In early July the Israeli government launched an attack on Gaza and its residents called Operation Protective Edge. The militarily superior Israeli Defense Fund has killed nearly 1,900 Palestinians including 415 children. The poorly equipped resistance movement has reportedly killed only 64 soldiers and 3 civilian Israelis.
Black activists and organizations have, like millions around the globe, raised their voices in protest and in solidarity with the Palestinian people. As union members, as human rights activists and people of conscience, African Americans have expressed their horror at the bombings that have killed and maimed so many and led to a humanitarian crisis. The long termed economic blockade maintained by the Israelis has been worsened by the destruction of thousands of homes, schools, hospitals, and water resources. What has been called an “open air prison” of nearly 2 million Palestinians remains under siege in spite of periodic “cease fires.”
Black Progressives have called for others to participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) aimed at Israel. The Black Workers for Justice (BWFJ) has endorsed the demand of Labor for Palestine calling for “the UN and governments across the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid. The Global African news program has examined why there has been a deafening silence among some Black leaders and organizations on this human tragedy.
BWFJ members have participated in rallies in Raleigh and Rocky Mt. The Fruit of Labor Singing Ensemble in performances at the Veterans for Peace Convention and the convention of the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) raised the issue of the occupation and the right of self-determination for the Palestinian People.
Palestinians, African Americans and others joined to together in Rocky Mt. under the leadership of In the Name of Humanity and Muslims for Social Justice for a protest and solidarity action. BWFJ member Saladin Muhammad gave the following statement:
Free Palestine Now!
We are here to speak out against Israel’s bombings of Gaza. It is a continuation of the genocide against the Palestinian people that began in 1948 with the forcible establishment and expansion of Israel’s Zionist and racist state.
These bombings, killing hundreds of innocent Palestinian women, children and men, destroying their homes, hospitals and crops, and driving them off of their historic homeland is a crime against humanity and should be actively opposed by all regardless of religion, ethnicity or race.
As an African American I am ashamed that the U.S. support for this genocide is continuing under President Obama. He has sided with Zionism, the big banks, the arms manufacturers and oil corporations that want to dominate the Middle East. Obama does not speak for me or the majority of Black people in the U.S. and throughout the world.
The Israeli bombings of Gaza remind me of the 1964 racist bombing of the church in Birmingham, Ala. killing four little girls. The murder of Mohmed Abu Khdeir reminds me of the murder of Emit Till in Mississippi.
Abu Khdeir’s murder and the burning of his body in Deir Yassin, the sight of the 1948 massacre that established the Israeli Zionist state, was carried out to send a message to all Palestinians that they have no rights that Israeli’s are bound to respect. This reminds African Americans of the Dred Scott Act in 1857 that said that Black people had no rights that whites are bound to respect.
There are so many examples that show the similarities of the Palestine and African American experience that we should lock arms and speak out and act together against the human rights violations against the Palestinian people that continue with the financial support of billions yearly from the U.S. government.
Israel seeks to isolate the Palestinian people not only in Palestine, but also in the U.S. and throughout the world. Any criticism against Israel is labelled anti-Semitism as if all of their actions are sanctioned by god. We call on the Black churches not to be fooled by this lie.
Israel’s false claim of defending its right to exist is a mask using religion to try and justify its colonization of Palestine and Zionist expansion throughout the region. The world is now realizing the truth, including the role of the U.S. in arming and financing this murderous lie.
After millions of Jews were murdered by Nazi Germany and were forced to flee their lands in Eastern Europe, how can Israel claim to be the state of a holy land when it is committing the worst form of genocide in the 21st century?
The problems facing working-class and poor people in the U.S., Social programs being cut, funding for education being cut, high unemployment, people evicted from their homes and millions of homeless living on the streets cannot be addressed when trillions are spent financing the Israeli military attacks on Gaza and the invasions throughout African and other parts of the world.
We call on the Rocky Mount City Council to divest from any stocks, bonds and financing of the Israeli state and corporations until they end the occupation and attacks on Palestine and recognize the Palestinian people’s right to an independent state free from attacks and domination.
We call on people in Rocky Mount and throughout the state of NC to wear red ribbons demanding the end to the Bloody attacks on the Palestinian people in Palestine, throughout the region and throughout the world!
We call on all students to memorialize the death of Mohamed Abu Khdeir by wearing his photo with the slogan End the Occupation: Free Palestine.
We demand that the U.S. end it’s funding of Israel’s military!
We demand that the United Nations take immediate action against Israel!
In the words of Dr. King – If not now, when? If not us, who?
Join in the Name of Humanity and help to build the movement to end the occupation of Palestine and fight for human rights for all of the oppressed.