Palestine – CAIR Florida
Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Palestine

Contact Your Elected Officials!

Downloadable Resources

Please note that these resources do not act as legal advice.

Know Your Rights

Letter to Your University 

Letter to Your Public School

Letter to Your Employer

Target of a Hate Crime or Incident?

Guide for Students & Youth Advocates

Speaking Effectively

  1. Audience comes first. If you are speaking, you are attempting to convince an audience that your position is correct. That means speaking to where they are at, not where you are at. If a person is afraid of heights, telling them not to fear heights is ineffective. You have to spend the time and use the arguments that bring them to that understanding.
  2. Connect through shared values. What values do you have in common with your audience? Connecting with your audience through values such as the value of human life, opposing oppression, and fighting apartheid wherever it appears is a better place to start than reciting facts and figures.
  3. Are you the right person? Be honest with yourself. Do you easily lose your temper? If this is true of you, then contributing to problem-solving in ways other than as a public speaker may be of better service to the cause.
  4. Tell a story. A 30-second example of an individual human being’s suffering can be more effective than reams of statistics. Here is a recent example from CAIR-FL: “Sr. Hana has not heard from her 5 young Palestinian American children who are trapped in Gaza since the attack on Gaza began and the government has offered her no support, simply wishing her luck in finding her children.”
  5. Know the facts. The Center for Security, Race, and Rights at Rutgers offers online resources. You can also reach out to CAIR-FL for other reputable sources of information.
  6. Know what you plan to say. Imagine: if you got to write the headline of a news article about what you are saying, what would that headline say? Experienced spokespeople think about three key points they plan to make in their interviews, and their headlines, and repeat them. Repetition is key to helping your audience hear and remember your key points.

Advocating Effectively 

CAIR-FL has resources developed to guide advocates when creating and/or participating in protests. As well as template letters to send to your schools regarding the events. They can be found on this page.

In addition, consider the following tips:

  • Offer a solution. It’s easy to criticize and condemn. The best leaders offer a vision that leads to a good outcome. All reasonable people want the violence to stop. The only way to permanently stop the violence is to end the occupation, which kills hundreds of Palestinian civilians every year and subjects millions more men, women, and children to systemic, racist oppression.
  • Work toward a solution. Simply arguing with people, particularly people who cannot impact whatever problem you are working on, is not the best investment of your time. Numerous professional organizations are working on this issue. Follow them on social media and act when they ask you to. Share their material to help them reach and mobilize more people.

Tips for New Advocates

Sharing opinions on social media and other public platforms is a common and powerful way for students and activists to share their support for Palestinian human rights. However, because of the public nature of those interactions, it is easy for others to document your posts and reshare them to pressure you into silence, oftentimes by drawing the attention of cyberbullies and/or threatening future career or educational prospects. In the past, activists and students who have shared information supporting Palestinian human rights have experienced:

  1. Threatening posts on social media.
  2. Targeting via websites explicitly designed to profile and intimidate Palestinian activists.
  3. Harassment from school administrators
  4. Threats to their career and/or educational prospects

To be clear, it is possible to – and many people do – promote Palestinian human rights while avoiding these consequences. Many of the intimidation tactics that are used against activists result from their ability to tie you to concrete evidence of information that you have shared online. In order to avoid these tactics or mitigate their impact, it is important to take several considerations into account before sharing:

If you are posting on social media or email listservs, consider:  

  • Am I comfortable with what I am sharing? Sometimes, in times of urgency, we share information quickly without fully reviewing the information. But remember that information online is out there, even if you delete it later. Moreover, it is unlikely that legal action can be taken to remove posts or sites that republish information that you have already endorsed. Take an extra moment to be sure that you are in full agreement with the information you are sharing. If you are reposting the information, review the original author of the post and ensure that they are a credible source and that you fully agree with their stance. Even if you agree with their post, they may hold other beliefs you find questionable and that may be later linked to you by cyberbullies.
  • Do I know who has the ability to view my social media account? If you want to share your opinions but are worried about others who you do not follow you recording your statements, consider changing your account to private. If you decide to change to private, it is also possible to remove followers from your account who you do not want to interact with your posts. Several platforms, like Instagram, also allow you to change who can view your story, even if your account is public, and others, like Twitter/X, allow you to restrict who can comment. It is also possible to create a separate account that does not contain information that can be used to identify your background in order to feel more comfortable sharing your opinions publicly and responsibly.
  • Do I know who has the ability to view my email on a listserv? Listservs are commonly used in university settings, and they are more difficult to limit in terms of who can see your content. You may not have access to the list of members on the listserv, and other members can screenshot and forward your emails to others. Again, be sure that you are comfortable and confident defending the information you are sharing and that you are not violating any of the regulations of the listserv by doing so. If you decide to share information on a listserv, a good tip is to have other contacts on the listserv – friends, or even an administrator of the listserv – who can support you if your post receives backlash. They can respond on your behalf, or even help you report any hateful posts, as they may violate the rules of the listserv.

