Sut Jhally Talks About Blowback Against Upcoming UMass Panel Featuring Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Linda Sarsour, and Other Pro-Palestinian Voices

Sut Jhally

MEF Executive Director Sut Jhally appeared on The Bill Newman Show on WHMP Radio yesterday to discuss our upcoming panel at UMass on the backlash against pro-Palestinian voices.

You can listen to the interview here.

The panel, “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech & the Battle for Palestinian Rights,” will take place at the UMass Fine Arts Center on May 4 at 6:30 p.m. Panelists will include Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, public intellectual and former CNN analyst Marc Lamont Hill, and Nation magazine writer Dave Zirin.

The panel’s primary focus will be the accelerating backlash against Rep. Ilhan Omar and other progressives for speaking out against Israel’s 50-year military occupation of Palestinian land and rejecting the claim that criticizing U.S. support for repressive Israeli government policies is somehow “anti-Semitic.”

During the interview, Jhally talked about how UMass is facing mounting pressure from local and national groups to either cancel or disavow the event. He also commented on the irony of pro-Israel groups trying to shut down an event that will focus on how pro-Israel groups try to shut down debate about Israel.

“We hope people will agree with us that it’s not only legitimate, but necessary, to question U.S. support for Israeli government policies that are denying the Palestinian people their most basic rights,’’ Jhally said after the interview. “And we hope people will join us at the event to hear voices that are too often silenced in the most vicious ways. It’s time to push back hard against the ridiculous idea that you’re somehow anti-Semitic if you speak up for Palestinian rights or question the increasingly right-wing, authoritarian official Israeli line. It should be an interesting evening.”

The event is free but tickets are required. For tickets and more information, go to