Wednesday, October 24, 2007


UC Berkeley sinks to a new low: Leila Khaled
By Lee Kaplan

A day after Nonie Darwish spoke amidst constant interruptions and jeers at UC Berkeley about the subjugation of women in the Arab-Muslim world for the start of Islamo-fascism Awareness Week, another event was presented on the San Francicsco Bay Area campus the very next day that received no critical attention from the mainstream media.

The following announcement was put out with the cooperation of the University of California, a taxpayer-supported state institution:

Women, Resistance, and Political Participation
Film Screening of Leila Khaled: Hijacker and Panel Discussion
Tuesday, October 23, 7pm
10 Evens Hall, UC Berkeley

Sunbula: Arab Feminists for Change invites you to a film screening of Leila Khaled: Hijacker by Lina Makboul. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion of women, resistance, and political participation in the context of liberation struggles. The panel will include Professor Nada Elia, Katrina Socco, Bay Area Coordinator of the Gabriela Network and Lena Meari. Sunbula is a Bay Area grassroots organization of radical Arab feminists working for equality, social change and gender justice. Affirming the diverse experiences of Arab and Arab-American women, the members of Sunbula seek to dismantle all forms of oppression by promoting awareness of women's issues. Visit

Co-presented with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of California,
Berkeley, and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC).

Who is Leila Khaled?

In September, 1970, Leila Khaled, a member of the “Che Guevara Commando Unit” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine took part in hijacking four commercial airliners over Europe (ever wonder where Osama bin Laden may have gotten his ideas for planning multiple airline hijackings on 9/11?).

Khaled had actually been involved in another hijacking just a year earlier of an airplane on a flight from Rome to Athens that was supposed to have then Israeli Ambassador to the US Yitzhak Rabin on board, but when it was learned the future Israeli Prime Minister was not on the aircraft, it was flown to Damascus and blown up while Khaled was allowed to go free. Only a year later she would repeat her tactics.

Already dubbed the “first woman terrorist hijacker,” Khaled and her team then hijacked a TWA Boeing 747 from Frankfurt that was bound for New York, a Swissair Douglas DC-8 departing from Zurich, a Pan Am Boeing 747, and an El Al Boeing 707 all at the same time. Khaled was on board and in charge of the El Al flight hijacking that just left Amsterdam when an Israeli security agent shot and killed her American co-hijacker, Patrick Arguello, and retook control of the airplane. Kahled, who was armed with pistols and a hand grenade, was also wounded. The plane was forced to land at Heathrow Airport where Khaled was arrested by British authorities. As she was taken off the airplane on a stretcher she screamed, “Palestine! Palestine!”

The PFLP sent an ultimatum to the United Kingdom, West Germany and Switzerland to release all Palestinian and Baader-Meinhoff gang prisoners held for terrorism in Europe. 251 men, women and children, many of them Americans, were then held hostage in Amman by the PFLP. After six days, the PFLP got a notice that the terrorists were released, including Khaled, but in despite of that, the passengers still remaining on the aircraft were evacuated to Amman and the 3 aircraft were blown up. Fortunately, none of the passengers died.

Khaled has been a revolutionary superstar amongst the Palestinians and communist revolutionaries ever since then. She allegedly is under “house arrest” in Jordan, but speaks frequently in support of terrorist activities and is still a member of the Palestine National Council.

The organizers of the event at UC Berkeley, Sunbula, a.k.a. Arab Feminists for Change, list as their mission statement that it is an “organization of radical Arab feminists working for equality, social change and gender justice. Affirming the diverse experiences of Arab and Arab-American women, the members of Sunbula seek to dismantle all forms of oppression by promoting awareness of women's issues.” The film and panel event about Khaled on the Cal campus was not to condemn what she did in any way, but to laud it as an achievement by an Arab woman who could show she could be just as much a terrorist as any man.

The key panelist was Nada Elia, a member of the (National Women’s Studies Association) and professor at Antioch University in Washington State. She is co-founder of RAWAN (the Radical Arab Women’s Activist Network) and did her undergraduate work at Beirut University College, then earned her M.A. at the American University of Beirut and a Ph.D in Comparative Literature at Purdue. RAWAN claims it is a “peace” group but calls for the eradication of Israel “from the river to the sea” and declares American military actions after the attacks on 9/11 as without justification.

One of her co-panelists is Katrina Socco of the Gabriela Network (Grabnet) , a Marixst Filipina organization that affiliates with International Answer and United For Peace and Justice (US Communist Party). Some of Grabnet’s members are on a terrorism watch list used by the Phillipine government for potential links to al Qaeda (The Phillipines are currently battling Abu Sayyaf, a wing of al Qaeda and Grabnet calls for the withdrawal of US forces in the Phillipines fighting Abu Sayyaf). Lean Meari, an anthropology PhD candidate from UC Davis who writes about suppression of Palestinian women, rounds out the panel. All three panelists only support women’s rights in terms of how they can be applied to making revolution.

Students of history know that The Muslim Brotherhood that metastasized into al Qaeda began on the University campuses of Egypt and the Middle East. Hamas , the Muslim Brotherhood in the Holy Land, grew on the university and college campuses built by the Israelis for the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza. Now California taxpayers are funding an event and allowing space to what is in fact an ally of al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups at one of our major universities.

For UC Berkeley to have hosted an event praising a terrorist because she is an example of the capabilities of any woman to “make revolution” every bit as good as a man is disgraceful. The Khaled event needs to be seen for what it was: little more than a propaganda screed in praise of “resistance” and in support of terrorism against America, Israel and the West. At the same time, the Cal administration giving a pass to the disruption and threats against another Arab woman, Nonie Darwish, who spoke out against persecution of Arab women in the Middle East and against terrorism should give the California taxpayers pause as to where their tax dollars are going in what is supposed to be support of higher education.
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