(December 20, 2020 / Jewish Journal) The news outlet Axios has faced criticism for referring to Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist Leila Khaled as a “Palestinian activist” in a recent article.
The article, titled “Zoom faces its content moderation moment,” discusses the video conferencing platform’s efforts in developing guidelines for how to handle content on its platform. The article references how in September, Zoom deplatformed a San Francisco State University event featuring Khaled.
“Zoom decided not to host a San Francisco State University event featuring Palestinian activist Leila Khaled, who had taken part in two plane hijackings,” the section reads.
Shelby Talcott, a reporter for the conservative website Daily Caller, first noted the description of Khaled, tweeting, “Ah, yes. The ‘Palestinian activist’ who hijacked a plane with hand grenades and a pistol for the designated terrorist organization PFLP. … And then had multiple cosmetic surgeries so she could do it again.” She noted in a subsequent tweet that the Axios article doesn’t mention the PFLP at all.
The American Jewish Committee similarly tweeted, “There is a word for someone who has ‘taken part’ in two plane hijackings. That word is not ‘activist.’ Leila Khaled is a terrorist, a member of the PFLP, designated as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and the [European Union]. Fix this.”
The Stop Antisemitism.org watchdog also tweeted, “Leila Khaled hijacked TWO airplanes. A flight attendant was shot on one of them. She is a convicted terrorist not an activist.”
Axios and Ashley Gold, the reporter who wrote the article, did not respond to the Jewish Journal’s requests for comment.
In September, Zoom announced that they would not host the Khaled event because her involvement with the PFLP violated Zoom’s terms of service. Khaled had been scheduled to appear on a panel with Rula Abu Dahou, acting director of the Institute for Women’s Studies at Birzeit University in the West Bank, South African politician Ronnie Kasrils, former Black Liberation Army member Sekou Odinga and Jewish Voice for Peace member Laura Whitehorn. San Francisco State University professors Rabab Abdulhadi and Tomomi Kinukawa had been set to co-moderate the panel and the event.
Khaled, now 76, participated in the hijacking of two commercial airliners, in 1969 and 1970.
This article was first published by the Jewish Journal.
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