Explaining Non-Diasporic Mobilizations for Distant Causes

A Comparative Study of the Palestinian and Kurdish Struggles

in Israel Studies Review
Author:
David Zarnett University of Toronto, Canada david.zarnett@utoronto.ca

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Abstract

While the Palestinian struggle has received widespread support from non-Palestinian activists across North America and Europe, the Kurdish struggle in Turkey, which is similar to the Palestinian cause in important ways, has not received such extensive support from non-Kurdish activists. Existing explanations do not fully account for this difference. I argue that this variation in non-diasporic support is in part a product of the impact that differences between the Palestinian and Kurdish diasporas in the West have had on how each group has sought to mobilize grassroots support for their cause. The small size and internal divisions of the Palestinian diaspora incentivized Palestinian activists to focus on recruiting non-Palestinians, creating the conditions for their mobilization. The larger size and greater degree of organization of the Kurdish diaspora incentivized Kurdish activists to focus primarily on mobilizing their ethnic kin and less on recruiting non-Kurds, resulting in relatively little non-Kurdish support.

In 2021, in response to violent clashes in Jerusalem and Gaza, grassroots activists across North America and Europe mobilized in support of the Palestinian cause. In the United States, thousands took to the streets to protest Israeli policy (Mansoor 2021), while in the UK an estimated 180,000 marched to demand a “Free Palestine” (Slawson 2021). Although some observers described these protests as “unprecedented” (Mansoor 2021), they were in fact part of a much longer history of pro-Palestinian organizing and protest in the West that emerged in a significant way in the 1970s and especially in the 1980s in response to Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982; ebbed during the Oslo Peace Process of the 1990s; and then reemerged in the 2000s with the start of the Second Intifada and the launching of the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

When scholars think of grassroots activism in support of a distant cause, they most often associate it with the mobilization of ethnic kin, or diasporas, engaging in ‘long-distance nationalism.’ What is intriguing about the grassroots mobilizations in the West for Palestinian rights, however, is the central role that non-Palestinians have played in them. As Loubna Qutami (2021: 39n5) observes, one of the leading organizations in the United States advocating for Palestinian rights, Students for Justice in Palestine, “largely comprises non-Palestinian students.” The same appears to be the case for the pro-Palestinian activist network as a whole that operates across North America and Europe. According to one Palestinian activist, “the [non-Palestinian activists] of this world are far more active than our own community. I hate to say it, but it's the reality.”1

Why has the Palestinian cause garnered such widespread support from activists who are not of Palestinian descent? We might reasonably expect Palestinians to mobilize for their ethnic kin abroad, but why would non-Palestinians mobilize to support a group that is not, at least in ethnic terms, their own? One view is that non-Palestinian support in the West for Palestinian rights is the product of the long history of Western left-wing opposition to Zionism and the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine (Shindler 2012). Other views emphasize the apartheid-like nature and severity of Israeli rights abuses (Bakan and Abu Laban 2009); the savvy ways the Palestinians have ‘marketed’ their cause to Western audiences (Morrison 2022); the significant amount of attention the Western press, leading human rights NGOs, and the United Nations give to the actions of the Israeli government (Cesarani 2006); and the strong military and trade ties that the United States and other Western governments have with the Israeli state (Barat 2010).

All of these factors play an important role in making sense of non-Palestinian support in the West for the Palestinian struggle, but they do not tell us the full story. As scholars of social movement participation have shown, it is one thing to know about and sympathize with a cause but another thing altogether to dedicate time and resources to help advance it (McEntire et al. 2015; Oegema and Klandermans 1994). What many of the existing explanations lack is an account of how sympathy for the Palestinians, an ideological identification with their cause, and feelings of complicity in their suffering result in individuals taking action, such as establishing activist committees and organizations, attending rallies and demonstrations, and spending time and energy promoting campaigns like BDS. To more fully explain non-Palestinian mobilization in support of the Palestinian cause, what is required is insight into why non-Palestinians have been pulled into pro-Palestinian activist actions and campaigns.

To provide such insight, I compare the non-diasporic grassroots mobilization in the West for the Palestinians with the relative absence of such mobilization in support of the Kurdish struggle against the Turkish state. Although the Kurdish struggle is not identical to the Palestinian struggle, it does share important characteristics with it that would lead us to reasonably expect the Kurds to also be the recipients of widespread non-diasporic activist support. These similarities include the nature of their grievances, the severity of the abuses they face, the ways in which they have framed their struggle to international audiences, the amount of international attention they receive, and the role that Western states have played in enabling their suffering. By comparing the distinct non-diasporic activist responses to the Palestinian and Kurdish struggles, we can better specify the causal factors that have led so many non-Palestinians to support the Palestinian cause and the BDS campaign. By adding an examination of the Kurdish struggle as a negative case, this article is the first to examine international non-Palestinian support for the Palestinians in comparative perspective.

In this article, I argue that a key factor behind non-Palestinian mobilizing in the West in support of the Palestinians has to do with the efforts of Palestinian activists themselves since the 1970s to actively recruit non-Palestinian supporters. Palestinian activists adopted a strategy of non-diasporic recruitment in part because they believed their own diasporic communities lacked the ability to assist the homeland struggle in a meaningful way, due to their small size and internal divisions that made community organizing difficult. By actively reaching out beyond their diasporic communities, these Palestinian activists provided non-Palestinians with opportunities to take concrete action. In the absence of sustained recruitment campaigns targeting non-diasporic networks, it is possible that the Palestinian struggle would not have received the widespread active support from non-Palestinians that it enjoys today. By contrast, I argue, the absence of non-diasporic activist support for the Kurdish struggle is in part due to the fact that, unlike their Palestinian counterparts, Kurdish activists since the 1980s have been able to tap into a large and relatively well-organized diasporic community in Europe. As a result, the Kurds have not prioritized the recruitment of non-Kurds, in turn making non-Kurdish mobilizations on their behalf less likely.

To develop this argument, this article proceeds in the following way. First, I justify my comparison of the Palestinian and Kurdish cases by outlining five ways in which the two struggles are similar. These similarities suggest that we ought to expect non-diasporan activists in the West to mobilize in support of both causes, not just the Palestinian one. Second, I draw on the sociological literature on social movement participation to demonstrate the importance of recruitment in understanding why individuals engage in collective action. Third, I outline why, when faced with diasporic communities that are perceived to be unable to offer meaningful support, distant group activists become more likely to recruit non-diasporans. In the fourth and fifth sections, I apply this perspective to the Palestinian and Kurdish cases, drawing in part on a series of semi-structured interviews I conducted between 2012 and 2017 with Palestinian, Kurdish, and non-diasporan activists in order to learn more about their motivations and strategic thinking. I used a snowball sampling strategy to find interviewees and sought out a diverse set of activists operating in Canada, the United States, and the UK to reduce sample bias as much as possible. I conclude the article with a brief discussion of additional research questions that scholars of BDS might want to investigate.

