Elizabeth Warren withdraws from Palestinian conference over organizers’ Oct. 7 praise

A speaker at the conference wrote on Oct. 7 that ‘’the message of the resistance is clear, it has started and it shall escalate and shall impose a new reality.’

US Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at a rally for Israel two days after the October 7 attack (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is backing out of appearing at a conference next week for an organization whose leaders have expressed support for Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack and have ties to U.S.-designated terrorist groups.

The Palestine Digital Activist Forum is a two-day online event that aims to “empower and enrich Palestinian digital activity,” with sessions this year that include “The Palestinian Telecommunications Sector: Between War, Destruction, Innovation and Artificial Intelligence” and “AI in Wartime: Gaza, Automated Warfare, Surveillance and the Battle of Narratives.” 

Warren’s two-minute videotaped speech, which her team tells Jewish Insider has since been canceled, was titled “How do we protect the public and develop ethical artificial intelligence?” 

“Senator Warren will not participate in the digital forum,” a spokesperson in Warren’s office said. “Her office has received a large volume of claims about individuals associated with the event, and, although we do not assume any of the claims are true, we have not had capacity to sift through it all and have decided to focus our time and energy opposing [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s unfolding catastrophe in Gaza in other ways.”

Warren has been one of the Senate’s most vocal critics of Israel’s war in Gaza, and has called for restricting military aid to Israel. She voted in favor of the national security supplemental (which provided aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan) in April, but said that same month that she believed international officials would find that the war in Gaza legally constitutes a genocide. 

The forum is hosted by 7amleh (pronounced “hamleh”), an organization that “advocates for Palestinians’ digital rights.” A large part of its advocacy efforts push  back against Jews’ and Israelis’ efforts to fight antisemitism on social media. The organization has campaigned against Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) policies against incitement to violence, as well as the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, calling them an attack on free speech. 

7amleh board member Nevin Abu Rahmoun, who is also speaking at the conference, wrote on Facebook on Oct. 7 that “the message of the resistance is clear, it has started and it shall escalate and shall impose a new reality.” 

The organization’s project coordinator, Mohammad Badarneh, said that “the only important value of a human being living under occupation is the extent of his resistance to that occupation, in all possible means.”  (The posts have since been deleted.)

In November 2023, 7amleh published a paper on the “silencing of Palestinian voices” after Oct. 7, lamenting that Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, “immediately censored the Arabic hashtag [Al-Aqsa Flood] on the first day of the escalation.” 

That hashtag was being used on “the first day of the escalation,” meaning while Hamas was massacring Israeli civilians at kibbutzim and a rave near the Gaza border, to label violent videos – some broadcast live – of the terrorist attack. This is a frequent 7amleh tactic NGO Monitor described as “the active recasting of pro-terror content as neutral.” 

7amleh is a founding member of The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition, which includes Al-Haq, Addameer, Al Mezan and UAWC, organizations proscribed by Israel in 2021 as fronts for the U.S.-designated terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Before Oct. 7, 7amleh’s monitoring and documentation officer, Ahmad Qadi, celebrated terrorist attacks on synagogues in Jerusalem in 2023 – writing that “every Israeli crime is met with greater determination for sacrifice, broader resistance and…victory.”

CORRECTION: Warren’s planned speech was a two-minute recorded address; an earlier version of this story reported it was 45 minutes long.

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