Urgent Call: Support and attend today’s Online Event with Leila Khaled, Whose...

Urgent Call: Support and attend today’s Online Event with Leila Khaled, Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice, & Resistance

UPDATE: We have become aware that the Zoom registration page is now showing an error message. Please send your error messages to samidoun@samidoun.net. In the meantime, please join the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/754000115385200/ and attend the Facebook Live event, streamed at https://facebook.com/AMEDStudies/

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of justice in Palestine to urgently support the online event, “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice and Resistance: A conversation with Leila Khaled,” featuring Palestinian resistance icon Leila Khaled along with Rula Abu Dahou, Ronnie Kasrils, Sekou Odinga and Laura Whitehorn, all former political prisoners. This Open Classroom event at San Francisco State University, hosted by Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi of AMED Studies and Dr. Tomoni Kimukawa of Women and Gender Studies, has found widespread community support.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network has joined numerous social justice and Palestine support organizations in endorsing and co-sponsoring the event, which has come under severe attack by Zionist, racist and right-wing forces attempting to block any and all communication by a distinguished, widely esteemed symbol of Palestinian resistance. We urge all supporters of Palestine to register for and attend the Zoom webinar: https://sfsu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ycpMqzqcReO3HCQJKShi5g?fbclid=IwAR1UPafxWIyNRC361i0V_RAhScr-DdgFb4fQI2raJDhL1oreMiVNO01o600, join the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/754000115385200/ and attend the Facebook Live event, streamed at https://facebook.com/AMEDStudies/ at 12:30 pm Pacific/3:30 pm Eastern/10:30 pm Palestine time.

Most recently, Zoom has threatened to cancel the event in response to Zionist pressure and dubious legal threats by an array of repressive legal organizations like the “Lawfare Project,” so named for their efforts to engage in “legal warfare” against the Palestinian people and cause. Such threats rely on scare tactics based on U.S. “anti-terror” laws and unilateral coercive measures (sanctions), themselves an unjust foundation for dubious threats.

However, such threats to cancel the event are an attack on Palestinian rights and expression but also a fundamental attack on academic freedom, especially when thousands of academic institutions have moved their classes and programs to Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such threats seem to place Zoom as the arbiter of university content, despite the massive contracts these institutions have with the company.

In response to such threats, the organizers of the event and the professors moderating and leading the open classroom have emphasized the importance of registering for, attending and sharing the event, which remains in place with all registration forms active, and making clear that such attempts at censorship will fail and must not pass.

TAKE ACTION:

1. Register for and attend the event on Zoom: https://sfsu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ycpMqzqcReO3HCQJKShi5g?fbclid=IwAR1UPafxWIyNRC361i0V_RAhScr-DdgFb4fQI2raJDhL1oreMiVNO01o600 on Wednesday, 23 September, 12:30 pm Pacific, 3:30 pm Eastern, 10:30 pm Palestine time.

2. Join the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/754000115385200/ and attend the Facebook Live event, streamed at https://facebook.com/AMEDStudies/ at 12:30 pm Pacific/3:30 pm Eastern/10:30 pm Palestine time.

3. Sign the petition in support of this event: https://www.change.org/p/amed-studies-support-whose-narratives-gender-justice-resistance-a-conversation-with-leila-khaled

4. Join the Support Leila Khaled picture/video campaign – post a 30-second video in any language of yourself supporting the webinar. Answer the question “What Does Leila Khaled mean to you?” or simply state that you support Academic freedom on Palestine with a picture and a sign. Tag AMED Studies on Twitter at @AmedStudies, Instagram at @amedstudies or Facebook at @AMEDStudies and use the hashtags #LeilaKhaled and #TeachingPalestine.

The attack on this online event is organized by an array of right-wing, Zionist and racist forces who have repeatedly tried to silence Leila Khaled when she speaks everywhere in the world, and have attempted continually to shut down Prof. Abdulhadi’s work at SFSU and in the broader academic community, including undermining the AMED Studies program. It has included multiple baseless lawsuits designed to stop and silence Palestinian scholarship through the weight and expense of repeated bogus legal claims designed to harass.

