Beginning June 2, 2023, the Palestinian Assembly for Liberation hosted a two-day intensive Palestinian-led conference [“Conference”] with the aim of bringing to life the goals and vision of the Palestinian movement in the U.S. Palestinians from across the U.S., were joined by Palestinians from around the world, to discuss and coordinate their work so as to advance the Palestinian struggle for liberation, return, self-determination and democracy.
Renowned Palestinian intellectuals, academics, artists, alongside experts in AI/IT, e-business, law, media, policy and science alongside community leaders and activists convened to share and exchange ideas so as to highlight the transformative power of strategic multidisciplinary coordination and national unity as keys to: 1. advancing the Palestinian struggle for unification, liberation, return and democracy; and 2. to mobilize a meaningful challenge to Zionist hegemony and toward dismantling Zionist-colonizing and supremacist institutions and structures, in Palestine and globally.
Throughout the conference, attendees engaged in thought-provoking multidisciplinary exchanges and analysis of the topography of the Palestinian movement, its historical struggles, present challenges, and future aspirations – while envisioning and devising a path forward through measurable plans and committees to advance current – and to create new- initiatives.
By proposing detailed and nuanced programs and frameworks in anticipation of this next phase of the struggle for Palestinian liberation, the Conference program was a testament to the unwavering and calculated commitment to carry forward the work of Palestinian freedom activists and veterans.
Taking a comprehensive and unapologetic approach to all aspects of the Palestinian struggle, the conference hosted the brother of the honorable martyr Nizar Banat along with Education and Labor Expert Monadel Herzallah and Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Omar Shakir to discuss mechanisms and third state and third-party engagement to protect Palestinian democracy activists from Zionist and Zionist-coordinated repressive, foreign and internal forces, within Palestine.
Panelists and attendees included prominent intellectuals, academics, and art, history, e-business, law, policy and IT experts from across the US and the world, including Journalist and Author Dr. Ramzy Baroud, Cultural Anthropologist Nabeel Alkam, Astrophysicist Dr. Suleiman Baraka, Liberation Psychology Expert Ayman Nijm, Author Director of the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and Public Affairs Professor Dr. Sami Al Arian, Media Analyst and V.P. of Al Mayadeen TV Bahia Halawi, along with DC Correspondent Jafar Jafari, Internationally renowned artist, intellectual and activist LowKey, Education and Labor Expert Monadel Herzallah, Mechatronics and OIT expert Ameen Allan, Attorneys Omar Shakir of HRW, security, compliance and human rights international attorney Lamis J. Deek, civil rights attorney and former professor Huwaida Arraf who ran for political office in Michigan, Policy Director of AJP Ayah Ziyadeh, Bisan Research Centers’ E.D. Ubai Aboudi, long-time activist, organizer and leader of the Palestinian community in Chicago Pharmacologist Nida Sahouri, community leaders Ola Abed and Ghassan Ballut, student leader Malak Kanan, PhD candidate Samia Alkam who together with former Chicago SJP President Mahmud Awadallah hosted and ran a packed house of active workshops with students, E-business and marketing expert Badr Hamdan and more.
Unity and strategic coordination were central pillars of the conference. Participants emphasized the Palestinian peoples’ organic coordination despite the physical, cultural, political, and institutional divisions imposed on them by Zionist, U.S., and neo-liberal forces. Acknowledging this, the Conference sought strategies to more calculatingly forge that coordination by building mechanisms to reactivate Palestinian unity through communications, IT, resource and skills sharing, pursuit of democratic and anti-corrupt policies for Palestinian institutions, and the adoption of joint practical projects and discourse. The Conference received input by ways of surveys and audience engagement, which were recorded and incorporated into its upcoming programs.
Technology, media, and activism emerged as prominent themes during the conference. The Conference explored and committed to leveraging the immense potential of the digital sector, from the creation of databases to preserve records of heritage, to record dispossession and ownership, to the development of self-sufficient economies in Palestine, reconstruction of Zionist crimes and Palestinian villages and recovery of financial and social losses, for preempting Zionist violence, to exacting justice, accountability for reparations- including the release of videos depicting the moments of liberation. Media experts detailed the power of unwavering media narratives and strategies to counter Zionist and U.S. intelligence apparatus-to-media coordinated forces which dominate the mainstream.