Rationale for Comparing the Kurdish and Palestinian Struggles

To date, the Kurdish struggle in Turkey has garnered relatively little support from non-Kurdish activists in the West. Through the 1980s and 1990s, some non-Kurds in France, Ireland, and the UK organized to support the Kurdish cause, but these efforts were relatively minor and short-lived (Adamson 2013: 85; Watts 2004: 136). In recent years, a small group of non-Kurdish activists in the UK helped to establish the Boycott Turkey Campaign, but it has not yet taken off in a significant way among non-Kurds.

The absence of non-diasporic activist support in the West for the Kurdish struggle in Turkey is puzzling given what we know about the conditions under which distant causes become international causes célèbres and given the important similarities between the Kurds and the Palestinians (Genc 2020; Glynn 2021). The argument here is not that the two struggles are identical, but rather that many of the characteristics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that are said to motivate non-Palestinian activists are also relevant, albeit to varying degrees, to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict as well. As such, the selection of the Kurdish case adheres to James Mahoney and Gary Goertz's ‘possibility principle,’ which “advises researchers to select only negative cases where the outcome of interest is possible” (2004: 653). In what follows, I suggest five reasons why we would expect non-Kurds to mobilize in support of the Kurdish struggle.

The first reason has to do with the nature of the abuses committed by the Turkish state. In their study of transnational activism, Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink suggest that the distant causes most likely to attract the attention and support of foreign activists are those “involving bodily harm to vulnerable individuals, especially when there is a short and clear causal chain (or story) assigning responsibility,” and those “involving [the denial of] legal equality of opportunity” (1998: 27). As in the Israeli-Palestinian case, in the Turkish-Kurdish case violations of physical integrity rights by state actors have been widespread for decades, as have legal obstacles to equality. Despite being citizens of the state (which most Palestinians are not), Kurds in Turkey often face high levels of political harassment and exclusion, especially when they publicly assert their ethnic identity and criticize government policy. Since 1923, when the modern Turkish republic was established, Kurds have faced a political system that has rejected the recognition and implementation of their desired collective rights (Gunes 2020: 4). For this reason, like Israel, Turkey has been defined as an ‘ethnic democracy’ that systemically privileges the dominant ethno-national group over minority groups (Bayir 2013; Kretzmer 2002; Saatci 2002; Smooha 1997). According to critics of Turkish policy, like Israel, the Turkish state is also said to use ethnic cleansing and forced displacement to pursue politicide and the extermination of the Kurdish people (Dag 2020). While the labeling of Israel as an apartheid state has played an important role in making the Palestinian cause more legible to outside observers, it is reasonable to expect that similar patterns of ethnic discrimination and repression in Turkey, which some describe as authoritarian (Baser et al. 2017), would also provoke a pro-Kurdish response.

The second reason we might expect non-Kurds in the West to mobilize in support of the Kurdish struggle has to do with the fact that the severity of the abuses faced by Kurds appears to be similar to the severity of the abuses faced by Palestinians. The CIRI Human Rights Dataset measures the intensity of governmental repression by combining a state's tendency to engage in torture, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and political imprisonment into a single physical integrity rights index variable.2 As shown in figure 1, these data suggest that the severity of Turkish rights abuses are comparable to Israeli abuses. During the 1980s and the early 2000s, two periods of significant pro-Palestinian organizing in North America and Europe, the extent of Turkish physical integrity rights violations was nearly identical to that of Israeli violations. During the 1990s, during Turkey's so-called Dirty War and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Turkish rights violations appear to be more severe than Israeli violations.

FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 1.

Comparison of Turkey and Israel, CIRI Physical Integrity Rights Index

Citation: Israel Studies Review 37, 3; 10.3167/isr.2022.370305

The third reason we might expect non-Kurds to actively support the Kurdish struggle has to do with the ways the Kurds have pitched their struggle to Western audiences. As Clifford Bob (2005) argues, groups that market their cause in internationally resonant terms are more likely to attract foreign support. Like the Palestinians, the Kurds have marketed their cause as an anti-colonial struggle against a foreign occupier, in support of international law and minority rights, and as pro-democratic. Since the early 2000s, leading Kurdish organizations, including the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), have advocated for a democratic solution in Turkey and for the creation of ‘stateless democracies’ across the Middle East based on Marxist, Foucauldian, feminist, anarchist, and ecological principles (Gunes and Gurer 2018: 162). It is also worth noting that, like the Palestinians vis-à-vis Israel, the Kurds have also issued numerous calls for a global boycott of Turkey. While they have not launched their own BDS campaign, since the 1990s the Kurds have organized a number of economic boycott campaigns targeting Turkey's tourism industry (Gunes 2020: 132).

The fourth reason we might expect non-Kurds in the West to mobilize in support of the Kurdish struggle has to do with the significant amount of attention it has received from prominent international human rights institutions. As Charli Carpenter (2011) has argued, when ‘gatekeeper’ human rights institutions publicize a specific cause, they signal its importance to wider audiences and make mobilizations in support of it more likely. While the Palestinian struggle likely tops the international human rights agenda and receives far more attention than the Kurdish struggle from key gatekeeping institutions (Hafner-Burton 2008: 691; Ron et al. 2005; Seligman 2011), the Kurds have been far from ignored. In fact, from 1975 to 2000, Turkey received more attention from Amnesty International than any other state (Hendrix and Wong 2014). Turkey has also been one of the most frequent targets of the European Court of Human Rights, with many of the court's decisions focusing on its policies toward the Kurds (Cali 2012). Furthermore, the Kurdish struggle has been featured in Western left-wing publications, including the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), which identifies itself as “the foremost U.S. magazine of critical analysis on the Middle East” and as “one of the most widely read publications” on the region, including by those working in human rights organizations.3 The Kurdish cause has also been promoted by leading left-wing figures, such Noam Chomsky, who we might expect to have some influence over which issues left-wing activists take up (Yildiz and Muller 2008). In 2002, Harold Pinter, one of Britain's most famous playwrights, described Chomsky as someone who has “never ceased to call attention to the persecution of the Kurdish people in Turkey.”4 The extent of the international attention it has received has led some scholars to describe the Kurdish struggle as “highly visible in world politics” (Baser 2012: 40) and as an “international cause célèbre” (Watts 2004: 128). Others have compared its salience in global politics to that of the Palestinian struggle. According to Louise Fawcett, “so significant has been the Kurdish imprint on the contemporary International Relations agenda, that some have suggested that the Kurdish issue today can be likened in some respects to that of Palestine” (2001: 109).

