The conference, which was scheduled to run from October 27 to October 29, was called off due to safety concerns for the hotel's staff and guests.
The conference was designed to "mobilize for liberation," according to its website, a phrase that carries an ominous undertone considering the current situation in Israel and the actions of Hamas. The website stated, “Hundreds of organizers, activists, students and artists will build across movements in our collective fight for justice. Imagine a liberated future with us, beginning with the demand to end U.S. military funding to Israel once and for all.”
The Hilton Houston Post Oak, located in the bustling Galleria area of the city, had made tickets and hotel reservation information available on the website. Tickets were priced at $225, and the keynote speaker was set to be Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
In a statement, the Hilton clarified its position, “Hilton Houston Post Oak by the Galleria serves as a place of public accommodation and does not endorse the positions of third-party groups or organizations. The safety and security of our Team Members and guests is our top priority. Given escalating security concerns in the current environment, the hotel has determined that it cannot serve as the venue for this event because of the potential risks to our Team Members and guests. Our priority is and will remain the safety and security of everyone we welcome at our hotel.”
Other speakers listed on the website included journalist and academic Marc Lamont Hill, senior staff attorney Daila Shamas, and the controversial Linda Sarsour, a co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March, the 2017 Day Without a Woman, and the 2019 Women’s March. Sarsour's anti-Semitic remarks on social media have drawn criticism, including from Joe Biden after she participated in a Democratic National Convention council meeting during the 2020 presidential election.
The conference, touted as “the largest movement-wide Palestine conference in the U.S.” on the website, had Tlaib as its star attraction. She was also scheduled to participate in a panel discussion to strategize and brainstorm ideas in the current political landscape.
The conference had planned several workshops and panel discussions, along with a comprehensive list of COVID-19 precautions for attendees, including mandatory mask-wearing and the provision of free KN95 masks.
The event cancellation was lauded by Governor Abbott, who tweeted, “Hilton Hotels in Houston was correct to pull the plug on the U.S. Campaign for Palestine Rights event hosted by Hamas supporters.
Texas has no room for hate & antisemitism like that supported by Hamas. No location in Texas should host or sponsor USCPR.” He further emphasized that there is no place for Hamas supporters in Texas, suggesting they can “Seize the Moment” elsewhere.