Saturday, May 31, 2014

California taxpayers foot the bill for extremist junket

Via the San Francisco Examiner

California taxpayers, especially Jewish-Americans, were shocked to discover that San Francisco State University (SFSU), which recently increased its students' tuition, paid more than $7.000 for a trip to the Middle East for two of the university's professors to meet with convicted terrorists, according to a number of sources on Friday, including police counterterrorism expert, Jennifer Sackman. 
The details of the trip surfaced when Jewish-American organizations obtained funding documents using the state's California Public Records Act.
Investigative work by the AMCHA initiative shows that California taxpayers have footed the bill for San Francisco State Professor Rabab Abdulhadi’s junket to the West Bank, which she described as "political solidarity tour”. Abdulhadi, her husband and others proudly admitted meeting with convicted terrorists on the trip, subsidized by our tax dollars. Abdulhadi was originally scheduled to present a paper at a Jan. 11 - 14 Conference of the Center for American Studies and Research at the American University in Lebanon at the school's expense, but after receiving university funding to attend , Abdulhadi sent an email to the SFSU Risk Management Office advising that her "name was dropped from the Beirut conference."

San Francisco State University officials have responded saying  the school investigates "any allegations that a member of the University community misused state funds."

An open letter to California State University officials, and courtesy copied to California politicians signed by eight human rights organizations- the AMCHA Initiative, Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel , Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center Campus Outreach, StandWithUs, Zionist Organization of America summarizes their findings and urges action:
SFSU Professor of Ethnic Studies Rabab Abdulhadi went on a "political solidarity tour" to Jordan, "1948 areas of Palestine" [i.e. Israel] and the West Bank, a trip whose primary purpose was to build relationships between Palestinian and North American anti-Israel political activists in order to promote antisemitic academic, cultural and economic boycotts of Israel.  Abdulhadi arranged for the delegation she led, which included SFSU Ethnic Studies Professor Joanne Barker and Abdulhadi's husband Jaime Veve, to meet with at least one known terrorist, Leila Khaled, as well as with a Muslim cleric who had been imprisoned by Israel because of his ties to Hamas and who was again incarcerated by Israel a few weeks after meeting with Abudlhadi's delegation, on charges of incitement to violence.

On at least 4 official University documents signed by several SFSU and CSU administrators, including SFSU President Wong and CSU Chancellor White or someone from his office, Abdulhadi concealed the fact that the true purpose of her trip was political activism to promote efforts to harm the Jewish state, as well as the fact that she had planned to meet with individuals affiliated with organizations on the U.S. State Department's list of Designated Terrorist Organizations.  Presumably by concealing these crucial facts, Abdulhadi was able to receive from the SFSU Office of Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management approval to travel to "high risk" countries and insurance coverage paid for by the University (and California taxpayers), and she was able to receive from the University (and California taxpayers) more than $7,000 dollars for her transportation, lodging and food during the 21 days of her "political solidarity tour."

We believe that there has been an egregious abuse of university and taxpayer funds as well as potential violations of California state law prohibiting the use of state resources for personal or political purposes. 
 Read more here

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