Black Lives Matter Has Long History With Anti-Israel Activists

From a March 18, 2016 post on this website titled, “Black Lives Matter Activists Join Anti-Israel Boycott:”

In January 2015, a group of black journalists, performers and political organizers traveled to Palestinian refugee camps. The 10-day fact-finding mission was organized by the Palestinian hosts and the Florida-based Dream Defenders, which describes itself as a “black-brown youth alliance for social justice.” The delegation included representatives from Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100, Ferguson/Hands Up United and the Justice League NYC, plus assorted individuals. Ebony magazine provided a fawning account of these world travelers once they arrived home. The delegates proved eager to voice solidarity with their soul mates abroad. Ahmad Abuzaid, legal and policy director for Dream Defenders, saw the trip as a means of connecting radical movements here and abroad:

The goals were primarily to allow for the group members to experience and see first-hand the occupation, ethnic cleansing and brutality Israel has levied against Palestinians, but also to build real relationships with those on the ground leading the fight for liberation. In the spirit of Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael and many others, we thought the connections between the African-American leadership of the movement in the U.S. and those on the ground in Palestine needed to be re-established and fortified…As a Palestinian who has learned a great deal about struggle, movement, militancy and liberation from African-Americans in the U.S., I dreamt of the day where I could bring that power back to my people in Palestine. This trip is part of that process.

Steven Pargett, communications director for Dream Defenders, saw black neighborhoods as analogous to Palestinian refugee camps:

Our refugee camps are lower-income communities and project buildings all around the country that many would not be living in had we not been taken into slavery generations ago. Rather than having the Israeli Defense occupations of police officers who often prove to have little disregard for our lives, being that they are not from these communities.

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors (in photo), the BLM delegate, weighed in with this sentiment:

This (i.e., Israel) is an apartheid state. We can’t deny that, and if we do deny it, we are part of the Zionist violence. There are two different systems here in occupied Palestine. Two completely different systems. Folks are unable to go to parts of their own country. Folks are barred from their own country.

Another delegate, community organizer Cherrell Brown, sees “parallels” between the U.S. and Israel, apparently all of them bad:

So many parallels exist between how the U.S. polices, incarcerates and perpetuates violence on the black community and how the Zionist state that exists in Israel perpetuates the same on Palestinians…This is not to say there aren’t vast differences and nuances that need to always be named, but our oppressors are literally collaborating together, learning from one another – and as oppressed people, we have to do the same.

St. Louis-based rapper Tef Poe saw possibilities for hip-hop recordings serving as a unifying revolutionary force. He posted to Facebook: “A refugee camp with a bunch of people fighting for their lives and using hip-hop to lift their spirits and spark the minds of children and break down gender barriers between young girls and boys. I spent a day with these ppl…Most amazing day of my life.”

The trip actually was part of an exchange program. Two months earlier, in November 2014, ten West Bank Palestinian college students had visited Ferguson and St. Louis. The activists frequently met with street protestors in their misguided campaign to persuade a grand jury to indict Officer Darren Wilson. A month later, upon their return home, the Palestinians hosted a series of events at their university to build support for black radicalism in the U.S. During that time, Dream Defenders passed a resolution in support of the Palestinian-run Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Clearly, this is a two-way street.



Tags: Black Lives Matter, BLM, Patrice Cullors