Two resolutions designed to crack down on pro-Palestine activism at Butler University failed to pass the Student Government Association.
Fallout continues over Zoom’s censorship of a San Francisco State University academic forum featuring Leila Khaled. “Zoom should not be allowed to interfere with nor have any power over the content of our curriculum and classrooms,” Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi tells Mondoweiss.
If digital platforms continue to have the power to dictate the terms of the conversation we can only expect a further restriction of what Palestinian scholar Edward Said called “permission to narrate”. As Palestinian feminists, we know the stakes of this moment all too well.
For the last couple years, we’ve heard a lot about the perils of “Cancel Culture” and the free speech crisis that has plagued our universities, but it’s very clear that this alleged problem only applies to certain viewpoints. The people who push these narratives don’t care if Palestinians or advocates for Palestine are literally silenced.
Three tech giants censored an online class featuring Palestinian, Black, Jewish and South African activists at San Francisco State University, after pro-Israel advocacy groups complained. “This is a dangerous attack on free speech and academic freedom from Big Tech: Zoom cannot claim veto power over the content of our nation’s classrooms and public events,” said Dima Khalidi, director of Palestine Legal. “The threat to democracy is elevated by the fact that Zoom’s decision to stamp out discussion of Palestinian freedom comes in response to a systematic repression campaign driven by the Israeli government and its allies.”
Zoom has announced that it will deny its services to San Francisco State University today and block an online panel featuring Leila Khaled from happening with its software. Pro-Israel groups, including the Act.IL app which is partially funded by the Israeli government, are taking credit for helping cancel the event.