Abdulhadi Moves to Dismiss Lawfare Lawsuit

Reposted from Palestine Legal

Media Contact: Zoha Khalili, Palestine Legal, 510-246-7321, zkhalili@palestinelegal.org

San Francisco, CA – Lawyers for San Francisco State University (SFSU) and SFSU Professor Rabab Abdulhadi will appear in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday, August 8, to respond to an attempt by a right-wing Israel advocacy group to stop professors from studying, teaching and advocating for justice in/for Palestine.

The Lawfare Project, which identifies itself as the “legal arm of the pro-Israel community” with an avowed mission of inflicting massive punishment against critics of Israel, first filed the lawsuit, Mandel v. Board of Trustees, in June 2017, along with the firm Winston & Strawn LLP. A previous version of the lawsuit, which criticized Abdulhadi’s research in Palestine and efforts to build a partnership with a Palestinian university, was dismissed in March 2018. Now in its third iteration, the lawsuit focuses on Abdulhadi’s role as a faculty advisor to a Palestinian student group and her outspoken criticism of Zionism, alleging that her statements and beliefs have created a hostile environment for Jewish and Israeli students at SFSU. The lawsuit is one element of a broader campaign abusing civil rights laws to suppress campus criticism of Israel.

Abdulhadi and SFSU moved to dismiss this case. In court on Wednesday, Abdulhadi’s attorneys will argue that the lawsuit fails to make any actionable claims against her and instead tries to silence First Amendment protected speech and academic freedom.

Hearing in Mandel v. Board of Trustees

Wednesday, August 8
2 p.m.

Courtroom 2 (Judge Orrick)
Phillip Burton Federal Building & United States Courthouse
450 Golden Gate Avenue, 17th Floor
San Francisco, CA

rally in support of Abdulhadi will take place at 1 p.m. in front of the federal courthouse. A short press conference will take place immediately after the hearing during which Abdulhadi and her attorneys will be available for comment.

The full case summary is available here.

Abdulhadi is represented by Mark Kleiman, Ben Gharagozli and Gavin Cunningham & Hunter. Palestine Legal is providing media and advocacy support. SFSU is represented by Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.