Part Four: Free Speech, Lawfare, and the Right to Boycott
In this session — featuring: Suhad Babaa (Just Vision), Yousef Munayyer (Arab Center Washington DC), & Dylan Saba (Palestine Legal) — explored issues surrounding grassroots activism in protest of Israeli policies, including through calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS), and the parallel rise in efforts, including in Congress and state legislatures, aimed at curtailing criticism of Israel/Zionism and/or advocacy for Palestinian rights and their implications for free speech and a healthy policy debate on Israel and Palestine.
Recorded March 3, 2023
Suhad Babaa is the Executive Director of Just Vision. Babaa produced Boycott (2021) and executive produced Naila and the Uprising (2017). She is also the co-publisher of the award-winning Hebrew-language news site, Local Call. Additionally, Suhad helped lead the impact campaigns for Just Vision’s critically acclaimed film, Budrus (2009), which was recognized with the Doc Society Social Impact Award in 2012, as well as the Peabody award-winning documentary, My Neighbourhood (2012), which has since helped support a global campaign to save Sheikh Jarrah, the community that sits at the heart of the film. Suhad has addressed dozens of audiences at venues including the United Nations, White House, Harvard University and film festivals, mosques, synagogues and churches across the country. She has worked closely with policymakers, faith and community leaders, educators and students as part of Just Vision’s broader public engagement efforts. Her team’s work has been featured by institutions including TED, Tate Britain and the Nobel Women’s Initiative and highlighted in outlets including The New York Times, CNN, Yedioth Ahronoth, PBS, BBC, Channel 2 News (Israel), Ma’an News, Al Quds, The Forward and beyond. Suhad is a Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum, and Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Yousef Munayyer, PhD, is a non-resident Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC (ACW). He writes on the Arab-Israeli conflict and is a member of the editorial committee of the Journal of Palestine Studies. Some of his published articles can be found in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Boston Globe, Foreign Policy, Journal of Palestine Studies, Middle East Policy, and others. Dr. Munayyer holds a PhD in International Relations and Comparative Politics from the University of Maryland.
Dylan Saba is a Staff Attorney at Palestine Legal, where he advises Palestine human rights advocates on a number of issues, such as free speech violations, employment discrimination, bullying, and disciplinary actions. Dylan is half Palestinian and half Jewish American. Prior to joining Palestine Legal, Dylan worked as a Staff Attorney for New York Legal Assistance Group’s Tenants’ Rights Unit. There, he represented low income New Yorkers in eviction proceedings and advised tenants on housing matters across New York City. Dylan is a graduate of Berkeley Law, where he volunteered with both the Workers’ Rights Clinic and the International Human Rights Workshop. Dylan has also worked for the Berkeley Law Human Rights Center and for a private public interest law firm in San Francisco. During law school, Dylan won awards for his coursework in Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Law and Social Movements, and Race and American Law. Dylan is admitted to the New York state bar.
Resources for this Webinar
Follow our panelists and moderators on Twitter to stay up to date:
- Suhad Babaa → https://twitter.com/smbabaa // Just Vision → https://twitter.com/JustVisionMedia
- Yousef Munayyer → https://twitter.com/YousefMunayyer // Arab Center Washington DC → https://twitter.com/ArabCenterWDC
- Dylan Saba → https://twitter.com/shaabiranks // Palestinian Legal → https://twitter.com/pal_legal
Watch Just Vision’s new, award-winning documentary film “Boycott” here: https://justvision.org/boycott
- Webinar featuring Suhad and Lara: “What’s next for the right to boycott in America? A special conversation to mark the online premiere of award-winning documentary, Boycott.”
- “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the US” by Palestine Legal
- “Distorted Definition: Redefining Antisemitism to Silence Advocacy for Palestinian Rights” by Palestine Legal
- You can see all of Palestine Legal’s casework here: https://palestinelegal.org/cases
- The George Washington University case: https://palestinelegal.org/news/gw-title-vi-media-roundup & https://palestinelegal.org/news/2022/12/19/gw-clears-sjp-of-all-charges
- The UC Berkeley case : https://palestinelegal.org/news/2022/12/9/berkeley-students-dont-have-to-host-zionists & https://palestinelegal.org/news/2022/9/15/berkeley-lsjp-news
- For more about the IHRA definition of anti-semitism, see this list of resources from FMEP: https://fmep.org/blog/resourcecat/ihra/
- For more on ALEC and other groups attacking Palestinian rights from FMEP: https://fmep.org/resource/alec-anti-esg-the-battle-against-palestinian-rights/
- For more on the recent Supreme Court decision to not take up the Arkansas Anti-BDS Law, see:
- “US anti-boycott laws could take a ‘draconian’ turn. But the fight is not over”
- Podcast: “Lawfare in Action: Attack on US Campaign for Palestinian Rights as a Case Study”
- Yousef Munayyer: “US Silence Enables Israel’s Crackdown on Civil Society Organizations”
- Yousef in the The Washington Post: “Israel escalates its attacks against defenders of Palestinian rights, wherever they may be”