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As'ad Abukhalil

California State University - Stanislaus

As’ad Abukhalil is a professor of Political Science, Public Administration, and Leadership Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. He has repeatedly espoused anti-Israel sentiments, support of BDS, and explicit antisemitism.

During the Coronavirus outbreak, Abukhalil postulated that Israel would use the pandemic as a precursor to placing Arabs in concentration camps. He wrote, “Israel will—I am sure—have different medical procedures for Jews and non-Jews. Non-Jews will be put in mass prisons.”

As noted by the watchdog site Canary Mission, Abukhalil has advocated for the destruction of Israel on numerous occasions. During a speech at the University of Edinburgh, Abukhalil spoke about the dismantlement of Israel, saying, “My message to you is undiluted and unambiguous; if you want peace…that can only happen with the demise of Israel. With the dismantlement of the State of Israel…”

During a 2013 panel in Germany, he lauded the radical jihadist group Hezbollah and was subsequently applauded by those in attendance: “What drove the Israelis out of Lebanon, humiliatingly, was a non-peaceful struggle, against Israel, which was launched in 1978 by Communist Lebanese, secular Lebanese, and later was undertaken by Islamist, mostly by Hezbollah among others, and that is what drove Israel for the first time ever from an Arab territory without obtaining or forcing a peace agreement on that country.”

Abukhalil is on record numerous times expressing support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He has explicitly stated that it is his “wish” that BDS will lead to the destruction of Israel and subsequent replacement with an Arab state, “….they will say that I said that the aim of BDS is the elimination of Zionism in Palestine and the liberation of all of Palestine. I never said that. I wish that was true.” 

In the same speech at the University of Texas, Abukhalil lamented how unpopular his message was with American audiences, claiming that  “…there have been limits on expression about Palestine in this country and these restrictions and the parameters of debate about Palestine have only gotten worse over the years since I came to this country…” 

Abukhalil seamlessly substitutes “jews” for “Zionists” at multiple points during his lecture. He later expanded on this assertion, claiming that the former is actively silencing his freedom to advocate for the destruction of Israel, “The Zionists have become quite effective in intimidating people in academia, in the media, as well as in, they have done their work in intimidating people in Congress…”  Abukhalil has previously made similar statements, claiming that “zionists” attempt to silence his “hatred” towards Israel. He claims that “The Zionists want to muzzle us so that we won’t oppose the wars, violence, or hatred of Israel.”

Although Abukhalil seems to value the importance of the First Amendment, a closer examination reveals that he only defends freedom of speech when it immediately benefits him or his cause. In 2006, riots engulfed the Muslim world after a Danish paper published a series of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. Abukhalil appeared on Democracy Now! to defend the riots. During the segment, he refrained from explicitly condemning the riots and attempted to justify the actions of the rioters. He even justified the violence, stating,  “…This is why the entire defense in the name of freedom of speech doesn’t sell very much in the Arab world. People very much know that offenses against Muslims and Arabs are often treated as defensible because they are in the name of freedom of speech…”  

This is not the first time that Abukhalil has attempted to draw a moral equivalence between the West and radicals in the Middle East. In a 2019 interview with The Real News Network, he lambasted the “arrogance” of the United States for declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. He accused the US of killing more civilians than the Taliban, stating, “So when the US is killing more civilians than the Taliban, it certainly should not have the moral authority to judge and label an organization on the basis of their terrorism.”   

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