However, the response of SFSU has been weak at best, placing the burden of these attacks, which attempt a massive infringement of academic freedom, on the back of Prof. Abdulhadi and Palestinian students at the university. Indeed, Prof. Abdulhadi launched a discrimination lawsuit against the university for its failure to follow through on multiple contractual commitments to the program and her scholarship. In response to the attacks on the event, SFSU President Lynn Mahoney authored an extremely problematic op-ed in Jweekly, a publication known for running numerous Zionist attacks on Palestinian faculty and students at the university and for campaigning against this event featuring Leila Khaled. In the op-ed, Mahoney notes that the event is a matter of academic freedom, but also conflates Zionism with Judaism, dismisses the concerns of Palestinian students and calls panelists’ speech “abhorrent” and “deeply offensive.”

Participants in the panel, including Laura Whitehorn and Ronnie Kasrils, both Jewish former political prisoners in the U.S. and South Africa respectively and long term fighters for justice and liberation, have spoken out against the attacks from all corners, as well as SFSU’s weak defense and even abandonment of its Palestinian and justice-oriented faculty and students. Palestinian faculty and students  and their supporters have spoken up about the university’s complicity in attacks on their history, identity and existence.

The attempt to shut down this event is part of the ongoing attack to wipe out Palestinian resistance, silence Palestinian speakers – especially those who reflect a history and present of struggle – and tailor Palestinian politics and expression into the most narrow acceptable form, involving normalization with Israeli occupation. It is an attempt to use all means, legal and extralegal, to label Palestinian resistance as “terrorism,” and, by using that label, to criminalize, silence and suppress all who stand with, affirm or represent that current and historic resistance.

Thus, we see not only attempts to exclude Leila Khaled from the European Parliament, shut down even a Zoom event featuring her, deport Rasmea Odeh from Berlin, but also to force the renaming of Palestinian women’s centers and organizations, to strip them of the names of Palestinian women in struggle like Dalal al-Mughrabi or Shadia Abu Ghazaleh.

However, Palestinian women continue to struggle for liberation in all forms, and no Zionist campaigns nor university complicity will silence their movement. It is more critical than ever to stand with Palestinian women, political prisoners in occupied Palestine and around the world, and to uphold the Palestinian resistance in all of its forms. We demand the right to hear from the Palestinian resistance and from those who have made history for the Palestinian people and for the world. 

Once again, we urge all to take the actions above to attend the event on Zoom, share the Facebook event and live video of the event as it happens, join the support campaign for this event. We can and must show that Leila Khaled and those who join her on this panel as distinguished veteran political prisoners are the heroes of all those around the world who stand for social justice and liberation, in Palestine and everywhere around the world.

There is a reason why the image of Leila Khaled is featured in graffiti, t-shirts, art, literature and protest music in Palestine and around the world. It is not simply an aesthetic choice or revolutionary nostalgia – it is because the history and present of Leila Khaled reflect a future of hope for real change and a liberated society. Today, we urge all supporters of Palestine: Stand with Prof. Abdulhadi and the Palestinian students at SFSU. Stand with academic freedom for Palestine. Stand with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance. Stand with Leila Khaled! 

TAKE ACTION:

1. Register for and attend the event on Zoom: https://sfsu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ycpMqzqcReO3HCQJKShi5g?fbclid=IwAR1UPafxWIyNRC361i0V_RAhScr-DdgFb4fQI2raJDhL1oreMiVNO01o600 on Wednesday, 23 September, 12:30 pm Pacific, 3:30 pm Eastern, 10:30 pm Palestine time.

2. Join the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/754000115385200/ and attend the Facebook Live event, streamed at https://facebook.com/AMEDStudies/ at 12:30 pm Pacific/3:30 pm Eastern/10:30 pm Palestine time.

3. Sign the petition in support of this event: https://www.change.org/p/amed-studies-support-whose-narratives-gender-justice-resistance-a-conversation-with-leila-khaled

4. Join the Support Leila Khaled picture/video campaign – post a 30-second video in any language of yourself supporting the webinar. Answer the question “What Does Leila Khaled mean to you?” or simply state that you support Academic freedom on Palestine with a picture and a sign. Tag AMED Studies on Twitter at @AmedStudies, Instagram at @amedstudies or Facebook at @AMEDStudies and use the hashtags #LeilaKhaled and #TeachingPalestine.