Law and policy were also at the forefront of the conference, as attendees explored: mechanisms to protect freedom activists globally and in Palestine; to engage legislators and third-party state and non-state actors; to create new frameworks building from the discursive space created by the Apartheid reports to build momentum and intellectual production exposing the Zionist entity’s modern and media savvy genocide practices which are designed to obfuscate exposure and accountability; to developing policies designed to decrease material support to Zionist war crimes; to forcing open space in local civil, educational and government institutions by unwavering electoral and policy work reflective of the true demands and conditions of Palestinians in the U.S. and globally.
Students focused on mutual education and building more direct relationships with students in Palestine. Their interactive collective workshops critically explored their roles on campuses, their relationships to academic institutions and to other student groups so as to strategically develop engagement programs while protecting against Zionist harassment, racism, and infiltration. Student groups spent considerable time discussing ways to leverage IT and social media toward these ends and to mobilize further unity and coordination across campuses.
The conference highlighted the power of cultural history and oral history preservation in shaping perceptions, challenging dominant Zionist discourse, in facilitating Palestinian reunification- as well as preserving a record for political accountability, reparations and restitution. Scholars and artists underscored the importance of reclaiming Palestinian heritage, preserving memory, and utilizing art as a form of resistance to the genocide-motivated Zionist project of psychological, cultural, and historic erasure. These frameworks were further highlighted in discussions on preserving the Palestinian family and generations born in exile by leveraging the super-structure of Palestinian culture at home, by forming alternative versions of the villages that would have communally raised the youth and supported parents, daily normalization of liberation and return discourse at home, and giving value to the wisdom and historic knowledge of local Palestinian elders.
The power of calculated coordination and unity was highlighted throughout the Conference but underscored in dedicated sessions where Palestinian Abroad initiatives issued powerful statements of intent to walk as one (under a program of full return and liberation from Zionist supremacy and the de-zionization of Palestine) while offering updates and perspectives on the role of organizations of Palestinians Abroad from across the world- from the Middle East, to Turkey, Argentina, Colombia, the UK , Palestine and elsewhere- in their efforts toward self-determination and unity.
The Conference stood as a testament to the power of collective intellectual engagement, coordinated action, and interdisciplinary collaboration. By fostering exchange of critical analysis, promoting innovation, and encouraging strategic alliances, the conference has laid the groundwork for a renewed and deliberate Palestinian-led program to vectorize the commitment of Palestinians globally to justice, unity, return and liberation.
As the Conference drew to a close, participants articulated their sense of empowerment by way of their exchange and confidence in their roles as pioneers, visionaries, and agents of groundbreaking change and progress toward liberation- and toward advancing global peace and morality. Conference organizers also acknowledged the internal and external challenges they faced.
These challenges included 1. a coordinated and malicious attack on the Conference and its attendees by corrupt forces committed to weakening PAL’s noble demands of unity, inclusion, democracy, justice, an end to corruption and for liberation- which said forces undertook to intimidate attendees and hosted two competing events near the Conference for the purpose of depleting the attendance at the PAL conference and circulated doctored photos and photos taken during setup to undermine the Conference and 2. a need for resources sufficient to support PAL’s work and ability to withstand and deter the sabotage mentioned above, and support PAL’s projects.
In response, PAL organizers reaffirmed their unshakeable and resolute commitment to their work for liberation, return, and democracy and informed that these challenges will not deter them- instead they are doubly motivated to be better prepared, to anticipate, deter and overcome all obstacles to PAL’s political program.
PAL will share a more detailed plan of its projects and program in the coming weeks, and asks its members, participants and allies to carry the spirit of this Conference to their communities and institutions so that Palestinians may together return to their liberated lands, homes, and to each other- in safety, justice and dignity.
PAL thanks all the organizers, panelists, workshop facilitators, and attendees who have made this conference a momentous occasion.
PAL Conference organizers stated,
“Let our collective commitment, passion, and resilience be the driving force that propels us towards victory. With unity, determination, and a steadfast belief in our cause, we know we will triumph.
Long live Palestine, and may the spirit of our ancestors, our freedom fighters, our political prisoners, martyrs, and the divine goals of justice, unity, return, peace, and liberation guide us above all else.”