Rima Hassan, lawyer, denounces “this impulse which consists of harming Palestinian words”

The Franco-Palestinian lawyer Rima Hassan has been the target of harassment and death threats, particularly since October 7 and the start of the war in the Gaza Strip, because she broadcasts her message of support for the Palestinian cause and calls relentlessly for a ceasefire.

Elected last summer by Forbes among the 40 “most influential” women of 2023, Rima Hassan denounces an obstruction of freedom of expression of voices supporting the Palestinians.

Rima Hassan, founder of the Observatory of Refugee Camps (OCR), photographed on November 14, 2019 in Paris.


By: Anne Bernas Follow


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On television sets, since well before the war, she has not gone unnoticed.

Rima Hassan, 31, a confident verb, uses the word “apartheid” in particular to define the regime endured by the Palestinians.

And the young lawyer seems to know what she is talking about, from her past, but also from her position.

Born in 1992 in the Neyrab refugee camp, in Syria, she arrived in France at the age of 9.

Granddaughter of Palestinians who left their home in 1948, she grew up in Deux-Sèvres.

This stateless person until the age of 18 graduated with a master's degree in international law from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.

She then founded the Observatory of Refugee Camps around the World in 2019 and the Action Palestine France collective in 2023.

Regularly called upon for her skills and expertise on migration, she regularly gives conferences on this theme, and more recently on the Palestinian question.


I try as much as possible to be intelligible in my words,”

she insists, “

and educational too, even if I have always claimed the right to subjectivity for each and everyone, because we have identities, paths complexes which mean that we also have the right, sometimes, to have cries from the heart. 


Last August, the famous


magazine named her among the 40 “most influential” women of 2023. But the Hamas attack on October 7 and its more than 1,200 Israeli deaths arose and the work of the jurist was affected. directly affected.

Rima Hassan immediately denounced the massacre, while continuing to condemn what her people have suffered for decades.


It is morally unacceptable to rejoice in the death of civilians

 ,” she wrote on X after the tragedy.

L'Oréal, which she advised on refugee integration issues, temporarily suspended her contract, fearing her activism on the Internet.

What about “our freedom of expression in public debate”?

The war exacerbates tensions on all sides and the Franco-Palestinian suffers the full brunt of the attacks: threats of rape, death, online harassment, she even sees her name written on an Israeli shell about to be dropped on Gaza.

If these numerous threats remain the case of isolated individuals that Rima Hassan manages as best she can, things are different when an unprecedented wave of intimidation and insults breaks out following a post from the famous host French Arthur accusing him of advocating terrorism and anti-Semitism.


If you want to appear in the next Forbes France ranking, the easiest way is to advocate Hamas terrorism and be a patent anti-Semite 

,” he wrote in his Instagram story.

What is happening today is part of what happened yesterday: intimidation, threats, harassment and censorship of voices speaking out about Palestine.

— Rima Hassan (@RimaHas) January 31, 2024


At this level, it is literally irresponsible to associate the name of a public figure, even if I do not have the notoriety that some like Arthur have.

In this context, at a time when we are pointing out the fact that there is truly a rise in anti-Semitism, at a time when the debate on the Israeli-Palestinian question requires pedagogy, requires respecting the voices of the people concerned, associating my name with crimes such as anti-Semitism and the apology of terrorism is extremely serious when we also have three million subscribers, 

” laments the lawyer who preferred to leave France and who has lived since in Amman, Jordan.

For Rima Hassan, who then decides to file a complaint against Arthur, this unprecedented revolt against her is part of a continuum of everything she has experienced in recent times.


It involves a whole bunch of methods which consist of wanting, in my opinion, to kill professionally, socially, and to silence Palestinian voices or pro-Palestinian voices.

What worries me is that it will also call into question our freedom of expression in public debate.


See @Arthur_Officiel attack a Palestinian woman just because she is rewarded for her work and her career (ranked among the 40 women of the year 2023 by Forbes) and use her influence to make me jump from this ranking including the award ceremony…

— Rima Hassan (@RimaHas) January 28, 2024

This affair is far from being a unique case, and especially since the outbreak of war.

In many countries, accusations of anti-Semitism or of advocating terrorism are raining down on certain non-pro-Israeli voices, conferences or book promotion sessions have been canceled, etc.

 It is a political positioning of Arthur and others, at war against the political positioning of voices like mine

 ,” assures the young woman who claims to receive a lot of support in her fight for freedom of expression, and not only on social networks.

Like, for example, the publication of a column in support of Rima Hassan, a call to protect the voice of Palestinian or pro-Palestinian people signed by more than 700 elected officials.

As for the complaint filed against the host, whose communications department did not respond to our request for an interview, the Franco-Palestinian lawyer says she is optimistic about its outcome: “ 

The intention to harm is truly characterized by the fact that Arthur uses his notoriety, his stature, to throw away a Palestinian voice because he disagrees;

because the bottom line is freedom of expression.

When Arthur does this and otherwise does not file a complaint, because there is clearly nothing to characterize, the intention to cause harm is there.


From then on, Rima Hassan hopes for firm sanctions so that her Palestinian voice, an activist in France, is protected.


In the name of disagreements, we cannot do such serious things, especially in a context like this.

Furthermore, this must serve as a lesson.

It is inseparable: the Arthur case is emblematic of this impulse which consists of harming Palestinian words.

The challenge for me is also to protect this freedom of expression, through this procedure, and for people to stop threatening me for what I say, for what I am. 


The cancellation of the Forbes ceremony, a double punishment according to the lawyer

Under pressure,


decided to cancel, officially for security reasons, 

the “40 women of 2023” awards ceremony

, a ceremony which aims to honor the 40 French women of the year , which made the country shine internationally.

A sanction experienced as a double punishment by Rima Hassan, as a Palestinian, but also as a woman.

It's serious.

In my opinion, there are two elements in this cancellation, two power struggles at play.

It's also important that I can say it as a Palestinian woman.

It's a double punishment.

We have a handful of men who, on the basis of nothing – there are no proceedings before the courts, no accusation other than slander, defamation – put pressure on Forbes regarding my presence at this ceremony.

It is therefore a personal attack against me, but also an attack on 39 other women.

How many times in your life are you celebrated for your career?

There is a very important gender dynamic to point out in this whole affair: 98% of the threats of rape, murder, etc., that I receive come from men.

The question of freedom of expression is at stake, but there is also my status as a woman.

I have a balance of power that is literally crushed by this handful of influential men who act in a pack.

In 24 hours, they all put pressure on



Rima Hassan nevertheless intends to continue her work to publicize the Palestinian question.


In France, we have few Palestinian voices.

The Palestinian identity remains very abstract, very distant.

These are people from there.

As long as we do not have access to a narrative, also to the intimate, testimonies of the Palestinians, it will be very complicated to create a bridge with them, to feel empathy.

It is urgent to protect these narratives.



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