Manzar Foroohar: The California Faculty Association’s Secret Weapon

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Foroohar is known for inviting virulently anti-Israel speakers to Cal Poly. In January 2003, a lecture series offered in conjunction with one of her courses included Israeli “peace activist” Susy Mordechay speaking about “The Assault on Palestinian Civilian Life, 2000-2002”; University of Southern California linguistics professor Hagit Borer on “Zionism: Myth and Reality”; and Jeff Halper, anthropology professor emeritus at Ben Gurion University in Israel and director of the one-man NGO, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, on “The Key to an Israeli-Palestinian Peace: Dismantling Israel’s Matrix of Control.” In November 2004, Foroohar moderated a presentation featuring Ilan Pappe, an Israeli expatriate and “New Historian” who is one of Israel’s harshest critics and now teaches in the UK. Among other attempts to rewrite history in order to tarnish Israel’s image, Pappe was involved in the scholarly fabrication of a nonexistent massacre of Arabs in the village of Tantura in 1948.

Along the same lines, Foroohar gave lectures at California State University, Sacramento, in February 2009 titled, “Occupation of Palestine: The Obstacle to Peace” and “Zionism and Peace: Compatible or Contradictory Ideas?” In March 2009, she took part in a panel discussion at the University of Southern California titled, “From la Frontera to Gaza: Chicano-Palestinian Connections.” She presented a slide show and discussion at California State University, Fresno, in October 2002, on “Occupation and Resistance.” In May 2005, Foroohar moderated a discussion session at Cal Poly following a Muslim Student Association co-sponsored screening of several anti-Israel “documentaries,” including Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land.

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist atrocities, Foroohar blamed U.S. support for Israel, in large part, for the attacks and warned that Israel would use it as pretext for violence. As she put it:

Fundamentalist extremists also resent the fact the United States helps Israel target Islamic civilians. . . . Now that our attention is on the attacks, it’s giving license to the Israelis to shoot at will.

According to another Cal Poly faculty member who prefers to remain anonymous, Foroohar helped organize the Students for Justice and Peace in the Middle East-sponsored “Wall of Separation” displays on her campus from 2007 through 2010. During at least one of those occasions, she also gave a presentation. He added that:

In 2007, two of our Hillel students, on their own and not representing Hillel, made a couple of 2×3 posters and held them on the sidewalk, perhaps thirty feet away from their wall on our Dexter Lawn area. When she came in and saw them, she called the police to come and remove the students! The police responded, but told the students to walk with the signs, not plant them in the lawn. Complaints to the university about violations of free speech drew no response.

Had CFA members been aware of Foroohar’s extremist background, it’s a safe assumption they would have been hesitant to endorse the 2009 resolution. That a radical academic such as Foroohar was able to impose her anti-Israel positions on a union representing 23,000 faculty, counselors, librarians, and coaches on twenty-three campuses speaks volumes about the ability of a fanatical few to advance a deceptive, and often false, narrative on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Moreover, the campaign to delegitimize Israel through the CFA didn’t stop with the 2009 resolution. It may have opened the door for a future resolution to boycott and divest from Israel, which union leadership—responding to this author’s interview requests during and after the closed-door 74th CFA Assembly in San Francisco on April 8-9, 2011—refused to confirm or deny is in the works. At the conference, Nena Torrez, an education professor at California State University, San Bernadino, and current member of the Committee, was whisked away by her colleagues before I could broach the subject of BDS, while later requests for an appointment with CFA staff were stymied and eventually labeled “harassment.”

A number of CFA members certainly believe that a BDS resolution has been passed, and the fact that union leadership has engaged an attorney who has advised them not to discuss boycott-related issues with the rank and file would seem to back up their suspicions. In addition, several CFA members have consulted an attorney about the unelected members of the Committee authoring politicized resolutions against the wishes of the membership-at-large. Meanwhile, the second largest academic union in the U.S. may soon begin promoting boycotting and divesting from the Jewish state.

Lee Kaplan is an investigative journalist and columnist who writes for Isracampus.org.il, Israel National News, and the Northeast Intelligence Network.  He is a Fellow at the American Center for Democracy and the founder of DAFKA.org and StoptheISM.com. He wrote this article for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

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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 ! ! !
    YOU HIT SQUARELY THE NAIL ON ITS HEAD ! ! !
    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.

  • XICANA

    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!!