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Victims Slam San Francisco State University For Hosting A Palestinian Terrorist

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San Francisco State University invited a Palestinian terrorist, Leila Khaled, responsible for two plane hijackings to speak at an event later this month. The public university has defended its decision despite the mounting backlash, but a number of Khaled’s victims are condemning SFSU’s doubling down.

Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), took part in two plane hijackings. One in 1969, when her team of terrorists diverted TWA Flight 840 from Rome to Tel Aviv to Damascus, Syria. And the other, in 1970, when she attempted to hijack El Al flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York City in a series of simultaneous hijackings dubbed “Black September.”

PFLP is a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. The U.S. Department of State didn’t immediately respond to this reporter’s request for comment. The story will be updated if a statement is received.

Rodney Khazzam survived the El Al hijacking and described the horrifying event to Israellycool’s David Lange in an interview this week.

“I do have memories of a lot of chaos,” Khazzam, who was 4-years-old during the attack, told Lange. “I remember, you know, gunshots on the flight because one of the flight attendants was actually shot I believe by Leila Khaled’s partner. I remember another gunshot when the marshals finally were able to subdue Leila Khaled, and in the end, kill her partner on board the flight. I remember people screaming when Leila Khaled tossed a grenade as a last attempt to do something horrible to us when she realized she was being captured… Yeah, It was pretty frightening.”

Khazzam added that the flight’s pilot took swift action by nosediving the plane, which he said saved lives that day by throwing off the terrorists. Khaled also attempted to detonate a grenade but was unsuccessful.

Khazzam described the traumatic event, “We were all huddled on the floor, people screaming and I remember my father holding my sister and I and my mother right next to us, who happened to be pregnant at the time, and basically saying ‘I think this is the end for us, thank God we’re all together. Don’t be afraid, we’re all together.'”

“I’ve heard of peaceful protests, but a peaceful hijacking sounds ridiculous to me.”

Moshe Raab was also a victim of the PFLP’s “Black September” hijackings. He wrote in an op-ed for the Jewish Telegraph Agency this week of the attack.

“Imagine the horror and disgust that I, my family and other hijack victims experienced when we read that Leila Khaled, one of the hijackers directly involved in the 1970 attacks, had been invited by San Francisco State University to address a forum on Gender, Justice and Resistance,” Raab wrote.

He added, “Had Khaled ever apologized for her role in the hijackings or taken steps to show that she is committed to nonviolent efforts to achieve her desired end, I would not object to her speaking at San Francisco State. People who genuinely learn often make the best teachers. But even after 50 years, Khaled has never expressed remorse or disavowed her actions or those of her comrades.”

The upcoming event, “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice, & Resistance: A conversation with Leila Khaled,” will be hosted by the University’s university’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies program, which defends Khaled and even presents her as a victim “who has been maligned.”

The Department’s Director Rabab Abdulhadi didn’t immediately respond when asked by this reporter if Khaled was paid to speak. The story will be updated if that information is received.

“Khaled has been maligned and labeled as a terrorist to discredit the struggle for justice for all to which she belongs,” the event page states. “Khaled was also subjected to Orientalist, Islamophobic and colonialist depictions that fail to even contemplate that Arab, Muslim and Palestinian women can and do speak for themselves, think critically and lead movements. By contrast, generations of Palestinian (and non-Palestinian) intellectuals, militants and peace and justice activists see Khaled as a feminist icon and a role model to be emulated.

The school, which is federally funded and received over $28 million from the CARES Act, as reported by StopAntisemitism.org, is backing Khaled’s speech as well.

In a statement to SaraACarter.com, StopAntisemitism.org’s Director Lior Rez said her organization is “horrified” by SFSU’s decision to allow “a convicted terrorist that hijacked TWO separate planes (one of which a flight attendant was shot) to address their students under the disguise of free speech.”

The University’s President, even after receiving letters from victim Rodney Khazzam and others, still defends Khaled’s appearance.

Let me be clear: I condemn the glorification of terrorism and use of violence against unarmed civilians,” SFSU President Lynn Mahoney wrote in The Jewish News. “I strongly condemn antisemitism and other hateful ideologies that marginalize people based on their identities, origins or beliefs. At the same time, I represent a public university, which is committed to academic freedom and the ability of faculty to conduct their teaching and scholarship without censorship.”

“Embracing these core principles — freedom of expression, freedom from censorship and a university as an inclusive and welcoming environment — serves as the foundation of a strong higher education that develops critical thinking; they need not be mutually exclusive. Embracing hard-to-reconcile complexities and rejecting binary thinking are the hallmarks of a quality educational experience.”

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China Expands Charm Offensive in Southeast Asia to Squeeze out U.S.

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Similar to what is happening in the Pacific, the US is facing a significant uphill battle to balance China’s rise in Southeast Asia. During the recent G20 and ASEAN summits in Indonesia and Cambodia, the Chinese Community Party (CCP) media upped its propaganda war against the United States over Southeast Asia. Outlets like Global Times and Xinhua claim that China’s interests in Southeast Asia are focused on mutual benefits, while the US is a malicious force in the region. The CCP press also claims that China is generously giving robust and purposeful aid to the Southeast Asian countries, while the US is neglecting them.

