A member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, refugee and the first female plane hijacker was scheduled to give remarks at an event hosted by SF State professors. Zoom sided with protesters at its doorstep by rescinding its services for the event, citing “the speaker’s reported affiliation or membership in a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization.”
PFLP terrorist Leila Khaled who was a member of a team that on August 29, 1969, hijacked TWA Flight 840 on its way from Rome to Tel Aviv and diverted the Boeing 707 to Damascus, was scheduled to speak on Wednesday at a San Francisco State University class Zoom panel, but on Tuesday, Zoom announced a denial of its services to the event, Golden Gate Express reported. A deliberate speech by a Palestinian terrorist at a digital occasion hosted by San Francisco State College suffered a setback Tuesday after Zoom reportedly pulled the plug on internet hosting the occasion amid a public outcry.
On Sept. 14, The Lawfare Project had sent a letter to Zoom arguing that the video conference platform could be in violation of federal law if it allowed the SFSU webinar to go on as planned, given that the State Department has designated the PFLP as a terror group. The letter argued that Zoom providing a platform for Khaled to speak essentially amounted to providing a “service to a member of a foreign terrorist organization.”
Following Zoom’s cancelation of the event, SFSU attempted to push forward with the virtual meeting using Facebook’s online services. On its Facebook page Tuesday after the Zoom cancellation was announced, the department posted that it would be hosting the event over Facebook Live in what, at the time, appeared to be the department’s choice for an alternative hosting platform.
In a released statement, the company stated that “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 U.S. export control, sanctions, and anti-terrorism laws. 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.”
Khaled was arrested in London, the place the pilot diverted the aircraft, and later launched in trade for hostages from one other hijacking. She lives in Amman, Jordan. She stays a member of the PFLP, a company that’s blacklisted as a terrorist entity by the US, Israel and the European Union.