[News] Palestinian American Women’s Association pulls out of Women’s March LA

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jan 19 14:33:07 EST 2018


*Palestinian American Women’s Association pulls out of Women’s March LA*

January 19, 2018 - by rashadstan - 
https://happyarab.blog/2018/01/19/palestinian-american-womens-association-pulls-out-of-womens-march-la/

In a statement issued on its Facebook page, the Palestinian American 
Women’s Association announced that it is boycotting this Saturday’s 
Women’s March in Los Angeles. The announcement came after actress 
Scarlett Johansson was confirmed to speak at the march.

Johansson was a spokesmodel for SodaStream, an Israeli company that 
manufactures home fizzy drink machines in an illegal Israeli settlement, 
built on land from which Palestinian Jahalin Bedouins 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/jahalin-bedouin> were forcibly 
expelled.

Here’s PAWA’s full statement:

    When the Palestinian American Women’s Association (PAWA) was
    approached by the Women’s March Los Angeles Foundation to
    participate in this Saturday’s anniversary event, the invitation to
    include a Palestinian women’s organization was a welcomed step
    toward building a more aware and intersectional movement. Its
    organizers label the march as “Pro Peace, Pro Inclusivity focused on
    marginalized voices and the power of voting.”

    However, PAWA recently became aware of LA March’s decision to
    include Scarlett Johansson in their lineup of special guest
    speakers. Johansson has expressed her unapologetic support of
    illegal settlements in the West Bank, a human rights violation
    recognized by the international community whose calls only led to a
    reaffirmation of her position, sending a clear message that
    Palestinian voices and human rights for Palestinians do not matter.
    While her position may not be reflective of all organizers at the
    Women’s March Los Angeles Foundation, PAWA cannot in good conscience
    partner itself with an organization that fails to genuinely and
    thoughtfully recognize when their speaker selection contradicts
    their message.

    Currently, 16 year old Ahed Tamimi is being held in custody for
    standing up to two Israeli combat soldiers who raided her family
    home in the middle of the night on illegally occupied land. Her
    story, one among hundreds of Palestinian children being abused and
    imprisoned by Israeli military, has been heard across the globe with
    calls to #FreeAhed
    <https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/freeahed?source=feed_text&story_id=839032499617813>,
    making the decision to invite Scarlett Johansson speak at an event
    highlighting “the struggles of marginalized communities and all
    attacks on human rights” all the more tone deaf.

    We join Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Jewish
    Voice for Peace, Code Pink, BDS-LA, Jews for Palestinian Right of
    Return and other organizations who have signed the petition below in
    boycott of the January 20 march in Los Angeles.

    Moreover, we pledge to work harder to ensure the voices and partners
    we ally with are committed to justice and human rights that include
    the rights of the Palestinian people.

    We urge people to read and sign the petition below, which also
    includes accounts of mistreatment toward grassroots organizers
    working for Palestinian human rights.

    https://www.change.org/p/emiliana-guereca-and-deena-katz-co-executive-directors-women-s-march-los-angeles-foundation-open-letter-to-women-s-march-l-a-women-for-palestine-calls-for-genuine-intersectionality

------------------------------------------------------------------------

*Open Letter to Women’s March L.A.: Women for Palestine Calls for 
Genuine Intersectionality*
January 17, 2018

We embrace and applaud the intersectional analysis that marks today’s 
social movements, and decry the absence of this perspective in outreach 
for the Women’s March Los Angeles.

In a shocking move, you announced that a “Special Guest” speaker at WMLA 
2018 is Scarlett Johansson 
<https://womensmarchla.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/WMLA-2018-Press-Release-FINAL.pdf>, 
who is unabashedly a supporter of Israeli violations of Palestinian 
human rights. She served as a spokesperson, and indeed, was the face of 
the advertising campaign of SodaStream, whose factory was in a 
settlement 
<https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-scarlett/israeli-settlement-factory-sparks-super-bowl-sized-controversy-idUKBREA0S1I020140129> 
built illegally on land stolen from Palestinians in the occupied West 
Bank. As a result, she was forced to step down from her role as an 
ambassador for the humanitarian group Oxfam 
<https://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/jan/30/scarlett-johansson-oxfam-quits-sodastream> 
after working with the charity for eight years.

Johansson’s unapologetic support for Israel’s abuses of Palestinians 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/scarlett-johansson-doubles-down-support-israeli-settlements> 
confirms that she fully deserves the praise Israeli Prime Minister 
Benjamin Netanyahu 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/benjamin-netanyahu> heaped on her 
in his speech to the Israel lobby group AIPAC in Washington, several 
years ago. Netanyahu said Johansson should be “applauded” for opposing 
the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign for Palestinian 
rights. Regardless of her claims to not be “political,” Johansson is now 
seen by Palestinians and their supporters as a defender of apartheid Israel.

While there are a host of OTHER examples that can be cited, here we want 
to focus on the impact on those of us who actively support the 
indigenous rights of the Palestinian people, especially in light of the 
recent international attention 
<http://www.newsweek.com/israel-must-release-16-year-old-girl-who-faces-10-years-prison-amnesty-says-781366> 
on women and child political prisoners 
<https://www.facebook.com/events/1964691983857410/>, including 
16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, the young Palestinian Rosa Parks 
<https://www.facebook.com/trtworld/videos/2035512053385607/>.