Claim #1: China’s Interest in Southeast Asia is Peaceful and Mutually Beneficial

China’s approach to Southeast Asia is benevolent and focused on mutual benefits, according to the CCP-run press. “China’s goal is to achieve a truly prosperous and peaceful ASEAN,” and “doesn’t interfere in ASEAN members’ internal affairs,” according to Global Times. “China focuses on pragmatic issues, such as promoting infrastructure construction, living standards, which are needed in those countries,” and “China is seeking a cooperative path toward common development,” according to another Global Times article. That same article quoted Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as stating that China and the ASEAN countries “are good neighbors who will always be there for each other…”

One country that is particularly thankful for growing Chinese influence, according to the CCP press, is Indonesia. Indonesians want China to “lead…the world to a more peaceful and prosperous future,” and view Chinese President Xi Jinping “with an apparent sense of affability and affection,” according to Global Times. Marzuki Alie, former speaker of the People’s Representative Council of Indonesia, praised China as “becom[ing] essential in improving global governance,” and that “the visionary concept of building a human community with a shared future proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping shows China is willing to work with other countries to create a peaceful and secure world with openness and inclusiveness,” according to Xinhua. And perhaps the most perplexing aspect of China’s “benevolence” in Indonesia is the “Peace Ark” – a hospital ship that has recently docked in Indonesia, but that is also a navy ship run by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), according to Global Times.

Malaysia has a favorable view of China as well, according to the CCP press. Koh King Kee, president of Center for New Inclusive Asia, a Malaysian think tank, stated that “China is the backbone of the global supply chain and acts as a ballast stone of the global economy in times of uncertainty,” according to Xinhua.

And in response to US concerns over rising Chinese influence in Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian dismisses the base as not targeting any third party, according to Global Times. Cambodia’s Minister of National Defense Tea Banh further claimed that the Chinese involvement in that base is benevolent, stating that the base helps Cambodia “in cooperating with friendly countries and help[ing to] maintain regional peace, stability and prosperity,” according to that same article.

Claim #2: The US’ Interest in Southeast Asia is Manipulative, Malevolent

In contrast to China’s benevolence, the United States “only wants [ASEAN] to serve as its pawn to counter China, and to fulfill its own hegemony goal, according to Global Times. At the G20 conference in Bali, the US takes a “hegemonic, unilateral and protectionist approach,” and “is preaching war and confrontation,” according to that same article.

The US and the West are merely using the G20 summit in Bali “to advance their own geopolitical agenda against Russia, therefore preventing the crucial meeting from tackling serious economic issues,” according to another Global Times article. “Such a geopolitical focus “will worsen this uncertain and unstable world,” according to Veronika S. Saraswati, China Study Unit Convener at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies Indonesia.

According to another Global Times article, the US is using ASEAN “to drive a wedge between China and Southeast Asian nations in the future,” is attempting to “rope in the region via political, security, and value-oriented agendas,” and is trying “to buy off” Southeast Asian countries “by pledging to spend certain amount[s] of money.”

Claim #3: China gives Robust, Targeted Aid to Southeast Asia

CCP media taunts the extensive aid that China is giving to Southeast Asian countries. China has pledged $1.5 billion in “development assistance” to ASEAN countries in November 2021, and Chinese-ASEAN trade was about $878 billion in 2021, according to Global Times. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang claims that of the 160 “cooperation initiatives” that China has suggested with the ASEAN countries in the previous 10 years, over 99.5 percent of them have been implemented, as reported by another Global Times article.

Li also stated that China is planning to build emergency storage for medical supplies and rise within the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) framework, according to Global Times.

Chinese state-run media is particularly touting China’s Belt and Road investments in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Laos. According to Global Times, the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway will be operational in June 2023, and as a “flagship project of China-Indonesia cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative,” will be the first high speed train in Southeast Asia, according to Xinhua. China’s ambassador to Indonesia praised the project, claiming that the railway “will greatly reduce traffic jams, make travel more convenient for local people, improve local investment environment, boost businesses and tourism along the route, and accelerate the building of a high speed railway economic corridor.” The ambassador also mentioned that existing Belt and Road initiatives with Indonesia like the Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park and the PT Virtue Dragon Nickel Industry Park, “have generated tax incomes, job opportunities and foreign exchange earnings, and provided Indonesia with opportunities for greater participation in global industrial chains of stainless steel and new energy.”

Meanwhile, Global Times asserts that the China-Laos Railway has generated at least $1.7 billion in trade and has transported almost 10 million tons of goods.

Claim #4: US Investment Lags Behind China

On the other hand, the CCP media claims that the US is lagging far behind Chinese investments in Southeast Asia. President Biden’s newly announced “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” with the ASEAN countries “…looks more like a symbolic act. The US is playing the catch-up game with China,” according to Koh King Kee, president of a Malaysian think tank, according to Global Times.

US and ASEAN trade, at $441 million in 2021, was almost half that of Chinese investment for that same time, according to Global Times. President Biden pledged to ask Congress for $850 million in aid for electric vehicles and clean energy to ASEAN countries, but this amount is “symbolic” and a “mere ‘drop in the bucket’,” according to Global Times. In May, Biden “announced a $150 million development and security package” for the ASEAN countries according to that same article, which pales in comparison to the amounts in aid that China claims it is giving those same countries.

According to Global Times, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang mentioned that US investment in ASEAN is “a drop in the bucket if compared to US support for Ukraine” during the Biden administration, which Global Times claims is “over $18.9 billion in security assistance.”

Conclusion

CCP media is waging a charm offensive targeting Southeast Asia. While China is investing heavily in these countries, the US has yet to devise a credible counter to such influence.

You can follow Steve Postal on @HebraicMosaic 

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