Palestinian journalist union bars member for ‘promoting normalization with Israel’

Journalist and peace activist Rafa Mismar expelled from Palestinian Journalists Syndicate for attending a joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony. 

By World Israel News Staff

A Palestinian journalist and peace activist has been expelled from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) over charges that she was promoting normalization with Israel by participating in a controversial Memorial Day ceremony, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Rafa Mismar’s role as host of an Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem on May 3 resulted in her expulsion from PJS, which is comprised mainly of members of the ruling Fatah faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The annual ceremony, which takes place on Israel’s Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron), is organized by the Parents Circle and the left-wing Combatants for Peace group, whose members include ex-Palestinian security prisoners.

This year, organizers said 200,000 people around the world watched a livestream of the ceremony, with some 1,000 Israelis in attendance in an auditorium in Tel Aviv University.

The ceremony has frequently made headlines for sparking outrage on the Israeli right.

Religious Zionist party leader Bezalel Smotrich this year slammed participants for “sitting with terrorists.”

Boma Inbar, an Israeli whose son was killed in Lebanon in 1995, blamed Israel’s “occupation” of the Palestinians for bloodshed in the region.

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“It hurts me that the sanctification of stones and land, which do not ultimately belong to us, is more important than the sanctification of life,” said Inbar. “End the occupation, end the occupation, end the occupation.”

Mismar’s participation in the event drew ire from several prominent Palestinians, including journalists who called on the PJS to ban her, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The Israeli-Palestinian ceremony was a “normalization conference that equates between the killer and the victim and disregards the rights of the Palestinian people,” a statement from the group said.

Mismar’s “participation exceeds normalization to the point of accepting inferiority and identifying with the narrative of the occupation and promoting it,” it added.

Her participation, and other fraternization attempts with Israelis, demonstrate her “insistence on proceeding with the policy that is rejected by our people, institutions and unions,” PJS found.