Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition is confronting attempts at repression from NYPD — and now a legal attack.
DEFEND AL-AWDA-NY: Defend the Right to Defend Palestine! Sign on to the solidarity statement here
Al-Awda-NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, active in the struggle for justice since 2000, both within the Palestinian community and broader social movements, today faces a new threat that endangers not only Al-Awda but all social justice activists and protest organizers in New York City and beyond.
A civil lawsuit has been filed that seeks to hold Al-Awda liable for the injuries sustained by a man shouting racist slurs , who attacked a group of teen Muslim girls, when a man defending those girls protected himself – after, and blocks away from an Al-Awda-NY rally in January 2011. While no Al-Awda members or organizers were involved, the lawsuit claims that Al-Awda should be held liable because the girls and the man who defended them had earlier attended a mass protest. This suit poses a threat to all organizers – particularly communities of color already targeted for mass criminalization.
For over 13 years, Al-Awda NY has provided youth, cultural, and know your rights trainings, and has organized conferences, international delegations, humanitarian convoys, cafes, cultural events and rallies in support of Palestine, and has played a key role in initiating broad coalitions and local, national and international projects and campaigns.
This lawsuit is part of ongoing attacks coordinated between state agents and Zionist organizations. Al-Awda-NY was a key target of the NYPD’s infamous “Demographics Unit” and other COINTELPRO-style repression programs. Al-Awda NY was infiltrated by two undercover NYPD officers, and the NYPD poured extensive resources into its failed attempts to criminalize Al-Awda NY.
This lawsuit also fits into the framework of anti-Palestinian “lawfare” groups working with the Israeli state to abuse the law to target advocates for Palestinian rights, including Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists and Students for Justice in Palestine. It also comes alongside the ongoing state repression that includes raids, arrests, and persecution targeting Palestinian community activists and leaders in Chicago and elsewhere.
We are determined to resist these attempts to curb our right to be part of the movement for justice in Palestine. Our struggle is an extension of the Palestinian struggle and all social justice struggles. Accordingly, we demand an end to all unconstitutional surveillance practices, and an end to Israeli and U.S. state harassment and infiltration of social justice movements and communities of color.
We call on our allies and all people of conscience to show support by: