Activists Say Historical Black Struggle ‘Hijacked’ After ‘Black Lives Matter’ Leaders Endorse BDS
by Shiryn Ghermezian
African-American pro-Israel activists on Wednesday blasted a group of 1,000 civil rights leaders who sought to connect the “Palestinian struggle” to the plight of blacks in the U.S., with a statement endorsing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“Quite frankly, it is a shame that the BDS movement has hijacked the historical black struggle in an attempt to build solidarity with a blatantly antisemitic campaign that seeks to strip Jews of their rights to their homeland,” Chloe Valdary told The Algemeiner. “That one would protest police brutality against a minority on the one hand and promote the disenfranchisement of another historical minority on the other — namely the Jews — is philosophically inconsistent and morally bankrupt.”
The group of black activists, scholars, artists and students, some tied with the Black Lives Matter movement, published their statement on Tuesday offering a “wholehearted” endorsement of “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel” and proclaiming their “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.”
Linking their cause with that of the Palestinians, the activists said, “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 U.S., including the political imprisonment of our own revolutionaries.”
The statement also accused Israel of racism in its treatment of Palestinians and claimed that the Jewish state is guilty of mistreating its African population.
Signatories included political activist Angela Davis; philosopher Cornel West; journalist Rosa Clemente; death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal; rapper Talib Kweli; Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors; and 39 affiliated organizations.
Valdary, currently a Bartley Fellow at The Wall Street Journal, expressed dismay at the activists for falling prey to such anti-Israel sentiments.
“That the youth would fall into the trap of parroting a blatant colonialist narrative wherein the ancient and now reborn state of Israel is referred to ‘Palestine’ is particularly upsetting given our people’s tradition of championing the rights of indigenous people,” she said.
Dumisani Washington, director of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, told The Algemeiner that the statement is “another pathetic attempt by Israel’s enemies to perpetuate a false narrative. It is both old and tired.”
He said the activists who signed the statement should refocus their attention on protesting crimes committed by Palestinians and the Hamas terrorist group.
“Instead of wasting their time lying about Israel, those who seek to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians should protest the honor killings of Palestinian women; embezzlement of