If you are signing a statement, consider:  

  • Am I in full agreement with the content of this statement? Again, it is important that you are aware of and prepared to defend opinions that you endorse. Statements are often crafted by an organization or student group that holds its own particular opinions. Signing on is an endorsement of these views, so be sure that you agree with every sentence and not just the general ‘gist’ of the statement. For example, many statements may support Palestinian human rights, but they may advocate for very different means.
  • How visible is this statement? When we sign statements, we sometimes do not realize how far they will be shared. When you are considering signing your name onto a statement, ask the organizers where and with whom they plan on sharing the statement. The statement may be sent to the university’s offices, for example, where it is less likely to be shared on social media and garner the attention of cyber bullies. Naturally, however, keep in mind that any public statement can be shared widely, even if that is not the intention of its organizers.
  • How widespread is this statement? If the statement is authored by a prominent organization and/or is receiving wide support from multiple people and organizations, it is possible that your name may be listed among a much larger list of names, which increases your exposure to various audiences but also minimizes the chance that you will be individually targeted. Similarly, a consequence of less popular statements is your name may be easier to locate for those who may seek to cause harm to you, even if it is not seen by many.

Guide for Employees

Know Your Rights as an Employee

CAIR-FL-FL-FL encourages all employees to review these points:

  1. Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination and retaliation. Federal law and many state laws protect employees from discrimination based on protected classes such as religion, race, and national origin. Employees may not have employment offers rescinded, be terminated, or harassed because of their protected classes. Employers may not subject employees to different terms and conditions of employment because of their protected classes. These laws also provide that employees have the right to be free of retaliation for protected employment activities, such as complaining about discrimination. Employees who believe they have a discrimination or retaliation claim should immediately contact CAIR-FL-FL to schedule a legal consultation.
  2. There may be First Amendment protections for government employees. The First Amendment generally protects the free speech of government employees if the employee is speaking as a private citizen, about a matter of public concern, and the speech does not interfere with the employee’s job. Exceptions may apply. CAIR-FL-FL encourages you to refer to the ACLU’s flow chart on free speech protections for federal employeesfor specific information. The First Amendment does not protect employees from retaliation by non-government entities like private employers. 
  3. Some states have laws that may protect an employee from retaliation related to political activity, but not all states do. There may be state laws that protect political speech or political affiliation. For example, in California, employers may not prevent an employee from participating in the political arena in any capacity. In New York, employers may not discriminate against employees because of political activities that take place while off-duty, outside an employer’s premises, and without use of employer equipment. Each state’s laws are different and not all states may have adequate protections. Reach out to CAIR-FL-FL to see if there are state-specific protections that may protect you.
  4. Your employment contract may impact your legal rights and remedies. Employees may have specific clauses in their employment contracts that impact their rights and legal remedies. Employees should review their employment contracts and consult with a local attorney to make informed decisions and protect their rights.

General Best Practices

CAIR-FL-FL also encourages employees to consider the following best practices:

  1. Report any incidents of bias, discrimination, and/or harassment to CAIR-FL-FL. If you believe that your rights are being violated, contact CAIR-FL-FL immediately
  2. Request time off or flexibility in deadlines. We have witnessed many employers express solidarity with and offer flexibility to Israeli employees affected by ongoing developments. If your company has held this stance for its Israeli employees, we encourage you to consider requesting this same flexibility if you are a Palestinian and/or Muslim affected by recent Israeli attacks and subsequent uptick in nationwide anti-Arab and Islamophobic rhetoric.
  3. Seek out mental health resources. It is difficult to cope with the events in Palestine and increasing rhetoric against Palestinians and Muslims in the U.S. If you are in need of support, we encourage you to consider visiting: Maristan, which has developed resources to help Muslims experiencing mental health difficulties, and the Khalil Center, which is organizing virtual psycho-spiritual support groups. We also suggest checking out Florida Muslim Mental Heath.
  4. Review CAIR-FL-FL guidance on activism and avoiding doxxing. CAIR-FL-FL has recently released guidance for those who seek to advocate on behalf of Palestinian rights while doing so effectively and safely.

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