand the intense vilification that occurs when we take action for our rights as Black people or speak out against racism and white supremacy; we view the attacks on Palestinians who speak out against their oppression as cut from the same cloth of rightwing reaction and repression.
Accepting this baseless lawsuit against Palestinian rights would be an egregious discriminatory act against Palestinian members of the San Francisco State community–a community the university has failed to protect and defend for years. It would also undermine the work of the students who fought for the establishment of the nation’s first ethnic studies program through the historic Third World Liberation Front in 1968.
We hope that the university will not abandon its legacy.
As current and former students from universities across the country, we understand this lawsuit, if successful, endangers critical thinking, debate on college campuses that is necessary to further the development of students, staff, and professors.
Palestinians are being targeted right now, but if this lawsuit is successful, it will be other vulnerable ethnic groups and their academic studies programs that are targeted next.
We urge the university to reject this case.
Black For Palestine