Barnard College, a private women’s liberal arts college in New York that partners with Columbia University, is hosting an event on August 2 that features an organization with alleged ties to the Palestinian terror group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
The event, titled “Breaking Bars: Fighting Incarceration from U.S. to Palestine,” features the organization Addameer, which, according to NGO Monitor, has several members who are either currently in Addameer, or were formerly in the organization, that have extensive ties with the PFLP.
For instance, Addameer’s chairperson, Abdul-latif Ghaith, is currently in the midst of an Israeli travel ban due to his PFLP membership. Addameer vice-chairperson Khalida Jarrar was convicted of belonging to the PFLP and calling for violence against Israeli soldiers, serving prison time as a result.
Yacoub Odeh, an Addameer board member, was sentenced to life in prison for his PFLP membership and was only released as part of a prisoner exchange.
Addameer has called attempts to link it to the PFLP part of a “smear” campaign.
Pro-Israel groups on campus are troubled that the event is featuring Addameer.
“It is scary to us as Jews, Israelis and pro-Israel students to know that an undergraduate college within our university allows a recognized terror organization whose goal is to destroy our people’s country to speak on our campus,” Students Supporting Israel at Columbia University said in a Facebook post. “We feel that in providing this group with a platform to speak, Columbia not only allows but also propagates anti-Semitism on its own campus.”
The Lawfare Project warned Barnard College in a letter that the university could face charges of material support for terrorism by hosting an organization that has ties to the PFLP, which the United States has designated as a terror group.
“We value free and open exchange of ideas at all academic institutions, and we firmly believe that people and organizations with diverse viewpoints should be invited,” the letter states. “However, this is a unique situation involving a designated terrorist group, and neither the First Amendment nor the concept of academic freedom legalizes the provision of material support.”
A Barnard College spokesperson told the Algemeiner, “Barnard supports its faculty and students to invite speakers of their choosing to campus to engage in open discussion and debate in an environment free of fear and hate.”
According to Jewish Virtual Library, the PFLP has been involved in various suicide bombings, airplane hijackings and an assassination.