Penn Professor Who Cheered on Hamas Attack Sues University To Thwart Congressional Investigation

Penn Faculty for Justice in Palestine files legal complaint hoping to stop federal investigation into campus anti-Semitism

Professor Huda Fakhreddine (@arablit/Twitter)
March 12, 2024

A University of Pennsylvania professor who cheered on Hamas's Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel is suing the school in an attempt to stop a federal investigation into its response to campus anti-Semitism.

Huda Fakhreddine, an associate professor of Arabic literature at Penn’s Middle East Center, filed her suit against the school Saturday. It accuses Penn of cracking down on anti-Israel speech and aims to stop the transfer of university documents to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The committee's chairwoman, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), sent a letter to Penn leaders in January requesting their internal deliberations on anti-Semitic campus incidents.

Penn is cooperating with the request and began submitting documents to the committee last month. Fakhreddine—a vocal critic of the Jewish state who praised "Palestine" for "inventing a new way of life" on Oct. 7—wants the school to stop, citing privacy concerns.

"Penn's continuing cooperation with, and disclosure of private and confidential information about Plaintiffs to the Committee," the suit says, "threatens all Plaintiffs with the irreparable harm of a renewed and continued barrage of death and rape threats and hate speech."

Attorneys who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon on background to discuss the suit candidly dismissed its merits.

One said Fakhreddine has "no case against the university," emphasizing that the suit's privacy argument does not apply to students and faculty members who use university-owned emails. The other agreed.

"I can't imagine a court stepping in," the attorney said. "Tough luck."

Neither Penn nor Fakhreddine responded to requests for comment. The Penn professor, who joined the school in 2014, is known on campus for her inflammatory rhetoric toward Israel.

On Oct. 7, she lauded Hamas's terror attack, writing in a social media post, "While we were asleep, Palestine invented a new way of life." She later called the attack an "armed struggle by the Palestinian resistance against the occupier" that is "legal under international law" and attended anti-Israel campus protests, at one point cheering for a speaker who said all Israelis are "legitimate military targets."

Prior to Oct. 7, Fakhreddine was one the faculty organizers behind the Palestine Writes Literature Festival, which brought prominent anti-Semites to campus.

One participant, Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, wore Nazi regalia on stage at a concert in Germany, blamed the Jewish state for George Floyd's death, and downplayed Hamas's Oct. 7 attack, accusing Israel of "making up stories." Others have likened Israel to the Nazis, claimed "most Jews" are "evil," and blamed Jews for destroying Europe’s economy.

Fakhreddine currently teaches a new course at Penn titled "Arabic Readings in Belles-Lettres: Resistance from Pre-Islamic Arabia to Palestine." She is joined on the lawsuit by Eve M. Troutt Powell, a Middle Eastern history professor at Penn.