There used to be a time when to publicly raise the name Palestine and the Palestinians’ right to their homeland was considered almost taboo. It was all but forbidden in imperialist centers like the United States.
But after the various heroic Intifadas (mass uprisings) that the Palestinians began in the late 1980s up until the current resistance to the heinous brutality of the Zionist settler state of Israel, the world view of the Palestinian struggle has radically and dramatically shifted. Not even the banning of the Palestinian flag by the Israeli government has stopped this growing solidarity.
No longer is it the prevailing view that to protest Israel’s existence is to be anti-Semitic. Being anti-Israel is proudly being anti-Zionist and anti-racist.
Speaking out against Israel, however, still arouses controversy and retaliation. Consider what happened when 24-year-old Yemeni-American graduate student, Fatima Mousa Mohammed gave a powerful, moving talk opposing Israel during the City University of New York (CUNY) Law School commencement May 12.
Mohammed unapologetically spoke out against “Israeli settler colonialism” and how it continues “raining down bullets and bombs on worshippers, murdering the old, the young . . . encouraging lynch mobs” and “expelling Palestinians from their homes.” (tiktok.com/@muslimgirl/video) Many in the audience interrupted her remarks with cheers.
While praising CUNY’s support for the movement to boycott, divest and impose sanctions (BDS) on Israel, she also denounced CUNY’s collaboration with the New York Police Department — which she characterized as “fascist” — and stated “that daily, Brown and Black men are being murdered by the state at Rikers [Island prison].”
Days later, Mohammed’s speech was virulently criticized as “hate speech” and “divisive” by Fox News, the New York Post and even New York Mayor Eric Adams, an advocate of big real estate interests that are gentrifying so much of the city.
Hitting back on June 1, anti-Zionist Jewish students defended Mohammed against racist anti-Arab and misogynistic attacks by disrupting a CUNY Board of Trustees meeting. They stated that Israel has nothing to do with their Jewish identity and that Judaism is being used to justify crimes against the Palestinian people.
The group said that the CUNY Board does not speak in their name, and they want the Board abolished so that CUNY can be run by its workers and students. They promoted #WeStandwithFatima. (mintpressnews.com)
Legendary singer refuses to be silent
Another example of standing up to Israel’s policies occurred when world famous musician, Roger Waters, founder and former member of Pink Floyd, faced repression. The German government recently tried to ban Waters from performing in Frankfurt, due to his outspoken solidarity with the Palestinian people. Fortunately, that ban failed.
The Berlin regime had recently banned demonstrations in Berlin in late April/early May commemorating the 75th anniversary of Nakba, which is what Palestinians call the 1947-48 forced displacement and massacres that led to the establishment of Israel.
After Waters visited the Israeli-occupied territories in 2006 and saw the conditions for Palestinians, he refused to perform in Tel Aviv. Since then, he has denounced Israel as a settler state and a racist apartheid regime. Members of the British Parliament are now attempting to ban Waters from performing in England, falsely labeling him anti-Semitic.
Waters also denounced the murder of prominent Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, killed by an Israeli army sniper in 2022, and also that of Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old woman from Washington state crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer when she tried to stop the uprooting of a Palestinian home in 2003.
In the U.S., Waters has also been an avid supporter of Black Lives Matter, protesting with his music the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Philando Castile.
These two examples of Fatima Mohammed and Roger Waters are just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to the growing numbers of activists and just ordinary people who are speaking out in the streets globally against the horrific treatment of the Palestinian people, who have been fighting to regain their homeland.
The fact that these two outspoken individuals have gained national and international attention will no doubt deepen the condemnation and isolation of the Zionist state and its supporters like U.S. imperialism. This deepening is richly deserved and will eventually help return Palestine to its rightful owners.