SFSU invites terrorist hijacker for university-sponsored event

The moderator for the event was also the subject of Title IX complaint alleging antisemitism.

San Francisco State University will host a terrorist hijacker for an upcoming virtual event.

The Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Studies (AMED) Department at San Fransisco State University is hosting a terrorist hijacker for an upcoming online talk.

The main speaker, Leila Khaled, hijacked two airplanes as a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an internationally recognized terrorist organization. Another listed speaker, Laura Whitehorn, participated in the 1983 United States Senate bombing as a member of the militant group, the Armed Resistance. This group allegedly plotted to murder former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The event, scheduled for September 23, plans to cover issues related to gender, justice, and resistance. Its flyer describes Khaled as a “Palestinian feminist, militant and leader.” AMED director Rabab Abdulhadi shared the flyer in a Facebook post, praising her as a “feminist icon” and stating that she “wanted to grow up to become another Leila Khaled.”

“(Khaled’s) steadfastness, resilience and resistance has and continues to be a huge inspiration to me and to generations of Palestinian women,” continued Abdulhadi, who is moderating the event.

[RELATED: Prof outraged pres would ‘welcome’ Zionists on campus]

Campus Reform first reported on Abdulhadi in 2014 when she led a taxpayer-funded university trip bringing students to meet with Khaled and a convicted terrorist, Sheikh Raed Salah, who led the northern branch of the Islamic movement in Israel. He allegedly incited violence on numerous occasions and accused Jewish people of using the blood of European children to make “the dough of the holy bread.” 

[RELATED: San Francisco State Univ. funds professors’ Middle East meeting with terrorists]

Campus Reform covered Abdulhadi most recently in June when the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) rewarded her as one of its 2020 “Outstanding Faculty Activists.”

[RELATED: Former prof union president slams own org for ‘deplorable honor’ given to anti-Zionist prof accused of ‘harassing’ Jewish student]

Abdulhadi noted that objectors, particularly “Zionist groups” are going to oppose AMED’s upcoming event. She predicted they will ask the university to “punish” AMED for “bringing the voices of marginalized communities.”

“Let’s just say that relying on behind the door pressures and alliances with white supremacist powers will not intimidate us,” Abdulhadi wrote.

According to a Title IV complaint against UCLA, she went on an “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rant.”

[RELATED: UCLA student files federal complaint against school, alleging anti-Semitism

Americans Against Antisemitism Founder Dov Hikind reacted to the planned event, saying the speakers will only normalize violence. 

“These are terrorists, for God’s sake,” Hikind told Campus Reform. “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?”

Executive Director of the Academic Engagement Network (AEN) Miriam Elman shared similar concerns in a Twitter thread.

“Featuring a member of a terrorist org, whose goal is the destruction of Israel, in a university-sanctioned course isn’t a good look,” she tweeted, referring to Khaled. “Glamorizing female terrorists has become a trend on (United States) campuses.”

An SFSU spokesperson told Campus Reform that inviting a public figure “should not be construed as an endorsement of point of view.”

“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,” Kent Bravo, a university spokesperson, said.

He called universities “ a marketplace of ideas,” asserting that SFSU “supports the rights of all individuals to express their viewpoints and other speech protected by law, even when those viewpoints may be controversial.” 

But Hikind told Campus Reform there’s an “incredible double standard” when events like these are allowed, because “so many people who have been invited to speak at universities from Israel, get booed, shouted down because students don’t like their point of view.”

In 2016, anti-Israel activists at SFSU shouted down a talk given by then-Mayor of Jerusalem Nirk Barkat. Disruptors chanted “Intifada,” which stands for violent uprisings that have killed many Israelis and Palestinians.

Campus Reform reached out to the AMED department for comment but received no response in time for publication. 

Campus Reform reached out to Abdulhadi and Dr. Tomomi Kinukawa, who is co-moderating the event. Neither responded in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Justine_Brooke