Best-selling author Susan Abulhawa detained by Israel [Urgent Action Alert]

Best-selling author Susan Abulhawa detained by Israel [Urgent Action Alert]

In a 2016 interview about her best-selling novels (her first was translated into 28 languages), Susan Abulhawa said that mainstream U.S. newspaper reviewers “wouldn’t touch” her work: “There have been many mainstream reviews throughout France, the UK, Norway, Sweden, Germany… But the US? Forget about it.”

Human rights activists have issued an urgent action alert calling for Israel to release prominent Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa. Abulhawa, a Pennsylvania resident, was on her way to speak at a literature festival in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and other cities sponsored by the British Council, Kenyon Institute, and others. Abulhawa is an American citizen.

Demand the Immediate Release of Prominent Palestinian Author Susan Abulhawa from Israeli Detention!

Sign the petition and phone the officials listed below

Susan Abulhawa, the Palestinian novelist, has been denied entry at Tel Aviv Airport on her way to the Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival sponsored in part by the British Council [and the Kenyon Institute, a British research institute previously known as the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem]. Despite the help of a lawyer from the British Council, the US Embassy and the festival organizers who have been on hand to assist, she was been detained by border forces upon her arrival.

She is one of the most commercially successful Arab authors of all time. Abulhawa’s 2010 debut novel Mornings in Jenin, a multigenerational family epic spanning five countries and more than sixty years, looks unflinchingly at the Palestinian question – and became an international bestseller translated into twenty-eight languages. Susan was also a juror among a panel of internationally recognized human rights activists at the recent International People’s Tribunal on US Colonial Crimes in Puerto Rico.

At this point, Susan is in detention awaiting a judicial decision regarding her appeal to allow her entry. Festival organizers and the British Council have stated that her participation is a cornerstone of the festival and very much needed.


We demand the immediate release of Susan Abulhawa and a guarantee that she will be able to travel and participate in the Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival without any further incident. As a prominent Palestinian author, she deserves to be allowed to attend the Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival in her birthright county.

Below is the contact info for the US Embassy of Israel to ask that she be allowed entry to participate. (

In addition to signing this petition, please contact these US officials to demand they assist in assuring Abulhawa’s speedy release and permission to travel to the festival.

Ron Dermer, Israeli Ambassador to the United States: 202-364-5500

David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel

Office for overseas citizen services: 888-407-4747

Sen. Robert Casey, PA: 866-892-2833 / (202) 224-6324

[Casey is endorsed by 13 pro-Israel PACs and has voted overwhelmingly for Israel. He has received over $600,000 from pro-Israel PACs. He was a cosponsor of legislation to give Israel $38 billion.]

Sen. Patrick Toomey, PA: 202-224-4254 / (202) 224-4254

[Toomey was one of the top 20 Senate recipients of pro-Israel PAC money in the past election. He was a cosponsor of legislation to give Israel $38 billion.]

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick: 202-225-4257 / (202) 225-4276 / 202-225-3121

[Fitzpatrick is endorsed by 5 pro-Israel PACs and his voting record is overwhelmingly pro-Israel. He co-sponsored legislation to give Israel $38 billion.]

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