Nov. 12 Event to Explore “The Attack on BDS and Pro-Palestinian Speech”

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An event titled “Criminalizing Dissent — The Attack on BDS and Pro-Palestinian Speech” will be held Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center. Presented by the Northampton-based Media Education Foundation and the Resistance Studies Initiative, the program will feature six high-profile activists.

The organizers are renting space on campus, as many non-UMass organizations do. The opinions expressed by the speakers are their own and not those of UMass Amherst.

In an open letter to Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, 134 UMass Amherst faculty expressed their “deep disappointment and dismay” regarding the chancellor’s Oct. 21 statement about the event, sentiments that were also expressed by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). For further details, view the open letter from the faculty and the open letter from the SJP.

The program organized by the foundation, headed by communications Professor Sut Jhally, features Harvard Professor Cornel West, the author of 20 books on philosophy, race and religion, and television commentator; anti-racism activist Tim Wise, a best-selling author of numerous books on white privilege and the politics of racial scapegoating; Shaun King, a journalist who writes for “The Intercept” and “The North Star” and a leading voice of the Black Lives Matter movement; Dima Khalidi, the founder and director of Palestine Legal, a consortium of lawyers that advocates for the rights of pro-Palestinian activists; and Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Barghouti will join the event via Skype live from Israel. 

The panel will be moderated by Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, a co-founder of MPower Change and former co-chair of the Women’s March.

The panel is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets are available through the FAC Box Office during business hours (Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 413-545-2511 or 800-999-UMAS) and online anytime at www.fineartscenter.com. Tickets are limited to two per person and guarantee admission until 6:15 p.m. on Nov. 12. At that time, any empty seats that remain may be filled by those without a pre-reserved ticket.