MENATMA STATEMENT ON PALESTINE

 

As a U.S.-based alliance of artists founded to amplify and advocate for the voices of Middle Eastern and North African theater makers, we join organizations of diverse backgrounds and faiths, from Black Lives Matter to Jewish Voice for Peace, in bringing attention to the disproportionate killing of Palestinian civilians by Israeli military actions that are financially and politically supported by the U.S. government. We mourn and condemn the loss of Palestinian and Israeli lives in this recent escalation, and for decades prior. We support the Palestinian people’s right to sovereignty, safety, equity, and freedom, and condemn the Israeli occupation and the governmental system of discrimination and injustice that has inflicted ongoing physical and emotional violence, violated the human rights of Palestinians under international law, and prevents the people of Palestine, Israel, and neighboring countries from living in peace. 

 

MENATMA was founded to support brave and self-reflective dialogue, education, and action, and we support all creators who speak out against injustice and violence. We believe that the historic and ongoing censorship, in programming, funding, and marketing of works by artists that challenge the Israeli occupation or speak up for Palestinian rights is dangerous and must stop. As a field, we must challenge the notion that donors or audiences cannot or will not support these perspectives, and publicly oppose the vilification, intimidation, and silencing of Palestinian voices. 

 

We acknowledge and celebrate the multiplicity of ethnic and religious identities within our rich communities, including in Palestine and Israel. We join allies of all faiths in affirming that speaking out against Israel’s occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people is a critique of the military and governmental policies of a state, and is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Jewish. We reject the weaponization of those terms to silence Palestinians and allies. We also firmly oppose the use of this issue to incite anti-Jewish rhetoric or violence in the U.S. or anywhere in the world. 

 

We recognize that the United States is a settler colonial nation, and acknowledge the  parallels between the forced displacement, massacres, land loss, and ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people and that of Native American and Indigenous peoples in the U.S. and the Americas. We recognize the parallels between the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people and the historical systems of Apartheid in South Africa, Segregation in the U.S., and the ongoing police brutality against Black people in the U.S. We recognize the parallels between the dehumanization and human rights abuses of migrant people at the U.S.-Mexico border and the treatment of Palestinians by the state of Israel, including border walls and the detention of children. We recognize that many in our communities have participated in and benefit from these systems of oppression both in the U.S. and in our countries of origin.  We believe that our struggles and our liberation are interconnected, and we advocate for the rights of systematically oppressed communities in our own country and around the world.

As artists and theater makers, we call upon our U.S. theater community to engage, learn, dialogue, and take action even when it is uncomfortable or challenging to do so.

THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW:

 

 

 

FURTHER RESOURCES:

This list is adapted with permission from lists sent by Noelle Ghoussaini, Noor Theatre, and many others.

 

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AMPLIFY PALESTINIAN VOICES: 

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