From:   Amin Husain <>
Sent time:   Wednesday, October 12, 2011 5:35:29 AM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] Zionist speaker at OWS outreach training

Andy and Layan - What do you think is needed to make things better?


On Oct 12, 2011, at 7:32 AM, shaista husain <> wrote:


> Can we have a teach in in front of UN? The NYU speak out was

> successful. Perhaps a UN speak out will also be just as successful to

> bring attention to the failed policies.


> On Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 7:06 AM, Amin Husain <> wrote:

>> I am happy to help with a teach-in.


>> On Oct 12, 2011, at 3:49 AM, Layan Fuleihan <> wrote:


>> I agree wholeheartedly. As an arab-american with Palestinian roots, I've

>> been encouraged by the amount of support and inclusion so far in the square.

>> This is definitely not something I'm used to seeing, and it is really

>> heartwarming and encouraging. There are of course differences of opinion,

>> and while I personally do not see any reason at all to support a zionist

>> political agenda, I will respect the right of anyone involved with OWS to

>> have their own opinions regarding this issue.

>> However, there is a difference between having personal opinions and being

>> afraid to hear all sides. What it sounds like happened (and I wasn't there,

>> so I apologize if this is inaccurate) is, with the downward finger signs and

>> general disapproval, and unwillingness to face an uncomfortable truth. If

>> this isn't then time, then when?

>> OWS is not about being comfortable. Isn't this supposed to be a place where

>> voices that are usually oppressed to finally be heard? If anyone has any

>> critique about anything that goes on in the square, it must be fairly

>> considered. The specific context of the J-14 protests is specifically

>> concerning: yes, the J-14 protests might have been similar to ours in form

>> and style and subject, but the real housing crisis in Israel happened half a

>> century ago with the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and

>> continues today with settlement expansion and an institutionalized policy of

>> racism and apartheid. These are facts that are, at this point, impossible

>> to ignore and undeniable, there is more than enough human and material

>> evidence so that this becomes larger than politics, it is an issue of basic

>> human rights. To speak of the J14 protests without at least acknowledging

>> this reality goes against what I understand is one of the main central

>> productive abilities of OWS that gives it such credibility: a drive to

>> unmask the forms of oppression the national and global system currently

>> creates. Further, it is our responsibility to face these facts: the

>> disproportionately large U.S. financial and political support of Israel

>> makes this issue urgently relevant to our protests.

>> I second Andy's suggestion for a teach in and discussion between different

>> groups to start coming to an understanding on this topic. I truly believe

>> that OWS is the space for this sort of productive discussion to happen, I've

>> seen it happen, and I'm very optimistic that it can occur again.

>> Thanks,

>> Layan


>> On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 9:41 PM, <>

>> wrote:



>>> Tonight (Tuesday) was the first Occupy Wall Street outreach training. I

>>> was shocked to hear that the first speaker after the introduction would be

>>> an activist from the Israeli "tent protests," the racist movement which was

>>> fighting for cheaper rents and mortgages for stolen homes on stolen land.

>>> OWS has responded to criticisms of

>>> inadequate leadership and participation and addressing of issues by and

>>> regarding people of color by fostering discussion and restructuring. The

>>> racist "tent protest" movement responded to equivalent challenges from

>>> Palestinians by telling them, "shut

>>> up, leave us alone, don't divide the movement."

>>> I waited to hear what the speaker (Ezra something) had to say, and it was

>>> as bad as I feared. It was all about the technical issues of outreach and

>>> democracy, and not one word about outreach to Palestinians or inclusion of

>>> their issues.

>>> When he finished I got the floor (even though there hadn't been discussion

>>> time planned for that agenda point) and made some of the above points.

>>> Almost as soon as I began speaking murmurs of disagreement and calls of

>>> "this isn't the time" and downward "twinkling" hand motions began. One of

>>> the facilitators asked the

>>> speaker to respond, and he said "it's a question of outreach. I did

>>> outreach to Palestinians in Israel who were leery of joining the movement.

>>> You'll have to do the same in the Bronx. The issue of Palestinians in the

>>> movement won't be settled here."

>>> Well, yes, Mr. Zionist, it will be settled here. There is a huge

>>> Palestinian exile community in the US, with that in NY being one of the

>>> biggest components. They want their land back, they want their homes back,

>>> and they want the right to return. They have no

>>> interest in a movement which haggles over the rent paid by Jews to Jews

>>> for stolen property. They can't even return to visit because of exclusionary

>>> laws passed by your racist state.

>>> I have been having a hell of a great time building OWS, especially its

>>> labor component, and encouraging Palestinians and other Arabs to join in.

>>> That will cease until there is some clarification of exactly where OWS

>>> stands on these issues.

>>> I can't continue to encourage Palestinians to come to OWS events for fear

>>> that they might be surprised, as I was tonight, by the promotion of a racist

>>> Zionist speaker. When 30,000 Bedouins are being driven out of their homes,

>>> when settlers are escalating murderous attacks and destroying thousands of

>>> olive trees, how can I recruit people to a movement which promotes a speaker

>>> who thinks this is all irrelevant?

>>> I don't presume to know what the opinions of the rest of the leadership of

>>> OWS is on this question, and I would be happy to help organize a discussion

>>> -- preferably with Palestinian activists, the OWS People of Color committee,

>>> and a representative group from

>>> the OWS leadership -- to resolve this.

>>> How can OWS promote the great revolutionary speech by Mohammed Ezzeldin on

>>> Saturday and then promote this racist tonight?

>>> The REAL movement OWS can learn from in the region is that of the refugees

>>> in May and June who tried to reoccupy their homes in historic Palestine by

>>> crossing the borders, some of whom were mercilessly gunned down.

>>> Photos have begun to surface in stories about the current Palestinian

>>> hunger strike in which at solidarity demonstrations for the prisoners,

>>> Palestinians are holding up signs reading "Occupy Wall Street, Not

>>> Palestine!" How can we let them down?

>>> Until such time I will be devoting my organizing efforts to where they

>>> were overwhelmingly before OWS erupted: the Palestine solidarity movement.

>>> In solidarity (I hope),

>>> Andy Pollack

>>> Al-Awda NY: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition

>>> For background and context:








>>> eparation-principle/#more-2195