Roger Waters, Linda Sarsour and Marc Lamont Hill walk in to a fine arts center…no, this is not the beginning of a joke, but rather what is going to happen in a few weeks at UMass-Amherst.
Legendary rocker Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame, who has emerged as one of the world’s most prominent advocates for Palestinian human rights, will appear at the UMass Fine Arts Center in Amherst on May 4 at 6:30 p.m. for a panel discussion on the accelerating backlash against pro-Palestinian voices.
The panel, “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, and the Battle for Palestinian Human Rights,” will address recent attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar and other progressives who have spoken out against Israel’s 50-year military occupation of Palestinian land and pushed back against the claim that criticizing Israeli government policies is “anti-Semitic.”
Waters, who has been repeatedly vilified as an “anti-Semite” for his criticisms of Israel’s human rights abuses, will be joined on the panel by other activists and journalists who have come under fire and faced death threats for their outspoken criticisms of the occupation.
They include: Palestinian-American political activist Linda Sarsour, the co-founder of MPower Change and co-chair of the Women’s March, who was recently targeted by a private Israeli intelligence firm as part of a coordinated U.S. campaign to prevent her from speaking out against Israeli policies on American college campuses; Marc Lamont Hill, a professor and political commentator who has visited the West Bank with Black Lives Matter and was fired earlier this year by CNN for remarks he made in support of Palestinian rights; and Nation magazine sports editor and author Dave Zirin, a frequent contributor to MSNBC and ESPN who has been called a “self-hating Jew” for his criticisms of Israeli human rights abuses, his outspoken defense of Ilhan Omar, and his support for NFL players who refused to go on a promotional trip to Israel funded by the Israeli government.
According to the Jewish Journal:
The event is being organized by the Northampton-based Media Education Foundation, and the organization’s executive director Sut Jhally. Jhally is also a tenured professor of Communication at UMass-Amherst, and served as a producer of “The Occupation of the American Mind.”