A program scheduled at the University of British Columbia on Dec. 2, which was to include a talk by a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the airing of a movie that glorified a convicted terrorist, has been postponed, according to a university spokesman.
Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs, said “at this time, the event in question is postponed pending a safety and security review in accordance with university procedure.”
The event was titled “Fedayin: Georges Abdallah Film Screening,” which organizers say “chronicles the course of a Lebanese Communist imprisoned in 1984 for his involvement in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine and Lebanon from Zionist occupation.”
It was being sponsored by the Palestinian Youth Movement, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights UBC and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, and was to include a talk by Khaled Barakat, who has been named as part of the leadership of the PFLP abroad.
While the movie seeks to paint Abdallah as a political prisoner, he is a convicted terrorist who was found guilty of murdering Lt. Col. Charles R. Ray, a U.S. military attaché in Paris, and Yacov Barsimantov, an Israeli diplomat in 1982.
The decision to postpone the event came amid an outcry by Jewish groups, which noted that the PFLP is a designated terror group in both Canada and the United States.
“The PFLP is responsible for terror attacks that resulted in the murder of countless civilians, including a massacre at an Israeli airport where a Canadian citizen was murdered. Therefore, we thank UBC’s administration for intervening and postponing the event,” said Steven Greenwood, executive director StandWithUs Canada. “It is unfathomable that any student organization would host an event that glorifies terrorism featuring members of a Canadian and American federally recognized terrorist organization and invite them to set foot on UBC grounds where Jews and Israelis who are Canadian citizens attend.
“We expect that UBC’s administration will prioritize the safety and security of its students, hold the organizers of this despicable event accountable, and protect and support UBC’s Jewish and Israeli community,” it said.
Marty York, a spokesperson for B’nai Brith Canada, said: “We have been informed that this event has been postponed. We will continue to work on this issue until we have been ensured that this terror-glorifying event has been permanently canceled.”
B’nai Brith Canada noted it’s not the first time that the university has hosted a program with a PFLP member. It said that in 2013, a recognized club on campus hosted a Skype program with Leila Khaled, who in 1969 hijacked a plane en route to Israel.