Web-based video-conferencing platform Zoom has canceled a webinar hosted by San Francisco State University in which Palestinian resistance icon Leila Khaled was to be one of the guest speakers.
Facebook and YouTube have also chosen to censor the event, both of whom – according to Electronic Intifada – have a long history of censoring Palestinians on behalf of Israel.
“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,” Zoom said in a statement.
Naturally the first case of Zoom blatantly censoring content at a university was done to silence Palestinians on behalf of Israel. Will all the “free speech” and “cancel culture” warriors speak up? https://t.co/yiNeaDfcJI
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) September 23, 2020
“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,” the statement continued.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Zoom’s canceling of the SFSU webinar came amid pressure by Israeli and Jewish lobby groups including the Lawfare Project and the newly established #EndJewHatred movement.
In this video, Leila Khaled asks “who decides and defines what terrorism is?”
After being censored by Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook, it’s clear that giant Silicon Valley tech companies obediently follow the US government’s definition of “terrorism.” pic.twitter.com/RAUJoREk0h
— The Spin Report (@TheSpinReport) September 23, 2020
Khaled, who as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and notable in the hijacking of the El Al Flight 219 on 6 September 1970, was due to speak yesterday at an event hosted by SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) study program, titled “Who’s Narratives? Gender, Justice and Resistance: a conversation with Leila Khaled”.
SFSU’s President, Lynn Mahoney, said in an open letter entitled “Academic Freedom Debate Continues” that the university disagreed with Zoom’s decision but recognized its right as a private company to enforce its policies.
“We worked hard to prevent this outcome and have been actively engaging with Zoom,” Mahoney said.
Zoom Censors San Francisco State University Program That Included Leila Khaled https://t.co/2rMc8nSqnA
— Cynthia McKinney PhD (@cynthiamckinney) September 23, 2020
The Workers World Party (WWP) condemned the censoring of the event and their own Facebook page has been threatened with being unpublished following their endorsement of the event.
Following the Zoom cancellation, AMED shared a statement on how to follow AMED and the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS). According to Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network, video footage of the event, which still took place, will be distributed soon.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)