Meet These Extraordinary Palestinian Leaders and Learn About Their Work

History is not the past. It is the present. 

We carry our history with us. We are our history

—James Baldwin

We are witnessing—in real-time—massive, ongoing state-sponsored violence against Palestinians. Last month Human Rights Watch issued a report arguing that Israel is pursuing a form of apartheid. That overwhelming word—and other freighted phrases such as “ethnic cleansing” and “settler colonialism”—are not hyperbole but descriptions of what Palestinians actually face. To oppose these blatant human rights violations that Palestinians suffer day after day, year after year, should not be controversial—yet somehow is. 

When I think of “do no harm,” I imagine actions you take that cause harm, and actions you don’t take that cause harm. In this instance, not supporting the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination causes harm. So I’m very glad to work for an organization that truly espouses equity, human rights, and economic empowerment. 

“We are responsible for supporting social change leaders who are at the forefront of today’s movements.” (Photo © Ahmed Abu Hameeda)

Part of Tides’ commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion is that we amplify the voices of our social venture partners and the communities they advocate for. Today, Tides chooses not to cause harm by taking a stand. Among our partners are three extraordinary Palestinian leaders who address different facets of one of the world’s most complicated and contentious challenges.

In this public forum, I want to thank them for their integrity and vision by offering what is sometimes hardest to give: public recognition and support. Today, I invite you to learn about what they do—and why they do it. 

These partners, and their respective executive directors, take a different approach to how the Palestinian/Israeli conflict comes into—or is influenced by—communities living in the U.S.

  • Palestine Legal, led by Dima Khalidi, helps protect people in the US who speak out about Palestinian rights.
  • Adalah Justice Project, led by Sandra Tamari, advocates for Palestine in the US by aiming to shift public discourse and policy on Palestine.
  • Arab Resource and Organizing Center, led by Lara Kiswani, focuses on providing direct services to Muslim and Arab immigrants and refugees in the San Francisco Bay Area who have fled or immigrated to find safe haven and renewed opportunity.

Palestine Legal protects the civil and constitutional rights of people in the US who call for Palestinian freedom through its legal advocacy that challenges repression aimed at students, grassroots organizers, and educators. It documents the chilling effects of outright censorship, false accusations of anti-Semitism, legislative actions at the state and federal levels, and threats to academic freedom through legal tactics and administrative sanctions on campuses. In fact, incidents suppressing speech for Palestinian rights in the wake of Israel’s intensifying violence have ballooned recently. “With so many people speaking out for Palestinian human rights in this critical moment—many for the first time—it’s up to us to make sure their voices are amplified, not silenced by those who want to hide Israel’s crimes,” says Palestine Legal’s Executive Director Dima Khalidi.

Dima Khalidi, Executive Director of Palestine Legal

Adalah Justice Project (AJP) advocates for Palestine in the US by aiming to shift public discourse and policy on Palestine. They work toward collective liberation, linking the human rights struggles of Palestinians to both the occupation of indigenous people within the US and the BLM movement. They call for human rights for all people grounded in universal values of freedom, equality, and justice.

Sandra Tamari, Executive Director of Adalah Justice Project (AJP)

Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Executive Director Sandra Tamari was greatly affected by the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson in August 2014. Since then she has focused on building joint liberation efforts between Palestinians and Black communities. Tamari notes that AJP works to “de-exceptionalize” Palestine and Israel, which means counteracting attempts to separate the Palestinian struggle from other movements for justice, or to characterize Israel as a wholly unique historical and colonial regime.

The Bay Area-based Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) serves poor and working-class Arabs and Muslims across the San Francisco Bay Area with social services that reduce economic, social, and cultural barriers. AROC has direct contact with over 1,000 community members annually, via legal services, case management, and language access advocacy, and organizes to overturn social systems that perpetuate racism, forced migration, and militarism. Executive Director Lara Kiswani has been active in movements against racism and war, for Palestinian self-determination, and international solidarity for the last 20 years. She says, “As a daughter of Palestinian refugees and a committed internationalist, I oppose all systems of oppression, and my work at AROC is a reflection of this. From the Bay Area to Palestine, we stand with people’s struggles for dignity and liberation, and to live free of exploitation.”

Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)

What Can We Do?

Core to Tides’ vision is a world of shared prosperity and social justice founded on equity, human rights, and economic empowerment. Because we believe in a sustainable environment, healthy individuals and communities, and quality education, the missions of these organizations fall very much within our wheelhouse.

As Palestinians’ human rights are systematically violated, as individuals and communities are plagued by violence, and as children in occupied areas have their education compromised, these three partners within the Tides Network ask for action:

  1. Educate yourself by reading, listening, or viewing content about the conflict. 
  2. Build visibility by sharing the work, stories, and resources these organizations offer.
  3. Support their work by donating.

As a fiscal sponsor, we believe we are responsible for supporting social change leaders who are at the forefront of today’s movements. We’re proud to amplify their fight for human rights, dignity, and self-determination, and hope you can find ways to support their work as well.


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