Alternatively, what happens when your anti-colonialist movement is the Klan.
The PFLP and its terrorist imagery is a staple of Students for Justice in Palestine propaganda. But in the era of safe spaces and trigger warnings, San Diego State University’s Women Resource Center had no problem with a flyer promoting terrorism and violence against Jews.
On May 8, the Women’s Resource Center at San Diego State University sent out a newsletter featuring announcements for lectures, courses from the Women’s Studies Department, and other items of interest. But at the bottom of the email, a student inserted a poster-like image of woman with a gun and the language “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.”
Coming on the heels of the Poway shooting, the inclusion of this image seems especially shocking. But how are we to respond to a glorification of violence in a university-sanctioned newsletter?
As I’ve frequently, and publicly, affirmed the importance of the First Amendment, banning such images is not an option, no matter how offensive. Instead, let’s unpack this image’s content.
First, the woman holding the AK-47 is Leilah Khaled, the world’s first female airplane hijacker. She belongs to a group called the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine, (PFLP) which from the late 1960s has engaged in various forms of terrorist violence, the most recent being a drive-by shooting in June 2015 that killed one person and injured three others. Khaled participated in two hijackings in 1969 and 1970.
The op-ed notes that…
, J. Luke Wood, the Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion (SDSU likes long titles for their administrators) sprang into action. He had the WRC take down the newsletter and issue an apology. He has also spoken to several local rabbis, and has promised further action over the summer. On the other hand, President Adela de la Torre has so far remained silent, even though she responded very quickly after similar racist incidents in the recent past.
There’s a lot of talk lately about anti-Semitism and what it means. My acid test has always been simple.
If you promote the murder of Jews. That’s anti-Semitism.
And that’s what this flyer does.