Zoom wants to censor Leila Khaled again – join us October 23 to defend academic freedom and Palestinian rights!

Just this afternoon, the webinar organized at the University of Hawai’i for this Friday, October 23, featuring a message from Leila Khaled – part of We Will Not Be Silenced: the National Day of Action Against the Criminalization and Censorship of Campus Speech – was suddenly cancelled, pulled from the Zoom platform after a series of complaints from pro-Zionist, anti-Palestinian organizations.

The university administration has largely been publicly silent, taking no action to defend its faculty’s academic freedom from corporate censorship. When a spokesperson did respond, the university attempted to put the responsibility on an “independent organization,” ignoring that the event is organized by a university group with departmental sponsorship and attempting to disclaim any responsibility to uphold the academic freedom of its faculty and students.

This is exactly why we are calling on anyone with access to a university Zoom account to hold a webinar of your own including a message from Leila Khaled – which we will provide – on October 23, 2020, a National Day of Action Against the Criminalization and Censorship of Campus Speech. 

It’s not too late to hold your own event and join in the campaign. Use the form at the USACBI website or send an email to usacbidayofaction@gmail.com. We will provide you with the video from Leila Khaled and a curriculum to help you plan. (Your event can be small, large or in-between – what matters now is proliferating these events from campus to campus and making our collective stand clear.)

The University of Hawai’i event is one of many being organized this Friday – and these are all going forward with speakers and the message from Leila. Find the list of current events below. We must fight back against corporate silencing of Palestinian voices like those of Leila Khaled as well as against university administrations’ complicity in the violation of the academic freedom of their faculty and students.

Indeed, his national day of action against the criminalization and censorship of campus political speech comes in response to the events of September 23, when corporate tech giants Zoom, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube acted in lockstep with San Francisco State University (SFSU) to shut down an open classroom webinar entitled “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice, & Resistance: A Conversation with Leila Khaled,” co-sponsored by the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies Program and the Department of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University. Before, during, and since this massive, coordinated, electronic de-platforming by these tech giants, SFSU has refused to support the webinar’s organizers, Profs. Rabab Abdulhadi (AMED) and Tomomi Kinukawa (WGS), defend their academic freedom, or provide them with an alternative platform.

Let us be clear — there was and is nothing illegal about hosting a webinar with a Palestinian resistance icon like Leila Khaled. Colonialism, occupation, resistance, popular movements, liberation struggles are all not only legitimate but critically important subjects of academic and scholarly inquiry. Universities are complicit in this censorship, even if the plug is being pulled by huge tech corporations; in fact, they are outsourcing their responsibilities to protect academic freedom to Silicon Valley. This is an attempt to censor the Palestinian liberation struggle, indigenous movements and anti-colonial struggles – but we will not be silenced. 

To sign onto this effort, please write to this email address: usacbidayofaction@gmail.com or use the form at our website.


Your webinar or Zoom event can be any type of gathering: a group meeting, open classroom, full webinar or a discussion session. USACBI will provide you with access to the message from Leila Khaled to include in your session along with a program of your choice. We will also provide a curriculum guide to help you plan your event. It doesn’t matter whether you can reach a small group or hundreds or thousands of attendees – your participation will build an important campus resistance to corporatization, silencing and repression.

List of Events

  • University of Massachusetts – Boston
    Friday, October 23
    11 am – 12 pm Eastern time
    Register online: https://bit.ly/UMB4AF

    • Leila Farsakh, FSJP & Political Science, UMass Boston
    • Issac Kamola, Political Science, Trinity College
    • Andrew Leong, Philosophy, UMass Boston
    • Facilitated by Heike Schotten, FSJP & Political Science
  • New York University
    Friday, October 23
    4:00 pm Eastern time
    To join, enter the following meeting ID into Zoom:
    950 4559 5136

    • Nerdeen Kiswani (CUNY/Within our Lifetime)
    • Fred Moten (NYU)
    • Radhika Sainath (Palestine Legal)
    • moderated by Andrew Ross (NYU/USACBI)
    • (with a message from Leila Khaled)

Censored Events

  • University of Hawa’ii
    Friday, October 23
    3 pm – 4:30 pm Hawai’i time
    Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/1879089668912466/
    Organized by Students and Faculty for Justice in Palestine @UH, KOA Futures, UHM Dept. of Ethnic Studies, Hawai’i Peace and Justice
    Panelists: Kaleikoa Ka’eo (UH Maui) and Ma’an Odah (UHM)

    • Moderator: Joy Enomoto (UHM)

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