Once again, grassroot feminists who promote Palestinian human rights are 
concerned that a hostile environment is promoted by the organizers of 
WMLA -- whether inadvertently, or not -- by the choice of featured 
speakers, major donors, and major partners.

The organizers of the Women’s March LA are well aware of the issues the 
“Women 4 Palestine” contingent faced at last year’s “Women’s March LA.” 
We were verbally abused with racist remarks, and bullied, to the point 
that some of us are reticent to return out of concern for our personal 
safety <https://www.facebook.com/LA4Palestine/>. Our concerns were 
brushed off by your organizers, in fact one of you accused one of our 
members as being anti-semitic when she posted an announcement for our 
Women's Rally to Free Ahed and All Palestinian Child Prisoners 
<https://www.facebook.com/events/1964691983857410/>.

We also object to tone set as a result of the key role played by The 
National Council of Jewish Women LA, especially as a major donor to both 
the national and local Women’s March 
<https://www.facebook.com/events/2009321562659318/>. When Nancy Kaufman, 
CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, said that “we didn’t want 
it to become an Israel-bashing fest...We got assurances that the march 
is not anti-Trump and not anti-Israel,” 
<https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-jewish-women-gear-up-for-dc-march-1.5484614> 
it was clear that they were determined to silence the voices of critics 
of Israel and supporters of Palestinian rights.

"We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are 
Women’s Rights." <https://www.womensmarch.com/mission/> - Mission 
Women's March Mission. Apparently that does not include Palestinian 
Human Rights.

Renowned Black feminist poet, June Jordan’s poetry embodies the 
intersectionality of Black and Palestine liberation. “I was born a Black 
woman / and now / I am become a Palestinian / against the relentless 
laughter of evil / there is less and less living room / and where are my 
loved ones / It is time to make our way home.” 
<http://lithub.com/angela-davis-on-black-lives-matter-palestine-and-the-future-of-radicalism/>

Last year’s Women’s March, DTLA looked like it was covered with a fresh 
coat of snow studded with pink caps. In no way did it reflect the 
wonderful diversity of Los Angeles County. Unfortunately, we never heard 
that was a concern for WMLA’s leaders, either before the march when 
several of us raised these issues, OR afterwards. What a shame and 
missed opportunity.

It’s well past time to be genuinely intersectional, inclusive, 
transparent, and welcoming of marginalized people, including the 
Palestinian community, an approach exemplified by the International 
Women's Strike <https://www.facebook.com/womenstrikeus/>, which 
mobilized thousands of women in March of 2017 for gender, economic and 
social justice, while also centering the "Decolonization of Palestine," 
anti-imperialism, and an end to gendered state violence. IWS organizers 
are once again mobilizing for March 2018 International Women's Day 
marches and strikes.

In that spirit we invite you to join us, when many of us will 
participate in the International Women's Day March & Rally 
2018-Organized by AF3IRM 
<https://www.facebook.com/events/150645588921993/>, in Downtown Los 
Angeles on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018, noon to 3pm. This march is 
convened and led by transnational/women of color, but all people are 
welcome.

*Women for Palestine L.A.*


(List in formation; affiliations listed for identification only)

*Amani Barakat*, National Chair of Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return 
Coalition; Palestine Foundation; LA4Palestine

*Mary Ellen Bennett*, LA4Palestine and CodePink

*Cathy Castro*, founder, Threads of Peace, a 501c(3) dedicated to 
promoting peace, one thread at a time; Creator, #BlanketofLoveforGaza, a 
traveling peace and Gaza awareness exhibit

*Estee Chandler*, Founding Organizer, Jewish Voice for Peace, Los 
Angeles; Producer/Host Middle East in Focus & Middle East Minute, 
KPFK-LA 90.7FM; SAG/AFTRA

*Sherna Berger Gluck*, Founding member, USACBI: Academic and Cultural 
Boycott of Israel; HP Boycott-LA; Grassroots Community Radio Coalition; 
Women’s Studies Emerita, California State University, Long Beach, and 
feminist oral historian/author

*Mary Hughes Thompson*, co-founder, Free Gaza Movement; Women in 
Black-Los Angeles; International Solidarity Movement; Christian 
Peacemaker Teams delegation member; WGA

*Dr. Ahlam Muhtaseb, *PhD., Professor
, Communication Studies, 

California State University, San Bernardino; Co-Director/Executive 
Producer, 1948: Creation & Catastrophe

*Cindy Newman*, artist; LA4Palestine

*Karin Pally*, MPH; founding member, Women in Black-LA; LA4Palestine

*Karen R. Pomer*, co-founder, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, 
LA4Palestine, #MeToo March International, and the Rainbow Sisters 
Project for Rape Survivors; former producer/publicist, Democracy Now!; 
lifelong feminist activist/organizer

