Electrifying Event on Backlash Against Pro-Palestinian Voices Now Streaming Online!
We’re thrilled to let you know that “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech & the Battle for Palestinian Rights,” the electrifying event that faced fierce right-wing resistance and made international headlines, is now streaming online!
The event, which focused on the increasingly vitriolic backlash against pro-Palestinian voices, was held at the UMass-Amherst Fine Arts Center on May 4 in front of a capacity crowd of 1,600 people despite an aggressive political and legal effort by right-wing groups to brand it as anti-Semitic and shut it down.
We’ve launched a new website at NotBackingDownUmass.org featuring the full program, event highlights, and media coverage of the intense blowback the panel generated.
Over the course of two-plus hours and multiple standing ovations, a roster of prominent advocates for Palestinian rights who have themselves been repeatedly vilified by right-wing pro-Israel pressure groups pushed back against accelerating efforts to silence and smear Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and other pro-Palestinian voices.
Speakers and panelists included legendary rocker Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame, who has been called “anti-Semitic” for criticizing Israel’s human rights abuses and supporting a cultural boycott of Israel; renowned Palestinian-American political activist Linda Sarsour, who was recently targeted by a private Israeli intelligence firm as part of a coordinated U.S. campaign to prevent her from speaking out against Israeli policies on American college campuses; Temple University professor and political commentator Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired earlier this year by CNN for remarks he made in support of Palestinian rights; and Nation magazine sports editor and author Dave Zirin, a frequent contributor to MSNBC and ESPN who has been called a “self-hating Jew” for his criticisms of Israeli human rights abuses.
The panel was moderated by journalist and historian Vijay Prashad, the author or editor of over 30 books, including Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation. MEF Executive Director and UMass professor Sut Jhally, who spearheaded the event, provided an introduction. And legendary civil rights activist Angela Davis welcomed the capacity crowd via video.