The Cost Of Speaking Up: Many Lose Jobs For Supporting Palestinians

Several people across professions, such as lawyers and activists, say they have lost jobs for supporting the Palestinians in the ongoing Israel-Hamas War.

Photo: Getty Images

“I was THE contender for a dream job…They loved me. I’ve been told I didn’t get the job and the headhunter has advised me that I either close my account or don’t discuss my political opinions,” Arnesa Buljušmić-Kustura, a researcher and lecturer, wrote in a long thread on X, after losing a job for what she believes was because of her pro-Palestine posts. 

Buljušmić-Kustura, like many others, was expected to be silent. She, like many others, chose not to and faced the brunt of it.

“Never tweet” -- this was a meme that went viral on Twitter (now ‘X’) long before the latest war in Gaza, warning people not to write anything controversial that could cost them their job or security. This very idea has been put to the test once again amid the war between Israel and Hamas. 

Many people have faced severe backlash for the criticism and lost their jobs because of a post, a statement or a picture that showed their support for Palestinians or their vocal criticism of the Israeli government. These people come from different backgrounds – lawyers, doctors, sportspersons, influencers, students and others. 

An NYU law student was ousted as the president of the school’s Student Bar Association and also lost a job offer for writing a newsletter expressing solidarity with Palestinians. Speaking to Democracy Now, Ryna Workman said that ever since their statement, they have been receiving hate, racism and threats, and the others are now “afraid to speak up”, thinking “they might be next”.

Law students from Harvard and Columbia too faced similar backlashes where their employment offers were revoked for signing statements condemning Israel’s assault.

An Oxford University faculty member said that the renowned college has decided to curb the talk about Palestinians as it is “too triggering”. 

A sports editor in Philadelphia lost his job at PhillyVoice after he responded to his team's post supporting Israel with a pro-Palestine remark. “Solidarity with Palestine always,” he had written. 

Meanwhile, according to a report by The Washington Post, an Air Canada pilot was also dismissed for sharing anti-Israel photos.

“We can confirm the pilot in question no longer works for Air Canada,” the airline posted on X.

David Velasco, the editor-in-chief of Artforum magazine, was also reportedly fired after the magazine published an open letter in response to the war. Several others from the organisation walked out subsequently.

Palestine Legal, a Chicago-based Palestine advocacy group, said that they have received an unprecedented surge in requests for legal support over the past weeks.

“Activists and community members have been doxxed, threatened, investigated, censored, questioned, fired, and even assaulted simply because of their views,” it said in a report dated October 13.

The backlash has stretched to all corners of the internet. Supermodel Bella Hadid, too, recently said that she received daily death threats for her advocacy of Palestine. In an interview for GQ, she also said that she has lost several jobs for supporting the Palestinian movement over time.

While the situation is particularly aggravated in the United States because of the US government’s constant show of support for Israel, it is happening all around the world. In India, people are facing charges for showing solidarity with Palestine. On October 16, around 60 students were detained in Delhi for taking out a pro-Palestine protest at Jantar Mantar. Earlier, several students of Aligarh Muslim University in Lucknow were also detained similarly. 

The war in Gaza is nearing a month. Israel has begun its night raids and is ready for a full-on ground offensive. At the time of writing, more than 8,000 people have died on the Palestinian side – mostly civilians – including thousands of children, women and elderly people. Building after buildings have been bombed, children have been orphaned, newborns have been killed in Gaza. The distressing visuals of the pain and suffering of people in Gaza have sent shockwaves across the world. Those living in the middle of it are surviving with dire food and water, electricity shortages and communication blackouts as Israel continues its siege of the densely populated enclave.