The fifth reason we might expect non-Kurds to mobilize in support of the Kurdish struggle has to do with relationship between Kurdish repression and Western support for the Turkish state. In the Palestinian case, US and Western state support for the Israeli government has motivated many non-Palestinian activists to take action. As one activist put it in a letter to the New York Times, “we target Israel for boycott not because we believe Israel is the worst human rights violator (we don't), but because Israel is the single largest recipient of American foreign aid, more than $3 billion a year.”5 A reasonable case for Western state complicity in Kurdish suffering could also be made. Turkey is a member of NATO and has been a major recipient of US military aid (Romano 2006: 53). It was recently estimated that the United States provides Turkey with more than half of all of its military imports, while France, Spain, and the UK act as “major suppliers” of the Turkish military.6 Observers have long noted that Western arms have played an important role in Turkey's repression of the Kurds (Gabelnick 1999). For instance, in 1995, Human Rights Watch reported that “U.S. weapons, as well as those supplied by other NATO members, are regularly used by Turkey to commit severe human rights abuses and violations of the laws of war in the [Kurdish] southeast” (1995: 2). In 1999, in an article in the New Left Review, Edward Said, whose writings on Israel-Palestine have greatly contributed to pro-Palestinian sentiment in the West, described Turkey as “a U.S. ally whose policies are in fact abetted by the U.S.” (1999: 74). More recently, pro-Kurdish activists in the UK launched a “Stop Arming Turkey” campaign on the grounds that weapons sales from Western states to Turkey contributed directly to Kurdish suffering.7

Given these features of the Kurdish struggle, why then have non-diasporan activists in the West not mobilized in support of the Kurds as they have for the Palestinians? It is here, I argue, that a key difference between the two groups plays an important role: the size and levels of political organization of their respective diasporic communities in the West. Unlike the Palestinians, the Kurds have been able to draw on the support of a large and relatively well-organized diaspora in Europe and thus have not prioritized the recruitment of non-Kurdish supporters. In the next section, I outline the importance of recruitment in explaining activist mobilization.

The Importance of Recruitment for Activist Mobilization

To mobilize support for a distant cause, activists must first build public awareness of the issue and engender sympathy for those suffering. To do so, they engage in ‘consensus mobilization,’ which involves the strategic use of information and carefully crafted advocacy frames designed to develop support for their viewpoints (Benford and Snow 2000: 624–625; Klandermans 1984: 586). Consensus mobilization alone, however, is often not enough for activists to generate active support for their cause. In fact, the overwhelming majority of individuals who are both knowledgeable and concerned about an issue will remain inactive. As Bert Klandermans has put it, “collective action is not a very common response to injustice. When confronted with injustice, at best, a minority of people affected will engage in protest. Most people will continue to do what they are used to doing, that is, nothing” (2002: 887). To translate latent support for a cause into active support, activists must also engage in ‘action mobilization’ (Klandermans 1984: 586). This involves asking, or recruiting, individuals to participate in concrete tasks, such as attending or helping to organize protests and demonstrations, developing campaign strategies, raising money, and lobbying policymakers, among others.

Social movement scholars have shown that the act of being recruited and exposed to participation opportunities is a key component in an individual's mobilization process. According to the ‘micro-structural account’ of social movement participation, what matters most is not an individual's psychological or ideological predispositions but rather whether or not they are exposed to opportunities to get involved in activist actions and campaigns (McAdam and Paulsen 1993: 644). In their study of who participates in protests, Alan Schussman and Sarah Soule (2005: 1090) find that being recruited is one of the strongest predictors.

This perspective on the conditions under which individuals are more likely to participate in social movement actions has important implications for trying to make sense of non-Palestinian mobilizations in support of Palestinian rights. If recruitment is so vital to the mobilization process, then to explain non-Palestinians’ support requires that we specify the conditions that led them to be recruited to actively support the Palestinian cause. In the next section, I argue that characteristics of the distant group's diaspora impact the likelihood of non-diasporan activists being recruited to support the distant group.

Diasporic Political Potential and Activist Recruitment Strategies

For distant group activists looking to build international support for their homeland struggle, diasporic communities are often the first port of call (Shain 1989). This makes good strategic sense since ethnic, cultural, and historical ties to a struggle, as well as feelings of guilt for living safely abroad, can make diasporans receptive audiences for their kin's recruitment efforts (Adamson 2013: 75). For instance, when violence broke out in Darfur in the early 2000s, the first step many Darfuri activists took was to mobilize their kin in Germany who in turn sent material support back ‘home’ and began working within their own local communities to raise awareness of their kin's plight (Jumbert and Lanz 2013: 202–203). While diasporic communities may be their first port of call, distant group activists do not always retain them as their primary focus. When these activists perceive their diasporas as unable to provide them with the kind of political support they need to advance the homeland struggle, they become more likely to look to non-diasporans for assistance.

There are two key factors that can impact how distant group activists perceive a diaspora's political potential and thus the likelihood that they will seek out non-diasporan supporters. The first is size. Diasporas that are small in number and comprise only a few members are likely to be perceived by activist leaders as unable to provide the human capital needed to promote and advance their cause. When a distant group activist cannot find enough community members to help them develop and implement activist campaigns, to participate in public demonstrations, to sign petitions, or to attend meetings with policymakers, then they are more likely to start looking beyond their kin to seek out non-diasporans. In the late 1980s, when Tibetan leaders began taking steps to build an international campaign to support their struggle for self-determination, they devoted considerable resources to securing the support of non-Tibetan activists across North America and Europe. They did this in part because the Tibetan diaspora there consisted of only a few thousand members and was deemed unable to offer the kind of support needed (Sangay 2003: 119). To mobilize non-Tibetans, Tibetan activists focused on using the internet to reach a wider audience and encourage those outside of their community to participate in activist actions. As one Tibetan activist explained: “Because of the Tibetan exile community's small size, it is especially important to have a strong presence on the internet. With effective use of this medium, we can overcome our size and become a real force in the international community” (quoted in Samdup 1996: 21). By contrast, distant group activists with access to large diasporic communities are less likely to seek out non-diasporic support because these diasporas have greater potential to provide a significant amount of assistance to the homeland struggle (Koinova 2012).

In addition to size, a second factor that shapes how distant group activists perceive their diasporas has to do with the latter's ability to organize for political action. As scholars of diaspora politics have shown, not all migrant communities mobilize into diasporas (Sokefeld 2006) and not all diasporas mobilize to the same degree (Koinova 2012). Diasporans, and migrants, face numerous obstacles that can prevent them from engaging in political action. These include concerns about deportation, past traumas from exposure to violence, political illiteracy, poverty, political and religious divisions, linguistic barriers, and geographic dispersion. When one or a combination of these factors make political organizing difficult, then distant group activists become more likely to look to non-diasporans for support. In the 1980s, the Sandinista National Liberation Front sent activists to the United States to mobilize non-diasporans to pressure their government to change its foreign policy toward Central America. These activists could not rely on mobilizing the Central American diasporan communities in the United States. because of the politically fraught situation they faced (Hamilton and Chincilla 2001:120). This incentivized them to recruit non-diasporans, contributing to the formation of the US Central America Solidarity Movement (Gosse 1996: 303). Conversely, activists with diasporic communities that are amenable to political organizing are more likely to focus on the mobilization of their ethnic kin and will likely spend fewer resources on recruiting non-diasporans. In the next two sections, I apply this perspective to help explain non-Palestinian mobilization in support of the Palestinians and the absence of non-Kurdish mobilization in support of the Kurds in Turkey.

