Solidarity with Palestinian Freedom Riders
Stay Connected! Check out these links to hear the latest from the Freedom Riders:
Watch the livestream of the Freedom Ride Protest (link will be live/public during protest)
The resources on this webpage offer easy ways to organize solidarity actions in your local community. If you have any questions or would like some support planning, be in touch! Email: email@example.com
Get Active! Use these resources to create a solidarity action for the next Freedom Ride:
Click on image to download a high-res copy of the Freedom Rider Cartoon. Cartoon by Ethan Heitner.
Background on the Palestinian Freedom Riders:
On November 15th, Palestinian activists boarded segregated Israeli settler public transport headed to occupied East Jerusalem in an historic act of civil disobedience inspired by the Freedom Riders of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
The six Freedom Riders -- Fadi Quran, Nadeem Al-Sharbate, Badee Dwak, Huwaida Arraf, Basel Al-Araj and Mazin Qumsiyeh -- chose to board a bus that serves Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank on it's way to Occupied East Jerusalem, wearing kuffiyehs (Palestinian scarfs) and t-shirts reading 'Justice', 'Freedom', and 'We Shall Overcome'.
They took this bold action to expose the racism and policies of segregation that pervade every aspect of life in occupied Palestine. To send the message to the world that separate is not equal. Not in the United States and not in Israel or Palestine. They also wanted to bring attention to the role of Israeli and international companies, such as Egged and Veolia, who operate these segreated bus lines, in perpetuating and profiting from the occupation.
The first bus drivers— seeing that Palestinians were waiting at the bus stop— passed without pause. Once a bus finally stopped and they boarded, the driver did not know what to do with Palestinians on board. He consulted with the Israeli soldiers, who had arrived on the scene after being alerted that Palestinians were standing at a Jewish bus stop. They instructed him to continue to the Hizmeh checkpoint, where the settlers were taken off the bus and soldiers got on. The Freedom Riders refused to get off, asserting their right to go to Jerusalem. One by one these non-violent protesters were roughly dragged off the bus and arrested, along with Fajr Harb, a supporter who had not been on the bus.
All the Freedom Riders did to warrant arrest was to take a bus from one place in the Occupied Territory to another, using public transportation. While Israelis are allowed to come and go as they wish in the Occupied Territory—even to settle in it in contradiction to international law— Palestinians' movement in their own land is severely restricted, even criminalized. This kind of racism and segregation is as abhorrent today as it was 50 years ago in the Jim Crow South.
Fadi Quran, one of the arrested freedom riders, is a 23 year old Palestinian from Ramallah. He was born in Jerusalem and is currently a graduate student at Birzeit University finishing his master degree in Democracy and Human Rights. Right before being dragged from the bus by Israeli soldiers, he said: "We are not going to give up. We are struggling for justice, freedom, and dignity and we shall overcome. Stand with us in solidarity. Please divest from the Egged and Veolia bus companies and all Israeli institutions. We will achieve freedom, justice, and dignity for this generation of Palestinians."
Fadi and his fellow Freedom Riders will keep boarding those buses until the day comes when all may do so freely. Palestinian Freedom Riders are asking US activists to step up alongside them, taking to the streets (or buses!) to show our solidarity with these courageous and historic protests.
Read these first-person accounts:
Palestinian 'Freedom Riders' arrested on bus to Jerusalem in the Washington Post
Palestinian 'freedom riders' arrested in Yahoo News
Palestinian 'freedom riders' board settlers' bus in the BBC.
Palestinian 'freedom riders' board Israeli buses in protest in the Christian Science Monitor
Palestinian 'Freedom Riders' board bus to Jerusalem in the Los Angeles Times.
Palestinian 'Freedom Riders' dragged off bus in the Associated Press.
Palestinians embark on civil disobedience protests against 'demographic segregation' by Amira Haas, Haaretz.
Israel needs its own Freedom Riders. by Khaled DIab in the Jerusalem Post.
Six activists arrested after 'freedom ride.' in the Jerusalem Post.
Palestinians protest 'racist' bus policy in the Guardian.
Support the new Freedom Riders by Josh Ruebner in Counterpunch.
Two roads to justice meet in Palestine by Nour Joudah in The Tenneseean.
Palestinian ‘freedom riders’ arrested trying to ride bus into Jerusalem in the National Post
Palestinian 'freedom riders' arrested in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Pictures from the Freedom Rides in 972 Magazine.
Freedom Riders on the West Bank? by Bill Fletcher, Z Space.
I Woke Up This Morning with my Mind Set on Freedom by Clarence B. Jones, Huffington Post.
Arrests greet Palestinian freedom riders in Salon
"We Shall Overcome"- a photo diary of Freedom Riders in Daily Kos.
Palestinian Freedom Riders Arrested Aboard Settlers in PolicyMic
Palestinian Freedom Rides echo the Civil Rights Movement by Ben Lorber and Mya Guarnieri, the Alternative Information Center.
Israel arrests "Freedom Riders" challenging apartheid road system by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, Electronic Intifada.
Palestine: Freedom Rides expose Israeli segregation by Ted Walker, Green Left Weekly.
Palestinian Freedom Riders in the West Bank! One Land Many Voices, KBOO Community Radio.
Get Involved! On November 15th, activists in all these cities organized solidarity actions. Email them for further information.
* Bay Area