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Criminalizing Dissent: The Attack on BDS & American Democracy
November 12, 2019 @ 6:30 pm
“Criminalizing Dissent: The Attack on BDS & American Democracy” will address accelerating efforts by U.S. political leaders, pro-Israel lobbying groups, and college and university administrators to silence, smear, and criminalize supporters of BDS, a nonviolent movement that aims to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing human rights abuses and its illegal 50-year occupation of Palestinian land.
Topics will include the recent bipartisan vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to condemn BDS, and a new U.S. Department of Education policy that threatens to withdraw federal funding from institutions that allow pro-Palestinian speech critical of Israeli policy.
The panel, which is being organized by the Northampton-based Media Education Foundation (MEF) and the UMass Resistance Studies Initiative, will serve as a follow-up to MEF’s recent panel “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech & the Palestinian Rights,” which drew a capacity crowd at the Fine Arts Center and inspired a fierce political and legal backlash from right-wing groups.
Panelists will include: Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and the author of over 20 books; journalist and activist Shaun King, CEO and Founder of The North Star, Writer-In-Residence at Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project, and one of the leading voices of the Black Lives Matter movement; anti-racism educator and activist Tim Wise, the bestselling author of numerous books on white privilege and the politics of racial scapegoating and a frequent guest on CNN and MSNBC; Dima Khalidi, the founder and director of Palestine Legal, which works to protect people speaking out for Palestinian rights from attacks on their civil and constitutional rights; and BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti, who was recently banned from entering the U.S. by the Trump administration. Barghouti will join the panel via Skype from Israel.
The panel will be moderated by Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, a co-founder of MPower Change and former co-chair of the Women’s March, who was recently targeted by a private Israeli intelligence firm as part of a coordinated, U.S.-based campaign to stop her from speaking out against Israeli policies on American college campuses.
The event will also feature video messages of support from legendary civil rights activist Angela Davis and Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters.
This event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets are available through the FAC Box Office during business hours (Monday-Friday, 10am to 6pm; 413-545-2511 or 800-999-UMAS) and online anytime at fineartscenter.com. Tickets are limited to 2 per person and guarantee admission until 11/12/19 at 6:15pm. At that time, any empty seats that remain may be filled by those without a pre-reserved ticket.
Please note: Opinions expressed by the speakers at this event are their own, and not of those of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.