Women for Palestine L.A.’s open letter and the Palestinian American Women’s Association boycott inspired several powerful on-stage statements yesterday at #WMLA, and prominent media coverage.
Melina Abdullah, Chair of Pan-African Studies at Cal-State LA and Black Lives Matter-LA organizer, gave a rousing speech on the main stage.
Then, in a surprise move, she handed the mic to her daughter, Thandiwe, whose speech on Palestine was livestreamed on Facebook to hundreds of thousands viewers.
She said, in part:
“Hi. My name is Thandiwe Abdullah. I’m 14 and as a black Muslim girl, it is very important to me that Black Lives Matter also values the lives of the Muslim women in Palestine; the Muslim women and fems in Palestine. The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people.”
Similarly, Asmaa Ahmed of CAIR – Greater LA, dedicated her speech to 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, the young Palestinian Rosa Parks.
And Lydia Ponce, of AIM So-Cal, on the Pershing Square stage during an opening prayer for “all children to be kept safe out of harms way,” held up a Free Ahed Tamimi poster.
Meanwhile, PAWA’s boycott of WMLA was covered in the L.A. Times, NBC Los Angeles, Mondoweiss, and other media.
PAWA’s boycott was sparked by WMLA’s choice of “Scarlett Johansson in their lineup of special guest speakers. Johansson has expressed her unapologetic support of illegal settlements in the West Bank,” thus ignoring the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights .
Adding insult to injury, WMLA organizers featured Natalie Portman, another prominent defender of apartheid Israel.
The boycott of WMLA also parallels a boycott by women of color of the Women’s March in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
PAWA’s statement endorses Women’s for Palestine L.A.’s open letter, with over 4,000 signatures and rising, calling for “genuine intersectionality” by supporting Palestinian human rights.
Elsewhere, women’s march contingents demanded to Free Ahed Tamimi and other Palestinian women imprisoned and abused by Israel. One sign in New York City said, “No feminism without Palestinians — Dump Scar-Jo,” referring to Johansson’s featured role in Women’s March L.A.