Explaining Non-Palestinian Mobilization in the West for the Palestinian Struggle

One key factor behind the mobilization of non-Palestinians in support of the Palestinian cause was the ability of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to put its struggle on the international human rights agenda and to mobilize consensus on its importance. It did this through the use of violence abroad and through international diplomacy, most notably at the United Nations. From the mid-1970s, PLO diplomacy at the UN led to the establishment of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and to the General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism. Since then, key UN human rights organs have devoted a considerable amount of attention to criticizing Israeli policy and drawing attention to the Palestinian plight (Seligman 2011). This has helped to raise awareness of the Palestinian cause and to situate it in the context of widely accepted international human rights norms, making it more attractive to activists in the West (Morrison 2022).

The PLO's efforts to mobilize consensus, however, do not fully explain the mass mobilization of non-Palestinians across North America and Europe. In fact, the PLO largely eschewed grassroots organizing in the West,8 and it rejected requests from prominent Palestinian intellectuals, including Edward Said, to take transnational social movement building more seriously. As one non-Palestinian-American activist explained: “When we were doing South African divestment work, the [African National Congress] would send representatives from South Africa to every little college to meet with you, to be encouraging, to tell you how important your work was, to talk about the ANC, what its goals were, what the strategies were, treating you as part of the movement. There was never anything like that with the PLO. The PLO never prioritized protests and international solidarity, and all of these things.”9

The PLO's reluctance to engage in sustained grassroots organizing encouraged many Palestinian diaspora activists in Canada, the United States, and the UK to take action. While many of them initially sought to mobilize their own diasporic community, they eventually looked beyond their kin and worked to mobilize non-Palestinian supporters. They did this because the Palestinian communities they interacted with were either too small or unable to organize for political action due, in part, to internal political divisions.

In Canada in the 1970s and 1980s, Rezeq Faraj, who has been described as a “leading Canadian activist for Palestinian human rights,” played a central role in recruiting non-Palestinian supporters (Himmelstein and Atkinson 2010). Faraj was born in Palestine, was displaced in the 1948 war, and grew up in the Daheisha refugee camp, located just south of Bethlehem. He arrived in Canada in 1966. In 1973, Faraj and a group of his supporters founded the Quebec-Palestine Association (QPA), whose objective was to establish strong links with Canadian civil society and build support for Palestinian rights. To do so, the QPA worked with trade unions and sought to develop ties with Jews and non-Jews, including anti-Zionists and others critical of Israeli policy. According to one Palestinian-Canadian activist who supported Faraj's work at the time: “What is very clear from this period is that there was the beginning of Palestinian activism and that this Palestinian activism was really non-sectarian in the sense that it wasn't just Palestinians. They were trying to link up with the Jewish community, with anti-Zionist individuals, and with the trade unions in Quebec.”10

This strategy of non-diasporic outreach reflected the values of Faraj and his supporters,11 but it also reflected the status of the Palestinian community in Canada, which was very small and did not have an infrastructure conducive to sustained community activism.12 As one Palestinian Canadian observed about this period, “there was no hope of getting the Palestinian community active because there was no such thing as the Palestinian community.”13 During the First Intifada in the late 1980s, Palestinian Canadians did engage in some political action, including creating organizations like Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. These efforts, however, were short-lived and involved only a small set of Palestinian students. According to one Palestinian Canadian, during the First Intifada, “Palestinians [in Canada] had a sense that something needed to be done, but nothing was really done. They lobbied here and there and had a few events here and there, and tried to collect money to send. The community reacts to the act, but once that is done, you don't hear anything. There are no organizations anywhere, like a lobby organization or a Palestinian organized movement, no such thing.”14 As such, Faraj's strategy of non-Palestinian recruitment reflected the political state of his own diasporic community and the non-diasporic channels of possible support that were available to him.

In the 1980s, Palestinian-American activists also employed a strategy of non-Palestinian recruitment. In 1981, a group of Palestinian students associated with the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) connected with non-Palestinian activists to create the November 29th Coalition for Palestine, later renamed the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) (Obenzinger 2008: 238). These Palestinian students recruited individuals from various non-diasporic left-wing networks and local peace movement councils, securing the support of anti-Zionist Jews, anti-war activists, Marxists, and others of various left-wing tendencies. As one of the PSC's non-Palestinian founding members put it: “[The PSC] was one of the first efforts [by Palestinian Americans] to reach beyond the community … This was reaching out more broadly.”15 As a result of these outreach efforts, the PSC became an organization of some significance. By the late 1980s, it consisted of several chapters across the United States,16 and it played an important role in organizing the mobilizations that occurred in response to the First Intifada, a period that saw the creation of dozens of pro-Palestinian organizations and committees.17

Like their Canadian counterparts, these Palestinian-American activists recruited non-Palestinians because their own diasporic community was quite small,18 and it was beset by factional infighting that made political organizing difficult. For example, in 1978, a group of Palestinian Americans created the Palestine Congress of North America (PCNA) in order “to represent the Palestinian community in America, to disseminate information about the cause, and to help Palestinians become acquainted with their constitutional rights” (Turki 1993: 196). The PCNA, however, did not last very long and did not have a meaningful impact on the capacity of the Palestinian-American community to engage in political work (Turki 1980, 1993: 196). According to one Palestinian-American activist, the PCNA “never got off the ground because of infighting.”19 Fawaz Turki (1993), who served as the PCNA's Director of Writing and Research, described the organization as dysfunctional, hamstrung by factionalism, and, in the end, “worthless.” These conditions incentivized Palestinian activists to adopt a strategy of non-Palestinian recruitment. As one Palestinian-American activist put it:

[We] got so frustrated with the formalities of the Palestinian community which were not moving [our cause] forward, so we activated ourselves locally … When the PLO, whether through GUPS or the [Palestine] Congress [of North America] wasn't able move forward, we found what was local and we linked in to it … We still had an affiliation with what was going on [in Palestine] and we had a desire to remain connected some way but [the Palestinian community] wasn't serving the appetite that we had. We saw in front of us an open country … And we saw that nobody was addressing it. So we found these local entities to help us move through that and address the potential we saw in front of us.20

Around the same time, Palestinian activists in the UK also began to recruit non-Palestinians. Ghada Karmi was central to these efforts. Karmi was born in Jerusalem in 1948 and fled with her family to England a year later. In the 1970s, she became politically active, seeing around her widespread pro-Israel sentiment and a general ignorance of Palestinian grievances (Karmi 2002: 393). In 1972, she recruited a small group of non-Palestinian activists and established Palestine Action, an organization that called for the “total liberation of Palestine by political or armed means.”21 Karmi and her supporters focused their recruitment efforts on the labor movement and the networks linked to the British Labor Party, which consisted of a growing number of individuals critical of Zionism and hostile to Israeli policy (Karmi 2002: 395). In addition to recruiting through the labor movement, Palestine Action also ran advertisements in the British press soliciting new members and donations.22 Through the 1970s, Palestine Action grew in size and came to consist of a number of non-Palestinian activists, including an “odd collection of left-wingers, communists and genuinely confused Jewish people, unhappy about Israel's oppression of the Palestinians” (Karmi 2002: 395).

