For Immediate Release August 6, 2019
Behnam Gharagozil: [email@example.com]
Mark Kleiman: [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Saliem Shehadeh: [email@example.com]
Ahlam Muhtaseb: [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Rosalind Petchesky: [email@example.com]
The International Campaign to Defend Professor Rabab Abdulhadi condemns the lies, fabrications, and smears by Fox and Friends and Brooke Goldstein, the Executive Director of Lawfare Project. The five-minute interview is a display of unethical journalism, Islamophobic fearmongering and McCarthyist style tactics.
First, Fox and Friends vilified an image which they claimed was posted on the AMED Facebook page. However, they failed to show or even describe the image. In fact the image is of a youth proclaiming, “I am anti- Zionist. I am NOT anti-Jew. So Don’t call me anti-Semitic” and wearing a Palestinian kaffieyah and a t-shirt that says, “All united 4 free Palestine.” A second image Goldstein likewise vilified but also intentionally did not specify was of the banner Queers Against Israeli Apartheid carried during the Queer Liberation March that commemorated 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising. The QAIA banner read: “Zionism = Racism,” “Palestine is a Queer Issue”, and “Boycott! Divest! Sanction.”
Second, in a typical misleading fashion, Brooke Goldstein referred to the “lawsuit” against Dr. Abdulhadi. However, Goldstein conveniently failed to mention that Dr. Abdulhadi beat Lawfare in Federal Court as per Judge Orrick’s order on October 29, 2018. In fact, Judge Orrick clearly stated that “I specifically rejected plaintiffs’ attempt to build a bridge between Abdulhadi’s alleged anti-Zionist and anti-Israel stance, her pro-Palestinian resistance support, and her academic pursuit to support an inference that she must have encouraged the General Union of Palestine Students and others to engage in the acts of discrimination complained of” (p. 29 of Judge Orrick’s order dismissing the case).
Third, Goldstein also fails to mention that Dr. Abdulhadi was not named and therefore had no say in Lawfare’s second lawsuit, filed in California State Court, against San Francisco State University, in which SFSU settled with Lawfare. And even though Judge Orrick declined to fine Goldstein and her large team of lawyers, he acknowledged, “I am sympathetic to Abdulhadi’s frustration at having to respond to claims that lacked a basis in the facts alleged…” and concluded that Goldstein and Lawfare made “seriously deficient legal arguments.” (P. 3 of Judge Orrick’s order denying Dr. Abdulhadi’s request for sanctions).
Fourth, Fox and Friends express outrage at Dr. Abdulhadi’s lawsuits against SFSU but they neither explain what the lawsuits are about nor what Dr. Abdulhadi is asking for. In fact, the two lawsuits, in Federal Court for illegal retaliation for her political speech and in California State Court, for breach of contract and employment discrimination.
Fifth, the hosts of Fox and Friends claimed that Professor Abdulhadi’s lawyers had not responded. In fact, Behnam Gharagozli and Mark Kleiman did respond to a Fox News email inquiry by asking for more information and by offering to appear on the show. However, it was Fox News that failed to respond.
Sixth–and most egregiously–Goldstein makes an outrageous and unsubstantiated claim–that Professor Abdulhadi routinely engages in harassment and discrimination against Jewish students. This is not only false but also firmly disproven in Judge Orrick’s 41-page dismissal order. Judge Orrick declared that the plaintiffs (including Lawfare) do not “plausibly or even reasonably suggest Abdulhadi directed or caused the injuries to plaintiffs.” (p. 31).
Other specious fabrications include the claim that criticizing Zionism is an insult to all Jewish students. This is absurd, as demonstrated by Professor Abdulhadi’s statements criticizing Zionism while showing solidarity with Jewish brothers and sisters, by the many Jewish students and scholars who stand with Dr. Abdulhadi, and by the global movement–including thousands of Jewish individuals and many Jewish-defined organizations–to hold Israel and Zionism accountable for human rights violations against Palestinians in Israel, the Occupied Territories and in exile.
Goldstein’s claim that Professor Abdulhadi has “ties to Hamas-dominated universities” and “contributes to the “radicalization” of students” is not only a false smear, it is also an Islamophobic claim. It builds on the smear campaign Goldstein’s former employer, Campus Watch, launched in September 2016, to vilify Dr. Abdulhadi and Palestinian institutions of higher learning.
In fact, Lawfare withdrew this claim in the federal lawsuit because they knew it had no merit, after receiving over 400 pages of Dr. Abdulhadi’s emails with An-Najah National University from SFSU.
Aside from whipping up additional lies in a failed attempt to stop the broadening support for justice in/for Palestine, it is unclear what the purpose of Goldstein’s appearance on the show was. According to Seth Weisburst, Goldstein’s co-counsel in the failed federal lawsuits, Ms. Goldstein was not very involved in the case.
Fox News must immediately withdraw this libelous, defamatory piece that is full of lies, apologize to Dr. Abdulhadi, and avail equal airtime to Dr. Abdulhadi’s attorneys to correct the record.
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