The University of Pennsylvania is hosting a Palestinian literary festival this month featuring multiple speakers who have condoned violence against the Jewish state and even associated with terrorist groups, according to the event's website.
The Palestine Writes (PW) Literature Festival will take place on Sept. 22-24 at UPenn's Wolf Humanities Center to discuss "the intersections between culture and power, struggle, politics, climate change, sexuality, human rights, animal rights, food sovereignty and more," according to the center's website. PW and some of its speakers, however, have been known to associate with the U.S.-designated terrorist groups Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and glorify violence against Israel.
One of the speakers is Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, the founder of the Palestine Land Society and an advisory board member of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in London. In 2017, Sitta accused Israel of "discrimination and apartheid [and] ethnic cleansing" in a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council, according to PRC's website. PRC was designated by the Israeli Security Agency in 2010 as a Hamas-affiliated entity in the United Kingdom for "initiating and organizing violent and radical activity against the State of Israel in Europe," according to the agency's website.
Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, a professor at the City University of New York, is listed as another speaker despite his public support of terrorists Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted in 1970 for her part in a bombing at a supermarket and the British consulate in Israel, and Ali Jiddah, who planted multiple hand grenades in Jerusalem in 1968 that injured nine people. In 2015, Hill called Odeh's life a "fascinating one" and advocated for her release from prison after she was convicted for not revealing her history when applying for U.S. citizenship, according to an article he wrote for the Huffington Post.
Hill was fired from CNN in 2018 after he made multiple comments about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, including the statement that Palestinians should not be shamed "for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in ethnic cleansing." Hill has also praised notorious antisemite Louis Farrakhan, according to a post on his Instagram.
"Been blessed to spend the last day with Minister Louis Farrakhan," Hill wrote. "An amazing time of learning, listening, laughing, and even head nodding to music. God is Great."
Noura Erakat, an advisory board member for the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights Steering Committee and a professor at Rutgers University, is speaking at the festival as well, according to the event's website. Erakat went on a panel on April 24, 2020, with Hamas senior official Ghazi Hamad for the Masarat Center's digital workshop discussing the "annexation government in Israel, Trump's vision, and the Corona epidemic," according to a Facebook post.
Erakat accused "Zionists" of "violently target[ing] Middle Eastern (Arab, Turkish, Iranian) Jews to 'cleanse' them of their oriental qualities & rehabilitate them," according to a 2016 post from her Twitter account. In another post from July 24, Erakat called the passage of the American Anthropology Association boycott of Israel a "major win."
PW also has a history of glorifying terrorism and violence against Israel. One of the conference's panels is focused on deceased PFLP spokesperson Ghassan Kanafani, who was assassinated in 1972 after the PFLP recruited three members of the Japanese Red Army to attack Lod Airport, now known as Ben Gurion Airport, killing 26 people and injuring 80 others.
PW also commemorated the anniversary of Kanafani's assassination in April, saying that he had left an "unparalleled legacy" and that he was "a leading revolutionary, writer, and activist," according to a post on Instagram. In 2020, the daughter of Khalida Jarrar, a PFLP leader who has been arrested by the Israeli Defense Forces on several occasions, read aloud a letter from her mother at the annual festival.
The organization also calls the U.S. and Canada "Turtle Island," which is a reference to the Native American term for North America and a protest of "settler colonialism," according to the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
UPenn, PW, Erakat, Hill and the Palestine Land Society did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation's request for comment.