Like her Palestinian counterparts in Canada and the United States, Karmi's focus on recruiting non-Palestinians reflected the small size of the Palestinian community in the UK and its low levels of political organizing. Upon deciding to take action, Karmi initially reached out to her fellow Palestinians. As she put it, “I began to look for what I thought were like-minded Palestinians but with little result” (Karmi 2002: 393). Most Palestinians in the UK at the time were first generation migrants who “lived on their memories and consigned Palestine to an irrevocable past which it would be futile to reincarnate” (2002: 393). The community was also comprised of Palestinian students whose presence in the UK was conditional on the good will of the British government and who were largely unwilling to engage in controversial political work that could get them deported. Palestinian student unions in the UK did exist, Karmi observed, but there were “no cultural or lobbying groups, and no organized communal activities” (2002: 394). In the absence of willing and able ethnic kin, Karmi had no choice but to move her cause forward by recruiting non-Palestinians.

Karmi's non-Palestinian recruitment efforts, and the work of Palestine Action, contributed to the more widespread non-Palestinian mobilizations that occurred in the UK in response to Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 (Kelemen 2012: 161). In particular, it contributed to the formation of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC-UK), which became a central hub for pro-Palestinian organizing in the UK.23 Through the 1980s, PSC-UK activists continued to work within labor networks to recruit and mobilize. It established branches throughout the country and provided an organizational infrastructure that enabled many non-Palestinians to translate their pro-Palestinian sentiment into concrete action.24

In the 1990s, during the Oslo Peace Process, many pro-Palestinian activists demobilized and shifted their focus to other issues (Ziadah and Hanieh 2010: 88). When the Second Intifada began in the early 2000s, many of these activists sprung back into action and renewed their efforts to recruit non-Palestinians. In late 2000, in response to requests for help from their Palestinian colleagues, two non-Palestinian-American activists, who in the 1980s had worked with the PSC, formed an organization called Stop US Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now (SUSTAIN).25 SUSTAIN's objective was to build support for a campaign to end US military and economic aid to Israel. It initially sought to gain the support of the mainstream organizations working on Palestinian rights at the time, including the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, the American Friends Service Committee, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. However, according to one of SUSTAIN's founders, the group “took shit” from these organizations, whose leaders believed that calls for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions were too divisive, unlikely to work, and would jeopardize the political capital they had established in policy circles in Washington. SUSTAIN's leaders thus began to look elsewhere for support. The Palestinian community was one option but, as in the 1970s and 1980s, it was politically disorganized and hard to mobilize. For instance, in the early 2000s, a group of Palestinian Americans founded the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) in order to organize and coordinate the community and to amplify its voice to the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah (Erakat 2012b). Community divisions and factional infighting, however, undermined the USPCN's efforts. As one of its main organizers explained:

Because there is no authority, because there is no central body, you have this internal friction even amongst initiatives like the USPCN, that try to be fair to everybody, that suffered from internecine politics, the same that afflicts Palestinian society and politics abroad [in Palestine]. There were those who hated the fact that USPCN was too inclusive and included Fatah. They responded and said “if you include Fatah in this you are a collaborator and we don't want to be a part of it.” And when the group didn't condemn Hamas's takeover in Gaza, the Fatah folks were really angry and said “you have shown your true colors.”26

SUSTAIN's leaders instead focused on recruiting non-Palestinians who were active in the global justice movement as well as in more radically inclined student networks (Erakat 2012a). SUSTAIN's recruitment campaigns included teach-ins and seminars across the country at various high schools, colleges, and activist organizations. From late 2000 to 2003, it organized approximately three hundred events, contributing significantly to a groundswell of support for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel, well before the formal call for BDS was made.27 These recruitment efforts contributed to the formation of Students for Justice in Palestine, which, as noted above, consists largely of non-Palestinians (Qutami 2021: 39n5).

While SUSTAIN helped create the conditions for widespread non-Palestinian student mobilizing, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation mobilized individuals from anti-war and peace movement networks. Like SUSTAIN, the US Campaign did not specifically target the Palestinian-American community for recruitment and mobilization. Instead, it built close ties with non-Palestinian organizations, such as the United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) coalition. In 2003, the US Campaign helped UFPJ “organize and mobilize for some of our country's largest-ever protests.” In return, UFPJ, which included a thousand member groups, began to devote more attention to US policy toward Israel, thus providing the US Campaign with access to an extensive network of non-Palestinian recruits (Hijab et al. 2011).

In the UK in the early 2000s, similar non-Palestinian recruitment efforts also took place. During this period, PSC-UK grew considerably, expanding its institutional base across the country and developing ties to other advocacy networks in order to recruit new supporters and organize large protests. Like SUSTAIN in the United States, it built close relations with anti-war organizations, including the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in England and Wales (CND), Stop the War Coalition, and Labour Against the War (Coysh and Roberts 2002). In late September 2001, it offered to share London's Trafalgar Square with the CND to allow it to hold a rally protesting the proposed military intervention in Afghanistan (Ambrose 2001). By doing so, it helped to integrate the Palestinian cause into the peace movement, and it helped PSC-UK gain access to non-Palestinian activists, many of whom were largely receptive to their recruitment efforts. PSC-UK also focused a great deal of energy on recruiting supporters from trade unions across the country. In particular, it worked to create local branches throughout the UK whose job was not only to demonstrate and raise public awareness of the Palestinian cause but also to lobby local trade union chapters to pass resolutions and implement policies supportive of their pro-Palestinian campaign initiatives.28

This strategy of non-diaspora outreach and inter-movement alliance building has been quite effective, resulting in thousands of non-Palestinians having access to opportunities to participate in pro-Palestinian activist actions. In 2002, PSC-UK organized large-scale protests across the country, attended by thousands chanting “Justice for the Palestinians” and “End to Israeli Occupation” (Roberts 2002). The PSC-UK's recruitment has also contributed to widespread campus mobilizing as well, seen notably in 2006 with the formation of Action Palestine, a national organization that linked together activist organizers across fifteen British campuses (Greenhouse 2012).

The PSC-UK did work with British-Palestinian organizations, including the Association of the Palestinian Community in Britain and Palestine Return Centre, and sought to include them in the demonstrations they organized.29 However, mobilizing local Palestinians was not their main priority. As was the case across North America and Western Europe, the Palestinian community in Britain in the early 2000s was not only small in number but also not well organized, suffering from internal divisions that undermined political participation (Nabulsi 2006). As a result, observes Stephanie Loddo, “Palestinian groups are under-represented in pro-Palestinian activism in the UK” (2005: 4).

This section has argued that a key cause of non-Palestinian activist support in the West for Palestinian rights has been the efforts of Palestinian activists to recruit supporters from outside their diaspora. They did this because their diasporic communities were either too small or too difficult to organize for political action. In the next section, I further demonstrate the validity of this argument by contrasting non-diasporic mobilization for the Palestinians with the absence of such mobilization for the Kurds in Turkey, who, unlike their Palestinian counterparts, were able to draw upon a large and well-organized diaspora in Europe, reducing their need to recruit non-Kurds.

