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University defends event with speakers who glorify Palestinian terrorism


Daily Caller News Foundation

The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) released a statement Tuesday after concerns were raised about an event being held on campus that features several speakers with a history of glorifying Palestinian terrorism.

The Palestine Writes (PW) Literature Festival will be hosted at the Wolf Humanities Center on Sept. 22-24, and will include speakers who have cheered on the efforts of terrorists associated with Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). UPenn President M. Elizabeth Magill, Provost John L. Jackson, Jr. and Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Steven J. Fluharty published the statement condemning antisemitism after some “deep concerns” were brought up about the event,  but cited the right to free speech under the First Amendment.

“While the Festival will feature more than 100 speakers, many have raised deep concerns about several speakers who have a documented and troubling history of engaging in antisemitism by speaking and acting in ways that denigrate Jewish people,” the statement reads. “We unequivocally — and emphatically — condemn antisemitism as antithetical to our institutional values. As a university, we also fiercely support the free exchange of ideas as central to our educational mission. This includes the expression of views that are controversial and even those that are incompatible with our institutional values.”

One of the speakers for the festival is Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, a professor at the City University of New York, despite his public support of convicted terrorists Rasmea Odeh and Ali Jiddah. Hill was fired from CNN for his comments about the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2018, saying that Palestinians should not be criticized for resisting against Israel, and praised notorious antisemite Louis Farrakhan on Instagram in 2016.

Noura Erakat, an advisory board member for the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights Steering Committee and a professor at Rutgers University, is also set to speak at the event. On April 24, 2020, Erakat spoke on a panel for the Masarat Center’s digital workshop discussing the “annexation government in Israel, Trump’s vision, and the Corona epidemic,” which also featured Hamas senior official Ghazi Hamad, according to a Facebook post.

The event will also feature a panel on deceased PFLP spokesperson Ghassan Kanafani, who was assassinated in 1972 in retaliation for a PFLP attack on Lod Airport, which is now known as Ben Gurion Airport, killing 26 people and injuring 80, according to the website. PW posted on social media April 9 praising Kanafani for his “unparalleled legacy” and claimed that he was “a leading revolutionary, writer, and activist.”

The university’s statement made no mention of these comments or affiliations. The officials noted that the event was not organized by the university, but that staff, students and faculty were listed as sponsors for the event, which is “intended to highlight the importance and cultural impact of Palestinian writers and artists.”

UPenn did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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