Voices of the Palestinian Diaspora: Ramzy Baroud and Rima Najjar on Identity and Resistance

An activist holds up a Palestinian flag at a protest outside the White House during Donald Trump's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)An activist holds up a Palestinian flag at a protest outside the White House during Donald Trump’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

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Uprooted from their native dwellings, loved ones and joint heritage, Palestinians have embraced a steadfastness (sumud) that has been one of the principles of their struggle for justice.

For over 69 years since the inception of Israel, the Palestinian identity has undergone systematic division and abuse. Its endurance is a testament to the inextricable nature of a collective ethos from the human psyche.

Nonetheless, members of the diaspora are indispensable to the collective struggle for Palestinian self-determination and against Israeli oppression. They function as crucial intermediaries between Palestinians within Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and the outside world, lobby for support and against discriminatory policies at their locales, actively engage in the media battle for accurate reporting and against propaganda, and facilitate campaigns, such as the ones spearheaded by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Two prominent Palestinians of the diaspora are journalist and book author Ramzy Baroud and retired English literature professor Rima Najjar. Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for more than 20 years, authoring several books on Palestine. Najjar has written an extended essay about returning to work in Palestine, following an exile from the West Bank and a period of living in the US.

In this interview, Baroud and Najjar discuss Palestinian identity, society, roots and resistance.

Yoav Litvin: Ramzy, you are a Palestinian-American and Muslim man originally from the Gaza Strip in Palestine. Please…

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