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December 5, 2013 Off

Head Of Pro-Palestinian Student Group Posts Inflammatory Comments On Israel

The head of the Gen­eral Union of Pales­tine Stu­dents (GUPS), which orga­nized an event at San Fran­cisco State Uni­ver­sity in early Novem­ber that invited stu­dents to cre­ate plac­ards using a sten­cil that read “My heroes have always killed col­o­niz­ers,” has a record of post­ing inflam­ma­tory com­ments about Israel and its sup­port­ers via social media.mohammad-hammad-gups-israel

Shortly after the event at San Fran­cisco State Uni­ver­sity, sev­eral pro-Israel blogs uncov­ered a blog appar­ently main­tained by GUPS head Moham­mad Ham­mad on Tum­blr that con­tained a post fea­tur­ing an image of him hold­ing a knife.

The text accom­pa­ny­ing the photo indi­cated that Ham­mad would rel­ish the oppor­tu­nity to use the blade on an Israeli sol­dier. “I seri­ously can not get over how much I love this blade,” Ham­mad wrote. “It is the sharpest thing I own and cuts through every­thing like but­ter and just hold­ing it makes me want to stab an Israeli soldier…”

 That Tum­blr blog, and two oth­ers appar­ently owned by Ham­mad, have since been made private.

Hammad’s posts on his pub­lic Face­book and Twit­ter pages reveal a stu­dent with a record of express­ing desire for vio­lence against Israel and its sup­port­ers. In Decem­ber 2012, for exam­ple, Ham­mad responded to a tweet by a pro-Israel user about an Israeli sol­dier that had killed a Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist in the West Bank with the fol­low­ing remark: “You are a sick­en­ing sup­porter of ter­ror­ism, I only wish it were you on the other end of this monster’s barrel.”

In a recent tweet, he also described a hash­tag that was being used to poke fun at Hamas as being “enough to turn any­one into a mil­i­tant with your peo­ple as the targets.”

In the past year, Ham­mad, an Inter­na­tional Rela­tions major at the uni­ver­sity, has also retweeted sev­eral tweets by OpIs­rael, an inter­na­tional hack­ing group that tar­gets Israeli and pro-Israel Web sites. In Novem­ber 2012, he wrote a tweet about the hack­ing group Anonymous’s appar­ently suc­cess­ful hack­ing of an Israeli Web site with the hash­tag “#win.”

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November 21, 2013 1

Troubling Glorification Of Violence At Pro-Palestinian Event At San Francisco State University

Stu­dents attend­ing a pro-Palestinian event orga­nized by the Gen­eral Union of Pales­tin­ian Stu­dents (GUPS) at San Fran­cisco State Uni­ver­sity two weeks ago were invited to cre­ate plac­ards using a sten­cil that read “My heroes have always killed colonizers.”my-heroes-have-always-killed-colonizers

The mes­sage, which seems to glo­rify vio­lence gen­er­ally and against Israel in par­tic­u­lar, likely orig­i­nated at an event that had been orga­nized by the Cen­ter for Polit­i­cal Edu­ca­tion in San Fran­cisco (a pro­gram “ded­i­cated to build­ing strong move­ments and the left through edu­ca­tion, analy­sis, the­ory, dia­logue, and activism) a month earlier.

That event, called “My HEROES Have Always Killed Col­o­niz­ers: Sto­ries of Global Indige­nous REZis­tance,” was orga­nized to com­mem­o­rate “Indige­nous Peo­ples Day” and fea­tured musi­cal and spo­ken word per­for­mances to cel­e­brate “every global indige­nous war­rior who’s been labeled a ter­ror­ist, unpa­tri­otic, and/or sav­age.” In addi­tion to African, His­panic and Native Amer­i­can per­form­ers, at least one of the sched­uled per­form­ers was to recite Pales­tin­ian polit­i­cal poetry at the event.

It seems clear that the two events’ use of the phrase is not coin­ci­den­tal. A Face­book page for the Octo­ber event adver­tised that it will have on-site silk screen print­ing with the phrase “My Heroes Have Always Killed Col­o­niz­ers” for peo­ple who bring t-shirts or other cloth­ing items to imprint.

The table on cam­pus that offered the sten­cil was appar­ently being staffed by stu­dents affil­i­ated with the on-campus group, “Stu­dent Koun­cil for Inter­tribal Nations” or SKINS. The group’s objec­tive is to expose stu­dents at SFSU to Native Amer­i­can culture.

After the issue was raised to the uni­ver­sity by ADL and oth­ers, Pres­i­dent Les Wong, the  pres­i­dent of SFSU, rightly issued a state­ment deplor­ing the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of vio­lence and stress­ing that there is “no place at SF State for cel­e­brat­ing vio­lence or pro­mot­ing intol­er­ance, big­otry, anti-Semitism or any other form of hate-mongering.”

Thus far, how­ever, GUPS has not dis­played any remorse for its super­vi­sion of an event that fea­tured pro-violence mes­sag­ing. In fact, the group’s pres­i­dent wrote a let­ter to the pres­i­dent of SFSU claim­ing that issues raised about the sten­cil amount to a “bel­liger­ent smear cam­paign meant to slan­der the Pales­tin­ian move­ment on cam­pus” and has cre­ated a “hos­tile envi­ron­ment” for pro-Palestinian students.

GUPS has been active on the San Fran­cisco State cam­pus since the 1970s and is a chap­ter of an inter­na­tional net­work of pro-Palestinian stu­dents. The group has orga­nized a vari­ety of anti-Israel pro­grams on cam­pus, includ­ing co-hosting the 4th Al-Awda con­ven­tion in 2006, protests to oppose Israeli mil­i­tary action in Gaza, and Israeli Apartheid Week pro­grams in the last few years.  In 2008, the group received an “Out­stand­ing Social Jus­tice” award from the university’s Office of Stu­dent Pro­grams and Lead­er­ship Devel­op­ment and Vice Pres­i­dent of Stu­dent Affairs/ Dean of Students.

ADL has numer­ous campus-related resources to help stu­dents and oth­ers counter anti-Israel activ­ity and anti-Semitism on cam­pus, including:

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