A series of major Silicon Valley corporations – Zoom, Facebook and YouTube (Google) – joined hands with racist, right-wing, Zionist campaigns in an attempt to silence an academic event, “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice, & Resistance: A conversation with Leila Khaled,” organized by Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi and Prof. Tomomi Kinukawa at San Francisco State University. The event featured Palestinian resistance icon Leila Khaled along with Rula Abu Dahou, Ronnie Kasrils, Sekou Odinga and Laura Whitehorn, all former political prisoners.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joined numerous social justice and Palestine support organizations in endorsing and co-sponsoring the event, organized by AMED Studies at SFSU and supported by the students of GUPS. The silencing campaign by Zionist, racist and right-wing forces is part and parcel of an attempt to block any and all communication by a distinguished, widely esteemed symbol of Palestinian resistance. Despite the attacks by some of the biggest global corporations, the full event was recorded by the organizers and will be made available to all. Palestinian women and Palestinian resistance will not be suppressed!
We will be sharing actions and alerts in the coming days to hold accountable all of those responsible for these attacks.
In the context of this event, we are sharing some existing videos of Leila Khaled as we look forward to seeing the full panel, to hear her voice of resistance and liberation and emphasize that the Palestinian struggle cannot and will not be silenced, despite apartheid, imperialism, reaction and corporate complicity. We encourage you to watch, share, re-upload and propagate these videos – and others- as widely as possible to make it clear that Leila will be heard!
Zoom’s cancellation of the event in response to Zionist pressure and dubious legal threats raises very serious concerns about the corporatization of the university, academic freedom and any and all expression, especially as thousands of universities and academic institutions have outsourced remote learning and classrooms to the Silicon Valley corporation.
This effort was led by an array of repressive legal organizations like the “Lawfare Project,” so named for their efforts to engage in “legal warfare” against the Palestinian people and cause. These entities demand corporations like Zoom silenced Palestinians based on scare tactics based on U.S. “anti-terror” laws and unilateral coercive measures (sanctions), themselves an unjust foundation for dubious threats.
Following the Zoom cancellation, the event was livestreamed on YouTube by the organizers – which rapidly shut down two streams despite a proliferation of content featuring Leila Khaled on the site, as she is an internationally renowned Palestinian leader and resistance icon.
While the university, its students and scholars were under attack by racist forces, SFSU’s response has been weak at best, placing the burden of these attacks, which attempt a massive infringement of academic freedom, on the back of Prof. Abdulhadi and Palestinian students at the university. In response to the attacks on the event, SFSU President Lynn Mahoney authored an extremely problematic op-ed in Jweekly, a publication known for running numerous Zionist attacks on Palestinian faculty and students at the university and for campaigning against this event featuring Leila Khaled.
In the op-ed, Mahoney notes that the event is a matter of academic freedom, but also conflates Zionism with Judaism, dismisses the concerns of Palestinian students and calls panelists’ speech “abhorrent” and “deeply offensive.” Following the forced silencing of an academic event by an array of huge tech corporations in league with Zionist pressure groups, Mahoney was cited as attending an anti-Palestinian “vigil” organized by the same groups involved in the repression campaign.