Palestinian voices are being censored and silenced. We cannot let this happen.
Earlier this month PSC commissioned an article from Salah Ajarma, the co-founder and Director of the Lajee Cultural Centre in Aida Refugee camp. The New Statesman published the piece as part of a two year partnership between the PSC and the New Statesman. Two pro-Israel blogs attacked the New Statesman for publishing the piece, shortly afterwards, the New Statesman deleted it without speaking to Salah or to PSC. They have since refused to offer any explanation or justification for the removal of the article.
This is a disgraceful attack on freedom of expression, a clear case of censorship, and a deliberate attempt to silence Palestinian voices. By doing this, the New Statesman have politically censored a human rights campaigner, who is living under very harsh conditions of military occupation in a refugee camp. We cannot stand by and let this happen. We cannot be silenced.
It would appear the New Statesman have caved into political pressure to remove the article, and do not believe they owe Salah or PSC the courtesy even of a conversation: the editorial team won’t even take our phone calls. In an email to the PSC, the New Statesman stated that the article had been removed as a result of ‘reader complaints’, refusing any further elaboration and any editorial contact.
Salah’s article describes the experiences of young Palestinian refugees in Aida camp and talks about how settlements impact his life and the lives of people in his community. New Statesman editors approved and published the article.
The New Statesman’s actions are political censorship of a Palestinian human rights campaigner. We cannot stand by and let this happen.
This action does not align with the stated goals of the New Statesman to “hold our leaders to account and tell the stories that the world needs to hear”. What is happening in Palestine is a story that the world needs to hear, and the account of a Palestinian should not be censored. The lack of explanation and refusal to speak to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or Salah goes against all good journalistic standards and common courtesy
We did not want to make this public, we attempted to resolve the problem directly with the New Statesman, giving them the benefit of the doubt and attempting to speak to editors countless times.
However, we have now been told that the editors will not speak to us and that the decision to remove the article would not be explained or reversed.
We have a duty to stand up for justice, honesty, and integrity and so we must raise our voices about this.
Please join us to demand that the New Statesman
• Republish the article
• Offer an apology to Salah Ajarma for removing it without good cuase
• Make a clear public statement as to your commitment to upholding the principle of freedom of expression
Please write to the editors of the New Statesman now– and show them that we will not be silenced and will not allow Palestinians to be censored.