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October 27, 2020 1:08 pm

NYU Chapter of AAUP Professors Group Slams Zoom for Denying Platform to Palestinian Terrorist

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacker Leila Khaled. Photo: Sebastian Baryli via Wikimedia Commons.

The New York University (NYU) chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has released a statement in support of holding academic events with terrorists.

The statement came in reaction to the video-conferencing platform Zoom’s decision to deny service to a webinar featuring a message from Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, a leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who took part in the hijacking of a Tel Aviv-bound commercial flight in 1969. The PFLP has been designated as a terrorist group by the US government.

The cancellation followed two similar occurences, one at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and another at the University of Hawaii, in which webinars featuring Khaled were canceled by Zoom, which said events featuring terrorists violated its terms of service.

The SFSU event was moved to YouTube, which shut it down 20 minutes after the live feed started.

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The statement put out last week by the NYU-AAUP executive committee referred to Khaled as a “Palestinian rights advocate” despite her self-admitted terrorist activities, and decried Zoom’s alleged “censorship” of her. It also claimed that the canceled webinar had been intended to discuss this “censorship.”

The description of the event in question called Khaled a “Palestinian liberation advocate” and claimed a conspiracy was behind her cancellation, asking, “Why are big tech platforms making decisions that violate academic freedom?”

The NYU-AAUP statement said, “We recognize that it is an act of sick comedy to censor an event about censorship, but it raises serious questions about the capacity of a corporate, third-party vendor to decide what is acceptable academic speech and what is not.”

“The shutdown of a campus event is a clear violation of the principle of academic freedom that universities are obliged to observe,” the statement claimed, and then propagated a conspiracy theory of its own, asserting the cancellation was the work of “organized, politically motivated groups.”

The statement then described Zoom’s decision as “appalling” and demanded the NYU administration “issue a strong statement denouncing this act.”

A Zoom spokesperson told The Algemeiner on Tuesday, “Zoom is committed to supporting the open exchange of ideas and conversations and does not have any policy preventing users from criticizing Zoom. Zoom does not monitor events and will only take action if we receive reports about possible violations of our Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy, and Community Standards.”

“Similar to the event held by San Francisco State University, we determined that this event was in violation of one or more of these policies and let the host know that they were not permitted to use Zoom for this particular event,” the spokesperson added.

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