Palestinian Culture Fair Held at Kimmel

Students for Justice in Palestine and other groups held an event celebrating Palestinian culture

(Image via author)

NYU members of Students for Justice in Palestine and Arab Students United held a Palestinian Culture Night in Kimmel’s Eisner and Lubin Auditorium on Wednesday night, with booths selling Palestinian food, art and books.

“I think Palestine isn’t really recognized as a place itself,” said Rindala Alajaji, an SJP member who was volunteering at a T-shirt booth. “To showcase [it], meant that it’s a place that exist. It’s pretty powerful.”

The event, which began just after 5:30 p.m., was attended by dozens who browsed art by Jordanian-Palestinian artist Q Hammouri and lined up for a buffet from Tanoreen, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Brooklyn. Much of the fare for sale, such as shirts and keffiyehs, were shipped from Palestine or made by Palestinian artists.

“I wanted everything to be from Palestine or from a Palestinian,” said Leen Dweik, president of SJP and the main organizer of the night. She said the idea came to her last semester after seeing various aspects of Palestinian culture being appropriated. “That really really bothered me.”

The occasion was also a chance to display Palestinian culture in a more casual setting. Rose, a member of NYU Jewish Voice for Peace, one the groups co-sponsoring the event, described it as a “community-building event.” “We want a space where people can exist together with good food, good books,” she said. “This is just our chance to have a fun night.”

Dweik echoed her sentiment.

“I hope to get people more interested in Palestinian culture. I want people to see what a vibrant culture Palestine has, and just to learn more,” she said. “Why not get all the culture here in one room and show them to people?”