George Washington University Speech by Palestinian Activist Cancelled Over Anti-Semitism Charges

pro-Palestinian activists
MATTHIEU ALEXANDRE/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV – The Anti-Israel campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) cancelled a scheduled talk by a Palestinian activist at George Washington University (GWU) over claims that the speaker is “anti-Semitic.”

Self-described third-generation Palestinian refugee Amena El-Ashkar was due to speak alongside Khawla Hammad at the university on Thursday on behalf of the North America Nakba Tour (NANT). According to the group, Hammad is an 85-year-old “stateless refugee in Lebanon” and daughter of “a Palestinian freedom fighter.”

“We were informed by the SJP group at George Washington University in Washington, DC that our October 19 talk would be cancelled because we were ‘anti-Semitic,’” El-Ashkar wrote in an article published over the weekend Saturday by online newsletter Dissident Voice that was cited by pro-Israel blog Israellycool.

“Of course, we expect such talk from our Zionist enemies and we give it little importance,” she added. “But to hear it from a group that claims to be standing for justice in Palestine? Do these groups really expect to have any credibility among Palestinians when they do this?”

El-Ashkar also claimed that her speech at Stanford University last year was cancelled by the local SJP chapter after she was “told that I should not say that ‘Israel’ has no right to exist,” which El-Ashkar goes on to say “is a view held by millions of Palestinians.”

The NANT event page made no mention of a cancellation. Inquiries by the Algemeiner to both SJP and GWU went unanswered.

El-Ashkar and Hammad will continue their tour, which includes discussions about their experiences as Palestinians in Lebanon.

Lebanon refuses to grant citizenship to Palestinians born in its territory, preferring instead to maintain their status as “refugees” in perpetuity so as to keep alive the notion of the Palestinian “right of return” to Israel. These Palestinians are further forbidden from owning property, attending public schools, receiving or passing on inheritances and working in many professions, including law, medicine and engineering.

Watch a 2016 interview with El-Ashkar below:

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