After Zoom and Facebook Refuse to Host Event, SFSU Seminar Featuring Notorious Palestinian Terrorist Briefly Airs on YouTube Before Being Taken Down Midstream
An online San Francisco State University seminar featuring an infamous Palestinian terrorist was briefly broadcast live on YouTube on Wednesday afternoon, after both Zoom and Facebook refused to host it.
However, about 20 minutes into the event, YouTube cut the feed and removed the video for violating its Terms of Service.
The 76-year-old Leila Khaled — who as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) took part in the hijacking of a Tel Aviv-bound commercial flight in 1969 — was guest of honor at the event, titled, “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice and Resistance: A Conversation with Leila Khaled.”
Khaled — who remains affiliated with the PFLP, which is still classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union — had not yet spoken when the broadcast was dropped.
She was invited by the seminar’s organizer, the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) program’s Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, who is openly and proudly anti-Zionist.
Abdulhadi has assigned students to make placards and t-shirts glorifying terrorism, murder and violence; and posted messages to AMED’s Facebook page slandering Israel and its supporters.
Zoom’s deputy general counsel, Lynn Haaland, said in a statement, “Zoom is committed to supporting the open exchange of ideas and conversations, subject to certain limitations contained in our Terms of Service, including those related to user compliance with applicable US export control, sanctions, and anti-terrorism laws.”
“In light of the speaker’s reported affiliation or membership in a US-designated foreign terrorist organization, and SFSU’s inability to confirm otherwise, we determined the meeting is in violation of Zoom’s Terms of Service and told SFSU they may not use Zoom for this particular event,” she added.
Benjamin Ryberg, chief operating officer and director of research at The Lawfare Project, said ahead of the event, “SFSU cannot provide support to a member of a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Full stop. To do so will expose them to liability under federal criminal law, and the very severe associated penalties, and should certainly run afoul of university leaders’ consciences.”
“We urge SFSU, in the strongest possible terms, to take its cues from Zoom and prevent this event from happening,” he continued. “There should be no scenario where an American university has any engagement with a notorious leader of a designated terror group (the PFLP) — who also happens to be a virulent antisemite and two-time plane hijacker.”
The Lawfare Project — joined by Club Z, Herut, Liberate Art and IBSI, among other groups — had campaigned against the event under the banner of “#EndJewHatred.”
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative, which spearheaded an open letter to SFSU protesting the event, criticized Abdulhadi and SFSU President Lynn Mahoney, saying, “We hope Zoom’s de-platforming sends an important message to SFSU that Professor Rabab Abdulhadi’s repeated attempts to indoctrinate students with her hatred of Israel and condoning of terrorism is a dangerous abuse of her faculty position, and it has dangerous consequences, including the inevitable targeting of Jewish students at SFSU.”
“Unfortunately, though, SFSU continues to provide a daily platform for Abdulhadi to exploit in order to achieve her hateful political ends,” she noted. “And Zoom’s canceling of this event only addresses a symptom of a much larger problem — faculty being permitted to use their academic positions and classrooms to indoctrinate students under the guise of education — which is why we asked SFSU’s president to vigorously address this abuse, but President Mahoney hid, once again, behind a mistaken understanding of academic freedom.”
“Academic freedom does not protect faculty when their clear intent is to use the classroom or other academic spaces for promoting their own political causes, and the responsibility for preventing this ongoing abuse lies with universities,” Rossman-Benjamin asserted.
SFSU President Mahoney penned an opinion piece last week for The Jewish News of Northern California, in which she justified the Khaled seminar on the grounds of academic freedom and diversity.