Campus Reform | Zoom cancels second university event featuring terrorist hijacker

Zoom cancels second university event featuring terrorist hijacker

The American Association of United Professors (AAUP) chapter at New York University was set to host a virtual event featuring terrorist hijacker Leila Khaled via Zoom, when the video conferencing platform shut down the webinar.

The chapter hosting the webinar, titled, “Call to Action October 23: We Will Not Be Silenced! Against the Criminalization and Censorship of Campus Political Speech” posted a statement announcing that Zoom had “unilaterally shut down” the event.

“The webinar was scheduled to discuss the censorship, by Zoom and other big tech platforms, of an open classroom session last month at SFSU, featuring the Palestinian rights advocate Leila Khaled," the statement read. 

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“Zoom is committed to supporting the open exchange of ideas and conversations and does not have any policy preventing users from criticizing Zoom," Zoom told Buzzfeed. 

“Zoom does not monitor events and will only take action if we receive reports about possible violations of our Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy, and Community Standards. Similar to the event held by San Francisco State University, we determined that this event was in violation of one or more of these policies and let the host know that they were not permitted to use Zoom for this particular event," the company's statement added.

This came just one month after Zoom refused to allow its platform to be used for a separate event hosting Khaled at San Francisco State University, as previously reported by Campus Reform.

On Sept. 23, Zoom told the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Studies (AMED) Department at SFSU that it could not use their platform, “for the event with Leila Khaled, who hijacked two planes in 1969 as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).”

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AMED was able to move the virtual event to a YouTube live stream, only to have the feed cut 30 minutes into the event. Campus Reform obtained exclusive footage of the event being cut short with the notice on the screen stating, “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service.”

Along with exclusive footage, Campus Reform also reported that Facebook joined Zoom and YouTube in stating that its platform wasn’t allowed to be used for the event. 

Facebook stated, “We removed this content for violating our policy prohibiting praise, support and representation for dangerous organizations and individuals, which applies to Pages, content and Events.”

The NYU-AAUP Executive Committee stated that “the shutdown of a campus event is a clear violation of the principle of academic freedom that universities are obliged to observe. Allowing Zoom to override this bedrock principle, at the behest of organized, politically motivated groups, is a grave error for any university administration to make, and it should not escape censure from faculty and students.”

The statement went even further stating that if Zoom continues to cancel events with “Palestinian speech and advocacy, college presidents should break their agreements with the company.”

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The U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel also described what happened at SFSU as the result of "intense, coordinated outside pressure from Zionist and right-wing factions."

“When organizers changed virtual venues and began live-streaming on YouTube, the same Zionists and right-wing agitators mobbed the comments section and used the reporting function to flag the video to YouTube, which shut it down twenty minutes into this open classroom event because it ‘violated’ the company’s ‘Terms of Service.’  At the same time, all previous references and invitations to the webinar were removed from hundreds of people’s Facebook pages and Instagram accounts.”

Campus Reform reached out to NYU, AAUP, and USACBI for comment but has not received a response.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @mn_turn