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(Washington, D.C., April 16, 2021)

On April 23rd at noon Pacific Time, the University of California Merced will host a Zoom event featuring Ms. Leila Khaled, titled “Free Speech Palestine.” This event is co-sponsored by San Francisco State University’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies (AMED), as well as the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Ms. Khaled is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a classified foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department since 1997. Her name became known to the public due to her role in the hijacking of TWA Flight 840 in 1969. The hijackers mistakenly believed that former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, then the Israeli Ambassador to the US, was on board the plane.

A year later, in 1970, Ms. Khaled attempted to hijack yet another plane. This time it was the Israeli El Al Flight 219. Luckily, this attempt was thwarted by Israeli security. Following this attempt, Ms. Khaled was arrested by British authorities, but was later released in an exchange for hostages.

In mid-September of 2020, Ms. Khaled was scheduled to speak at a Zoom event at San Francisco State University. Due to public pressure, Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook all prevented the conference from taking place on their platforms, citing compliance with U.S. export control, sanctions, and anti-terrorism laws.

EMET now asks you, once again, to use the power of your keyboards and voice. We urge you to email the Chancellor of the University of California Merced, Juan Sánchez Muñoz, at or call the University at (209) 228-4400. Please stress, when contacting the Chancellor, that we cannot allow terrorists and supporters of terrorism into the mainstream society. It is unacceptable to give a public platform to supporters of violence and illegal activities.


Sarah Stern

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The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) is a Washington, D.C. based think tank and policy center with an unabashedly pro-America and pro-Israel stance. EMET (which means truth in Hebrew) prides itself on challenging the falsehoods and misrepresentations that abound in U.S. Middle East policy.

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