The Legal Assault on Palestinian Rights Activism

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Friday, 21 November, 2014 - 14:00
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English
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About the speakers: 

Michele Esporsito is the former Executive Director of the Institute for Palestine Studies USA

 

Rashid Khalidi is the Editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies and the Edward Said Professor at Columbia University

 

Andrew Dalack is a co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild's Palestine Subcommittee

 

Dima Khalidi is the founder and director of Palestine Legal and Cooperating Counsel wi...read more

About the event: 

As the movement for Palestinian rights grows in size and diversity in the US, individuals speaking out against Israeli human rights violations and American involvement in Israel’s discriminatory policies are increasingly facing intense backlash, smear campaigns, threats to their employment and reputation, legal bullying, censorship and punishment. The panelists discuss the criminalization of Palestinian advocacy and the targeting of individual Palestine activists for surveillance, investigation, and criminal prosecution, referencing the cases against longtime Chicago activist Rasmea Odeh, the so-called Holy Land Five (Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mufid Abdulqader, Abdulrahman Odeh, and Mohammad El-Mezain), and former University of South Florida Professor Sami al-Arian.

On November 21, 2014, the Institute for Palestine Studies held a panel discussion titled “The Legal Assault on Palestinian Rights Activism.”

The panel was moderated by Journal of Palestine Studies editor Rashid I. Khalidi and featured civil rights attorneys Andrew Dalack, Dima Khalidi and Yaman Salahi and Professor Steven Salaita, whose recent firing by the University of Illinois has drawn increased attention to the aggressive silencing of pro-Palestinian voices in the US.

The panelists discussed the criminalization of Palestinian advocacy and the targeting of individual Palestinian rights activists for surveillance, investigation, and criminal prosecution, referencing the cases against longtime Chicago activist Rasmea Odeh, the so-called Holy Land Five (Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mufid Abdulqader, Abdulrahman Odeh, and Mohammad El-Mezain), and former University of South Florida Professor Sami al-Arian.

The panelists also discussed the campus politics surrounding student activism whereby pro-Israel groups apply pressure to university administrations to silence or hinder pro-Palestinian activism through accusations of anti-Semitism and even threatening legal action for alleged ties to terrorism. Even though such efforts are ultimately unsuccessful, they may have a chilling effect on students. Panelists also discussed way to counter such efforts and support pro-Palestinian activism on university campuses.