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A Statement of Solidarity with Palestine from the UIC Global Asian Studies Program

A Statement of Solidarity with Palestine from UIC GLAS

University of Illinois Chicago, USA May 17, 2021

The Global Asian Studies Program at the University of Illinois Chicago stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people and the various statements of solidarity issued by our colleagues in the Palestinian Feminist Collective, the Gender Studies Departments in Solidarity with Palestinian Feminist Collective, the Palestine and Praxis: Scholars for Palestinian Freedom. We denounce the violence that the settler colonial state power of Israel is exercising against Palestinians that have resulted in the continuing forced
displacement of residents of Sheikh Jarrah, raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the bombing of Gaza. Israeli military forces were deployed in the West Bank and Gaza seven days ago, and as of today, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, thousands have been injured, over 38,000 people in Gaza have been displaced, and at least 500 homes have been destroyed.

We uplift the determination of the Palestinian people. We call for the end of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine, which has resulted in the mass expulsion -Nakba - of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland between 1947-1949 and the continued displacement of what is now over 7 million Palestinian refugees. And we call for the Palestinian people’s right of return.

As educators of Global Asian Studies, an academic unit that emphasizes the study of Asian and Asian American histories, cultures, and politics, and shifts in US racial formations including Islamaphobia, new Orientalisms, and anti Arab/South Asian/Muslim racisms, our intellectual projects are anchored by a commitment to understanding and historicizing the social inequalities that face our communities. Our
curriculum focuses on pedagogies that reflect decolonizing, intersectional, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist frameworks that are committed to understanding “Global Asia” in relation to and connected with Black, Indigeneous, Arab American, Latinx communities. Our analyses of power and resistance, our engagement with communities, and our work in forging critical solidarities is premised on these frameworks.

We uplift and uphold the legacy of solidarity that has existed between Asian/Asian American communities and Arab/Arab American communities. The founding of Ethnic Studies under the umbrella of The Third World Liberation Movement, to which we owe our existence as an interdiscipline, was founded through coalitions of students. They included Arab and Muslim students who joined hand in hand with various communities of color in one of the most powerful student uprisings that eventually led to one of the longest university strikes to demand culturally-relevant education. We see this solidarity work take center stage during the Ethnic Studies Model School Curriculum debacle in California and the call of the original signatories, which included Asian American studies scholars, to withdraw their names from the proposal because of the erasure of Palestine from the curriculum and the movement away from the critical edge of ethnic studies. We see this solidarity work in one of the flagship associations of Global Asian Studies - the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) serving as the first academic association in the US to issue a statement in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. We see this solidarity work in our Program’s support of the creation of the Arab American Cultural Center (ARABMACC) at UIC, the first Arab American cultural center on a college campus founded by Nadine Naber who is a faculty member in Global Asian Studies. GLAS houses courses like the Introduction to Arab American Studies and Arab-Asian Connections and some of the GLAS faculty members serve on the ARABAMCC campus advisory committee. We see this solidarity work in social movements including those captured by the rallying call of “from Palestine to the Philippines: Stop the War Machine” espoused by Filipino student organizations like the League of Filipino Students and our very own Anakbayan at UIC and their partner organizations like the Chicago Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (CCHRP) who see the connections between the Philippines and Palestine as anchored by the role of US military aid in supporting authoritarian regimes.  We see this solidarity work reflected in grassroots movements among the South Asian diaspora, Kashmiris, South Koreans, and in statements by nation states such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.

We honor this legacy of solidarity and reaffirm our commitment to supporting the Palestinian struggle. We remain committed to supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. We reaffirm our commitment to supporting UIC’s Arab American Cultural Center’s  #CountMENAIn campaign to create a Middle East North African (MENA) category at the University of Illinois and honor the specificity of their lived experiences and redress the institutionalization of their invisibility. We remain committed to supporting student activism on campus such as the work of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). We remain committed to supporting community efforts to end the funding of Israeli military occupation and aggression. We remain committed to the ongoing urgency of connecting our movements and work toward building a community that is based on collective care, social justice, and liberation for all.

We invite you to read through a few of these selected resources to gain more knowledge and context about the Palestinian struggle:

  1. Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Davis
  2. A reading list compiled by the Jadaliyya editorial team
  3. Educational resources compiled by the Palestinian Youth Movement
  4. “Israel Palestine Conflict 101” by the Jewish Voice for Peace
  5. “The Terror of Israel’s Arrests” a report written by Lawyers for Defending The Uprising Detainees in Haifa, Palestine. Read the report here in Arabic.
  6. “There’s Nothing Complicated about What’s Happening in Palestine” by Asia Khatoun
  7. “Without US Aid, Israel Wouldn’t Be Killing Palestinians En Masse by Noam Chomsky
  8. “Settler Colonialism is a Reproductive Issue” by Souzan Nasser
  9. “Sheikh Jarrah: Neighborhood’s resilient women say ‘we will not leave’ by Aseel Jundi
  10. “The media is an accomplice in erasing Palestinian life” by Mary Turfah

We invite you to consider supporting the following efforts:

  1. Share/read the Palestinian Feminist Collective’s (PFC)  “A Love Letter to Our People Struggling in Palestine” and get involved with PFC - and/or follow them  on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates
  2. Support the General Strike on Tuesday, May 18 that people in Palestine and in the diaspora are organizing  in front of local embassies and consulates, demanding an end to the siege on Gaza, an immediate halt to expulsions in Jerusalem, specifically Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, and an end to both state and settler violence, lynchings and beatings of Palestinians.  To have Samidoun add your actions, email, message them on WhatsApp at +32466904397 or tag Samidoun on social media with your events.
  3. Attend the Black, Indigeneous, and Palestinian Feminisms online event organized by the Feminist Front and Borderlands for Equity. Register:
  4. If you are a scholar, consider signing on to the the Palestine and Praxis: Scholars for Palestinian Freedom Open Letter and Call to Action
  5. Call your Representatives: Representative Marie Newman is leading a letter urging the Biden Administration to STOP Israel’s imminent plan to forcibly displaced nearly 2,000 Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Al-Bustan and Sheikh Jarrah and stop the US imminent sale of $735 million in weapons to the Netanyahu administration. Find your rep HERE!
  6. Support the US Palestinian Community Network’s (USPCN) Campaign for Liberation and Dignity and make a donation to support refugees in Gaza.
  7. Emergency Palestine Health Fund organized by a number of  student-led organizations around the country to raise money for the Palestine’s Children’s Relief Fund
  8. Follow and get updates from the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine
  9. Amplify the voices of Palestinians and continue to talk, teach, post, and share the news of what is happening to prevent the distortion of the narrative in corporate media
  10. Have your organization, unit, or collective write a solidarity statement
  11. Use these hashtags when posting to social media:
    1.  #PalestineIsAFeministIssue
    2. #SaveSheikhJarrah
    3. #StopBombingGaza
    4. #StopJerusalemExpulsions
    5. #FreePalestine
    6. #HandsOffJerusalem
    7. #PalestineWillBeFree
    8. #GazaUnderAttack

In Solidarity and Strength,
The Global Asian Studies Program at the University of Illinois Chicago, USA