Rising: Black – Palestinian Solidarity (Updated)

It’s no surprise that Black Americans and Palestinians would find common cause. Nonetheless, the solidarity is impressive.

David Palumbo-Yiu of Salon reports in Black activists send clear message to Palestinians: “Now is the time for Palestinian liberation, just as now is the time for our own in the United States”. First, the statement of Palestinians from last summer, upon Michael Brown’s death, in the middle of the Gaza massacre:

We the undersigned Palestinian individuals and groups express our solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, a young unarmed black man gunned down by police on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri. We wish to express our support and solidarity with the people of Ferguson who have taken their struggle to the street, facing a militarized police occupation.

From all factions and sectors of our dislocated society, we send you our commitment to stand with you in your hour of pain and time of struggle against the oppression that continues to target our black brothers and sisters in nearly every aspect of their lives.

We understand your moral outrage. We empathize with your hurt and anger. We understand the impulse to rebel against the infrastructure of a racist capitalist system that systematically pushes you to the margins of humanity.

And we stand with you.

Now, a statement released by more than 1,000 Black Americans expressing their unqualified support for the Palestinian cause:

On the anniversary of last summer’s Gaza massacre, in the 48th year of Israeli occupation, the 67th year of Palestinians’ ongoing Nakba (the Arabic word for Israel’s ethnic cleansing)—and in the fourth century of Black oppression in the present-day United States—we, the undersigned Black activists, artists, scholars, writers, and political prisoners offer this letter of reaffirmed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.

Our support extends to those living under occupation and siege, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the 7 million Palestinian refugees exiled in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. The refugees’ right to return to their homeland in present-day Israel is the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians.

There’s a lot more to this than reciprocal statements of support, Palumbo-Liu explains:

Finally, it is well worth remembering what Cornel West said in the interview mentioned above: “One can no longer say one is a serious progressive, let alone committed to moral integrity, without lifting one’s voice to call for an end to the Occupation of the Palestinian people.” One can equally say the same in terms of working for social, legal, economic, cultural, and political justice for blacks in the U.S. And the call for both emphatically extends beyond the members of those two groups to all who are “committed to moral integrity.” The statement reported on here should be a model for all those who wish to act in solidarity in these struggles.

Yes, the call for both indeed does extend to all who are committed to moral integrity.

UPDATE: I WAS ABLE TO LOCATE THE ENTIRE STATEMENT, WHICH IS EXCEPTIONALLY WELL WRITTEN:

The past year has been one of high-profile growth for Black-Palestinian solidarity. Out of the terror directed against us—from numerous attacks on Black life to Israel’s brutal war on Gaza and chokehold on the West Bank—strengthened resilience and joint-struggle have emerged between our movements. Palestinians on Twitter were among the first to provide international support for protesters in Ferguson, where St. Louis-based Palestinians gave support on the ground. Last November, a delegation of Palestinian students visited Black organizers in St. Louis, Atlanta, Detroit and many other cities, just months before the Dream Defenders took representatives of Black Lives Matter, Ferguson, and other racial justice groups to Palestine. Throughout the year, Palestinians sent multiple letters of solidarity to us throughout protests in Ferguson, New York, and Baltimore. We offer this statement to continue the conversation between our movements:

On the anniversary of last summer’s Gaza massacre, in the 48th year of Israeli occupation, the 67th year of Palestinians’ ongoing Nakba (the Arabic word for Israel’s ethnic cleansing)—and in the fourth century of Black oppression in the present-day United States—we, the undersigned Black activists, artists, scholars, writers, and political prisoners offer this letter of reaffirmed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.

We can neither forgive nor forget last summer’s violence. We remain outraged at the brutality Israel unleashed on Gaza through its siege by land, sea and air, and three military offensives in six years. We remain sickened by Israel’s targeting of homes, schools, UN shelters, mosques,ambulances, and hospitals. We remain heartbroken and repulsed by the number of children Israel killed in an operation it called “defensive.” We reject Israel’s framing of itself as a victim. Anyone who takes an honest look at the destruction to life and property in Gaza can see Israel committed a one-sided slaughter. With 100,000 people still homeless in Gaza, the massacre’s effects continue to devastate Gaza today and will for years to come.

Israel’s injustice and cruelty toward Palestinians is not limited to Gaza and its problem is not with any particular Palestinian party. The oppression of Palestinians extends throughout the occupied territories, within Israel’s 1948 borders, and into neighboring countries. The Israeli Occupation Forces continue to kill protesters—including children—conduct night raids on civilians, hold hundreds of people under indefinite detention, and demolish homes while expanding illegalJewish-only settlements. Israeli politicians, including Benjamin Netanyahu, incite against Palestinian citizens within Israel’s recognized borders, where over 50 laws discriminate against non-Jewish people.

Our support extends to those living under occupation and siege, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the 7 million Palestinian refugees exiled in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. The refugees’ right to return to their homeland in present-day Israel is the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians.

