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PEN American Center is unwilling to fulfill its mission when it comes to defending Palestinian writers –Updated

Patrick Connors on

PEN American Center released a statement last Friday expressing concern over Israel’s arrest of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who was arrested in October 2015 over a poem and two Facebook posts. The PEN American Center statement is welcome because it uses the organization’s credibility to draw attention to the injustice of Tatour’s detention, yet it denies Tatour’s very self-identification as a Palestinian, denies the existence of Israeli military occupation, and fails to call for Tatour’s release.

Solidarity with Dareen Tatour now hot issue in Israel’s cultural wars

Yoav Haifawi on

Hundreds of Palestinians are arrested, interrogated, and sentenced to Israeli prisons for their pronouncements made on Facebook each year. But the most absurd case of them is that of poet Dareen Tatour. Yoav Haifawi reports from an solidarity event with Tatour in Jaffa: “the wall of silence and denial on the part of the Israeli government fell altogether when supporters of Dareen Tatour called for an artistic solidarity event in the Jaffa (Yaffa) Theatre on August 30, 2017. And when the walls fell, we faced a wave of threats and inciting language from top Israeli politicians printed in Israeli mainstream media.”

US literary figures renew call for freedom for Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour

Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY on

Prominent U.S. poets, writers, playwrights and publishers issued statements today in support of imprisoned Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour ahead of her upcoming trial verdict on October 17.  The statements calling for her freedom, and demanding that Israel drop all charges against Dareen, released by Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY, come just as the Israeli government threatens to cut funding to a Yaffa Theater that agreed to host an artists’ solidarity event for Tatour on August 30th. Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was arrested by Israeli authorities 22 months ago, in October 2015, and charged with incitement to violence primarily over a poem she posted online, “Resist, My People, Resist Them,” as well as two Facebook posts.

Poetry Is Not a Crime: Nine Pulitzer-winners among 150+ literary figures calling for Israel to release Palestinian poet

Adalah-NY and Jewish Voice for Peace on

Over 150 renowned writers, poets, translators, artists and literary figures signed an open letter in solidarity with Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour. Susan Abulhawa, Rae Armantrout, Carl Dennis, Dave Eggers, Carolyn Forché, Jorie Graham, Naomi Klein, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Naomi Shihab Nye, Claudia Rankine, Tracy K Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Ayelet Waldman, Alice Walker and Jacqueline Woodson were among the award-winning literary figures who joined the call for the immediate release of the Palestinian poet who was imprisoned for her poetry.

‘With furious cruelty’–Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour still facing prosecution in Israel

Kim Jensen and Yoav Haifawi on

The trial of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour who faces up to eight years in prison for a poem she wrote continues with expert witnesses testifying about the meanings of her words in translation. Kim Jensen and Yoav Haifawi write “the defense’s overarching objectives were to establish Tatour’s inalienable right to freedom of expression, to point out the distorted police translation of Tatour’s poem, and to demonstrate anti-Arab bias in the judicial system. The contentious hearings started late and dragged into the evening as the prosecutor Alina Hardak spared no attempt to undermine the credibility of the witnesses.”

Poet on Trial: A visit to an Israeli court

Kim Jensen on

Kim Jensen reports from Nazareth at the third hearing in the Israeli government’s case against Dareen Tatour, the 33-year old Palestinian poet who is being prosecuted for “incitement to violence” on the basis of a YouTube clip and two alleged Facebook status updates. Jensen writes, “The wheels of justice grind slowly in the State of Israel, at least for Palestinian activists who endure de facto and de jure inequality under the law.”

Israeli government threatens Jaffa theater over solidarity event for Dareen Tatour

Yoav Haifawi on

In retaliation for an upcoming event planned in solidarity with Palestinian poet Dareen Tabour, the Israeli Ministry of Culture has requested the Treasury to examine whether Yaffa’s (Jaffa) “Arab-Hebrew Theater” has violated the Nakba Law. Yoav Haifawi writes, “The common knowledge in Israel is that even as Palestinians are persecuted for anything or nothing, the freedom of expression for the Jewish population was more or less secure. Now the event in Yaffa may become a test case of the new laws and the old assumptions.”

The State of Israel on the nature of poetry

Yarden Katz on

Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet and citizen of Israel, was arrested in 2015 for posting a poem on Facebook. Tatour was charged with “incitement”, imprisoned for months and then kept under house arrest while awaiting trial. Transcripts from her trial were recently published and reveal the Israeli state’s inquiry into the nature of poetry: What is a poem? And what makes one a poet? Those were some of the questions raised by the state prosecutor in a tribunal that seems somewhere between an academic conference and a Stalinist show trial.

Dareen Tatour appeals to supporters as Israeli prosecution attempts to reopen case against her

Yumna Patel on

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour is appealing to her supporters to sign a petition in support of her freedom of expression after she received a letter from the Israeli Supreme Court that the public prosecution was seeking to reopen the case against her. Despite already serving her time in prison, and a court partially acquitting her of the charges against her, Tatour fears that Israeli authorities are attempting again to silence her voice.

