Palestine Expo marks the beginning of a new era for the Free Palestine movement.
Last weekend, Friends of Al Aqsa welcomed over 15,000 guests to the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in the heart of Westminster, London, for Palestine Expo. The biggest celebration of Palestinian life, culture and cuisine to ever take place in Europe.
The feedback from speakers and guests alike has been phenomenally positive, making the months of stress and anxiety fully worthwhile.
From arts to culture, music to food, Palestine Expo had it all covered.
Across five floors, Palestine Expo had something for everyone. The exhibitions, which took months of planning, were a tremendous success inspiring young and old alike to visually imagine Palestine.
One of the most popular and thought provoking aspect of Palestine Expo were the speakers, over 60 of them, from an array of backgrounds who delivered talks and lectures to packed out audiences. Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist – Palestine Expo hosted them all, as speakers and as guests. This was an opportunity to hear a diverse range of voices and views, reflecting decades of exposure to and experience of the occupation.
In the run up to Palestine Expo and since, FOA has faced a vicious anti-Palestine hate campaign from a marginal section of the pro-Israel lobby. Tremendous efforts were made to tarnish the reputation of FOA, with particular focus on Muslim speakers at Palestine Expo, underlying blatant Islamophobic attitudes.
“This demonstrated how easy it is to accuse Muslim speakers of extremism without evidence, and how quickly such lies are spread without fear of retribution” stated Ismail Patel.
Ultimately, Palestine Expo was not derailed as these extremists would have liked, and the event was a tremendous success.
FOA believes this marks a significant turning point for the Free Palestine movement, and encourages everyone who attended the event to spread the word and not allow the voice of the Palestinian people to be silenced any longer.