Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, endorses the following statement issued by the Palestinian Feminist Collective.
This Women’s History Month, we, the undersigned, join the Palestinian Feminist Collective (PFC), a U.S. based network of Palestinian and Arab women and feminists, in affirming Palestine as a feminist issue. Alongside the PFC, we build upon the history of Palestinian women and their co-strugglers who have worked to end multiple forms of oppression. We reject all appropriations of feminist and queer rights discourses that are used to dehumanize Palestinians, justify ongoing Zionist settler-colonization of their homeland, and repress their political activism. In doing so, we commit to resisting gendered and sexual violence, settler colonialism, capitalist exploitation, land degradation and oppression in Palestine, on Turtle Island, and globally.
For decades, Palestinian feminists have resisted Israel’s masculinist and militarized siege of Palestinian land and life. Since its inception, the Zionist settler colonial project has hinged on the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and land, creating generations of landless Palestinian refugees. Zionist violence continues to dominate Palestinian lives in intimate ways. Throughout the homeland, Israel demolishes Palestinian homes, subjects Palestinian prisoners of conscience to systematic sexual and physical abuse and torture, and polices Palestinian bodies, sexualities, reproductive rights, and family life. Palestinians continue to affirm life in the face of the enduring Nakba (catastrophe), which takes place through deadly closure in the Gaza Strip, military occupation in the West Bank, legal designations of second-class citizenship in the settler state, exile in refugee camps and across the shatat (global diaspora), and denial of the right to return home.
We uphold the legacies of solidarity between Palestinian, Black, Indigenous, Third World feminist, working class, and queer communities who have struggled side-by-side within larger anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist movements in the US and globally. This stands in contrast to liberal feminist traditions in the U.S. that continue to weaponize feminist discourses against Palestinians and other marginalized communities by failing to confront the structural forms of gendered and sexual violence inherent to settler/colonialism, imperialist wars, racial capitalism, and global white supremacy. Liberal and Zionist feminisms rely on Orientalist discourses to silence and undermine the collective aspirations of Palestinian women and their co-strugglers, contributing to intensified political repression that criminalizes free speech on Palestine and Palestinian liberation.
In the interest of advancing a truly intersectional and decolonial feminist vision for the United States, Palestine and our world, we hereby pledge to:
- Embrace and advocate for Palestinian liberation as a critical feminist issue;
- Support Palestinian rights to free speech and political organizing everywhere;
- Reject the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, in particular the legal enforcement of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism;
- Heed the call of Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions;
- Divest from militarism and invest in justice and community needs on Turtle Island;
- Call for an end to US political, military, and economic support to Israel, and to all military, security, and policing collaborations.
Our commitment to the liberation of Palestinian lands and people is rooted in love, which is at the heart of all projects of decolonization. Our values grow out of embodied cultural wisdom and justice to transform our communities. We are committed to ending the greed, domination, and fragmentation so deeply entrenched in capitalism, colonial extraction, and US empire. We are re-imagining and re-creating a world free from systems of gendered, racial and economic exploitation that commodify human life and land. Ours is a vision for a radically different future based on life-affirming interconnectedness, empowering the working classes, and love for each other, land, life and the planet itself. For these reasons, we pledge, today and everyday, to recognize Palestine as a Feminist Issue and to uphold this commitment in our daily lives and organizing praxis.