Palestinian liberation represents an inherent threat to Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid, an apparatus built and sustained on ethnic cleansing, land theft, and the denial of Palestinian humanity and sovereignty. While we acknowledge that the apartheid configuration in Israel/Palestine is unique from the United States (and South Africa), we continue to see connections between the situation of Palestinians and Black people.

Israel’s widespread use of detention and imprisonment against Palestinians evokes the mass incarceration of Black people in the US, including the political imprisonment of our own revolutionaries. Soldiers, police, and courts justify lethal force against us and our children who pose no imminent threat. And while the US and Israel would continue to oppress us without collaborating with each other, we have witnessed police and soldiers from the two countries train side-by-side.

US and Israeli officials and media criminalize our existence, portray violence against us as “isolated incidents,” and call our resistance “illegitimate” or “terrorism.” These narratives ignore decades and centuries of anti-Palestinian and anti-Black violence that have always been at the core of Israel and the US. We recognize the racism that characterizes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is also directed against others in the region, including intolerance, police brutality, and violence against Israel’s African population. Israeli officials call asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea “infiltrators” and detain them in the desert, while the state has sterilized Ethiopian Israeliswithout their knowledge or consent. These issues call for unified action against anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and Zionism.

We know Israel’s violence toward Palestinians would be impossible without the US defending Israel on the world stage and funding its violence with over $3 billion annually. We call on the US government to end economic and diplomatic aid to Israel. We wholeheartedly endorse Palestinian civil society’s 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and call on Black and US institutions and organizations to do the same. We urge people of conscience to recognize the struggle for Palestinian liberation as a key matter of our time.

As the BDS movement grows, we offer G4S, the world’s largest private security company, as a target for further joint struggle. G4S harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and hundreds of Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the US. The corporation profits from incarceration and deportation from the US and Palestine, to the UK, South Africa, and Australia. We reject notions of “security” that make any of our groups unsafe and insist no one is free until all of us are.

We offer this statement first and foremost to Palestinians, whose suffering does not go unnoticed and whose resistance and resilience under racism and colonialism inspires us. It is to Palestinians, as well as the Israeli and US governments, that we declare our commitment to working through cultural, economic, and political means to ensure Palestinian liberation at the same time as we work towards our own. We encourage activists to use this statement to advance solidarity with Palestine and we also pressure our own Black political figures to finally take action on this issue. As we continue these transnational conversations and interactions, we aim to sharpen our practice of joint struggle against capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and the various racisms embedded in and around our societies.

Towards liberation,

 

9 responses to “Rising: Black – Palestinian Solidarity (Updated)

  1. captain*arizona

    yes but this isn’t it.

  2. captain*arizona

    bob you and mike malloy should remember nietzsche “when you look into the abyss the abyss looks into you. the bottle deposit crook netanyahu is evil but so is hamas. hamas murders unarmed people all of the time. so does israel but to wrongs don’t make a right.

    • Ever heard of the term “false equivalence”?

      • Captain Arizona isn’t wrong on this and it isn’t a false equivalence, either. You have blind spots when it comes to blacks and Palestinians and you are willing to give them a pass on anything they do, regardless of what it is. Nothing they do is too extreme and nothing they say is too ridiculous.

        • No, I just think that demonizing the oppressed as a means of justifying the oppression and/or excusing the oppressor is morally bankrupt.

          • I never said or even implied that you don’t have a good heart and are not filled with good intentions. I just think that – on certain subjects – your desire to do good as you perceive it clouds your judgement and won’t allow you to see the matter at hand with anything approaching impartiality. Those who see it as you do are the good guys and those who don’t are morally bankrupt.

          • Steve, if we were having this discussion 150 years ago and the topic was the treatment of Native Americans, what would we each be saying?

          • If it was 150 years ago (around 1865) and we were discussing the plight of Native Americans, I think the overall conversation would be largely the same. As men of that period, we would not be hampered by political correctness as we are today. The odds are great that we would both believe that it is the destiny of the United States to expand from coast to coast, displacing Native Americans by putting them on Reservations.

            You would – correctly it would turn out – find fault with the reservation system and demand better treatment for the Native Americans held there. When they broke off the reservations and attacked whites you would excuse it.

            I would – incorrectly it would turn out – assume the government was providing for the Native Americans needs adequately and the reservations were acceptable places to live. When they broke off the reservations and attacked whites, I would see it as uncalled for acts of violence which needed to be dealt with.

            What I wouldn’t do, Bob, is judge the actions of people in 1865 by standards of today. I suspect that is really what you wanted me to do with your question, but it is a pointless exercise that means nothing in the end. Now turnabout is fair play. How do you think our discussion would have gone 150 years ago?

          • Okay, then, how do you think the views we each hold today will be regarded 100 years from now?

            I doubt that I would have been on board with the displacement of Native Americans in the first place, BTW, especially the repeated breaking of treaties, but I agree with the rest of your assessment.