Explaining the Absence of Non-Kurdish Mobilizing in the West for the Kurdish Struggle

In 1981, in response to the military crackdown that accompanied the 1980 coup in Turkey, PKK sent activists to Europe to secure support and resources from their ethnic kin (Adamson 2013: 75). The job of these activists was to turn the Kurdish community into protesters in Europe and funders of PKK operations in Turkey (Østergaard-Nielsen 2003: 63). “By the mid-1980s,” explains Vera Eccarius-Kelly, “PKK representatives endorsed a protest campaign to empower Kurds to assert their ethnic background not only in Germany but throughout Western Europe or wherever Kurdish families had settled” (2010a: 8). The PKK adopted a diaspora mobilization strategy because it perceived the Kurdish communities in Europe as having the potential to offer the organization considerable support and thus make a significant contribution to the homeland struggle. More specifically, the PKK's focus on the Kurdish diaspora reflected the diaspora's large size and the significant levels of organization that existed prior to the PKK's arrival in Europe (Baser 2015a; Grojean 2011).

In the 1950s, Kurds began migrating to Europe in large numbers. Initially, Kurdish migrants were mainly students and intellectuals. In the 1960s and 1970s, they were laborers, and in the 1980s and 1990s they were asylum seekers. Kurdish migration to Europe increased significantly after the 1980 coup in Turkey, which ushered in a period of severe repression and violence. During that time, many Kurdish activists relocated to Europe to evade repression and to pressure the Turkish state from abroad (Baser 2015b: 56–57). It is estimated that, in the late 1970s, the Kurdish communities of Europe consisted of hundreds of thousands of members (Blatte 2003: 6). Through the 1980s and 1990s, as violence inside Turkey spiked, the community continued to grow. There is no authoritative data on the size of the Kurdish diaspora; however, recent estimates range from 850,000 to 1.5 million people, most of whom live in Germany, France, Sweden, and the UK (Eccarius-Kelly 2010b: 424–425). For the PKK, the size of the Kurdish communities made them an attractive target of recruitment.

Beyond size, what also made the Kurdish communities a focal point of PKK recruitment efforts was the fact that, well before PKK operatives arrived in Europe, the Kurds there had already begun to organize themselves. They created networks and associations to facilitate their engagement with homeland politics. The PKK was aware of these developments and tailored their transnational activist strategies accordingly (Lyon and Ucarer 2001: 933).

In the 1950s and 1960s, Kurdish activists began mobilizing Kurdish students in Europe, who formed a significant part of the first wave of the Kurdish migrations. In 1956, the Kurdish Students Society in Europe was founded, followed by the National Union of Kurdish Students in Europe in 1965. While the two organizations were not explicitly political, their activities did have political undertones. They followed events in Turkey and the Middle East closely, and tended to espouse progressive political views. Further, by identifying as “Kurdish,” members of these two groups were engaging in an explicitly political act, given that such an identity at the time had no legal standing in Turkey. Kurdish mobilizations continued through the 1960s and 1970s, resulting in the formation of new organizations, such as Hevra and Bahoz, both of which worked to politicize Kurdish students arriving from Turkey (Grojean 2011: 184).

Alongside the mobilization of students was the politicization of Kurdish workers, who formed a significant part of the second wave of migrations from Turkey to Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. After the military coup in Turkey in 1971, numerous Kurdish political parties established bases in Europe and worked to organize local Kurds. By the end of the decade, all Kurdish parties in Turkey had an organizational presence in Europe, with the Kurdistan Socialist Party being the most significant (Grojean 2011: 184–185). Around this time, Bahar Baser (2015a: 117) estimates, there were approximately thirty Kurdish organizations across Europe. In 1978, many of these organizations came together to create an umbrella organization known as the Federation of Kurdish Workers Associations (KOMKAR) that focused on supporting the Kurdish struggle in Turkey and promoting the rights of Kurdish workers in Europe (Østergaard-Nielsen 2003:62). KOMKAR and its affiliated groups organized cultural events, including the celebration of Newroz, the Kurdish new year, as well as political actions. In 1981, for instance, they organized a hunger strike to protest the military coup in Turkey and sent representatives to the Council of Europe to draw the attention of European officials to the Kurdish issue (Baser 2015a: 118).

In the early 1980s, when the PKK began to look to the West for support, it was able to draw not only on a sizable community of Kurds but also on one that was to some extent ready to engage in homeland politics. This is not to suggest that all Kurds were politically active by the late 1970s. What it does suggest, however, is that the organizational efforts of various Kurdish groups in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s created a community infrastructure that the PKK could use to access their kin and expose them to recruitment campaigns. The presence of these organizations incentivized and facilitated a diaspora mobilization strategy, rather than one that focused on non-diasporic outreach and recruitment.

The PKK's efforts to secure the support of Kurdish communities throughout Europe were highly successful. Not only did Kurdish communities there provide the PKK with a significant amount of money (Adamson 2013: 81–84), they also became political actors of some significance (Eccarius-Kelly 2002). Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Kurds in Europe conducted more than 150 protests each year, amounting to almost one protest every other day (Grojean 2011: 193n2). It is estimated that these protests attracted approximately 50,000 Kurdish participants (Østergaard-Nielsen 2003: 75). In many cases, individual protest sites were part of larger mobilizations taking place in Kurdish communities across Europe and beyond (2003: 82). In 1999, for instance, in response to the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, Kurdish communities in Europe erupted in protest. A New York Times report described this as indicative of the diaspora's “extraordinary coordination” (Stanley 1999). As Olivier Grojean puts it, the Kurdish diaspora is “probably the most demonstrative group in Europe” (2011: 182).

As a result of the extensive support the PKK has received from its ethnic kin in Europe, the organization has devoted little effort and resources to recruiting non-Kurdish supporters. Occasionally Kurdish activists would attend Marxist conferences in the UK and Europe to hand out leaflets to the participants, but these efforts were short-lived and not part of larger, strategically minded outreach campaigns designed to attract non-Kurds. According to one Kurdish activist, the diaspora's advocacy campaigns are based on what works to mobilize Kurds inside Turkey and are often not explicitly designed to mobilize non-Kurdish audiences in the West. As the activist put it, “[the campaign] may work in Turkey but is it going to work in Britain or in France? Nobody asks that question. And those people who tend to make these decisions do not have a good understanding of Western society.”30 Overall, the absence of sustained efforts to recruit non-Kurds has resulted in much less non-diasporic support in the West for the Kurdish struggle in Turkey. Despite the similarities that exist between the Kurdish and Palestinian struggles, non-diasporic activists have been less likely to encounter opportunities to support the Kurds than they have been to encounter opportunities to support the Palestinians.

