By Simon Assaf
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in Palestine have joined the denunciation of the caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.
The movement, that brings together activists from around the world to stage non-violent direct action in support of Palestinians, released a statement denouncing the cartoons.
Neta Golan, an Israeli-Canadian peace activist and one of the founders of the movement, spoke to Socialist Worker from Ramallah. She said, “The Danish cartoons have sparked deep anger among the Palestinian people. Many feel that it is part of the discrimination, racism and disrespect that they have been suffering under occupation.
“Many of the international activists in Palestine realise how deeply offended people here are, and that this feeling goes to the heart of the Palestinian street. By labelling the prophet Mohammed as a terrorist they are labelling all Arabs and Muslims as terrorists.
“This disrespect reinforces the feeling that the life of a Palestinian is worth less than that of a westerner. That Palestinians and Muslims are to be looked down on.”
The ISM has called on the newspapers that published the cartoons to apologise and are demanding western governments condemn Islamophobia. Neta says these cartoons are a part of the demonisation of Arabs and Muslims.
“Racism against people in the Middle East, and towards their own Muslim citizens, has a long history in the west and underlies much of the current policies in the Middle East— whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine.”
“Most Western media are ignoring these facts while discussing the issue of free speech. They are reinforcing stereotypes that the Muslim world rejects Western liberties.”
Neta said that the protests against the cartoons has touched every part of Palestinian society.
“Palestinian Christians, communists, secular groups and nationalists have joined the protests and helped organise the boycott of Danish products.”
For the statement on the Danish cartoons and ISM campaigns go to www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/02/08/statement-against-cartoons