If you work for Justice in Palestine, why won’t you let Palestinians speak?

Until I came to the US last year, I had never met an Israeli, and only one American Jew. As a third generation Palestinian refugee living in a camp in Lebanon, such opportunities did not exist.

Then, when 85-year-old Mariam Fathalla and I came last year to speak throughout the US and Canada about the views of our community in Lebanon, I suddenly met lots of Jews, and a few Israelis, as well.  In fact, it was often Jewish Voice for Peace groups that invited us or were among the co-sponsors of our events, as part of the North America Nakba Tour.  This year I am touring with 84-year-old Khawla Hammad.  Mariam and Khawla are both survivors of the 1948 Nakba (Palestinian genocide).  We are all stateless, without any form of citizenship.

 

We were also invited by a roughly equal number of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) groups on many campuses.  Everywhere we went, our presentation was enthusiastically received and our message welcomed.  We were so pleased that it was such a success, and we made so many friends and allies (even a border officer we met re-entering the US from Canada last weekend).

 

But some refused to hear us, and we didn’t expect otherwise.  The US is known for having some of the strongest Zionist groups and defenders of “Israel”, so we didn’t really expect to go unchallenged.  That’s all right.  They will spread their message and challenge ours, and we will do the same to them.

 

What surprised us, however, was that some…

Read more