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SWU urges denial of Zoom platform for Leila Khaled

San Diego Jewish World

October 19, 2020

Photo: ymphotos / Shutterstock.com


LOS ANGELES (SDJW) — StandWithUs, the pro-Israel organization that opposes anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist activities on college campuses, has written to Zoom Video Communications urging the company to deny a platform to airline hijacker Leila Khaled when she is scheduled to address students  on Friday, Oct. 23, at the University of Hawaii.  Zoom previously denied its platform to Khaled when she was scheduled to address students at San Francisco State University.


StandWithUs  (SWU) released a copy of its letter to Eric S. Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom Video Communications, and also informed David Lasser, president of the University of Hawaii, of its strong objections to the event.


Below is a copy of the SWU letter that was sent to  Yuan:


Dear Mr. Yuan,


We write on behalf of the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department and the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism, two divisions of StandWithUs, an international non-profit Israel education organization, concerning an upcoming Zoom event featuring convicted terrorist Leila Khaled. Ms. Khaled is apparently scheduled to speak through Zoom at an event at the University of Hawaii this upcoming Friday, October 23, 2020. According to the Facebook post, the purpose of the event is “to protest the lockstep censorship by Facebook, Zoom, YouTube, and SFSU of an Open Classroom featuring Leila Khaled. This webinar explores—and refuses!— the use of the label ‘terrorism’ to censor political speech and criminalize resistance.” In light of Khaled’s membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and, more importantly, her terrorism convictions in connection with the 1969 hijacking of TWA Flight 840 and the 1970 hijacking of El Al Flight 219, we ask that you immediately take all necessary steps to ensure that a convicted terrorist not receive a platform on Zoom.


Your company has already established precedent for this exact situation with this same speaker. As you undoubtedly recall, Khaled was scheduled to speak on Zoom at an event organized by the Department of Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies at San Francisco State University on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. Zoom’s Terms of Service, term 3(d) prohibits use of your platform in any manner that violates anti-terrorism laws. After concerns arose about plausible violations of international law, you determined that the meeting violated your Terms of Service and denied SFSU use of Zoom for this event. As Khaled is now scheduled to speak through Zoom this Friday, October 23, we expect that you will follow your own Terms of Service, as you did last month, and once again deny the use of your platform to host this convicted terrorist.


We understand that there are some who may argue that this is a matter of academic freedom. This is a specious argument. Refusing to provide convicted terrorists or supporters of terrorism a platform is a sound decision that protects your company legally, distances Zoom from appearing to support morally repugnant individuals, and in no way interferes with academic freedom. Terrorists can still speak elsewhere. You simply send the message that they are not welcome on your platform, just as Facebook and Twitter have recently communicated similarly in new policies banning Holocaust denial on their platforms.


Thank you for denying Khaled the use of your platform last month in nearly identical circumstances. Thank you in advance for your continued commitment to that stance, including by refusing to allow Zoom to be used for the University of Hawaii event scheduled for this Friday.


Sincerely,


Roz Rothstein CEO & Co-Founder StandWithUs


Carly F. Gammill Director StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism


Yael Lerman Director StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department



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StandWithUs (SWU) is an international and non-partisan Israel education organization that inspires and educates people of all ages and backgrounds, challenges misinformation and fights antisemitism.

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