June 24, 2024

Activists, progressives connect the dots between Black lives and Palestinians

As the calamitous violence in the Gaza Strip comes to a shaky ceasefire, Black Lives Matter activists in elected seats and on the streets are continuing to articulate the ways that the Palestinian struggle for freedom in the Middle East relates to the Black one in America and around the globe. 

Congress members like Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), Ilhan Omar (D-Min), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) have not only expressed their solidarity online but are demanding that the Biden Administration take action that will have a lasting impact beyond a ceasefire and not be mistaken for peace. 

Read More: Biden must speak out against apartheid in Israel

“A ceasefire ends the bombardment — not the violence. The Israeli military’s occupation continues. The blockade continues. The ethnic cleansing continues. Our government must stop funding the apartheid status quo,” Bush tweeted on Saturday, cementing her stance against Israeli military occupation.  

Black people in America and around the globe have intimate knowledge and memory of state-sanctioned displacement, policing, occupation, and terrorism. Bush’s voice is part of a chorus of other lawmakers, organizers, and activists who have drawn parallels between the two communities in statements submitted to Congress and on social media. 

“As we march in defense of Black lives, we are not just saying that Black people in this country should be able to live full and joyous lives,” Bush (D-MO) wrote in a statement to The Washington Post. “We’re saying that our own government is funding a brutal and militarized disposition towards our very existence — from Ferguson to Palestine.”

Before the Israeli government and the militant group Hamas made the announcement on Thursday, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) prepared to introduce a House resolution calling for a ceasefire, stating that “every Palestinian life matters” and “every Israeli life matters” but also speaking to the systemic conditions the Palestinian people have endured.

“As a Black man in America, I understand on a personal level what it means to live in a society designed to perpetuate violence against people who look like me,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) in a statement to Congress. “My experience of systemic injustice, including being beaten by police at 11 years old, informs my view of what’s happening right now in Israel and Palestine.”

Read More: U.S. Rep. Bowman disputes fellow Dem Torres over Israel-Palestine conflict

Melina Abdullah, who is the department chair of Pan African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles and co-founder of the city’s BLM chapter also told the Washington Post that the organization has been in solidarity with the Palestinian people almost since its inception. 

“We understand that the liberation of Black people in the United States is tied to the liberation of Black people all over the world, and tied to the liberation of oppressed people all over the world,” said Abdullah. 

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