Mohamad Fattouh

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Template:TOCnestleft Mohamad Fattouh

Students for Justice in Palestine

On May 22, 2018, 50 students disrupted and walked out of a Q and A session with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley hosted by the University of Houston. The protest began minutes after the president of the University of Houston, Renu Khator, extolled Haley’s popularity in a glowing introduction.

As Haley began to remark on her “very busy few weeks in American foreign policy,” Mohamad Fattouh, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine at UH, stood up and called out Haley’s complicity in the murder of Palestinian protesters: “Nikki Haley, the blood is on your hands! You continue to sign off on the genocide of a native people!” Visibly shaken, Haley stammered and muttered “geez!” under her breath as Fattouh continued: “You are an accomplice to terrorists and colonizers!”

“As a Palestinian living in the belly of the beast, the action was an outlet to directly confront someone so complicit in the ongoing genocide of my own people and find a bridge between the disconnect that exists when organizing within the U.S.,” said SJP UH member Sarah Abdulmooti, one of the organizers of the disruption. “In that moment, every name and picture of those killed in Gaza over the past months crossed my mind.”

The day before the disruption, on May 21, SJP at UH released a statement condemning the university’s decision to host Haley. “Nikki Haley embodies the racism inherent in the U.S.’s anti-Palestinian position,” the statement read. “In inviting Nikki Haley to its campus, the University of Houston demonstrates how little it cares about the safety and concerns of its students, including the large community of Palestinians that attend and contribute to UH’s diversity.”

A total of 12 other student organizations signed onto the statement, including Students for a Democratic Society at UH, members of which also participated in the disruption.[1]