Manzar Foroohar: The California Faculty Association’s Secret Weapon

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When the California Faculty Association (CFA) adopted a resolution in 2009 condemning Israel for its military incursion into Gaza, it reinforced the fear that academic unions would be the next front in an ongoing propaganda offensive against the Jewish State. Amidst the ensuing controversy, one of the key players in the resolution’s formation—Manzar Foroohar, an Iranian immigrant and history professor specializing in the modern Middle East and Latin America at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo—came to the fore. However, the extent of her involvement was never publicly acknowledged. In fact, Foroohar authored and championed the resolution, which was presented by the CFA Peace & Justice Committee (Committee), unanimously adopted by the CFA Board of Directors on February 7, 2009, and passed by the CFA General Assembly in Sacramento on April 4-5 that same year.

Blandly titled, “CFA Call for a Halt to Violence Against All Civilians in Palestine and Israel,” the resolution was, in fact, blatantly anti-Israel. According to University of California, Los Angeles, professor emeritus Leila Beckwith writing at American Thinker in January, 2010:

The resolution states seven propositions that form the basis for the actions recommended. The propositions include affirming a moral equivalence between Israel defending its citizens from missile attacks and Hamas firing missiles against Israeli civilians, a misstatement of the conditions in Gaza, an omission of the U.N. Security Council’s condemnation of acts of terrorism, and a false charge against the U.S. of not seeking a just peace agreement.

Why would an academic union that acts as an exclusive bargaining representative within CSU and is devoted to improving working conditions for its members pass a resolution regarding international affairs? It turns out CFA president and California State University, Los Angeles, history professor Lillian Taiz—according to interviews with CFA members, and as the list of Committee resolutions makes clear—appointed the members of a statewide Committee in 2008 for this very purpose. With the exception of Foroohar, none of the unelected committee members have any expertise in Middle East studies, which might explain why their names were not listed on the resolution, nor was it prominently displayed on the CFA website in 2009. But during a phone interview, Stanley Oden, a professor in the department of government at Sacramento State University and a current member of the Committee, acknowledged that Foroohar was behind the 2009 resolution. Additionally, even though the names of Committee members no longer appear at the CFA website, a screen capture from 2008 demonstrates that both Foroohar and Oden were on the committee not long before the resolution was passed.

The resolution was slipped quietly in front of CFA members—for whom monthly dues are mandatory— for endorsement; afterward, several of them, when contacted by this author, said they felt duped. Decrying “violence against civilians—whether in Palestine or Israel” in the “interest of peace and greater humanity in the region,” the wording of the resolution led CFA members to believe that by signing it they would simply be supporting innocent victims. They were also unaware of the level of anti-Israel activism engaged in by Foroohar and others on the Committee.

A cursory review of Foroohar’s academic work at Cal Poly reveals that she donates a good deal of her time both inside and outside the classroom to demonizing Israel, particularly by promoting boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). Indeed, Foroohar, along with a number of Middle East studies academics teaching in California, is on the organizing committee for the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, a group that works internationally to promote BDS.

The bibliographies and hand-outs (click here, here, and here for examples) for Foroohar’s Middle East history courses reveal a biased professor trying to convince her students to blame Israel for the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and to reject Zionism. Student comments at demonstrate as much, with one of them flatly stating that, “This professor has an agenda. Her classes are nothing but propaganda to support her cause.”  Fittingly, she supports her “research” with pseudo-scholarship that reiterates standard anti-Israel propaganda, including selections from Stephen Walt and John Mearshimer’s notoriously shoddy book The Israel Lobby.

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  • StephenD

    Great article Mr. Kaplan. Perhaps you should send out pamphlets to all the members of this and other Academic Unions for the edification of the membership. They look like fools being played by the few with an agenda, unwittingly endorsing their actions. Many of them may wish to have their names attached to such efforts as BDS but my bet would be the majority does not.

  • jacob

    PRECISELY ! ! !
    Anything leftist or progresive is accepted and endorsed blindly, most probably
    because they fully agree with it or because fear of what dissenting might bring
    to their "careers" since as they say, "Fear is free"…

    Now that the barn burned down, they can claim feeling "DUPED"…

    But I would like to ask one foolish question :
    Aren't there well documented students that would polemize with "Professors"
    of this woman's kind and prove to the other students what is going on and
    what her actual agenda is ??

    In my day and age, we profundly respected our professors but didn't fear them…

    Has it been fully reversed since ??

