San Francisco State University is scheduled to host a lecture by terrorist hijacker Leila Khaled later this month.
Khaled is infamous for her role in two plane hijackings that took place in 1969 and 1970. She successfully hijacked a TWA plane in 1969 and then underwent no fewer than six cosmetic operations on her face so that she could undertake a second hijack without detection, according to a writeup on her in The Guardian.
The Guardian noted that Khaled then attempted to hijack an El Al jet from Amsterdam in 1970. Despite being searched by Israeli officers, she managed to hide live grenades in her pockets. In mid-flight, she and a co-conspirator, Patrick Arguello, tried to storm the cockpit.
They banged on the door, and Khaled took out her grenades and ordered the captain to let them in. However, there were armed guards on the plane and they began to shoot.
Khaled was not shot because she was holding the grenades. She said she was hit on the back of the head and lost consciousness. When she awoke, she was tied up and taken to a police station when the plane landed at Heathrow airport in England, according to The Guardian.
She is considered to be the first female airplane hijacker and will lecture university students at an event hosted by the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Studies Department (AMED).
Executive Director of the Academic Engagement Network (AEN) Miriam Elman expressed concerns about the lecture in a lengthy Twitter thread.
According to a report by Campus Reform, San Francisco State University (SFSU) invited Khaled to speak at a virtual event on Sept. 23.
The timing of the event comes when many Americans reflect on the 911 terrorism.
Americans Against Antisemitism Founder Dov Hikind spoke with Campus Reform and was fearful the speakers will only normalize violence:
"These are terrorists, for God's sake. People can be critical of Israel, but to indulge in hate and antisemitism, to literally have a terrorist...what kind of message does this send to students that sometimes it's ok to use violence, sometimes it's ok to murder?"
A flyer describes Khaled as a "Palestinian feminist, militant and leader." AMED director Rabab Abdulhadi shared the flyer in a Facebook post and praised her as a role model:
"I can't express how honored I am/we are to be hosting revolutionary Palestinian militant and feminist icon, Leila Khaled. I wanted to grow up to become another Leila Khaled.
"[Her] steadfastness, resilience and resistance has and continues to be a huge inspiration to me and to generations of Palestinian women.
"Her stubborn commitment to an indivisible sense of justice and refusal to compromise one type of justice for the sake of another continues to model what it means to be a committed revolutionary."
Abdulhadi's post also referred to Zionists:
"Zionist groups will undoubtedly become bothered again. They will ask the university to punish us for bringing the voices of marginalized communities to the fore and for shining a light on what oppression and resistance mean.
"The Zionist biggest problem is that they simply cannot silence each one of us and cannot prevent all peace and justice loving people from hearing and listening to what we have to say.
"Let's just say that relying on behind the door pressures and alliances with white supremacist powers will not intimidate us. Our students will benefit a great deal from listening to the oral histories of those who can teach Palestine and can teach justice.
"In his widely quoted poem, Samih El Qassem told the enemies of the sun that they can pressure, torture and intimidate but, 'enemy of the sun: I will not compromise. I will resist,' to which Mahmoud Darwish asks, 'so are you angry?'
"Please join. It will be a historic conversation."
Details and registration for "Teaching Palestine: Pedagogical Praxis and the Indivisibility of Justice: Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice, & Resistance: A Conversation with Leila Khaled" are posted on Facebook. In addition to Khaled, other participants mentioned include:
"Rula Abu Dahou, Acting Director, Institute for Women's Studies at Birzeit University, Palestine
"Ronnie Kasrils, Palestine solidarity anti-Zionist activist and member of uMkhonto we Sizwe, 1961-1990
"Sekou Odinga, Black Liberation Army, 1960s & '70s, and 33-year prisoner in US jails
"Laura Whitehorn, Jewish Voice for Peace and Co-founder of Release Aging People in Prison, RAPP, and 14-year-captive political prisoner."
Laura Whitehorn allegedly participated in the 1983 U.S. Senate bombing as a member of a militant group, according to Campus Reform. Whitehorn was arrested by the FBI during a raid in 1985, according to Politico.
Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi and Dr. Tomomi Kinukaw are listed as the moderators, and co-sponsors include:
"Al-Awda: The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
"Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine
"Jewish Voice for Peace- Bay Area
"Jewish Voice for Peace- Boston
"Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
"SJP at UCLA
"Workers World Party
"Within Our Lifetime."
Breitbart reported a spokesperson for San Francisco State University defended the decision to invite Khaled, claiming that the lecture will give students an opportunity to hear "divergent" ideas:
"Higher education and the college experience are an opportunity to hear divergent ideas, viewpoints and accounts of life experiences. 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."