Since 2015, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) has held an annual Palestine Advocacy Days to educate people about Palestine and train them on how to push for change in Washington.
This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will move online. In addition to the training, participants will also be able to connect with members of congress like Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
AMP’s Executive Director Dr. Osama Abuirshaid spoke with Mondoweiss about the progress that the movement has made since the first event was held.
“Over the past six years of holding the Palestine Advocacy Day, we have witnessed a major transformation in dealing with the Palestinian issue in Congress, especially within the Democratic Party. It is true that Congress as an institution remains biased in favor of Israel. It is also true that the establishment within the Democratic Party is more keen towards Israel. However, there are important fundamental changes here,” said Abuirshaid. “Advocating for Palestinian rights in Congress is no longer considered an abhorrent thing. The elections of progressive members in the Democratic Party to Congress provided a new window of opportunity. Today, Palestine represents one of the major causes of social justice in America. We see this in the growing BDS movement, the Congressional discussion about conditioning aid to Israel, and the bills that have been introduced to sanction Israel if it continues it human rights violations against the Palestinians.”
“We understand that a majority of the American public is still more sympathetic to Israel. However, there are major shifts in the public opinion with more Americans becoming aware of the facts and the grievance of the Palestinians,” he continued. “Polls show that Palestinians have significant sympathy within the Democratic Party, especially among those who identify as progressives and liberals. Opinion polls also show that the percentage of sympathy with Palestinians among Millennials and Generation Z is high. This coincides with a bolder and a more assertive solidarity movement for Palestine in America. This movement is diverse religiously and ethnically.”
“The trajectory is changing in America, mainly during the revival of the civil rights movement in the U.S. and its parallels and connections with the situation in Palestine. It is no longer a political suicide for members of Congress to take a principled stand on Palestine. We are cognizant of all these dynamics and we intend to build on them.”
Last year, Mondoweiss spoke with the American Friends Service Committee‘s Jennifer Bing about how the Palestinian cause developed an avenue into Washington. “For many decades, I did not want to do anything on the Hill because it felt like a lost cause,” she said. “People would even tell you in private that they supported your perspective or were interested in your story, but they weren’t willing to speak out publicly..But, I think with the BDS call in the early 2000s, and the activism that developed from that, many saw that you can talk about human rights, you can do it in creative ways, and you can start talking about accountability.”
You can register for the event at AMP’s website.