Palestinian rights activist Yousef Aljamal touring US in October

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Yousef Aljamal speaking at Al-Aqsa School in Chicago, April 2014

Just World Educational is delighted to announce that for the last two weeks of October 2019 (specifically, Oct. 13-29) we will be hosting Palestinian rights activist Yousef Aljamal on a speaking tour of the “Lower 48” states of the USA. This is Yousef’s second time touring the United States. In 2014, he was part of a team that toured the country under the auspices of Just World Books and the American Friends Service Committee. They were launching the anthology Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza Palestine, to which Yousef contributed a very moving story.

More recently, Yousef was featured in the “Facebook Live” event that JWE ran in January, to wrap up our commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” assault on Gaza. (See screengrab above.) He has also recently contributed several great pieces of writing to our blog, that explore various aspects of Palestinian life. (1, 2, 3.)

The cover of “Dreaming of Freedom” (in an earlier print version)

Yousef’s October 2019 tour will be very timely, because he has a wealth of information about the situation of Palestinian children incarcerated, sometimes for several years, by the military “justice” system that Israel has run in the occupied West Bank since 1967. He translated into English the recent book Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak (which is currently available as a Kindle e-book.)

Our board member Richard Falk contributed a Foreword to the book. He wrote, “I commend a close reading of Dreaming of Freedom… With such knowledge, solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and dignity becomes… an even more urgent moral imperative of our world”

Earlier this year, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced into the House of Representatives a path-breaking bill, H.R. 2407, the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act”, that seeks to hold Israel accountable for that portion of the military aid the U.S. government provides to it which is used to maintain the brutal military courts and incarceration systems that are used to violate the rights of Palestinian minors.

One page from “Dreaming of Freedom”

The campaign to win support for H.R. 2407 will continue until early Fall 2020. (You can learn more about it, here.) So we’re delighted that Yousef Aljamal’s speaking tour can help to inform broad sections of the U.S. public about this crucial issue.

If you would like to invite Yousef to come and speak to your community group, classroom, or congregation, please let us know about your interest as soon as possible!

We will be asking organizations that host a Yousef Aljamal speaking event to commit to providing the following:

  • Good-quality hosting services from the time you pick him up at the airport or rail station to the time you deliver him back there for the next leg of his trip.
  • All the arrangements for one or more excellent public events in the time he is with you, along with such other meetings with media or others as you may choose. We can help with publicity.
  • An honorarium for his speaking services that you consider fair (or even generous!) Organizations that find it complex to make a payment to a foreign national can process the payment through JWE, which will deliver the full agreed sum to Yousef.
  • A contribution of $300 to our central tour-organizing expenses, which will cover all the necessary inter-city transport, our publicity efforts, our tour-coordinating, etc.
Yousef with his friend Ahmed Al-Haaj, in Gaza.

Yousef’s family was ethnically cleansed in 1948 from Aqer, in the area that became Israel that year. He grew up in Al-Nuseirat refugee camp in southern Gaza, attending schools run by UNRWA. He won his B.A. from the Islamic University of Gaza and his M.A. from a university in Malaysia. For several years he ran the Hashim Yeop Sani Library in Gaza’s Center for Political and Development Studies. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in International Relations at Sekarya University in Turkey.

Here are some resources you can use to learn more about Yousef:

Contact us soon if you want to be part of Yousef’s super-timely tour!