San Francisco State University will host 76-year-old Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled later this month in a virtual forum on “gender, justice, and resistance.”
The September 23 event dubbed “Whose Narratives? A Conversation with Leila Khaled” will be led by SFSU Arab and Muslim Ethnicities Diaspora professor Rabab Abdulhadi and Tomomi Kinukawa of the SFSU Women’s Studies department.
According to The Forward, the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities Diaspora, or AMED, is responsible for Khaled’s invitation.
Khaled will be joined by Acting Director of the Institute for Women’s Studies at (the West Bank’s) Birzeit University Rula Abu Dahou, South African politician Ronnie Kasrils, former Black Liberation Army member Sekou Odinga and Jewish Voice for Peace’s Laura Whitehorn.
In 1969, Khaled hijacked a plane en route to Israel, and later was captured attempting to hijack a (different) El Al (Israel’s national airline) flight. She eventually was released in a prisoner exchange. Khaled also was involved in attempted terror attacks in the US and Israel.
The Forward reports SFSU President Lynn Mahoney stands behind Khaled’s invitation, who noted it’s not an endorsement of her views.
“Higher education and the college experience are an opportunity to hear divergent ideas, viewpoints and accounts of life experiences,” a SFSU spokesperson said. “An important outcome of the college experience is to learn to think critically and come to independent, personal conclusions about events of local and global importance.
“A university is a marketplace of ideas, and San Francisco State University supports the rights of all individuals to express their viewpoints and other speech protected by law, even when those viewpoints may be controversial.”
This is not the California State University system’s first Khaled controversy. In May The Forward reported that the Women’s Resource Center at San Diego State University apologized for including a photo of Khaled in its weekly newsletter.
In 2014 Abdulhadi received more than $7,000 from SFSU to fly to meet with Khaled.
The photo featured Khaled holding a gun with the caption [partially visible in the photo above], “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” It was featured alongside other photo[s].
Jewish groups strongly denounced Khaled’s planned appearance at SDSU.
“Is this supposed to be an acceptable free speech at your university?” StandWithUs founder Roz Rothstein tweeted to SFSU. “An address by Leila Khaled, someone who is affiliated with terrorism.”
The AMCHA Initiative, a Jewish campus education group, called for opponents of the decision to demand SFSU change its policy regarding permitted speakers.
Back in 2016, members of the Vassar College Students for Justice in Palestine sold t-shirts featuring Khaled, or “sweet fucking anti-Zionist gear” as the group put it. One hundred percent of the proceeds went to “organizing Palestinian resistance.”
IMAGES: Shutterstock, Twitter screencap