This week, YouTube and Zoom pulled the plug on a livestream event hosted by San Francisco State University featuring Leila Khaled, an activist that is best known for her participation in two airplane hijackings that took place in the 1970s. SFSU President Lynn Mahoney argued that that Zoom’s decision to “silence” Khaled is “deeply wounding” to members of the university community.
In 1969, Khaled was one of several hijackers that took control of TWA Flight 840 from Rome to Tel Aviv. Although no one was injured during the incident, Khaled and her fellow hijackers blew up the nose of the plane upon landing. In 1970, Khaled and one partner hijacked El Al Flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York City. Her partner was killed during the incident by an Israeli flight marshal.
Although the SFSU event launched successfully on YouTube, viewers reported that the video feed was cut approximately 30 minutes after the event began. “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service,” a message read.
By contrast, Zoom shut down the event before it had a chance to begin. In a statement released on Tuesday evening, a Zoom spokesperson said that it would not permit the university to use its platform to host the event due to the speaker’s affiliation with a terrorist organization.
“In light of the speaker’s reported affiliation or membership in a U.S. 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,” the statement read.
Laura Whitehorn, a member of the militant group the Armed Resistance, also spoke at the event. Whitehorn allegedly participated in the 1983 United States Senate bombing. It has been alleged that the Armed Resistance intended to kill former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during the attack.
Breitbart News reported on September 8 that San Francisco State University was planning to host a guest lecture by terrorist Leila Khaled, who participated in plane hijackings that took place in 1969 and 1970.
At the time, a spokesperson for the university defended the decision to invite Khaled to speak to students. This week, SFSU President Lynn Mahoney condemned Zoom’s refusal to host the event.
“Based on the information we have been able to gather to date, the University does not believe that the class panel discussion violates Zoom’s terms of service or the law,” Mahoney said.
“Zoom’s cancelation of the event will be deeply wounding to some members of our community who will feel themselves and their dissent silenced once again, just as the participation of Leila Khaled in a class panel discussion is deeply wounding to others in our community…We cannot embrace the silencing of controversial views, even if they are hurtful to others. We must commit to speech and to the right to dissent, including condemning ideologies of hatred and violence against unarmed civilians,” Mahoney finished.
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