At a time when the Palestinian cause is facing fiercer challenges than ever before, both in Palestine and here in the United States, the role of the Institute for Palestine Studies, and especially the work done by IPS-USA, is more vital than ever.
For over fifty-seven years, the Institute has been committed to cogent, fact-based analysis; a stress on history, culture, and literature; and a dogged commitment to establishing the reality of the situation in Palestine. This is particularly vital today in the face of the propaganda, fake news, and outrageous claims that opponents of Palestinian rights and freedom propagate.
To carry out its mission, IPS publishes books, policy papers and monographs, three respected academic journals. The Institute has also developed a robust web presence, as well as an active social media platform. As just one measure of its impact, the Journal of Palestine Studies, its flagship journal founded forty-nine years ago, has over two hundred thousand downloads annually of full articles from current and past issues. Its impact on the academic debate around Palestine in the United States and Europe is beyond dispute.
The tools provided by IPS-USA are particularly essential to enable policymakers, academics, activists, students, and informed citizens in the United States to confront the tide of disinformation that is produced about Palestine. These tools are essential as well in the face of the ongoing campaign to treat any form of advocacy around Palestinian rights that is critical of Israel and its policies as “anti-Semitic.” The Institute has worked at the intersection between the worlds of academia, policy, intellectual life, and culture where Palestine is concerned, developing the relationships between them.
The very existence of Palestine and its people is at stake today. In this existential contest, few things are as important as showing that the Palestinians are a people entitled to a full range of human, civil, religious, and national rights. Crucial in this regard has been the hardy persistence, indeed the flowering, of Palestinian culture in the spheres of art, literature, drama, film, and poetry. Highlighting this cultural work has become an important focus of the Institute for Palestine Studies in recent years. It is also one of the reasons for this important exhibit of over 110 works by Palestinian and Arab artists.
Many in the U.S. media assert that “the Arabs” are no longer interested in Palestine. In fact, multiple polls have shown that this is by no means the case for the overwhelming majority of Arab public opinion, which still sees Palestine as an Arab cause, and is committed to it. The generous contributions of artwork to IPS by dozens of noted artists from all over the Arab world in response to our appeal is further evidence of this broad-based Arab commitment to Palestine.
This exhibition and silent auction of artwork in Washington in 2020 follows another held in Beirut in 2018 which witnessed a similarly generous outpouring of contributions by these and other Arab and Palestinian artists. This exhibition is thus not just an important artistic event but also a demonstration of the continuing importance of Palestine and its people to leading Arab artists and intellectuals.
We are deeply grateful to many individuals and institutions for their support of this endeavor. Among them, IPS-USA wants to thank in particular Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi and the Barjeel Art Foundation for all they have done to ensure the success of this exhibition. We also are grateful to the Middle East Institute for offering its beautiful, newly renovated headquarters for the holding of this exhibition, and to its president, Paul Salem, and its vice president of arts and culture, Kate Seelye, for their invaluable help.
Rashid I. Khalidi
President & Chairman of the Board of Directors