Do you believe that the Israeli occupation of Palestine should be able to be discussed freely? Does the oppression of the Palestinians, the ongoing deaths, the 700km ‘separation wall’ that Israel has built around the West Bank or the $10.2 million a day that the USA gifts to Israel in military aid concern you? And if you didn’t know about these, do you think you should have?
If so, please sign our petition calling for Freedom of Speech on Palestine.
How did this petition start?
A 15 year old schoolgirl, Leanne Mohamad, won a regional award in the Jack Petchey ‘Speak Out Challenge’ for her speech about her experience as a Palestinian and her call for “birds not bombs”.
Due to the hateful messages from Zionists on the Speak Out Challenge site, the award and video of her speech were then removed. After contacting the Speak Out Challenge and receiving a dismissive response, Peace in our Name, with the support of a team of outraged humanitarians and pro-Palestinian activists leapt into action and raised a petition to reinstate her award and the video.
The petition raised over 7,000 signatures in just 2 days and the competition reissued the award and the video on their site. By then over 85,000 people had already seen Leanne’s video on Vimeo and YouTube, which also generated international media attention.
Speakers from 38 regions compete to enter the Speak Out final and a group of independent judges select which 15 of the 38 go through to the final. Leanne’s speech was not selected as one of the 15 and we shall never know whether the subject of the speech influenced the judge’s decision not to include her, however it’s now clear that the finalists were selected (and published on the Speak Out Challenge website) before the hateful anti-Palestinian comments were made and before her video was withdrawn from the site.
We realized that Leanne’s censorship was just a small symptom of a much wider problem and decided to raise a second petition calling for Freedom of Speech on Palestine as a whole. This is addressed to the world press and the world governments and calls for 5 things that are essential for the illegal occupation to end:
- Recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, statehood and independence.
- Acknowledge that being anti-Zionist is NOT the same as being anti-Semitic
- Allows and maintains the legal status of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Apartheid Israel
We demand that the American Government specifically:
- Stop sending money or military aid to Israel.
- Stops vetoing UN resolutions against Israel.
One symptom of the censorship on Palestine is the bias in the side-comments made by the international press.
For example, this story was recently covered by the Independent in their article ‘Leanne Mohamed targeted with appalling abuse after winning competition with Pro-Palestinian speech’
Why are all the side-comments pro-Israeli?
While it’s great that the Independent are covering this article, they include an image in it with the tagline ‘Leanne's speech came amid heightened tensions over a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis and responding security crackdowns. (AFP)’. When I read articles about Palestine and Israel, these little references or side-comments are nearly always pro-Israel.
Of all the news to mention in a side-comment, why choose this one? Why not choose:
Israel appoints new Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman, who previously said “If it were up to me I would notify the Palestinian Authority that tomorrow at ten in the morning we would bomb all their places of business in Ramallah, for example."
7 June 2016
“U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice promised Israel that the new military aid agreement currently being negotiated will constitute “the single largest military assistance package — with any country — in American history.”
6 June 2016
In the first 3 months of 2016 Israel demolished 495 EU financed buildings in Palestine new report reveals.
5 June 2016
Israeli security forces killed 25 Palestinian children and wounded 1300 children in the last 3 months of 2015 new UNICEF report reveals.
14 May 2016
I’m a firm believer in showing both sides of the story, however I’m also a believer in reporting the truth. The truth is that the Israeli government are Zionists who are attempting to systematically ethnically cleanse Palestine with the American government’s full support and funding.
International reportage is hugely biased in favour of the Israelis, the international press and international Governments need to be held accountable.
To take the first step towards peace, sign the petition.