Federal Judge Will Dismiss “Lawfare” Suit Against SFSU and Professor Abdulhadi

Liz Jackson, Palestine Legal, 510-206-6800ljackson@palestinelegal.org
David Spero, Jewish for Peace, 415-987-1401david.media.jvp@gmail.com

San Francisco, Nov. 8, 2017 – A federal judge said he will dismiss a frivolous lawsuit demanding the censorship of scholarship and activism on Palestine at San Francisco State University (SFSU).

Professor Rabab Abdulhadi and SFSU argued that the suit was an attempt to compel the university to restrict the speech of its students and faculty, in violation of their First Amendment rights.

Judge Orrick of the U.S. District Court told the courtroom he will dismiss the complaint. Judge Orrick also indicated he will allow the plaintiffs to re-submit their case. If the Lawfare Project re-submits, it will be their third try.

Behnam (Ben) Gharagozli, attorney for Professor Abdulhadi, told a crowd who gathered after the hearing, “We don’t mind that the plaintiffs have a chance to re-submit the complaint because they will have another chance to embarrass themselves.”

A packed courtroom of about 100 SFSU students, faculty and community members attended the hearing after rallying outside the courthouse.

The suit was filed by The Lawfare Project along with mega-firm Winston & Strawn LLP in June 2017. It aims to suppress and punish campus debate about Palestinian rights. The complaint alleged that by tolerating criticism of Israeli policy, SFSU and Prof. Abdulhadi encouraged a climate of antisemitism.

Dr. Abdulhadi explains, “The purpose of this lawsuit is what the Lawfare Project said it was – to silence people who challenge Israel’s colonial and racist policies. It is an attempt to silence anyone who dissents from the status quo on Palestine/Israel. It’s an attempt to pick up where the pro-Israel network has previously failed, namely to get rid of me and dismantle advocacy for justice in Palestine at SFSU. We are so grateful this case is dismissed because we want to get back to the business of educating for social justice.”

The Lawfare Project is a notorious anti-Arab and anti-Muslim organization that encourages the “abuse of Western laws and judicial systems to achieve strategic military or political ends.” The lead attorney on the case has stated her goal is to “make the enemy pay.”

For more background on the case and copies of the court filings, see Palestine Legal’s case summary.