A Panel Discussion on the Backlash Against Pro-Palestinian Voices

Held at UMass-Amherst on Saturday May 4, 2019

Roger Waters is an English rock musician, singer-songwriter, and composer best known for his work with the legendary rock band Pink Floyd. Over the last few years, he has emerged as a prominent advocate for Palestinian human rights.

Roger Waters


Pink Floyd

Panel Discussion Featuring:

Linda Sarsour


MPower Change

Linda Sarsour is a Palestinian-American political activist and co-founder of MPower Change, the largest Muslim-led social and racial justice organization in the nation. She is also co-chair of the Women’s March. 

Dave Zirin is the sports editor of The Nation, appears regularly on MSNBC and ESPN, and is the author of 10 books on the politics of sports. He was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his book The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment that Changed the World.

David Zirin

Sports Editor,
The Nation

Marc Lamont Hill is a professor and public intellectual well-known for his work on television as a political analyst. He is a correspondent for BET News, and was recently fired by CNN for comments he made about Israel’s occupation of Palestine. 

Marc Lamont Hill

Temple University & 

former CNN commentator


Vijay Prashad is a journalist and historian who appears regularly on Democracy Now! and the Real News Network. He is also the author or editor of over 30 books, including Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation.

Journalist & Director,

Tricontinental Institute for Social Research

Vijay Prashad

Moderated by:


Israel, Free Speech & the Battle for Palestinian Rights

Legendary rocker Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame, who has emerged as one of the world’s most prominent advocates for Palestinian human rights, joined leading activists and journalists at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass., on Saturday, May 4, for a panel discussion on the accelerating backlash against pro-Palestinian voices.

The panel, “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech & the Battle for Palestinian Rights,” took place despite a fierce effort by right-wing pro-Israel pressure groups to brand the event as anti-Semitic and shut it down.

In front of a capacity crowd, the panel addressed recent attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar and other progressives who have spoken out against Israel’s 50-year military occupation of Palestinian land, and pushed back against the claim that criticizing Israeli government policies is “anti-Semitic.”

Waters, who has himself been repeatedly vilified as an “anti-Semite” for his criticisms of Israel’s human rights abuses, was joined on the panel by Palestinian-American political activist Linda Sarsour, who was recently targeted by a private Israeli intelligence firm as part of a coordinated U.S. campaign to prevent her from speaking out against Israeli policies on American college campuses; Marc Lamont Hill, a professor and political commentator who was fired earlier this year by CNN for remarks he made in support of Palestinian rights; and Nation magazine sports editor and author Dave Zirin, a frequent contributor to MSNBC and ESPN who has been called a “self-hating Jew” for his criticisms of Israeli human rights abuses.

The panel was moderated by Vijay Prashad, a journalist and historian who appears regularly on Democracy Now! and the Real News Network and is the author or editor of over 30 books, including Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation.

The event was filmed and will be available to stream very soon. Please check back with us on this site for updates or sign up to be updated when the video is released.

A Panel Discussion on the Backlash Against Pro-Palestinian Voices

Fine Arts Center, UMass-Amherst

May 4, 2019

International Media Coverage of the Backlash Against

“Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech & the Battle for Palestinian Rights”

CAMERA on Campus, April 16, “Will UMass Support Viewpoint Diversity or Political Propaganda?”

Jewish Journal, April 17, “UMass-Amherst to host pro-BDS panel”

Israelly Cool, April 17, “Upcoming Panel Discussion Featuring ‘Harlem Globetrotters’ of Anti-Israel Douchebags”

Daily Hampshire Gazette (front page), April 23, “Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, activist Linda Sarsour to talk Israel, Palestine at UMass Amherst”

Mondoweiss, April 23, “Israel supporters try to shut down UMass forum about efforts by Israel supporters to shut down debate”

Daily Collegian (UMass), April 23, “Like we said, we’re not backing down”

Jewish Journal, April 23, “Pro-Israel Organizations Urge UMass to End Departments’ Sponsorship of Anti-Israel Panel”

Daily Hampshire Gazette (front page), April 26, “Students file lawsuit to stop UMass Israel, Palestine panel”

Mondoweiss, April 24, “Sarsour, Waters and Hill will ‘incite… violence’ against Jewish students, say pro-Israel groups”

Boston Herald, April 24, “Jewish groups, Mass GOP slam UMass Amherst for hosting Palestinian event”

Breaking Israeli News, April 24, “80 Organizations Call on UMass to Rescind Sponsorship of Anti-Israel Political Rally”

Boston Herald, April 25, “UMass Amherst students file lawsuit against school hosting Palestinian event”


Jewish Voice for Labour (UK), April 25, “Double standards as Israel supporters try to shut down debate”

Mondoweiss, April 26, “UMass Amherst chancellor calls on organizers of Palestine event to include pro-Israel side for ‘dialogue’”

Boston Herald editorial April 26, “UMass wants some diversity, not all”

Christians United for Israel, April 26, “UMass students file emergency motion to block anti-Israel event”

B’nai B’rith Budapest, April 27, “Report: Students file lawsuit to stop UMass Israel, Palestine panel”

Boston Globe, April 29, “At UMass, a Palestinian human rights panel draws a lawsuit”

Fire, April 29, “UMass Amherst faces new lawsuit over event implicating Israeli-Palestinian conflict”

The Daily Collegian, April 29, “Lawsuit filed against UMass over Palestinian event”

Washington Post, April 30, “Jewish students sue to oust pro-Palestinian panel from UMass”

ABC News, April 30, “Jewish students sue to oust pro-Palestinian panel from UMass”

Haaretz, April 30, “Jewish Students Ask Judge to Move pro-Palestinian Panel Off UMass Campus”

Times of Israel, April 30, “Jewish students sue to oust pro-Palestinian event at UMass, citing anti-Semitism”

Palestine Legal, April 30, “Radhika Sainath on Censorship Attempts at UMass Amherst”

New York Times, May 2, “Judge Declines to Block Pro-Palestinian Panel at UMass”

Washington Post, May 2, “Judge declines to block pro-Palestinian panel at UMass”

Boston Globe, May 2, “Judge refuses to bar forum at UMass Amherst on Palestinians’ rights”

Springfield Republican, May 2, “Court refuses to block panel talk on Palestine at UMass-Amherst”

Eagle Tribune, May 2, “Our View: Calling out anti-Semitism where it is -- and isn't”


Tablet Magazine, May 2, “Let Them Speak”

Commonwealth Magazine, May 2, “Pro-Palestinian panel to go on at UMass Amherst”

Democracy Now, May 3, “Mass. Judge Refuses to Halt Pro-Palestinian Event at UMass Featuring Roger Waters & Linda Sarsour”

Israel Hayom, May 3, “Anti-Israel panel at UMass to go ahead as scheduled”

Cleveland Jewish News, May 3, “Judge dismisses lawsuit to stop anti-Israel event at UMass Amherst”

Microsoft News, May 3, “Judge allows Palestine panel at UMass to take place Saturday”, May 3, “Lawsuit Filed as UMass Amherst Fails To Protect Jewish Students”

Boston Herald, May 4, “Strife muted at controversial pro-Palestinian event at UMass Amherst”

Daily Collegian, May 5, “Not Backing Down’ panel draws in hundreds of attendees despite legal controversy”

Democracy Now, “Pro-Palestinian UMass Panel Attracts 2,000 After Lawsuit Fails to Halt Event”

Daily Hampshire Gazette (front page), May 6, “Supporters, some protesters attend ‘Not Backing Down’ panel on Israel-Palestine”

Springfield Republican, May 6, “Pro-Palestine event at UMass draws 2,000 attendees, 10 protestors”

Campus Reform, May 6, “Judge denies injunction to stop pro-Palestinian panel at UMass Amherst”

Algemeiner, May 8, “Linda Sarsour Preaches Hate and Intolerance at UMass”

Jewish News Syndicate, May 8, “Watchdog group slams ‘one-sided’ anti-Israel event at UMass Amherst”