Images taken from: boycottsydfest. Main middle photo by BDS Australia

“Cancel Culture” allegation is gaslighting of Palestinians

Refuting Zionists accusation of the #BoycottSydneyFestival campaign as being “cancel culture”

The Palestine Project
4 min readJan 12, 2022


Fahad Ali

1/ Throughout the campaign, Zionists have accused us of engaging in “cancel culture”, as if holding people to account for complicity in apartheid is a bad thing. But, historically, who has really been cancelled?

2/ Who tried to cancel Samah Sabawi @gazaheart‘s play ‘Tales of A City by the Sea’ when it was selected for the VCE curriculum? The mere presence of a Palestinian love story was unacceptable to them: “Nowhere to be found is the Israeli perspective,” they cried.

3/ Who tried to cancel Jennine Khalik @jennineak when she was a 21-year-old junior writer for The Australian? Read this thread of extracts from John Lyons @TheLyonsDen‘s book ‘Dateline Jerusalem’. Israeli diplomats tried to get her fired because she was Palestinian.

4/ Who tried to cancel journalist Maher Mughrabi from the foreign desk of The Age for writing an opinion piece in 2011? The Israeli ambassador at the time wrote to the paper’s editor-in-chief insisting that he was unsuitable for the role due to his Palestinian heritage.

5/ Who tried to cancel award-winning author Randa Abdel-Fattah @RandaAFattah ? She has had school talks and a talk with a local council cancelled after pressure from Zionists who took issue with her Palestinian heritage and her public stance in defence of Palestinian rights.

6/ The Zionist lobby has tried to “cancel” the Palestinian cause and every single Palestinian in public life. Read this article by Randa Abdel-Fattah on the silencing that Palestinians are subject to.

7/ What about our freedom of speech? Back in 2003, the Powerhouse Museum caved to Zionist pressure and censored the ‘Treasures of Palestine’ exhibition by removing any content it deemed political, including photographs showing Israeli occupation forces.

8/ What about the time Samah Sabawi @gazaheart was dumped from a panel at @wheelercentre and then reinstated, all in the space of 24 hours? “They don’t want a Palestinian who’s articulate. I think they know they can’t debate me. Their ideas are so passé.” Amen sister.

9/ How about the time Samah Sabawi @gazaheart wrote an op-ed for @ABCReligion that was passed onto the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) prior to publication without her knowledge or consent? Is it not censorship when the ZFA secretly informed the editorial feedback?

10/ A story: some years ago, I tried to organise a panel event for the UNSW Labor Club on Palestine/Israel, with NSW state Labor MP Jihad Dib @jihaddibmp , Independent Australian Jewish Voices co-founder and philosophy professor Peter Slezak @SlezakPeter and @NIFAustralia‘s executive director Liam Getreu @liamget

11/ It didn’t matter that two of the three voices on the panel were Jewish. A Zionist lobby group complained to @NSWYoungLabor , and I received clear instructions that the event had to be cancelled. The only reason: Zionists didn’t like it. Who was cancelled?

12/ This is the tip of the iceberg. I can’t disclose all the instances of intimidation and pressure we have faced because we cannot compromise other people impacted via proximity to us — and that is part of the reason why it is so insidious. Who is really being cancelled?

13/ The “cancel culture” allegation is really just gaslighting of Palestinians. The Israeli embassy claims: “Culture is a bridge to coexistence, cooperation and rapprochement and should be left out of the political arena.” But how does Israel treat Palestinian culture?

14/ Why do so many Palestinians have watermelon emoji in their name or bio? When Israel had outlawed the colours of the Palestinian flag, artist Sliman Mansour @suleimanmanso13 was arrested and told by a Zionist officer: “Even if you [paint] a watermelon, it will be confiscated.”

15/ Israeli diplomats lecture us about “cancel culture” and freedom in the arts while they serve a regime that arrested Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour @dareen_tatour and subjected her to prison time and years of house arrest for writing poetry.

16/ Again, who is cancelling whom? Palestinian dance choreographer Ata Khattab was imprisoned last year for promoting Palestinian culture and identity. He is not alone: Palestinian visual artist Hafez Omar spent 13 months in prison for his political art.

17/ During the final night of the Palestinian Cinema Days Festival, Israeli forces raided the Ramallah Cultural Palace. Zionists whinge about peaceful protest outside the Sydney Opera House while they cheer on Israeli military raids on a film festival.

18/ Why don’t journalists seriously interrogate Zionist claims of “cancel culture”? Why don’t they ask Israeli diplomats about the often violent repression of Palestinian culture? About the harassment, intimidation, and attempts to “cancel” Palestinian people for merely existing?

19/ Where is the uproar over the Zionist lobby’s mad pursuit of the ABC for daring to platform Randa Abdel-Fattah on #QandA? The basis of their complaint (first to the ABC, and now to the media regulator ACMA) is “bias”, but we know they are only upset because Randa embarrassed them.

20/ Across 22 episodes of #QandA where Palestine is discussed, only 4 include a Palestinian panelist (all of whom are @RandaAFattah). The reason this number is not higher is because Zionist tantrums make it a liability for the ABC to platform us. That’s cancel culture.

21/ If you condemn the #SydneyFestival boycott but you didn’t condemn the censorship of a Palestinian exhibition, the arrest of Palestinian artists, or the silencing of Palestinian voices, then you’re not some enlightened defender of free speech. You’re an anti-Palestinian racist.