Not Backing Down

Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech & the Battle for Palestinian Rights was a panel discussion on the backlash against voices speaking out for equality and justice for Palestinian families. The event was held at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in May, 2019. The event was held despite, quite ironically, pressure (including legal efforts) to brand the event as anti-Semitic and shut it down. The program is an exceptionally good way to hear the voices speaking out for equality and justice for all people– Jewish and non-Jewish– living in Israel/Palestine.

Panelists included Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame, Palestinian-American political activist Linda Sarsour, professor and political commentator Marc Lamont Hill who was fired by CNN for pro-Palestinian remarks, and sports writer Dave Zirin who has been called a “self-hating Jew” for his criticisms of Israeli human rights abuses.

The event was exceptionally well attended. Dave Zirin, quoted on Democracy Now, said, “There’s nothing anti-semitic about criticizing the actions of the Israeli state, and it is absurd that I even need to say that that. There’s nothing anti-semitic about this panel or the people on this panel…in fact, the people up here have been on the front lines of fighting anti-semitism…”

Zirin published an article on a Gaza women’s boxing team in The Nation: https://www.thenation.com/article/society/womens-boxing-gaza/

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