Palestinian Peacemaker Visits Australia

Palestinian Peacemaker Visits Australia

Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian American peacemaker, is visiting the Uniting Church Synod of NSW and ACT office on Friday 23 March. The visit comes as part of a wider speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand, which will also feature engagements at Sydney University and the Victorian College of the Arts.

Arraf is a human rights lawyer, with an interest in prosecuting war crimes, and a founding member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). She will be meeting with some members of the Synod of NSW and ACT’s Relations with Other Faiths Committee.

Arraf currently lives in Detroit, Michigan, where she practices civil rights law. Her cases have included instances of voter disenfranchisement and a continuing campaign for justice after Flint’s water poisoning in 2014.

Arraf has long been involved in peacemaking efforts in Israel and Palestine, using nonviolent forms of protest. At the ISM, she has helped train volunteers from around the world in non-violence and in human-rights monitoring and reporting. In 2008, she was filmed by a Korean news agency while standing in the way of an Israeli soldier who appeared to be aiming his gun at protesters.

While the video has received over 2 million hits, Arraf has previously said that the event “wasn’t out of the ordinary for me.”

“I do what I can and I do try to get in the way, and sometimes talk to the soldiers, so it wasn’t anything special,” she said.

Arraf has a Juris Doctor degree. During her time studying law, she conducted research for the Public International Law and Policy Group, which provides pro bono legal assistance to governments involved in conflicts.

Arraf will also take part in a Q and A session at the University of Sydney on Thursday, 22 March, organised by the Australian Friends of Palestine. To RSVP, visit the event’s Facebook page here.

Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor

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