Palestinian feminists condemns recent attacks by Florida State Legislatures on Palestinian organizers
A Call for Accountability: The Palestinian Feminist Collective Condemns Recent Attacks on Palestinian Organizers by Florida State Legislatures
This past May, a coalition of Florida based and national organizations called on Florida State Legislators in a petition to condemn Israeli violence and apartheid against the Palestinian people, and protect Floridians right to free speech on Palestine. Organizers hand-delivered the petition to Florida legislators Anna Eskamami, Carlos Guillermo Smith, Geraldine Thompson, Kamia Brown, Randolph Bracy, Victor Torres and Linda Stewart, as well as congressional leaders Val Demings, Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto. They publicly demanded that elected representatives condemn Israel’s state sanctioned violence, forced expulsions, and home demolitions of the Palestinian people, end U.S. backed military aid to Israel; recognize and acknowledge the harm of (HB 741) by endorsing Palestine Legal’s Complaint in support of Ahmad Daraldik; call on Secretary of State Tony Blinken to immediately intervene to stop Israel’s illegal expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan; co-sponsor Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s Bill: the Palestinian Children and Families Act and Protect Floridians’ right to freedom of speech and the right to boycott/BDS.
Following these events, Palestinian Feminist Collective (PFC) member Rasha Mubarak, a Palestinian Muslim American community organizer and President of Unbought Power, has been undergoing attacks racist, sexist, and Islamophobic slander due to her leadership in these efforts. She has been accused of being an “Islamist” who targeted “Jews and Gays”. Furthermore, when organizers attempted to deliver the petitions to Florida State Legislator Randy Fine, he hurled violent insults at them, characterizing Muslim-Palestinian activists as “terrorists” and suggesting that Palestinians should be killed. Using official social media accounts, Fine harassed Palestinian individuals, telling them to “go blow themselves up.” Such genocidal language then took on a life of its own through egregious hashtags.This violent dismissal, policing, racism, and xenophobia against Palestinians are not unique or exceptional. However, when enacted by a democratically elected public servant, the impact is monumental because it normalizes such behavior and makes Palestinians and their co-strugglers more vulnerable to racist violence and attacks.
Democratic leaders aid and abet this racialized, sexist, homophobic abuse through their silence, cowardice, and complicity in denying Palestinian perspectives and experiences, and perpetrate it in targeting and threatening the lives and livelihoods of Palestinian organizers. Threatening and constraining lives, livelihoods, and reputations is a form of soft violence. It is inextricable from the hard violence that targets the lives of Palestinians. Both forms of violence, hard and soft, endanger Palestinian life and freedom, precisely at a time of intensified attacks.
The PFC condemns the targeting of Rasha Mubarak as a racist and sexist attempt to deligitimize the Palestinian struggle for liberation. The racialized and gendered assault on Rasha and attempts to defame her character are part of a history of gendered violence against Palestinian women in the homeland and the diaspora. These attacks attempt to silence, defame, and discipline Palestinian women in general, and outspoken Palestinian feminists in particular.
As a feminist collective committed to justice and ending all forms of gender-based violence against our communities, we condemn the recent sexist, racist, and homophobic attacks on Rasha Mubarak.
We ask that you join us in calling on politicians to hold State Representative Randy Fine(@VoteRandyFine) accountable for his racist rhetoric and vitriolic discourse and the harm he has inflicted on Rasha Mubarak and the wider Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim communities in Florida and beyond. We call on State Representatives Carlos Guillermo Smith (@CarlosGSmith), Anna Eskamani (@AnnaForFlorida) and others who have perpetuated these attacks to immediately retract their posts that incite hate and apologize to Rasha Mubarak and all allies impacted by the spreading of such false statements and incurring tone-policing. We call on democratically elected public servants to take accountable and ethical positions on Palestine and to withdraw their complicity from colonial occupation.
The PFC calls on our feminist allies to support Rasha Mubarak by opposing all sexist, gendered, and racist attacks against women of color. We urge our allies to support and amplify the voices of Palestinian organizers who oppose and publicly contest injustices against marginalized communities across the borders of settler colonial states. To be silent is to be complicit.