Why the poet Dareen Tatour was convicted of incitement

Yoav Haifawi on

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour is to be sentenced for incitement for her Facebook posts on July 31. The case began with a mistaken arrest, but her conviction was no mistake, reflecting Israel’s need to punish any proud Palestinian. “Terrorists are always everywhere in Israeli consciousness wherever Palestinian resistance is mentioned,” writes Yoav Haifawi.

‘I Am a Human Being’: A visit with Dareen Tatour

Kim Jensen on

At about 3:00 am on October 11, 2015, Israeli police and border guards kicked open the door of the Tatour family home and hauled Dareen Tatour off in her pajamas. The police had no warrant and offered no explanation for the shocking pre-dawn raid. It was only after twenty days of imprisonment and four interrogations that Tatour and her family finally learned the exact nature of the charges. She was being held for “incitement” because of two Facebook posts and a poetry video clip that she posted on YouTube. Nine months later, an Israeli court issued Tatour a 48-hour pass to visit her family in Reineh, a small Palestinian town outside of Nazareth, where Kim Jensen talked to Tatour about her case, her work, and her aspirations as an artist.

The Trials of Dareen Tatour: A year of detention and no end in sight

Kim Jensen and Yoav Haifawi on

It was exactly one year ago that Dareen Tatour’s ordeal began. In the pre-dawn hours of October 11, 2015, Israeli police and border guards stormed into Palestinian poet’s family home without a warrant or an explanation for the shocking and disturbing intrusion. They arrested, interrogated, and eventually charged Dareen Tatour with the crime of ‘incitement to violence’ for posts she made on Facebook. A year later, there is no end in sight.

The story of Dareen Tatour is the story of Falasteen

Kim Jensen on

Kim Jensen writes, “Everything about the trial of Dareen Tatour was like fiction. Everything required the willing suspension of disbelief. From the opening pages, it was impossible to digest the premise that an unknown young poet from a small town in the Galilee would be hauled off by Israeli police and border guards for a smattering of posts on the internet. To get the truth, sometimes you have to quit and start from scratch. Everything about the story of Dareen Tatour is the story of Falasteen.”

Documenting the Nakba: an interview with poet Dareen Tatour

Yoav Haifawi on

Yoav Hifawi visits Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour to see how her story fits within the context of the Palestinian Nakba. What he discovered is Dareen is the descendant of Palestinians who were displaced from their villages during the Nakba, one of which fell after a brutal massacre.

Poet Dareen Tatour draws in jail: a journey between feelings, sensations and reality

Dareen Tatour on

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour shares drawings she made while in an Israeli prison after she was convicted for sharing a poem she wrote on social media, “I do not rule out that I could find myself in detention once again. This time perhaps for a drawing or a picture depicting the occupation, expressing resistance or my Palestinian identity and my home country.”

Rasmea Odeh banned from International Women’s Day event in Berlin following Israeli pressure

Mondoweiss Editors on
Logo for the Rasmea Spricht (Rasmea Speaks) campaign.

Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh was banned from speaking at an event marking International Women’s Day in Berlin and faces the imminent threat of deportation. Gilad Erdan, Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs, claimed credit for the decision taken by German authorities to revoke Odeh’s visa. The Rasmea Spricht campaign says, “Once again, Israeli officials have exerted their influence on Germany in order to prevent public criticism of its human rights abuses.”

The trials of Dareen Tatour: racism, negligence, and the G4S connection

Kim Jensen on

In the late afternoon of July 26, 2016, Dareen Tatour briefly found herself a free woman. For a fleeting, puzzling hour and a half, the young Palestinian poet who is being aggressively prosecuted by the State of Israel for “incitement to violence” found herself standing alone by the side of the road outside Damon prison when she should have been getting transported home to continue her court mandated house arrest. The state’s apparent lack of concern about Tatour’s actual whereabouts demonstrates one of two things: either the Israeli security services are inept, or they have already caught a whiff of the obvious—that the mild-mannered poet poses no security threat whatsoever—and that this trial is entirely a political stunt.

Journalism for justice needs your help today

Adam Horowitz on

We believe that one story at a time can change minds. Mondoweiss publishes stories that the mainstream media won’t, and now thanks to hundreds of generous gifts from readers like you, we’re so close to wrapping up our campaign. We need just $2,500 more in donations to unlock an additional $20,000 — all to support journalism for justice and freedom in Palestine.

Resistance through culture: How Mondoweiss alerts the world to defiant art and culture

Felice Gelman on

Activist Felice Gelman writes: “What’s allowed Palestinians to endure under a hostile and oppressive rule for seventy years? I’ve been involved with the Palestinian struggle in many ways and I know that one of its most important elements is culture. Culture is where the heart speaks. I’m writing today to highlight the essential work of Mondoweiss in covering art and culture in Palestine, and to ask you to join me in supporting that work.”