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US Citizens Punished for Expressing Support for Palestine Amid Ongoing Conflict



Pro-Palestinian voices in the US, including Artforum editor David Velasco and a UC Berkeley professor, face backlash and job loss. (AP/Jeenah Moon)
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In the United States, individuals expressing pro-Palestinian sentiments are facing an unprecedented level of backlash, including job loss and threats.

This surge in suppression has been observed as Israel continues its offensive in Gaza, following the Hamas terror attacks on Oct. 7. Notable cases include the firing of Artforum editor David Velasco, who signed a pro-Palestinian letter, and a University of California, Berkeley professor who lost his position after retweeting an article criticizing indifference towards Palestinian civilians.

Civil rights groups such as Palestine Legal and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have reported a significant increase in complaints and incidents of suppression against pro-Palestinian activists. This wave of suppression has also targeted ordinary citizens voicing support for Palestinians, escalating to death threats and FBI visits.

The suppression of pro-Palestinian voices is not a new phenomenon in the U.S., with a history of organized efforts to label such speech as pro-terrorist or antisemitic. However, the current conflict has intensified these efforts, with pro-Israel lawyers preparing for legal battles against pro-Palestinian activists.

Growing US Support for Palestinians: Gallup Poll

Despite the increasing suppression, a Gallup poll from March 2023 indicates a growing number of Americans are willing to challenge U.S. foreign policy and express sympathy for Palestinians. However, this shift in public opinion has been met with resistance, with firings, investigations, and threats of withdrawn donations from universities that do not condemn Hamas and limit criticism of Israel on campus.

Civil rights groups and pro-Palestinian lawyers are preparing to defend pro-Palestinian speech, reminding individuals of their constitutional rights to free speech and protection against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Read more at The Guardian.


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