Palestine activist urges 'radical change' after Time listing

Mohammed El-Kurd urges 'tangible change in media system' after TIME Magazine recognition
3 min read
16 September, 2021
Mohammed El-Kurd said that although being named by TIME was a 'positive' step for placing Palestine in the global public arena, 'symbols that reduce the struggle of an entire population to one face is not enough to support Palestinian people'.
Mohammed El-Kurd became a household name for his online posts about Palestinian life under Israeli occupation [Getty]

Palestinian activist Mohammed El-Kurd has said that TIME Magazine's recognition of his activism is not enough to support the Palestinian people, after he and his sister, Muna El-Kurd, were named on the publication's list of '100 most-influential people of 2021'.

The El-Kurd twins were included on the list, released on Wednesday, for having "challenged existing narratives about Palestinian resistance".

The pair became the faces of Palestinian resistance as they, alongside their neighbours, were threatened with losing their homes in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah last spring. 

TIME Magazine said the siblings helped "to prompt an international shift in rhetoric in regard to Israel and Palestine", through their online posts as they showed the world life as Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

The magazine also praised the "charismatic and bold" twins for "humanising the experiences of their neighbours and pushing back against suggestions that violence was being predominantly carried out by Palestinians".

However, in a statement Mohammed El-Kurd said that although being named by TIME was a "positive" step for placing Palestine in the global public arena, "symbols that reduce the struggle of an entire population to one face is not enough to support Palestinian people".

El-Kurd continued: "we are asking for a radical and tangible change to the media system, which includes TIME, because it is biased to Zionism".

"The new era Palestine is witnessing is the product of a cumulative struggle for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that wrestled a colonial system for seven decades without any recognition", El-Kurd said.

Many, however, have praised the list.

Palestinian-American Human Rights attorney Noura Erakat said the Palestinian rights movement "broke a dam" in a tweet congratulating the twins, adding that TIME Magazine have recognised "Palestinian resistance as something exemplary".

Filmmaker and visual storyteller Ala Hamdan said in a tweet that she is "proud because they [the El-Kurds] were a bridge to the voices of millions"

Protests erupted around the world earlier this year as more than 500 Palestinians were at risk of expulsion from their homes by Israeli authorities in Sheikh Jarrah.

In early August, the Israeli Supreme Court offered those at risk a "compromise", allowing them to remain in their homes, for now, under a "protected residents" status.

This meant the Palestinians would not be immediately evicted from their homes, but could be in the future.

Due to their activism, the twins detained by Israeli authorities in June.

Muna El-Kurd has not yet commented on the TIME list, though shared her brother's statement in an Instagram story.