Preparations for the literature festival “Palestine Writes” at the U.S. University of Pennsylvania are at good speed in spite of the Israeli lobby’s persistent attempts to hinder its commencement after it was held virtually.
The festival, which will be scheduled to take place from September 22nd to 24th, 2023, will feature several pro-Palestine speakers, including a list of writers, artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, and other intellectuals, devoted to the belief that art challenges occupation repression and creates bonds between Palestine and the rest of the world.
This didn’t come along with the U.S. Zionist lobby. Members of the anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federation tried to halt the festival’s activities and criminalize its organizers by inciting that the event was posing a threat to the Jewish students at the University, falsely labelling it as anti-Semitism in an attempt to silence voices, stifle discourse, and undermine freedom of expression.
In response, the Palestine Writes organizing committee released a letter in early September to the University of Pennsylvania, saying “In fact, it is we who fear for our safety. We are the ones who have been expelled from our homes; our history, and heritage stolen; and our families robbed and shattered all over the world. We are the ones who must contend every day with popular denigration of our personhood in US media and beyond.”
On the opening day of the festival, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, along with journalist Gary Younge and musician Roger Waters will speak about what it means to stand against popular misconceptions in defense of Palestinian humanity and Palestinian rights, the committee reported.
“Palestine Writes” is the only North American literature festival dedicated to celebrating and promoting cultural productions of Palestinian writers and artists from all parts of Historic Palestine and exiled Diaspora together with peers from other marginalized groups in the United States.
Zionist lobbies’ attempts to suffocate Palestinians abroad are on the rise. One of the lobby’s victims was Dr. Rabab Abdul Hadi, whose course highlighting Palestine was cancelled by San Francisco University.
Abdul Hadi faced a wave of smearing and harassment campaigns by the Zionist lobby and received unstoppable threats to undergo disciplinary measures by the university in a bid to pressure her not to teach any courses featuring Palestine, justice and struggle.