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Repression of Pro-Palestine Speech Muzzles Muslim and Arab Voices, but Palestinian Resistance Persists

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Wave of Repression Silences Pro-Palestine Speech

A wave of repression is silencing pro-Palestine speech in the UK and the US, particularly from Muslim and Arab writers and artists. Institutions are canceling or postponing Palestinian-related events, citing "security concerns" as the reason.

PalFest Faces Cancellations and Empty Calendars

The Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) experienced this firsthand when its annual event in London was abruptly deplatformed. After as many as fifty venues rejected PalFest, organizers finally found a space at Hamilton House. Despite the challenges, PalFest remains determined to use culture to confront the culture of power.

PalMusic and Writer Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan Face Cancellations

PalMusic, a British initiative to showcase Palestinian musicians, had to cancel its ten-year anniversary concert at Southwark Cathedral. British writer Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan also faced cancellation when a major publishing company's diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) department decided her talk on Islamophobia should be offset by a talk on antisemitism.

Pressure on Cultural Institutions and Universities

There is enormous pressure on cultural institutions and universities in Britain not to platform anything related to Palestine, according to historian and academic Rashid Khalidi. While security concerns may be cited, Khalidi believes political censorship is often the real reason behind the cancellations.

Palestinian Censorship Takes a Different Form in the US

Compared to Britain, Palestinian censorship takes on a different form in the United States. Israeli public relations firms, think tanks, and advocacy groups work to quash criticism of Israeli government policies, making any calls for Palestinian self-determination taboo. However, the recent events in Israel and Palestine have intensified the discourse.

Decades of Occupation Cultivate Hostile Atmosphere

Decades of occupation have created a hostile atmosphere in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Palestinian culture has been suppressed, and writers and artists have faced intimidation tactics from Israeli authorities.

Rising Interest in Palestinian Artists in the West

Despite the repression, there has been a rising interest in Palestinian artists in the West. Palestinian literature, theater, and music are finding new avenues for engagement with the Palestinian cause.

Literature as a Threat and a Tool of Resistance

History has shown that literature can be a threat to oppressors. Thinkers and writers have always been at the forefront of resistance to oppression. PalFest and its continuation in the coming years remain important in the fight for Palestinian rights.

Rosabel Crean is a freelance journalist based in London.

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