Hanan Ashrawi and the Price of Dissent

Linked with Hanan Ashrawi – Palestine, with Israel and Palestine in these times, with Israel and Palestine on my blogs, and with General Union of Palestinian Women GUPW.

Published on Google group soc.culture.israel, by Antony Loewenstein, October 23, 2003.

It’s not easy advocating Palestinian rights. Edward Said frequently commented upon the constant abuse he had received throughout his life. Upon his death, the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) in Australia (related to the Anti-Defamation League ADL in America) renounced Said as ‘anti-American and anti-Semitic’. Supporting Palestinian self-determination, critiquing Israeli Government policy and questioning Zionist history was seemingly enough to incur the wrath of Jewish groups around the world.

Hanan Ashrawi is currently finding herself in similar straits in Australia. The Sydney Peace Foundation, associated with the University of Sydney, recently decided to award Dr Ashrawi its annual peace prize …

… Rawan Abdul-Nabi, writing on the Australian based Palestinian Human Rights Campaign website, said in a powerful editorial recently that the treatment dished out to Ashrawi in Australia fitted a pattern throughout the world. “The Sydney campaign against Dr Ashrawi is part of an ongoing history of attacks against prominent Palestinian spokespeople. Most notably, last year Dr Ashrawi was targeted as a keynote speaker in the US at the Colorado College Symposium titled, ‘September 11 – One Year Later: Responding to Global Challenges’. For weeks prior, a national debate was waged in the media and amongst community groups in an attempt to destroy Ashrawi’s credibility and diminish her ongoing commitment to justice and peace. The Governor of Colorado, Bill Owens and the State’s two Senators succumbed to the pressure and were publicly opposed to Ashrawi’s visit. During her address in Colorado, Ashrawi spoke most eloquently and compellingly, passionately and honestly from a Palestinian and humanist viewpoint, despite the intrusive vocal … (full long text).

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