Palestinian SFSU student’s photo condemned as ‘potential threat’
[UPDATE, DEC. 13] On December 11, AMCHA sent another email saying that it uncovered additional posts by GUPS president and SFSU student Mohammad Hammad. The Jewish Journal confirmed that on October 31, the Tumblr account “Red Philistine” posted a message from Hammad's Tumblr account “palestinianliberator” that targeted a specific female Israeli soldier and linked to her Facebook page.
The message read in part, “Anyone who thinks there can be peace with animals like this is absolutely delusional, and the only 'peace' I'm interested in is the head of this [expletive] scum on a plate, as well as the heads of all others like her, and all others who support the IDF.
When contacted on December 12, a member of GUPS who declined to give his name said, “The only controversy is the smear campaign against the organization.” He would not comment further. No comment was immediately available from the office of SFSU president Leslie Wong.
[DEC. 3] After discovering a potentially threatening photo on the social media Web site Tumblr posted by the president of a Palestinian student group at San Francisco State University (SFSU), the Simon Wiesenthal Center warned the university on Dec. 2 about “a potential threat to its Jewish students.”
The picture posted on Aug. 10 by Mohammad Hammad, is a self-portrait of Hammad holding a knife. A caption reads, “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.” The photo has since been removed from the Web site.
Hammad is president of the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) at SFSU, a group that “increases awareness of the Palestinian struggle for liberation and justice,” according to its “>Facebook page , the 21-year-old was born in Ramallah in the West Bank and is studying international relations at SFSU. The Journal was not able to reach him for comment.
On Dec. 3, Ellen Griffin, SFSU’s associate vice president of communications, wrote in an email to the Journal that the university had investigated the incident and confirmed that Hammad was the person in the photograph.
According to a statement by Lee Wong, president of SFSU, the university’s police “conducted a threat assessment” and determined that SFSU’s students are safe.
“We will continue to explore all aspects of the incident and take additional actions that may be warranted,” Wong’s statement read.
This is the second controversy involving GUPS and AMCHA in recent weeks. On Nov. 7, during a campus event honoring the sixth anniversary of the installation of a mural of Edward Said—a Palestinian-American scholar — GUPS set up a table in Malcolm X Plaza that displayed two inflammatory stencils.
One of the stencils read, “MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS KILLED COLONIZERS.” The other showed an outline of Leila Khaled, a Palestinian woman who helped hijack a 1969 commercial flight from Rome to Athens. She was later released as part of a prisoner exchange and is still a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.