The Zoom meeting platform canceled an upcoming event with a member of a Palestinian terror group following a Washington Free Beacon report that sparked outrage, including in Congress.
Zoom was scheduled to host on Wednesday Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that has murdered Americans. The event was organized by San Francisco State University (SFSU). The Free Beacon was first to report that the event likely ran afoul of U.S. sanctions laws barring American companies from providing services or material support to members of a U.S.-designated terror group. The legal advocacy group Lawfare Project petitioned the Department of Justice to investigate Zoom and SFSU over the event.
A Zoom spokesperson informed the Lawfare Project late Tuesday that it would not host the event due to concerns of running afoul of U.S. anti-terror laws.
"Zoom is committed to supporting the open exchange of ideas and conversations, subject to certain limitations contained in our Terms of Service, including those related to user compliance with applicable U.S. export control, sanctions, and anti-terrorism laws," the Zoom spokesperson said. "In light of the speaker’s reported affiliation or membership in a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization, and SFSU’s inability to confirm otherwise, we determined the meeting is in violation of Zoom’s Terms of Service and told SFSU they may not use Zoom for this particular event."
Brooke Goldstein, executive director of the Lawfare Project, lauded Zoom's decision. "All media platforms have been put on notice: either cancel Jew hatred now or we cancel you," Goldstein said.
SFSU has vowed to push forward with the event as of Tuesday afternoon, telling local radio station KRDO in a statement that an event with a notorious terrorist would help students "learn to think critically and come to independent, personal conclusions about events of local and global importance." It remains unclear if SFSU will enlist a different online video service to hold the event as scheduled.
Khaled, the centerpiece of the event, is one of the PFLP's most notorious members, becoming the first woman to hijack an airplane in 1969 as part of a massive terror operation by the group. She attempted to hijack another plane the following year.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.) wrote to SFSU on Monday, demanding it cancel the event. He also called on the Department of Education to revoke federal funding to SFSU and for the Treasury Department to investigate whether the school is violating U.S. law by providing material support to a designated terror group.
UPDATE Sept. 23, 2:50 p.m.: Following Zoom's cancelation of the event, SFSU attempted to push forward with the virtual meeting using Facebook's online services. That, too, was canceled following inquiries from the Free Beacon to Facebook.
"Zoom and Facebook took down the link" to the event, organizers informed those attempting to stream it, according to a copy of that missive viewed by the Free Beacon. "The organizers are working to announce a new link, and we will distribute it as soon as we have the info."
"Of course," organizers further noted, "we will also be campaigning against Zoom's aquiecense to this kind of Zionist pressure campaign."
Published under: Sanctions