Podcast Ep 8: University must unban Palestine group rules court

On episode 8, Nora Barrows-Friedman speaks to attorney Radhika Sainath of Palestine Legal about a significant win in the fight for Palestine rights advocacy on US campuses.

Later in the broadcast, Nora discusses Siegebreakers – a new novel set in Gaza – with its author, Justin Podur.

On 5 August Fordham University students won a landmark legal victory against the university’s unilateral ban of a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.

“Palestine Legal has documented over 1,000 such incidents as censorship and suppression since 2014, and this is the first time that we fought back and won in the court,” attorney Sainath tells The Electronic Intifada Podcast.

The legal fight lasted nearly three years.

After they tried to start the SJP chapter in 2015, students were subjected to a year-long investigation. They were questioned repeatedly about their political views, their affiliations and their opinions about the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign for Palestinian rights.


Justin Podur’s forthcoming novel is Siegebreakers.

The book is an action thriller set in modern-day Gaza. It explores themes of resistance to Israel’s crushing blockade and occupation.

What happens when an elite Israeli spy defects to help the Palestinian resistance break the siege on Gaza?

The author says that fiction can play a big role in combating the dehumanization of Palestinians: “Non-fiction can tell you what happened, but you can’t get into somebody’s mind in a non-fiction book and say this is what they were feeling, and this is what they were thinking.”

He also talks about his research and the duty of activists and artists to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.

Podur is an author of both fiction and non-fiction, and is also the host of the great Ossington Circle podcast.

Articles we discussed

Nora and co-host Asa Winstanley also talk about the highs and lows of social media, and about Shurat HaDin – a group of Israeli lawyers which is a front group for the Mossad, Israel’s murderous spy agency.

The group recently petitioned Israel’s high court to bar US lawmaker Ilhan Omar from entering the country due to her support for BDS. Yet most of the media coverage falsely described Shurat HaDin as a “non-governmental” organization.

Image: Ahmad Awad, who graduated in 2017, is one of five students who successfully sued Fordham University over its refusal to allow the establishment of Students for Justice in Palestine (Fordham SJP)

Music: “Wea’younha” by Sanaa Moussa

Production assistance by Sharif Zakout

Subscribe to The Electronic Intifada Podcast on Apple Podcasts (search for The Electronic Intifada). Support our podcast by rating us, sharing and leaving a review, and you can also donate to fund our work.


Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).