    I wonder learning what goes on in California's colleges and universities with
    the scum they hire as "Professors"…

    • XICANA

      Wow my comment delayed administrator doesnt agree….bias!

      • XICANA

        deleted….Colonialism is never justified. Your whole webstite is bias. My comment did not offend anyone or contain as much hate as both the article and majority of the comments.

  • jonhartz

    Cal Poly is well known as a hotbed of ignorant leftism, almost as bad as UC Santa Cruz. I love parking in front of the auditorium flying the Israeli flag on top of my truck….so far no vandalism, only sneers…

    • Dewey

      That's absolutely untrue. I am a Calpoly alumni and it is certainly not a hotbed of lefties. Comparing Calpoly to the Slugs is like comparing Stanford to Berkeley. Of course most social science departments lean way to the left, there is a large segment of other departments that are clearly in the middle or to the right.

      I did in fact have Foroohar for one of my history classes. It was abundantly clear she is biased and was called on many times for distorting the facts. I also attended one of her propaganda presentations she organized from the Professor from Ben Gurion. Most attendees thought it would be a debate format but were frustrated to find out he was the sole speaker. Anyhow, I don't believe she should be a professor based on her clear bias. Furthermore, she shouldn't be allowed to present her own videos in class going through Isreali checkpoints while narrating to students how she was harassed. She never bothered to mention those points where used by suicide bombers.

    • 3rd world

      No one likes colonialism

      • jon

        We are all blown away by your deep, concise and cogent summary of this thread. Please post more so that we can learn from you. While you are at it, define you term for us.

      • Joelene

        This has nothing to do with colonialism. It has to do with lying and supporting irredentist terror mvoements in the Middle East and discrimination against Jews via anti-Israel activism.

  • Alfonz Shmedlap

    F., 06/03/11 common era

    As a token expression of good faith, the jihadi professor should dress in drag and appear at a college diversity seminar. The egghead profs would back him up, and no doubt a Jewish lawyer would defend his cross-dressing as free speech.

    • XICANA

      wow aren't you a hateful.

  • sedoanman

    Save the world on your own dime and your own time.

  • Amused

    California's a lost cause . BTW , a Faculty Committee is not a union . paying dues , does not constitute a union , dues are paid by clib members , Boysclubs , libraries etc . maybe someone out there ought to alert a more important group of that University ….like The Alumni ….who make DONATIONS . Universities and colleges are always "reaching out to their alumni " …lol I still get letters after almost 40 years .

  • voted against carter

    ' TAQIYYA '
    Do your own research about it if you don't know what this means.

    Islam IS EVIL. PERIOD.

    Islam strives for world domination.

    The Quran commands Muslims to exercise jihad.

    The Quran commands Muslims to establish shariah law.

    The Quran commands Muslims to impose Islam on the entire world.

    Islam is NOT a religion, it IS a totalitarian ideology.

    Islam wants to dominate all aspects of life, from the cradle to the grave.

    Shariah law is a law that controls every detail of life in a Islamic society.

    From civic- and family law to criminal law.

    It determines how one should eat, dress and even use the toilet.

    Oppression of women is good, drinking alcohol is bad.

    The core of the Quran is the call to jihad.

    Jihad means a lot of things and is Arabic for battle.

    Islam means submission, there cannot be any mistake about its goal.

    Islam and freedom, Islam and democracy are not compatible.

    They are opposite values.

    Mohamed's "wife" was six years old.

    That makes Mohamed a PEDOPHILE!!!

    And you want to base a "Religion" on this a z z -holes rantings?

    Are you INSANE?

    • XICANA

      Christianity too strives for world control. That's why it demonizes islam and elevates it self. Did you forgert the masacre Christians did in the Americas!

      • jon

        You really need to dust off your brain and read Michael Medved's "The Ten Big Lies About America". I know, it hurts to read multi-syllabic words, but feel-good myths aren't good for you.

        • XICANA

          lol your so funny…. Lets denny all the ill U.S. has done will that make you feel better.

  • Anamah

    Are this teachers really so ignorant? It is hard to believe on good heart or naivete, and because some of them are known as unreliable persons and their extreme ideology, capable to say lies without any kind of problem… Is really a shame for the whole education world in America, to hijack young students to indoctrinate them with an intolerant and mistrustful agenda as in this case.


    Aw you just explained the rightwing

    • jon

      Oh no! There is a gang of Christions on one side of the street, and a gang of Muslims on the other!! Which side can I walk on and be safe?? What a choice!! Pampleted or beheaded!!