Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration has made the decision to allow the city’s third annual Palestinian Day of Solidarity to take place next week. However, there are several changes to the event’s traditional format. Organizers revealed that they will be unable to hold the celebration next to City Hall and will not be permitted to use the city’s official logo. Additionally, no city representative will be in attendance at the community celebration honoring the city’s Palestinian residents.
The decision to relocate the event from the Municipal Services Building to the Philadelphia Museum of Art comes after intense deliberations involving city officials. The officials attempted to postpone the event and withdrew the city’s involvement due to the current political climate surrounding the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
The city’s participation in this year’s celebration is expected to be minimal in order to avoid distracting from the event’s true purpose: allowing Philadelphia’s Palestinian community to celebrate their heritage freely. The Mayor’s office expressed gratitude to the Palestinian community and the Arab American Community Development Corporation for their advocacy.
While the city declined to comment on the deliberations, emails shared with The Inquirer revealed that the concerns raised by city officials included tensions caused by the conflict abroad, images used in promotional materials, and the lack of control over speeches at the event. Officials even suggested organizing the event as a demonstration rather than a city-sponsored ceremony.
Jude Husein, one of the event organizers, emphasized that Palestinian Solidarity Day was never intended as a political statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, it was meant to be a local recognition event similar to those offered to other communities by City Hall.
The first International Palestinian Day of Solidarity took place in Philadelphia in 2021 without significant pushback. However, the Israeli consulate in New York asked Mayor Kenney to reconsider the event, sparking dialogue around the issue. Despite the pushback, Mayor Kenney highlighted his responsibility to represent all Philadelphia residents, regardless of their ethnicity or religion.
This year’s event will be held on the Art Museum apron, and the city has agreed to provide a podium and a sound system. However, the city’s involvement will be minimal, as organizers aim to uplift and empower Philadelphia’s Palestinian community without distraction or interference.
Q: Can the Palestinian Day of Solidarity be held next to City Hall?
A: No, the event has been relocated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Q: Is the city’s official logo allowed to be used at the event?
A: No, organizers are barred from using the city’s official logo.
Q: Will a city representative be speaking at the event?
A: No, no city representative will be speaking at the event.
Q: What is the purpose of the Palestinian Day of Solidarity?
A: The purpose is to allow Philadelphia’s Palestinian community to celebrate their heritage and recognize their importance within the city.
Q: What concerns were raised by city officials?
A: City officials expressed concerns about tensions caused by the conflict abroad, images used in promotional materials, and the lack of control over speeches at the event.