Palestinian student in knife photo no longer at SFSU

Mohammad G. Hammad, who has made multiple violent threats against Jews and Israelis, is no longer enrolled at San Francisco State University nor living in campus housing, school officials said this week.

Robert Nava, SFSU’s vice president of advancement, said Hammad withdrew from the university before the spring semester began on Jan. 23.

San Francisco police are investigating whether Hammad, 20, violated any laws with his 2013 Tumblr posts, one of which called for the head of a particular Israeli soldier “on a plate” and also suggested beheading “all others like her, and all others who support the IDF.”

Hammad had also served as president of the campus group, General Union of Palestine Students, and was born in Ramallah, in the West Bank, according to a GUPS Facebook page.

He drew attention a few months ago when a photo of him holding a knife was found on his Tumblr page with the caption: “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.”

U.C. Santa Cruz lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, founder of the pro-Israel AMCHA Initiative, brought those postings — and several others attributed to Hammad, such as “I think about killing a lot, and some of you are usually the targets of my daydreams :)” and one in which he hopes that San Francisco Hillel students fall down and break their necks — to the attention of SFSU President Leslie Wong last month, but did not receive a response.

On Feb. 18, Rossman-Benjamin delivered copies of Hammad’s postings to San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr and District Attorney George Gascón. A police spokesperson said the department is “looking into the matter.”

For Rossman-Benjamin, Hammad’s departure amounts to a partial victory. “What steps is SFSU taking to protect students who remain in harms way?” she was quoted as saying in the Jewish Press. “Their continued silence suggests they have done nothing more than get rid of one problem, without ensuring that it won’t be repeated.” — dan pine

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.