Delegations of Black revolutionary leaders to the Middle East were a prominent feature of Black-Palestinian transnational solidarity at the height of the worldwide revolt against imperial domination in the decades following World War II. Though they never ceased, delegations have become a critical feature of solidarity practices once more. Unlike their historical predecessors, today's delegations are no longer organized in collaboration with the official organizations of the Palestinian national movement but between individuals and/or social justice organizations. In addition, the delegations are no longer unidirectional, as they now encompass visits by activists from Palestine and other “Palestinian geographies” in the Middle East to the United States. Finally, recent delegations have included one by indigenous youth to Palestine as well as several from the African continent to the Middle East. This roundtable, featuring leading organizers of recent delegations, aims to reveal the ruptures and continuities of a historical legacy. We intend for this roundtable to serve as an archive and a site of knowledge production.
Roundtable: ON SOLIDARITY DELEGATIONS
Ahmad Abuznaid is a Palestinian American attorney, organizer, and advocate. He was born in East Jerusalem and spent parts of his childhood there and in the West Bank, growing up mostly in south Florida. Abuznaid went on to cofound the Dream Defenders after law school and currently directs the National Network for Arab American Communities.
Phillip Agnew cofounded the Dream Defenders in 2012 following the murder of Trayvon Martin. He and his partner, poet Aja Monet, founded Miami's Smoke Signals Studio as a radical community-based artistic space welcoming those invested in using art, sound, and music as a meeting place for transformation and liberation.
Maytha Alhassen, Ph.D., is a historian-anthropologist, journalist, and social justice artist. Her dissertation “To Tell What the Eye Beholds: A Post 1945 Transnational History of Afro-Arab ‘Solidarity Politics’” (PhD. diss, University of Southern California, 2017) is currently being transformed into multiple books. She serves on the editorial board of Feminist Studies in Religion and is a cofounder of Believers Bail Out, a contributor at The Young Turks, and a writer for the Hulu series Ramy.
Nadya Tannous is a community organizer born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area (occupied Ohlone territories). She sits on the national executive board of the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), a transnational, grassroots movement of young Palestinians in Palestine and in exile. In November 2018, she co-coordinated PYM's ten-day Indigenous Delegation to Palestine. She holds an MSc in Forced Migration and Refugee Studies from the University of Oxford and is currently on staff at Eyewitness Palestine.
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Ahmad Abuznaid, Phillip Agnew, Maytha Alhassen, Kristian Davis Bailey, Nadya Tannous; Roundtable: ON SOLIDARITY DELEGATIONS. Journal of Palestine Studies 1 August 2019; 48 (4): 92–102. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2019.48.4.92
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