Pro-Palestinian solidarity activists have faced a renewed wave of repression in the United States over the past month, a legal group said Tuesday.
Legal aid group Palestine Legal told teleSUR they have responded to more than 35 cases of “suppression” of Palestinian solidarity activists over the past four weeks across the U.S.
“In recent weeks, Palestinian and Palestine solidarity activists in the U.S. have faced harassment, violations of their free speech rights, baseless legal threats, and material threats to their physical safety,” the group said in a statement.
Among the cases is an alleged assault of a student activist at the University of California Santa Barbara earlier this month.
The attack allegedly took place during a rally in solidarity with Palestinians abused or injured by Israeli security forces in the ongoing crackdown in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Since the beginning of October, at least 60 Palestinians and 11 Israelis have been killed. Israel has also detained over 1,000 Palestinians in the past month.
The recent wave of violence against Palestinians has sparked international condemnation, with human rights groups and activists accusing Israeli security forces of exacerbating tensions with heavy handed tactics. But those condemning the violence from abroad say they have faced it at home as well.
Edan Mehretu from Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) said the solidarity rally in Santa Barbara was met with “blatant racism and violence.”
“Our protest was peaceful, with signs made by students bringing to light the oppressive actions by the Israeli government taking place in occupied Palestine over the past month that has resulted in the deaths of 10 children as young as two and 13-years-old. We were holding our signs, and talking with students, some who agreed with our message, and some who did not agree,” he said in a statement released by SJP.
According to Palestine Legal, the rise in suppression of Palestinian solidarity activists appears to be in response to the growing popularity of the movement.
“The pattern persists: with a rise in activism, comes a rise in suppression,” it said.
Earlier this year, Palestine Legal released a report detailing what it described as a nationwide campaign by pro-Israel groups to stifle criticism of Israeli policy, particularly on university campuses.
“We're calling this the Palestine exception to free speech,” Palestine Legal's director Dima Khalidi told teleSUR at the time.
Palestinian solidarity activism has been on the rise in the U.S. for over a decade, with activists arguing the Israel-Palestine conflict is prolonged by Israeli policy and the U.S. government’s enabling of it, including the occupation of Palestinian territories and the years-long siege of Gaza.
WATCH: Tariq Ali discusses the history of violence against Palestine with Palestinian author Dr. Ghada Karmi.