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DEI’s Role in the Palestinian Crisis

For the last month, the world has bore witness to the genocide of the people of Palestine. As the crisis escalates, it’s become something that the workforce can no longer hide from, especially as anti-Arab and Islamaphobic sentiments rise.

Let’s be clear before going any further: calling for the safety, dignity, and freedom of the people of Palestine does not equate to anti-Semitism. We can disavow a state’s actions without demonizing its people.

Whether you’re a DEI practitioner or leading an organization, you likely have a lot of questions about how to handle this time. ShiftED Consulting has put together this brief guide to help you navigate some of the most pressing challenges you’re addressing and ensure your commitment to DEI is actualized:

I’m a DEI practitioner & I believe it’s important for my company/organization to address the Palestine crisis in some way. How do I make my case to senior leadership without jeopardizing my job?

White supremacy culture has created a paradigm where voicing an opinion about Palestine likely comes with a high professional or personal cost. The question to sit with about your place of work now is, what cost are they paying by not creating space for this dialogue?

Ignoring the genocide of the people of Palestine or dismissing the entire crisis because it’s ‘too complex’ does not make it go away. Reprimanding employees for voicing support for a ceasefire or other humanitarian efforts in Palestine sends a harmful message that dissent won’t be tolerated.

The case to make to your senior leaders is one of morality, humanity, and dignity. Creating a working environment where both expressing support for the people of Palestine without the fear of retribution is a powerful – and doable – action.

How can my company/organization support our Palestinian team members or those being affected by the crisis?

This question is likely the most important one that any DEI leader is asking themselves right now. It cannot be overemphasized here how important it is to set the stage for a supportive, respectful, and safe working environment.

Senior leadership can clearly communicate this support to the entire team by outlining exactly what kinds of behavior, or speech will not be tolerated and how violations of those agreements will be managed.

As Islamaphobic, anti-Arab, and anti-Semitic rhetoric rises, it’s also important for leaders to remain keenly aware of potential microaggressions and mistreatments that these communities may be experiencing. Correct behaviors in real-time as much as possible, and proactively offer flexible time for team members to take care of themselves and their families.

How should we be addressing this crisis publicly? We’re scared we could receive a lot of backlash, no matter what we say.

It is more important to remain true to your values as a company/organization and ensure that they are being lived out internally before thinking of how to address the crisis publicly. If there’s anything at all to share with the public, it would be showing the evidence of how your DEI efforts have stood up during this time. That type of impact leaves an impression on potential future talent or other stakeholders who may be looking to your leadership.

What should I do if Human Resources wants to speak with me about Palestinian posts? Here is a resource from with tools for speaking with Human Resources. This is not legal advice; rather, this resource shares general information about handling these types of situations:

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