Conclusion

This article asks why the Palestinian cause has garnered such widespread support from non-Palestinian activists in the West. I argue that a main cause of non-Palestinian support is the recruitment efforts of Palestinian activists who perceived their own diasporic communities as unable to provide them with the support they needed, for reasons having to do with community size and factionalism that made political organizing difficult. As a result of these recruitment efforts, non-Palestinian activists were exposed to opportunities to take part in pro-Palestinian activist work, making their mobilization far more likely. I developed this argument by contrasting non-diasporic mobilization for the Palestinians with its absence for the Kurdish struggle in Turkey. Despite having a number of characteristics that would lead us to expect the Kurds to also be the recipients of widespread non-diasporic activist support in the West, this has not occurred because Kurdish activists have not prioritized non-diasporic recruitment, as they have been able to draw upon a large and well-organized Kurdish diaspora in Europe.

The analysis offered in this article raises questions that scholars interested in pro-Palestinian activism and the BDS campaign might want to investigate. While this article has identified the strategic logic of non-Palestinian recruitment, it has not investigated the content of that recruitment or the reasons it has been so successful. How did Palestinian activists pitch their cause in a way that made it appealing to non-Palestinian audiences? Which specific advocacy frames and linkages did they draw on to motivate action? Why were those frames successful and how did they manage to help non-Palestinians overcome obstacles they might have faced to participating in pro-Palestinian campaigning? A closer analysis of these issues would help to identify additional factors relevant to understanding why non-Palestinian activists have mobilized in such large numbers to support the Palestinian cause.

Notes

1

Interview with Palestinian-American activist, 28 September 2016, Skype.

2

The CIRI Human Rights Data Project Dataverse dataset can be accessed at https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/cirihumanrightsdata.

3

See “Middle East Report.” JStor. http://www.jstor.org/journal/middleeastreport (accessed 27 September 2022).

4

Pinter's speech is available at “The Kurdish Human Rights Project 10th Anniversary Lecture given by Noam Chomsky at St Paul's Cathedral on 9th December 2002.” HaroldPinter.org. http://www.haroldpinter.org/politics/introtochomskyspeech.html (accessed 27 September 2022).

5

“Is a Boycott of Israel Just?” New York Times, 18 February 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/opinion/the-case-for-the-israel-boycott.html.

6

“Turkey: Which Countries Export Arms to Turkey?” BBC News, 23 October 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/50125405.

7

See “Stop Arming Turkey.” Boycott Turkey. https://boycott-turkey.net/stop-arming-turkey/ (accessed 27 September 2022).

8

Interview with Matzpen activist, 18 March 2015, Skype.

9

Interview with SUSTAIN activist, 24 August 2015, Skype.

10

Interview with Palestinian-Canadian activist, 18 August 2015, Skype.

11

Interview with Palestinian-Canadian activist, 18 August 2015, Skype.

12

For more details on the size of the Palestinian community in Canada in the 1980s, see the 1991 Canadian Census. https://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.697077/publication.html.

13

Interview with Palestinian-Canadian activist, 18 August 2015, Skype.

14

Interview with Palestinian-Canadian activist, 26 February 2015, Skype.

15

Interview with November 29th Coalition for Palestine activist, 9 July 2015, Skype.

16

“Critics Question a Plan to Send Students to Gaza.” New York Times, 29 July 1990. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/07/29/style/campus-life-michigan-critics-question-a-plan-to-send-students-to-gaza.html.

17

Interview with November 29th Coalition for Palestine activist, 9 July 2015, Skype.

18

For more details on the size of the Palestinian community in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s, see US Ancestry Data. https://www.census.gov/topics/population/ancestry/data/tables.html

19

Interview with Palestinian-American activist, 28 September 2016, Skype.

20

Interview with Palestinian-American activist, 28 September 2016, Skype.

21

“New Pals.” London Times, 5 June 1972: 14.

22

“The Campaign Organiser.” London Times, 11 May 1973: 7.

23

Interview with LabourStart activist, 27 February 2015, Skype.

24

Interview with Palestine Solidarity Campaign activist, 6 February 2013, Skype.

25

Interview with Palestinian-American activist, 28 September 2016, Skype.

26

Interview with Palestinian-American activist, 25 July 2013, Skype.

27

Interview with SUSTAIN activist, 24 August 2015, Skype.

28

“Campaign Praises Star's Unrivalled Coverage of Rally.” Morning Star, 21 May 2002.

29

“Campaigners Announce Palestine March Plans.” Morning Star, 1 April 2002: 6.

30

Interview with Kurdish activist, 5 December 2012, London, UK.

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  • McEntire, Kyla Jo, Michelle Leiby, and Matthew Krain. 2015. “Human Rights Organizations as Agents of Change: An Experimental Examination of Framing and Micromobilization.” American Political Science Review 109 (3): 407426.

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    • Export Citation
  • Morrison, Suzanne. 2022. “Border-Crossing Repertoires of Contention: Palestine Activism in a Global Justice Context.” Globalizations 19 (1): 1733.

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  • Nabulsi, Karma. 2006. Palestinians Register: Laying Foundations and Setting Directions: Report of the Civitas Project. Oxford: Nuffield College.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oegema, Dirk, and Bert Klandermans. 1994. “Why Social Movement Sympathizers Don't Participate: Erosion and Nonconversion of Support.” American Sociological Review 59 (5): 703722.

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    • Export Citation
  • Obenzinger, Hilton. 2008. “Palestine Solidarity, Political Discourse, and the Peace Movement, 1982–1988.” The New Centennial Review 8 (2): 233252.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Østergaard-Nielsen, Eva. 2003. Trans-state Loyalties and Policies: Turks and Kurds in Germany. New York: Routledge.

  • Qutami, Loubna. 2021. “Transnational Histories of Palestinian Youth Organizing in the United States.” Journal of Palestine Studies 50 (2): 2242.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roberts, Adrian. 2002. “Stop the Killings: Thousands Swell Protests against Israeli Terror.” Morning Star, 6 May: 1.

  • Romano, David. 2006. The Kurdish National Movement: Opportunity, Mobilization, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Ron, James, Howard Ramos, and Kathleen Rodgers. 2005. “Transnational Information Politics: NGO Human Rights Reporting, 1986–2000.” International Studies Quarterly 49 (3): 557587.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saatci, Mustafa. 2002. “Nation-states and Ethnic Boundaries: Modern Turkish Identity and Turkish-Kurdish Conflict.” Nations and Nationalism 8 (4): 549564.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Said, Edward. 1999. “Protecting the Kosovars?New Left Review 234 (March/April): 7375.

  • Samdup, Carole. 1996. “A Canadian Group Fights to Ensure Success of Tibetan Freedom Struggle.” Tibetan Bulletin May-June: 2021.

  • Sangay, Lobsang. 2003. “Tibet: Exiles’ Journey.” Journal of Democracy 14 (3): 119130.

  • Schussman, Alan, and Sarah Soule. 2005. “Process and Protest: Accounting for Individual Protest Participation.” Social Forces 84 (2): 10831108.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Seligman, Steven. 2011. “Politics and Principle at the UN Human Rights Commission and Council (1992–2008).” Israel Studies 17 (4): 520541.

