On March 15, 2022, Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, the President of Yeshiva University, sent a letter to the university’s community called “Let’s Build a Better World Together.” In the email, he wrote about the “decision to cancel a student-scheduled guest speaker at Cardozo Law School, Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi. Dr. Abdulhadi is a professor who has supported violence by inviting students to meet with terrorists and even praised those who hijacked planes and held innocent civilians as hostages.“
The decision to bar a promoter of violence should be both easy and popular. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Abdulhadi is a professor of Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University. In that role, she invited a member of a terrorist group to speak to her class and reportedly spoke in favor of the violent actions the speaker advocates.
That guest speaker was Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a US State Department designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO). Khaled was the first female hijacker of a plane in 1969, and then again in 1970. She continues to argue for violence not only against Israel, but “Americans, and in general, the West, which supports Israel.”
Regardless of her position – or in support of such sentiment – Abdulhadi says that “Khaled is a Palestinian feminist icon.“
Abdulhadi is not alone. Universities around the United States are happy to have terrorists and their supporters inculcate young minds, at least when it comes to attacking Zionists.
Rasmea Odeh is another female Palestinian terrorist member of the PFLP who has a university following. Odeh was involved in the bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket before the Purim holiday in 1969 which killed two Hebrew University students. Unperturbed, Northwestern University hosted Odeh in 2017 in an event hosted by the comically-named, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). SJP at DePaul University held a fund-raiser for Odeh, and several Harvard Law School groups also support Odeh.
While American universities are embracing Palestinian terrorists who continue to advocate for violence, some Europeans have started to push back.
The Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam shuttered the Verrekijker Center after it hosted an event with Odeh in 2018, from which reporters for the Jewish Dutch weekly, NIW, were refused entrance. Germany blocked Odeh from speaking in Berlin in 2019 citing the Residence Act, which states that the political activity of a foreigner can be restricted if it endangers the peaceful coexistence of different groups or public security.
Promoting violence is never protected by free speech, no matter what The New York Times informs its readership. It is a sad state of affairs, that one has to admire and congratulate Yeshiva University’s stand against the advocates for terrorism, in a world unmoored from basic principles of civil society.