*Marsha Steinberg*, BDS Los Angeles for Justice in Palestine

*Marcy Winograd*, former congressional peace candidate; Jewish Voice for 
Peace; Secretary, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party (for 
identification purposes only)

=========

*Additional Initial Signers*

*Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi*, PhD, Director and Senior Scholar, Arab and 
Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies, San Francisco State University

*Suzanne Adely*, International Women's Strike US Coordinating Committee; 
US Palestine Community Network; Al-Awda-NY Palestine Right to Return 
Coalition, National Lawyers Guild, International Committee; Co-Chair, 
International Association of Democratic Lawyers

*Kim Anno*, Artist/filmmaker, Wildprojects.org

*Dr. Laila Al-Marayati*, MD, Palestinian-American human rights activist 
and humanitarian

*Ellen Barfield*, Board Member, War Resisters League; Director, 
Baltimore Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter Veterans For Peace

*Joanne Berlin*, Coordinator, Committee for Racial Justice

*Tithi Bhattacharya*, National Organizer, International Women's Strike; 
USACBI: Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

*Maylei Blackwell*, Associate Professor, Chicano and Chicana Studies and 
Gender Studies, UCLA; author ¡Chicana Power! Contested Histories of 
Feminism in the Chicano Movement

*Renate Bridenthal*, Professor of History (retired), Brooklyn College, 
City University of New York

*Dena Chertoff*, Jewish Voice for Peace

*Rick Chertoff*, Jewish Voice for Peace, Steering Committee LA Chapter

*Julie Dad*, Member, Democratic State Central Committee

*Lamis J. Deek*, J.D, International Women's Strike US Coordinating 
Committee; Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition; Global 
Justice and Human Rights Law Network; Popular Conference of Palestinians 
Abroad; US Palestine Community Network

*Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey*, Irish Republican Socialist, feminist, and 
human rights activist

*Frank Dorrel*, longtime L.A. activist and blogger

*Nada Elia*, NWBDS; USACBI: Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

*Dahlia Ferlito*, White People 4 Black Lives

*Nancy Gallagher*, Research Professor and Professor Emerita, Department 
of History, UC Santa Barbara

*Irene Gendzier*, Professor Emerita, Political Science Dept., Boston 
University

*Ariel Gold*, National Co-Director, CODEPINK Women for Peace

*Trudy Goodwin*, co-founder, Committee for Racial Justice Santa Monica, 
Justice Warriors for Black Lives, Los Angeles Community Action Network, 
Black Lives Matter, Los Angeles

*Sondra Hale*, Research Professor, UCLA and founder/Joint Coordinator, 
California Scholars for Academic Freedom

*Kathleen Hernandez*, Veterans For Peace, Los Angeles; co-founder, MLK 
Coalition of Greater Los Angeles

*Jane Hirschmann*, co-founder, Jews Say No!; U.S. Boat to Gaza, The 
Audacity of Hope; Co-chair, NYS coalition to fight the anti-BDS bills

*Ruth Jennison*, UMass-Amherst; Massachusetts Society of Professors, 
MTA-NEA; Labor for Palestine

*Charlotte Kates*, International Coordinator, Samidoun Palestinian 
Prisoner Solidarity Network

*Nerdeen Kiswani*, NYC Students for Justice in Palestine

*Jim Lafferty*, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles; 
Fellow, University of Southern California, Institute for the Humanities; 
Chair, Board of the Office of the Americas

*Cecelia Lavan*, OP Justice Promoter, Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, NY; 
WESPAC Middle East Committee

*Kristina Lear*, White People 4 Black Lives / SURJ Affiliate Los Angeles

*Alita Z. Letwin*, activist and educator

*Michael Letwin*, Labor for Palestine, Labor for Standing Rock, USACBI: 
Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Former President, Association 
of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325; Red Tide, L.A. (1971-1975)

*Julie Levine*, Co-Chair, MLK Coalition of Greater Los Angeles

*Linda Milazzo*, Jewish Voice for Peace

*Ruwayda Odeh*, Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition; NYC 
Students for Justice in Palestine

*Rosalind Petchesky*, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Political 
Science, Hunter College & the Graduate Center, City University of New 
York (for identification purposes only); Coordinating Committee, Jewish 
Voice for Peace-New York City

*Margaret Power*, historian, Illinois Tech; Co-Chair, Historians for 
Peace and Democracy

*Dorothy Reik*, President, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica 
Mountains

*Rosalie G Riegle*, Professor Emerita, Saginaw Valley State University; 
Su Casa Catholic Worker; War Resisters League; Jewish Voice for Peace

*Lisa Rofel*, Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz

*Steven Salaita*, Writer

*Azalia Torres*, Esq., Former Chair, Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid, 
ALAA/UAW 2325

*Hussain Turk*, Esq. Director, LA HIV Law & Policy Project

*Devra Weber*, Professor of History, UC Riverside

*Souphe Widdi*, Al-Awda-NY Palestine Right to Return Coalition

*Michele A. Wittig*, Professor Emerita, CSUN

*Sherry Wolf*, author, Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics and 
Theory of LGBT Liberation; editorial board, International Socialist Review

-- 
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