On Being Called “Terrorist”

Why Sahar Francis Has No Choice But To Hope

Sahar Francis, photo by Yumna Patel.

A major media story last month, Israel’s deportation of Palestinian attorney Salah Hamouri from East Jerusalem to France – though widely recognized as a war crime – is now old news. Another forgotten news item occurred a year earlier, in 2021, when the Israeli government, offering as evidence only “secret information,” summarily designated six Palestinian NGOs illegal “terrorist organizations,” claiming they were linked financially to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP]. These NGOs – Al-Haq, Addameer, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International–Palestine, Union of Agricultural Workers Committees, and Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees – exist solely to defend the human rights of indigenous Palestinian children, women, prisoners, and farmers. Israel’s calling them terrorist seems tantamount to the United States calling the ACLU dangerous and illegal … which, according to Sahar Francis, could someday happen.

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Susie Day has written about prison issues since 1988, when she began reporting on the cases of people charged with political protest acts, one of them, Marilyn Buck. Her book, The Brother You Choose: Paul Coates and Eddie Conway Talk About Life, Politics, and The Revolution, was published by Haymarket Books in 2020.

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