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    • Export Citation
  • Shain, Yossi. 1989. The Frontier of Loyalty: Political Exiles in the Age of the Nation State. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shindler, Colin. 2012. Israel and the European Left: Between Solidarity and Delegitimization. New York: Continuum.

  • Slawson, Nicola. 2021. “Thousands Gather in London for Palestine Solidarity March.” The Guardian, 22 May. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/22/thousands-gather-in-london-for-palestine-solidarity-march.

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  • Smooha, Sammy. 1997. “Ethnic Democracy: Israel as an Archetype.” Israel Studies 2 (2): 198241.

  • Sokefeld, Martin. 2006. “Mobilizing in Transnational Space: A Social Movement Approach to the Formation of Diaspora.” Global Networks 6 (3): 265284.

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    • Export Citation
  • Stanley, Alessandra. 1999. “Top Kurd's Arrest Unleashes Rioting across Europe.” New York Times, 17 February. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/17/world/top-kurd-s-arrest-unleashes-rioting-all-across-europe.html.

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  • Turki, Fawaz. 1980. “The Passions of Exile: The Palestine Congress of North America.” Journal of Palestine Studies 9 (4): 1743.

  • Turki, Fawaz. 1993. Exile's Return: The Making of a Palestinian American. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International.

  • Watts, Nicole. 2004. “Institutionalizing Virtual Kurdistan West: Transnational Networks and Ethnic Contention in International Affairs.” In Boundaries and Belonging: States and Societies in the Struggle to Shape Identities and Local Practices, ed. Joel Migdal, 121148. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yildiz, Kerim, and Mark Muller. 2008. The European Union and Turkish Accession: Human Rights and the Kurds. London: Pluto Press.

  • Ziadah, Rafeef, and Adam Hanieh. 2010. “Collective Approaches to Activist Knowledge: Experiences of the New Anti-Apartheid Movement in Toronto.” In Learning from the Ground Up: Global Perspectives on Social Movements and Knowledge Production, ed. Aziz Choudry and Dip Kapoor, 8599. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

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Contributor Notes

DAVID ZARNETT has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Toronto, where he currently works as an Undergraduate Advisor and Sessional Lecturer. His research focuses on the transnational dimensions of intra-state conflict, human rights NGOs, and the comparative study of the Israeli-Palestinian and Turkish-Kurdish conflicts. E-mail: david.zarnett@utoronto.ca

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  • FIGURE 1.

    Comparison of Turkey and Israel, CIRI Physical Integrity Rights Index

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  • McEntire, Kyla Jo, Michelle Leiby, and Matthew Krain. 2015. “Human Rights Organizations as Agents of Change: An Experimental Examination of Framing and Micromobilization.” American Political Science Review 109 (3): 407426.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morrison, Suzanne. 2022. “Border-Crossing Repertoires of Contention: Palestine Activism in a Global Justice Context.” Globalizations 19 (1): 1733.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nabulsi, Karma. 2006. Palestinians Register: Laying Foundations and Setting Directions: Report of the Civitas Project. Oxford: Nuffield College.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oegema, Dirk, and Bert Klandermans. 1994. “Why Social Movement Sympathizers Don't Participate: Erosion and Nonconversion of Support.” American Sociological Review 59 (5): 703722.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Obenzinger, Hilton. 2008. “Palestine Solidarity, Political Discourse, and the Peace Movement, 1982–1988.” The New Centennial Review 8 (2): 233252.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Østergaard-Nielsen, Eva. 2003. Trans-state Loyalties and Policies: Turks and Kurds in Germany. New York: Routledge.

  • Qutami, Loubna. 2021. “Transnational Histories of Palestinian Youth Organizing in the United States.” Journal of Palestine Studies 50 (2): 2242.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roberts, Adrian. 2002. “Stop the Killings: Thousands Swell Protests against Israeli Terror.” Morning Star, 6 May: 1.

  • Romano, David. 2006. The Kurdish National Movement: Opportunity, Mobilization, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Ron, James, Howard Ramos, and Kathleen Rodgers. 2005. “Transnational Information Politics: NGO Human Rights Reporting, 1986–2000.” International Studies Quarterly 49 (3): 557587.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saatci, Mustafa. 2002. “Nation-states and Ethnic Boundaries: Modern Turkish Identity and Turkish-Kurdish Conflict.” Nations and Nationalism 8 (4): 549564.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Said, Edward. 1999. “Protecting the Kosovars?New Left Review 234 (March/April): 7375.

  • Samdup, Carole. 1996. “A Canadian Group Fights to Ensure Success of Tibetan Freedom Struggle.” Tibetan Bulletin May-June: 2021.

  • Sangay, Lobsang. 2003. “Tibet: Exiles’ Journey.” Journal of Democracy 14 (3): 119130.

  • Schussman, Alan, and Sarah Soule. 2005. “Process and Protest: Accounting for Individual Protest Participation.” Social Forces 84 (2): 10831108.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Seligman, Steven. 2011. “Politics and Principle at the UN Human Rights Commission and Council (1992–2008).” Israel Studies 17 (4): 520541.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shain, Yossi. 1989. The Frontier of Loyalty: Political Exiles in the Age of the Nation State. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shindler, Colin. 2012. Israel and the European Left: Between Solidarity and Delegitimization. New York: Continuum.

  • Slawson, Nicola. 2021. “Thousands Gather in London for Palestine Solidarity March.” The Guardian, 22 May. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/22/thousands-gather-in-london-for-palestine-solidarity-march.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smooha, Sammy. 1997. “Ethnic Democracy: Israel as an Archetype.” Israel Studies 2 (2): 198241.

  • Sokefeld, Martin. 2006. “Mobilizing in Transnational Space: A Social Movement Approach to the Formation of Diaspora.” Global Networks 6 (3): 265284.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stanley, Alessandra. 1999. “Top Kurd's Arrest Unleashes Rioting across Europe.” New York Times, 17 February. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/17/world/top-kurd-s-arrest-unleashes-rioting-all-across-europe.html.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Turki, Fawaz. 1980. “The Passions of Exile: The Palestine Congress of North America.” Journal of Palestine Studies 9 (4): 1743.

  • Turki, Fawaz. 1993. Exile's Return: The Making of a Palestinian American. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International.

  • Watts, Nicole. 2004. “Institutionalizing Virtual Kurdistan West: Transnational Networks and Ethnic Contention in International Affairs.” In Boundaries and Belonging: States and Societies in the Struggle to Shape Identities and Local Practices, ed. Joel Migdal, 121148. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yildiz, Kerim, and Mark Muller. 2008. The European Union and Turkish Accession: Human Rights and the Kurds. London: Pluto Press.

  • Ziadah, Rafeef, and Adam Hanieh. 2010. “Collective Approaches to Activist Knowledge: Experiences of the New Anti-Apartheid Movement in Toronto.” In Learning from the Ground Up: Global Perspectives on Social Movements and Knowledge Production, ed. Aziz Choudry and Dip Kapoor, 8599. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

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