As the academic year starts up at colleges across the country, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support (PSLS) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) are pleased to announce the publication of a Know Your Rights booklet for Palestinian rights activists- Legal and Tactical Guide: Palestinian HumanRights Advocacy in the U.S.
The Guide is intended to help activists, both on and off campus, identify potential legal issues and how they might be approached, and to provide basic information about individual rights in a given situation. It includes sections on First Amendment rights and common ways that free speech rights are infringed, issues specific to campus activism, potential criminal charges arising from rights activism, and legal issues around boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns.
PSLS, in partnership with CCR and in collaboration with the National Lawyers Guild and other organizations, has been responding to the increasing legal attacks and intimidation campaigns against Palestine solidarity activists around the US with direct representation and advocacy on behalf of activists, advocacy work on key policy issues, and legal education efforts. The Guide comes at the end of PSLS’s first year of work identifying and beginning to tackle the ways that Palestine solidarity activists are being repressed. “We’re excited that this resource will be available for Palestinian rights activists who will find many of these issues familiar, but may not know what they can do about them,” said Dima Khalidi, CCR Cooperating Counsel and PSLS Director. “Our hope is that it will encourage people to identify in advance how and when legal problems may arise in their advocacy work, and to seek our help in fighting back against attempts to stifle their speech on this critical issue.”
“This is a fantastic resource, one that every Palestinian and Palestine solidarity activist in the U.S. should read and store in her bookbag, briefcase, and glove compartment,” said Hatem Abudayyeh, National Coordinating Committee member of the United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN, www.uspcn.org) and one of the activists raided by the FBI and subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in September of 2010 for his Palestine support work (www.stopfbi.net). “We have history and morality on our side; and now, with this document, we will also be equipped to fight back legally against the repression we face.”
“As student organizers, we face so much legal bullying that relies on a lack of knowledge about our rights. This guide is exactly what we need – with it and the support of PSLS, we will be better prepared against baseless threats and intimidation, and we can focus our efforts instead on our organizing for Palestinian human rights,” said Taliah Mirmalek, a student at UC Berkeley and a member of Students for Justice in Palestine.
While the Guide is meant to be used independently by activists, PSLS encourages individuals and groups to reach out to report incidents of repression, to get legal and advocacy help when facing backlash, and to request workshops or other more tailored discussions about how to protect and advance their rights.
- Face attempts to shut down, smear or hamper your activism
- Think your First Amendment rights to organize and protest have been violated
- Need legal advice about BDS or other campaigns
- Experience verbal or physical intimidation or assault
- Experience different treatment than other individuals or groups by university or government officials
- Have questions about your rights to engage in activism
- Need resources or trainings for your group