Israel-Bashing CSU Prof to Fight Anti-Semitism?


Does appointing an advocate of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel to chair a committee aimed at combating anti-Semitism in the California State University system make sense? That’s exactly what happened in the case of Manzar Foroohar, a well-known anti-Israel activist who teaches modern Middle Eastern and Latin American history at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. The Iranian immigrant was placed in charge of an Academic Senate 2012/2013 CSU committee charged with implementing the “Governor’s Task Force on Tolerance and Anti-Semitism Training,” an effort that originated in 2010 under former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Foroohar does indeed have extensive experience in training students and faculty members—in how to delegitimize and demonize the state of Israel, an activity that hardly promotes an environment of “tolerance” for pro-Israel CSU students.

When asked about Foroohar’s appointment, Diana Guerin, chairwoman of the Academic Senate CSU (ASCSU) who oversees committee selections and appointments, offered the standard bureaucratic response, making sure to include politically correct praise for the professor’s “divergent” point of view:

The Executive Committee of the Academic Senate makes appointments each year based on senator interest in serving on the various committees. With over forty senators eligible to serve and approximately fifty committees to staff, this is a very involved process. We note that sometimes committees do their best work when there are divergent points of view that lead to careful consideration and thorough discussion of issues. Senator Foroohar has been elected by her peers at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo multiple terms and has served the Academic Senate of the CSU with distinction.

After further questioning, the chairwoman explained that at a 2010 meeting with the Governor’s task force at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, “Concern arose about the potential blurring of the lines between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, which are two separate issues [emphasis added]” and that, “It was important for faculty to have a voice on this type of training for our students.” This sheds light on the ASCSU’s true agenda: using the committee to promote the idea that campus anti-Zionism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Foroohar’s appointment to “train” faculty effectively ends any meaningful attempt by the Governor’s task force to battle campus anti-Semitism.

Among Foroohar’s anti-Israel activities:

• She is on the Organizing Committee of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI ) and in 2010, signed a petition to have an Israeli scholar ejected from an academic conference in Los Angeles. She is also on the Coordinating Committee of the Israel Divestment Campaign.

• She is one of the signatories to a 2012 open letter  to the California State Assembly objecting to House Resolution 35, which condemned anti-Semitism on California campuses, alleging that it threatened academic freedom by conflating “criticism of Israel or its policies with anti-Semitism.”

• In 2009, she authored a resolution that was adopted by the 23,000-strong California Faculty Association that condemned Israel for its 2006 military incursion into Gaza and white-washed the terrorist organization Hamas.

• She signed a 2011 open letter to CSU Chancellor Charles Reed demanding an end to the CSU Israel [Study] Abroad program.

• She invited Ilan Pappe, a former Haifa University history professor and notorious anti-Israel propagandist, to speak on her campus, leading to public outcry and protests.

• From 2007-2010 she worked to organize the Students for Justice and Peace in the Middle East-sponsored “Wall of Separation” displays on her campus.

• In 2003 she oversaw a lecture series offered in conjunction with one of her courses that featured only anti-Israel speakers.

• Student comments at Polyratings.com include the following: “I am a Jewish student, and I felt extremely uncomfortable during her discussions about the Middle East, as she presented all of the course material in ways that seemed to attack Israel”; “This class is just pandering to Palestinian propaganda”; “She is also rabidly anti-Israel”; and “God forbid if you are Jewish or Israeli because she has it in for you.”

Viewing Foroohar’s dubious resumé against the U.S. State Department’s working definition of anti-Semitism—which includes demonizing, delegitimizing, and applying double standards to Israel—it’s clear that her appointment to lead a committee charged with promoting tolerance and opposing anti-Semitism is unacceptable. Concerned faculty members have expressed their opposition to the CSU administration privately, but thus far have been met with stonewalling, claims of ignorance, or attempts to downplay the situation by maintaining that the position is merely symbolic. Whatever the truth, Foroohar’s appointment is a stark reminder that pro-Israel CSU students facing discrimination are on their own.

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.

NB: If you wish to make your views known to the administration of the California State University, you may contact the CSU Public Affairs office, at:

Email: publicaffairs@calstate.edu
Phone: (562) 951-4800

The office of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo President Jeffrey D. Armstrong may be contacted at:

Email: jarmstro@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805)756-6000
Fax:  (805)756-1129

The office of California Governor Jerry Brown may be contacted at:

Email: http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • Mary Sue

    That's like putting David Duke in charge of the Monochrome Coalition (Jesse Jackson's Rainbow-PUSH coalition)!

  • UCSPanther

    Scratch an anti-zionist, 9 times out of 10, you WILL find an antisemite.

    • Larry

      Make that 10 out of 10, just with some you have to push the knife of reality in deeper.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Make that 10 out of 10"

        I was thinking the same thing, but more along the lines of 999 out of a 1000. You find once in a while the occasional dupe who will wake up completely when shown the facts. Not too often though.

    • Stern

      I agree completely with Larry. Anti-Zionism denies only one group of people the rights to a homeland of their own. That makes them anti-Semites.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Anti-Zionism denies only one group of people the rights to a homeland of their own. That makes them anti-Semites."

        That is the bottom line effect.

    • JacksonPearson

      Anti-Semites come in different sized packages, but they all use key words that expose their hate.

      • Mary Sue

        Anti-semites had dog whistles before dog whistles were "cool"!

  • http://frontpage richard sherman

    Diana Guerin should remember the words of MARTIN LUTHER KING JR who stated clearly in March 1968: ” If you are antiZionist then you are an antisemite”.

  • Ex-prof

    This idiocy is typical among the creeps and cowards who flourish so plentifully in bigoted academia, whose learned professors, let's remember, were among the first to embrace Hitler's anti-Semitism during the 1930's in Nazi Germany. The same, along with armies of administrators, and hordes of feeble-minded students in thrall, infest our colleges and universities all across the country, like a deadly plague, and now they have a Goebbels educator William Ayers, and their beloved racist President Barack Obama, to inspire and to lead them ever forward and onward.

  • Marty

    I'm a professor, but, happily, not in california. We just launched a minor in terrorism studies and at least one course (that I'm looking forward to teaching) will focus on the relationship of ISLAM and terrorism. For obvious reasons, I won't indicate my campus, but will report over the next several months how this all goes. Lots of primary materials that include statements from leading muslims, the koran, etc., will be assigned. Should be fun.

    • Drakken

      Way to go Marty, it is great to see some light instead of the usual darkess that surrounds us.

    • Mary Sue

      yeah lemme know how many of the womens' and ethnics' studies people go apopleptic at the revelation. They'll tie themselves in knots learning that in SOME countries, Islam IS the Majority AND the Oppressor!

    • Gene W 1938

      An interesting assignment would be to have a side by side comparison of the Bible and the Koran to determine if they had the inspiration from the same god. A passing grade should find satan authored on the God authored the other. :>)

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "We just launched a minor in terrorism studies and at least one course (that I'm looking forward to teaching) will focus on the relationship of ISLAM and terrorism. "

      Awesome. If things get ugly, let us know too.

  • clarespark

    This is going on because most of the left "anti-Zionists" distance themselves from antisemitism. I showed how Hobsbawm thread that needle here: http://clarespark.com/2012/12/08/hobsbawm-obama-i…. "Hobsbawm, Obama, Israel." See the section on his view of Israel's history and how he replicates in his crazy scenario all the major tropes of antisemitism. (David Hirsh, a U.K. sociologist, to his credit, doesn't do that.)

  • IsraelFirster

    Let me guess. Some of her best friends are Jewish.

  • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

    Opposite land

  • EthanP

    It is, however, exactly what we should expect from the anti-semitic left that runs CSU.

  • cjk

    Just another outrageous manifestation of the totalitarian Left's seemingly unstoppable ascendance .
    These outrages will NOT lessen in either intensity or frequency, they will link one upon another until the chains of slavery are complete.
    This will only end in bloody violence or the surrender of what's left of traditional, moral, America.
    May not take that much more to ignite civil unrest which conceivably could eclipse even the Civil War.
    There's an army of citizens just waiting for the leadership to resist such abhorrent evil being arrogantly executed in the land of our fathers.

  • stuart Parsons

    Why didn't they go the whole hog and appoint Muhammad ?

    • objectivefactsmatter

      That's funny.

  • Ghostwriter

    Deep within many anti-Zionists beats the heart of an anti-semite.

    • Raymond in DC

      Not really deep. It's that dark blotch seen just below the skin surface.

  • jennifer

    If you think Sara`s story is something…, last week my friend's dad also got a cheque for $5685 just sitting there fourteen hours a week from their apartment and the're co-worker's ex-wife`s neighbour has done this for 8-months and got a cheque for more than $5685 in their spare time on there labtop. apply the guide from this address ………. Bit40.ℂOℳ

  • Susan K

    Thank you for the contact links. I sent a short notice to all three. The public affairs' link is invalid. However, I did get a reply from the university to the effect they were transfering my comment to the Academic Senate.

    People can comment all they want on a website, few things change. By writing to the email addresses, the message gets through.

  • Herb Benty

    Same marxist takeover of our universitys here in Canada, reeking with anti- semitism and their fallback position- anti- zionism. I notice also they detest my Christian faith and they are itching to treat me the same way Islam deals with us worldwide when the time is right. " professing themselves to be wise, THEY BECAME FOOLS. The days of the " leftist" self-glorification will soon come to it's sad end.

  • EllisG

    I'm surprised by "pro-Isreal" in the last sentence. It's possible to object to anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, academic boycotts, etc. without being "pro-Isreal". It's possible to object to bias in academia on this issue, without expressing bias on the issue. I do both every day.

  • Gary Epstein

    On July 6, 2009, Manzar Foroohar signed a petition aimed at Trader Joe's asking it to de-shelve Israeli products. The example of Israeli produce they cited was "Israeli Couscous" which they said was "racist advertising for cultural theft." See this for yourself at http://www.usacbi.org/2009/06/trader-joes-de-shel
    So what do you readers make of this petition: anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic, racist itself, or what?