As Calls to Cancel Leila Khaled Event Continue, San Francisco State University Livestream Airs on Facebook Featuring PFLP Veteran

Palestinian PFLP supporters seen during a rally marking the 52nd anniversary of its founding, in the West Bank city of Nablus, on Dec. 14, 2019. Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

A San Francisco State University-sponsored livestream featuring Yacoub Odeh — a veteran of the US-designated terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – aired on Facebook on Saturday, as calls continued for hosting platforms to cancel a separate, upcoming SFSU event featuring another PFLP member.

The April 17 webinar, “FreeThemAll: In Sumoud and Solidarity from the US to Palestine,” was co-moderated by SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) program Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, who has previously been criticized by Jewish groups for her rhetoric against pro-Israel students.

Among the sponsors of the event is the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, which the Israel-based watchdog NGO Monitor describes as an affiliate of the PFLP. Odeh is an Addameer board member who previously served 17 years in an Israeli prison for his activity in the terrorist group, and who NGO Monitor has linked to a 1969 Jerusalem bombing that killed two Hebrew University students, citing an interview with a woman involved in the attack.

In September 2020, Facebook joined the videoconferencing platform Zoom in refusing to stream an online SFSU seminar hosting Palestinian terrorist and PFLP member Leila Khaled, as it violated its terms of use. But a new SFSU event featuring Khaled is now planned for April 23, with hosting platforms facing calls to again drop the seminar.

“The US Department of State has drawn bright lines as to what is and is not a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and federal law unequivocally prohibits providing material support or resources to a member of an FTO,” Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project told The Algemeiner in an emailed statement about Saturday’s livestream. “The law is the law, and it is imperative that these social media companies comply.”

The PFLP — which is founded on a Marxist-Leninist ideology and has been involved in suicide bombings, shootings, and assassinations, among other terrorist attacks — is dedicated to the removal of Western “imperialism” and capitalism from the Middle East to create a “democratic Palestine.”

The April 23 event featuring Khaled, “Whose Narratives? What Free Speech for Palestine?”, was originally advertised via a Facebook streaming event, but has since been deleted from the social media site, with Eventbrite removing the webinar from its platform for violating its terms of service. However, in a recent policy shift made after backlash to its cancellation of the 2020 event with Khaled, Zoom recently announced it would give more leeway to universities to host events that allegedly violate its content standards.

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Author: Sharon Wrobel


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