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Posted 8:19 pm
February 18, 2014
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UPDATE: Zionist group pushes for legal action against Palestinian student group and its members

GUPS Ahmina J. talks with two attendees holding up Palestinian flags at a rally to celebrate the Palestinian Cultural Mural: Honoring Dr. Edward Said on the Cesar Chavez Student Center. The first part of the rally was held at Malcolm X Plaza after which a procession led to the mural North Plaza Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 Photo by Benjamin Kamps / Special to Xpress

Today, San Francisco’s top law enforcement agreed to investigate SF State’s General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) and its president, Mohammed Hammad.

The AMCHA Initiative, a self proclaimed Zionist watch dog group, delivered a list of social media posts made by Hammad, which they considered to be violent, to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and Chief of Police Greg Suhr. According to AMCHA co-founder, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, they agreed to open an investigation. 

The posts were from Hammad’s personal social media accounts. AMCHA began watching GUPS in November, following the group’s celebration of SF State’s mural honoring the late Dr. Edward Said.

At the celebration, members from various student groups were seen holding a sign that said: “My heroes have always killed colonizers.” The AMCHA Initiative believes that “in the context of the day’s events, these statements clearly refer to killing of Jews.” The group also has backing from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which runs the Museum of Tolerance.

Shortly after the event, a picture of a GUPS member holding the sign at the event was passed around various pro-Israel blogs, including Elder of Ziyon, where users posted comments trying to track down the student’s name and personal information. One comment, from user “MohammedTheTeddyBear” read: “death to the oppressive Arab occupiers and colonizers!”

As previously reported by Xpress, the statement is in reference to a specific type of Native American resistance and at the celebration, the sign was held by members of various student groups such as MEChA, a Latin student organization, and SKINS, a Native American student’s organization.

Shortly after, the group targeted Hammad for statements he made on his personal social media accounts, which the AMCHA Initiative and other groups consider violent. The original post, that has since been deleted,  showed Hammad holding a knife and said: “I seriously can not get over how much I love this blade. 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.”

Although SF State President Leslie E. Wong made a statement condemning violence in December, the AMCHA Initiative and Benjamin continued to target and monitor GUPS as well as Hammad.

According to Nicole Rosen of the AMCHA Initiative, the group has sent a total of four emails to Wong since January, regarding new posts from Hammad, which they consider a sign of increased violence.

Today, Benjamin hand delivered a “hard copy of all of Hammad’s violent postings” to Suhr and Gascón as a request for further investigation, according to Rosen.The San Francisco law enforcement officials agreed to open an investigation according to Benjamin.

“We are concerned for the safety of all SF State students,” Rosen said. “Specifically Jewish students.”

Benjamin and the AMCHA Initiative pushed for disciplinary action against Hammad and GUPS since last November. Aside from Wong issuing a general email to the campus community about the issue, no disciplinary action has been made public, which is worrisome to the AMCHA Initiative, according to Benjamin.

Although the group alleges that they have sent emails containing “dozens of postings” from Hammad, they claim that SF State administration has not “acknowledged their concerns”.

  • Down10

    This article sounds defensive, but given the extreme rhetoric from Hammad (and the other student groups), the issue is worth an investigation. SF State should welcome all forms of speech, but it should not be a host to groups that provoke a hateful environment towards any other students or faculty members.

  • Jake Mandel

    This article is completely biased towards the Palestinian side. SFSU should not host hate speech on campus, nor should the Golden Gate Express allow for content from writers who sympathize with hate speech.

  • SamXie

    According to their website, the AMCHA initiative is not a “Zionist”
    group. Rather, it is a group devoted to fighting anti-semitism on
    campus.

    Additionally, the posts by Hammad are really frightening, and not just to Israel and Jewish students.

    A sampler

    “There are children shouting
    outside and I want to set them on fire”

    “I think about killing a
    lot/and some of you are usually the targets of my daydreams :)”

    “The only peace I want
    regarding US soldiers is their head/That’s a piece I’m willing to
    accept”

    “Let’s play a game:/Objective:
    Kill US soldiers/Goal: World peace”

    “I have a mental list of people
    I would pee on and then set on fire”

    “I think about the time I tried
    to be – moderate – and advocate for non-violence and honestly I just want
    to go back in time and slit my own throat/and then the throats of all my
    enemies before they grow up into the shits they are today”

    “Oh/And tomorrow is [hopefully]
    the day that I find out if I will be the President of the General Union of
    Palestine at my school/…Hopefully I’ll be able to radicalize half of our
    population and bring them back with me as fighters~”

    “For context – Hillel is the
    [extremely well funded] Pro-Israeli group on campus, and they have
    repeatedly painted our group GUPS [General Union of Palestinian Students]
    as a terror group and screwed us over to no end/…I hope they all trip
    down the stairs and break their necks :)”

    Also
    disturbing is that no one at GUPS has made a public statement
    distancing themselves from the action of their president, or apologizing
    to students that may have been upset by these violent posts.