San Francisco State University (SFSU) has invited a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Leila Khaled, to speak at virtual event. The PFLP has been a designated terrorist organization by both the United States and the European Union (E.U) since the early 90s.
Khaled is known for her involvement in two plane hijackings and for being the first women to hijack a plane. One in 1969 on a Tel Aviv-bound flight and the other in 1970 on an El Al flight to New York. Khaled was arrested in London, before the British government released Khaled in exchange for British hostages one month later.
The event titled "Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice and Resistance: A conversation with Leila Khaled" will take place on Wednesday, September 23 from 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. EDT. According to the event's Facebook page. The online discussion was put together by Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, of the Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Studies program (AMED) and Professor Tomomi Kinukawa the Women and Gender Studies program.
Khaled calls herself a "freedom fighter" and has been idolized by liberal campuses like U.C Berkeley in the past. PFPL is responsible for over 24 violent attacks that have killed innocent by standers, in hopes to get their mission into mainstream conversation. Their most fatal attack was the Lod Airport massacre, which involved gunning down 28 passengers. The attack was in cooperation with the Japanese Red Army, who carried out the fatal orders without the PFPL knowledge. The PFPL have indirectly killed three American students who were studying abroad in Israel, in two separate bombings.
The PFPL formed after the mass Palestinian exodus in 1948, when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs either fled or were expelled from their homes by Israeli troops. Since then the PFPL has been organizing violent attacks against the Israeli state in efforts to gain back territory.
"When you defend humanity, you use all the means at your disposal. Some use words, some use arms and some use politics. Some use negotiations. I chose arms and I believe that taking up arms is one of the main tools to solve this (Palestinian-Israeli) conflict in the interest of the oppressed and not the oppressors. A word can be also arms in the struggle. So I believe that women defend life because they are the ones who bring life," said Khaled in an interview with the Euronews.
Some have expressed their concern for a university to host an "activist" who uses fatal violence as political agency during a time of intense civil unrest in America.
"At a time of unrest and deep divisions in our country, holding a program that advocates and even glorifies violent solutions to the world's problems, in [a] public forum that will be broadcast into student's private homes, is unconscionable," said JCRC's Middle East project director Karen Stiller.