Accused of Antisemitism for Telling Students about Palestinian Life: Huwaida Arraf & Peter Beinart


Occupied Thoughts by FMEP · Accused of Antisemitism for Telling Students about Palestinian Life: Huwaida Arraf & Peter Beinart

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Recorded April 28, 2023

Palestinian-American civil rights attorney Huwaida Arraf speaks with FMEP Fellow Peter Beinart about what happened since she was invited to address a high school diversity assembly in Michigan last month. After Arraf spoke to the students about her family and life experiences, the backlash began almost immediately, with prominent local leaders and the school district superintendent accusing Arraf of spreading “antisemitic rhetoric.” This Middle East Eye article, “How a Palestinian activist’s appearance at a US school triggered a smear campaign,” offers a detailed overview of the incident and its aftermath. Jewish Voice for Peace led the effort to support Arraf and spearheaded this petition, which has gained wide support: “Bigotry Comes in Many Forms: We Oppose the Targeting of Huwaida Arraf & Silencing of the Palestinian Narrative with Bogus Charges of Antisemitism.” As of this week, both the school principal and the district superintendent have resigned their posts.


Huwaida Arraf is a Palestinian-American attorney and human rights activist. She received her Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Michigan, and her Juris Doctor from the American University Washington College of Law, where she focused her studies on international human rights and humanitarian law. Over the past two decades Huwaida has been involved in a number of legal and grassroots initiatives for Palestinian rights. In 2001, she co-founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led non-violent resistance movement, which has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She ran for Congress in Michigan in 2022.

Peter Beinart is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He is also a Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York, a Contributing opinion writer at the New York Times, an Editor-at-Large at Jewish Currents, and an MSNBC Political Commentator.