Gottheimer introduces bill condemning Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists

A resolution introduced on Tuesday by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) criticizes the Palestinian Authority for payments to terrorists and honors a woman from his district killed in a suicide bombing.

“I think you need to keep a spotlight on this until the Palestinian Authority comes out and renounces martyr payments to terrorists,” Gottheimer told Jewish Insider. “And I just don’t understand why that hasn’t happened. And we need to keep the pressure on to get them to do that.”

Sara Duker, 22, of Teaneck, N.J., was killed in a bus bombing in Jerusalem on February 25, 1996, which also took the lives of 25 other people. Two other Americans were also killed in the attack, and are referenced in the bill, which is cosponsored by Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Max Rose (D-NY).

Gottheimer linked the bill to this week’s divestment referendum at Columbia University. Duker graduated from Barnard College the year before her death.

“The BDS movement, which many, like me, believe is antisemitic, are trying to praise and trying to make it as if the Palestinian Authority is being attacked,” he said. “But actually the Palestinian Authority is the one that continues, as we see in this case, to reward terrorists with payments.”

Gottheimer said he sees a “double standard” at play in this incident and other scenarios involving the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which he said turns “a complete blind eye on rewarding terrorists.”

“The reality is there’s still so much that we must stand up to when it comes to the [Palestinian Authority],” he continued, “and this is just an example of that.”

The resolution calls on the international community to condemn Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists and reaffirms the penalties for such activity as laid out in the Taylor Force Act.

“I think you’ve got to continue to shine a spotlight on the behavior,” Gottheimer said. “And the fact that this individual, this terrorist who killed Sarah Duker — the family’s still getting money every single month while in jail because of the pay schedule. I don’t think people realize that.”

Zoom rejects San Francisco State University event featuring Leila Khaled

Zoom has denied its services to San Francisco State University for a university-sponsored event scheduled for Wednesday featuring Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled.

The event, titled “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice & Resistance,” was cosponsored by the university’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies Program and the Women and Gender Studies Department. The webinar listed SFSU professors Rabab Abdulhadi and Tomomi Kinukawa as the moderators.

Khaled was involved in two plane hijackings in 1969 and 1970 as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated by the U.S. and several other Western counties, as well as the European Union, as a terrorist organization. She was arrested in London after the second hijacking, but was released by U.K. officials in exchange for hostages taken in a similar plane hijacking.

A statement provided by Zoom to the Lawfare Project, which had warned the technology company and the university that by hosting Khaled they may violate a federal law prohibiting assisting foreign terrorist organizations, read: 

“Zoom is committed to supporting the open exchange of ideas and conversations, subject to certain limitations contained in our Terms of Service, including those related to user compliance with applicable U.S. export control, sanctions, and anti-terrorism laws. In light of the speaker’s reported affiliation or membership in a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization, and SFSU’s inability to confirm otherwise, we determined the meeting is in violation of Zoom’s Terms of Service and told SFSU they may not use Zoom for this particular event.”

The announcement comes 18 months after SFSU settled a claim filed by the Lawfare Project alleging discrimination against two students.

Benjamin Ryberg, COO and director of research at The Lawfare Project, told JI that Zoom deserves some credit for its decision. “We applaud Zoom for enforcing its own terms of service and complying with U.S. law, which clearly prohibits the provision of technological services to members of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.”