After pressure from an American Jewish rights non-profit, Zoom has cancelled a California university-sponsored talk by a convicted Palestinian hijacker.
The Department of Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Studies at the San Francisco State University announced last month it would host Leila Khaled for a talk on “Teaching Palestine,” the Daily Beast reported.
Khaled is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — a group the U.S. has labelled as a terrorist organization — and, in 1969, helped hijack an Israel-bound flight from Rome.
Following the talk’s announcement last month, lawyers at the Lawfare Project launched a campaign to push Zoom to cancel the talk that ended successfully in a sit-down meeting at Zoom headquarters in San Jose, Calif. The Lawfare project is a pro bono group that supports Jewish civil and human rights causes around the world.
Zoom did not provide comment, but the Lawfare Project shared details of the discussion.
“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.”
Undeterred by Zoom’s cancellation, the university group said it would host the talk on Facebook Wednesday, but the social media giant reportedly said the talk could not be livestreamed.
The group then turned to YouTube, but the livestream cut out 23 minutes in, with nearly 1,000 viewers watching an archival footage of Khaled defending her previous activities. The video cut out after Khaled said, “People have the right to fight those who occupy their land by any means possible, including weapons.”
In the black screen, a message appeared, “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s terms of service.”
This is the first known cancellation of university-sponsored event by Zoom, though in the past the company has banned meetings of suspected exploitation of sex trafficking.