Now that the United States’ election season has come to an end, the Mossawa Center would like to express its solidarity and gratitude for the dedication of Arab Americans to justice. In the face of rising hate crimes and racialized incitement in the media and in politics, Arab Americans have refused to surrender. On the contrary, a record number of Arab Americans were featured on ballots on November 6th and, for the first time in US history, two Muslim Arab women, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, were elected to Congress.
As Arabs and as Palestinians, we, the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel, face very similar circumstances. Anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry are a staple in Israeli political campaigns. Just last month, one of Israel’s political parties, Jewish Home, launched a campaign against Arab-Jewish miscegenation. Similar to many families of color in the United States, as a result of the Citizenship Law, which denies citizenship and residency status to spouses from the occupied Palestinian territories, family reunification remains a pipe-dream for thousands of Palestinian families. Like Palestinian rights activists on US campuses, Palestinian activists in Israel also face intimidation, harassment, and criminalization. If they attend Israeli institutes of higher education at all, Palestinian Arab students cannot so much as wave a Palestinian flag, let alone organize for the liberation of their brothers and sisters in Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank.
The political gains made by the Arab and Palestinian American community in the United State not only inspire us in our own struggle for civil rights and social justice, but they also give us hope. The passage of the Jewish Nation-State Law marks an incredible set-back for Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, a set-back that left many of us wondering if and how Palestinian Arabs citizens of Israel will ever succeed in achieving equality. Ironically, the Mossawa Center’s visit to the United States rekindled our hope. Needless to say, this is not the result of the current administration. Rather, we are hopeful because, for the first time in decades, we have noticed a genuine shift in US discourse around Israel and Palestinian rights, a shift that is entirely attributable to the organizing of the Arab Palestinian community in the United States.
The director of the Mossawa Center, Jafar Farah, will return to the United States this evening. Farah and the Mossawa Center’s US coordinator, Suha Salman Mousa, will be in Washington, D.C. from November 23rd through December 2nd. They will have meetings in Congress and will take part in the first Friends of Mossawa fundraising event in Virginia. While in New York, Farah will participate in the United Nation’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and will hold a meeting with Friends of Mossawa in the New York area.
For more information about the Mossawa Center’s visit to the United States, please contact Suha Salman Mousa, [email protected].