Meet the Professors Arrested for Blocking San Francisco's Bay Bridge in Anti-Israel Demonstration

San Francisco State University 'social justice educator' Rayan El-Amine has likened Israel's supporters to white supremacists

Rayan El-Amine (, Sarah Fathallah (
November 29, 2023

Professors at a number of top California universities—including one who has likened Israel's supporters to white supremacists—were arrested at the infamous San Francisco protest that saw anti-Israel demonstrators shut down the Bay Bridge, documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show.

Police on Nov. 16 arrested roughly 80 protesters who abandoned their cars and blocked westbound traffic on the bridge, a stunt that caused hours of delays and led to the cancellation of at least one surgery after three organ transplant couriers were stuck in the chaos. Included among the arrestees was Rayan El-Amine, a self-described "social justice educator" who teaches within San Francisco State University's "Race and Resistance Studies" department. El-Amine was arrested alongside Sarah Fathallah, a University of California, Berkeley, instructor who touts her involvement in "abolitionist and anarchist organizing."

The arrests reflect the rise in illegal anti-Israel demonstrations taking place on college campuses across the country—demonstrations that professors have egged on and even helped organize. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, for example, "abolition theory" lecturer Rachel Weber offered legal support and distributed $1,000 in bail money to student protesters who called for terrorism against Israelis and yelled "kill yourself" at police officers. Those protesters trespassed near the chancellor's office during an Oct. 25 "sit-in" demonstration, leading to their arrest.

El-Amine has a similar history of anti-Israel activism. Before joining San Francisco State's faculty, El-Amine served as director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center in San Francisco, a group that cheered on Hamas's Oct. 7 terrorist assault on Israel by expressing support for the "revolutionary roots of Palestinian liberation." The professor in a now-deleted Oct. 29 Facebook post compared the Jewish state's supporters to white supremacists, writing, "White supremacy in this country is so closely tied to supporting Zionism."


"It will be consumed like [a] blockbuster movie with the 'good guys' (US and Israelis) obliterating the eternally evil Arabs," El-Amine wrote. "It is this deeply colonial and racist repertoire that we have had to endure for decades." El-Amine has also accused both Israel and the United States of genocide and said Gazans are "trapped in a concentration camp."


Fathallah, meanwhile, delivered a presentation on "Pro-Palestinian Anarchism" during an August 2022 "Anarchist Studies Conference." Fathallah during her presentation argued that it is "indeed possible" for anarchists to support the "struggle for Palestinian liberation."

"This presentation argues that it is indeed possible to hold a pro-Palestinian anarchist political project," Fathallah wrote, "when that project is situated in a plural and solidaristic understanding of anarchism; a decolonial and Indigenous critique of anarchism; and a nuanced commitment to Palestinian resistance and liberation." Fathallah teaches "service design and UX research courses" at Berkeley's extension school, according to her LinkedIn and online bio.

El-Amine, Fathallah, and San Francisco State did not return requests for comment. Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof told the Free Beacon that Fathallah and other university employees "have the same rights and responsibilities as any other member of the public" and "do not speak for or represent the values, perspectives or positions of the university."

"When laws are broken, we trust that the appropriate law enforcement agencies and the judicial system will respond accordingly," Mogolof said. "I am precluded by California state law from providing any information about personnel actions involving specific employees."

In addition to El-Amine and Fathallah, Stanford University physics professor Lauren Tompkins was arrested at the Bay Bridge protest but claimed she was on her way to work and should not have been detained. The California Highway Patrol confirmed the identities of the arrestees, who were booked for crimes such as unlawful assembly, failure to disperse, and illegal solicitation.

Protest participants descended on the bridge during the morning commute, stopped their cars, and formed a human chain between vehicles. After stopping traffic, some protesters lay down on the bridge under white sheets and displayed a banner calling for an Israeli ceasefire. Another banner accused Israel of genocide.

California Highway patrol division chief Ezery Beauchamp condemned the demonstration, calling it "100 percent wrong," "unacceptable," and "illegal." The stunt prevented emergency vehicles from crossing the bridge for hours, and at least three couriers who were delivering organs for transplant surgeries were stuck in the traffic, prompting the cancellation of at least one surgery, according to San Francisco's ABC affiliate.

"This is the wrong way to do it," Beauchamp said.