Columbia 'Palestinian Resistance' Event Violates YouTube Policy Against Promotion of Terrorism, Video Platform Says

'Our team has reviewed your content, and, unfortunately, we think it violates our violent criminal organizations policy,' YouTube tells Free Beacon

March 27, 2024

YouTube removed a Washington Free Beacon video of a "Palestinian Resistance 101" event held at Columbia University, with the platform saying the video violates its policy that bars users from praising, promoting, or aiding terrorists.

The Sunday event, which was hosted by the student group Columbia University Apartheid Divest, featured terror-tied speakers who lauded violence against Jews. Charlotte Kates, a member of the Israeli-designated terror group Samidoun, praised Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attack for showing "the potential of a future for Palestine liberated from Zionism," while Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine activist Khaled Barakat lauded airplane hijackings.

The Free Beacon attended the event virtually and posted a highlight video on Monday. Two days later, on Wednesday, YouTube contacted the Free Beacon to say it removed the video for violating "our violent criminal organizations policy."

"Content that intends to praise, promote, or aid violent extremist or criminal organizations isn't allowed on YouTube," the email said.

"We know this might be disappointing, but it's important to us that YouTube is a safe place for all."

The decision could put pressure on Columbia to take action in the wake of the event, which was initially scheduled to take place at Barnard College, the university's all-female undergraduate school. At the start of the event, however, student organizers said they were forced to "change rooms" at the last moment after a Ph.D. student lodged a complaint to the university.

The event was moved to Columbia's "Q House," an "LGBTQ+ special interest community at Columbia University," according to an internal email obtained by the Free Beacon. A Columbia spokeswoman said the school "canceled the event, denying requests to use community space."

"Despite this, the event organizers held the event in a residence with an online option," the spokeswoman told the Free Beacon on Monday. "We are investigating this matter and will not tolerate violations of university policy."

A Columbia faculty group, Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine, promoted the event in an Instagram post, which featured an image of a Palestinian boy throwing stones at an Israeli tank during the second intifada.

In addition to Kates and Barakat, the event featured Within Our Lifetime founder Nerdeen Kiswani, who addressed Columbia students in person. Kiswani, who has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map," urged attendees to openly promote terrorist organizations and "talk about resistance."

"We have the right to return home, and we will get that right by any means necessary," Kiswani said.

The Free Beacon published two recordings of the event to YouTube—one to an editor's account, which YouTube removed, and one to the Free Beacon's official account, which remains live.

Columbia declined to comment.