The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian society that leads the global BDS movement, stands resolutely in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters across the US who are calling for justice in the wake of the latest wave of insufferable police murders of Black Americans, including George Floyd in Minneapolis, Tony McDade in Tallahassee, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville.
The growing protests by “the unheard” against police brutality in the US are fundamentally an uprising against an entire system of racist exploitation and oppression, exacerbated and nakedly exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and its disproportionate toll on African Americans. This system is organically connected to the crimes perpetrated by US imperialism against peoples of color worldwide and rooted in the violent, racist and colonial foundation of the US.
The genocidal destruction of native American nations, the pillage of their wealth and resources, and the savage enslavement of millions of Africans constitute the most profound pillars of what became the US. The deeply-seated white supremacist ideology that has guided and attempted to whitewash these crimes is still alive, albeit in different forms. This exclusionary ideology is encouraged by the flagrantly racist Trump White House and an insidious, less-audaciously racist liberal establishment that rhetorically condemns racism, even spews some empty promises, yet consistently fails to act on reparations, racial and economic justice, and ending the horrific system of criminalization and mass incarceration of Black Americans.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, the “great stumbling block” in the stride by Black Americans toward freedom is not the KKK, “but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice ; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”
We call on the Palestine solidarity movement in the US and elsewhere to stand with the Movement for Black Lives and other Black-led organizations in their righteous struggle for justice, and for an abolitionist approach to police reform, reparation, and liberation. We endorse calls for targeted and strategic boycott, defunding and divestment campaigns against institutions, banks and corporations that are implicated in the system of racial injustice.
As indigenous people of Palestine, we have firsthand experience with settler-colonialism, apartheid and racist violence wielded by Israel’s regime of oppression – with the miliary funding and unconditional support of the US government – to dispossess us, ethnically cleanse us, and reduce us to lesser humans. Our most important achievement as a people resisting colonial oppression, including through boycott campaigns, is our ability to remain steadfast and to resist their relentless attempts to colonize our minds with hopelessness, self-deprecation and surrender to their supremacy as fate.
Black people in the US, in South Africa and many other countries have survived centuries of the most inhumane forms of enslavement and racial oppression ever seen, teaching humanity as a whole precious lessons in perseverance, resistance and ingeniousness.
The system of structural racism in the US is violently enforced by paramilitary police departments, many trained by Israel, including the Minnesota police. These police forces have been tasked with doing whatever it takes to protect this rotten system of white supremacy and Black, Latinx and Indigenous disenfranchisement.
The indiscriminate, extrajudicial murder of Black Americans ; the unconscionable US prison system ; and the inhumane and racist treatment of migrants and asylum seekers at the southern borders are all symptoms of an increasingly militarized security state that is wreaking havoc and destruction against communities of color in the US and globally. As long as this system of oppression continues, it is up to our grassroots movements to work collectively and intersectionally to dismantle it, from the US to Palestine.
It is the duty of all people of conscience to uplift the struggle and the voices of our Black sisters and brothers. We call on our community to recognize the connections between the US’s domestic racial oppression and its racialized imperial oppression against people of color worldwide, as explained by Malcolm X and other Black thought leaders. Just as the occupying Israeli military forces serve to further entrench the apartheid system against Palestinians, the US police forces only serve to further entrench the system of American white supremacy and privilege.
We echo the sentiments of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s recent statement saying, “now is a time for us to listen to Black Americans and Black civil rights groups about their unique experiences and about how we can best support our collective struggle against injustice. It is also our duty … to educate ourselves on the struggles our Black brothers and sisters face and how we can do our part to tackle anti-blackness.”
To our Black brothers and sisters, your resilience in the face of brutal dehumanization is a source of inspiration to our own struggle against Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid. We support calls such as this initiative from Minneapolis organizers to divest from militarism and policing and instead invest in community-led health and safety.
Recognizing that justice is won, not simply conceded, we reflect on James Baldwin’s advice to his nephew, “Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority, but to their inhumanity and fear.”
We can’t breathe until we’re free from oppression and racism. #BlackLivesMatter