In this episode of “Occupied Thoughts,” FMEP’s Lara Friedman speaks to Amal Thabateh, who is the Michael Ratner Justice Fellow at Palestine Legal, about the stunning attacks that have taken place targeting Fatima Mohamed for her May 12th commencement speech at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law’s graduation ceremony and the broader context of the fight to defend free speech and activism in support of Palestinian rights.
Recorded August 2, 2023
Watch this conversation on YouTube
Amal Thabateh is the Michael Ratner Justice Fellow at Palestine Legal where she challenges the censorship, surveillance, and suppression of advocates for Palestinian liberation. She has devoted her legal career to advancing the rights of communities facing security state abuse. With the CUNY CLEAR clinic, Amal provided support to communities targeted by the government under the guise of so-called national security and counterterrorism. In support of clients, communities, and social movements, she worked with the clinic to litigate civil rights cases and fight against abusive policies and practices implemented by the security state apparatus. Also during law school, Amal interned at CAIR-NY, where she supported victims of hate crimes and discrimination, worked to end unjust profiling and surveillance, and educated New Yorkers through facilitating Know-Your-Rights workshops. Amal also interned with Defense for Children International – Palestine, where she documented and reported violations of international law and advocated for greater protections for Palestinian children. Amal later focused on legislation and advocacy with Congresswoman Betty McCollum as a foreign policy intern.
- Fatima Mohammed’s May 12th commencement speech at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law’s graduation ceremony — video, transcript
- Fatima Mohammed in The Nation 7/26/23: I Was Attacked for My Speech About Palestine. I Stand by Every Word.
- Interview with Fatima Mohammed in Jewish Currents 6/21/23: Fatima Mohammed Has No Regrets
Defending Fatima Mohammed/Free Speech on Palestine
- Civil Rights Groups Urge CUNY to Retract Anti-Palestinian Statement and Apologize (Palestine Legal et al, 6/13/23)
- CUNY professors union slams university brass for calling law student Fatima Mohammed’s grad address ‘hate speech’ (New York Post 6/13/23)
- CUNY Law Jewish Law Students Association Stands With Fatima (statement)
- ‘Smear campaign’: Academics and Jewish organisations condemn targeting of pro-Palestine student [“A wave of support from academia and civil society is backing Fatima Mohammed while demanding City University of New York School of Law recant its statement against her] (Middle East Eye 6/1/23)
- National Lawyers Guild: We support Fatima Mohammed #WeStandWithFatima (6/1/23)
- CAIR-NY Condemns CUNY Law Censorship of Muslim Student’s Pro-Palestinian Commencement Speech (CAIR 5/23/23)
- Behind CUNY graduation speech furor, a university divided over Zionism (The Forward 6/30/23)
- Fatima Mousa Mohammed Deserves to Be Defended, Not Smeared (The Nation 6/13/23)
- The ‘Palestinian Exception’ to College Campus Free Speech (The Daily Beast 6/12/23)
- She Attacked Israel and the N.Y.P.D. It Made Her Law School a Target. [“A student gave a commencement address at the famously progressive CUNY law school. Two weeks later, she was attacked by the tabloids and the mayor, and the school disavowed her speech.”] (New York Times 6/2/23)
- CUNY Law Graduate Faces Death Threats After Condemning Israel’s Treatment of Palestinians (Democracy Now 6/1/23)
- Center for Constitutional Rights Condemns Chancellor’s and Board of Trustees’ Dangerous Attack on CUNY Law Student Over Graduation Speech (Center for Constitutional Rights 6/1/23)
- ‘Bullying’ campaign after US graduate speech criticises Israel (Al Jazeera 5/31/23)