There is no liberation of our homeland without the liberation of women


Adalah Justice Project proudly supports the demonstrations led by Palestinian women happening today demanding an end to the ongoing killing of and violence against Palestinian women and girls suffering under colonial violence and societal patriarchy. These demonstrations come in response to the murder of Israa Ghrayeb last month, the killing of 28 other Palestinian women at the hands of male members of their families in the last year, and the ongoing violence Palestinian women face daily under Israel’s military occupation. The marches happening in Haifa, Taybeh, Ramallah, Beirut, Rafah, Jish, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Nazareth, Arraba and Berlin are united under the banner, “There is no liberation of our homeland without the liberation of women.” 

Organizers of the marches affirm that the mobilizations are undertaken by Palestinian women, and emerge from their lived reality under Israel’s colonial regime. It is within this context that Palestinian women struggle to end male violence and intimidation within their society. This campaign was organized so that all Palestinians can experience safety, freedom and justice. The organizers make clear that their initiative to end violence against women can not be an excuse to legitimize the colonizer’s violence.

Women’s freedom cannot be postponed until after national liberation. The time is now for Palestinian women to live in safety, freedom and dignity.

We Are All Israa

Dear Friend, 

We were shocked to learn last week of the tragic murder of Israa Ghrayeb, a 21-year old Palestinian woman from Beit Sahour in the West Bank. Israa was murdered by members of her family after she posted a selfie video of an outing with her fiancé. The crime is being called an “honor” killing, but this is misleading and false. There is no honor in murder.

Israa’s murder has given rise to demonstrations throughout Palestine including Ramallah, Bethlehem and Gaza, with protestors demanding stronger laws to protect women from violence. Due to the protests and extensive social media exposure, the Palestinian Authority appears to be investigating Israa’s killing and has made several arrests to question people who may know the truth of how she died. 

Israa’s story is an extreme example of how patriarchy impacts women. Every Palestinian woman we know has been reeling from the details of Israa’s torture and death. This incident has sparked a robust conversation that names our oppression at the hands of men and demands an end to patriarchy and misogyny. 

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Patriarchy, domestic abuse, and homophobia are not exclusive to Palestine. It exists everywhere from South Africa to the United States, with its “grab them by the **%!” President. 

Unfortunately, conversations about these harmful attitudes among Palestinians have been muted. There is a long history of Western powers painting the Middle East and Islam as exceptionally barbaric cultures and using the trope of “saving” Middle Eastern women to justify colonization or pointing to Israel’s supposed acceptance of queer people to “pinkwash” its occupation of Palestine. For this reason, Palestinians have hesitated to engage in public discourse around violence against women and LGBTQ people fearing that the conversations would be used to further entrench and justify Israeli oppression. 

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Everywhere patriarchy and misogyny rely on coercion, fear and, many times, violence to maintain men’s control over women and any individual who threatens their supremacy. In the same way, homophobia, transphobia and violence against LGBTQ people are driven by a narrow definition of what it means to be a “real man.” 

Violence against the Palestinian LBGTQ community was thrown into the spotlight earlier this summer. On July 26, a Palestinian teen from the northern village of Tamra (in 48’ Palestine) was severely stabbed by his brother over the youth’s suspected gender and sexual identity. The incident took place near an LGBT youth shelter in Tel Aviv. Thankfully, the teenager survived. 

Following the attack on the transgender teen, a historic protest took place in Haifa to demand an end to violence against the LGBTQ community. The demonstration was led by the Palestinian queer community with the support of Palestinian human rights organizations, including Adalah Legal Center. The demonstration marked the first time that an intersectional frame was adopted in Palestine to link the queer struggle with the struggle against Israeli occupation. 

However, there seems to be an opening now in the wake of tragedy to push forward serious conversation and critique. As one of the signs at the Haifa protest earlier this month read, “Silence kills. It’s time we raise our voices.”

Al-Qaws, the Association for Sexual and Gender Pluralism in Palestinian Society, issued excellent pointers on how to support Palestinian queers. The same principles can be applied to supporting Palestinians calling for an end to patriarchy and violence against women.  

We affirm that all systems of control and violence must be eradicated to bring about true liberation. As Palestinians living outside our homeland, we stand with women and LGBTQ people in Palestine and around the world against misogyny and violence.  Freedom means freedom for all.

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With love,

Sandra and Izzy

Our meeting with AOC

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Dear Friend, 

Yesterday, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told me straight up that she will not be a PEP, “Progressive Except on Palestine.” 

I’m still feeling moved after my meeting with AOC. I was joined by representatives of the Institute for Middle East Understanding and Jewish Voice for Peace. We were not sure what to expect from the Congresswoman. For so long and rightly so, Palestinians have been cynical of US power brokers and lawmakers who have left us outside their definitions of humanity and have supported time and time again any opportunity to further our oppression. But AOC made clear from the outset that she understands that Palestinian aspirations for justice must be part of her progressive agenda. In her, I believe we have a partner in organizing for our liberation. 

Let’s be clear. She doesn’t know everything about our issues. She acknowledged that she’s new to the question of Palestine and that she still has a lot to learn. The important message I heard is that she is  open to learning from Palestinians. She understands that Palestine is interconnected with efforts to end mass incarceration, reduce the impact of militarism and end colonialism here and abroad. 

Adalah Justice Project recognizes that we’ve won the progressive left and a few progressive members of Congress to our side. Our work now is to provide these allies with the political education, messaging and backing to speak up for Palestinian rights with deep analysis, confidence and strength. Adalah Justice Project is committed to amplifying Palestinian framing and demands that can be used by our allies. We are shaping the conversation and making sure it is Palestinians that are centered. 

My meeting with AOC was remarkable! I want you to know that your support of our work is making a difference. I’m more confident than ever that we will all get free!

Much love,

Izzy Mustafa
Communications Strategist