The webinar “refuses use of the label ‘terrorism’ to censor political speech and criminalize resistance,” according to event’s description.
By Benjamin Kerstein, The Algemeiner
The pro-Israel education group StandWithUS has sent a letter to the CEO of Zoom asking the company to deplatform a planned webinar featuring a notorious Palestinian terrorist.
The event — set to be hosted on Friday by the University of Hawaii — will feature Leila Khaled, a member of the US-designated terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who took part in several airplane hijackings in the 1960s and ‘70s. She remains unrepentant about her crimes and advocates the destruction of Israel.
Zoom decided to deny service last month to a previous webinar featuring Khaled hosted by San Francisco State University. At the time, the company’s general counsel Lynn Haaland said, “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.”
The University of Hawaii event, to be held on Friday, is titled, “We Will Not Be Silenced: The Case of Khaled and Solidarity from Hawai’i to Palestine.” Its description, declares, “This webinar explores — and refuses! — the use of the label ‘terrorism’ to censor political speech and criminalize resistance.”
The StandWithUs letter asked Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan to “take all necessary steps to ensure that a convicted terrorist not receive a platform on Zoom.”
“We expect that you will follow your own Terms of Service, as you did last month, and once again deny the use of your platform to host this convicted terrorist,” the letter added.
“We understand that there are some who may argue that this is a matter of academic freedom,” it noted. “This is a specious argument. Refusing to provide convicted terrorists or supporters of terrorism a platform is a sound decision that protects your company legally, distances Zoom from appearing to support morally repugnant individuals, and in no way interferes with academic freedom.”
“Terrorists can still speak elsewhere,” it pointed out. “You simply send the message that they are not welcome on your platform, just as Facebook and Twitter have recently communicated similarly in new policies banning Holocaust denial on their platforms.”
Ilan Sinelnikov — president of the Students Supporting Israel (SSI) organization, told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that “convicted terrorists cannot be welcomed on our campuses,” lamenting that “in 2020 students and universities treat a terrorist as a role model.”