More than 1,000 Black Activists Sign Statement of Support for Palestine

By Kenrya Rankin Aug 18, 2015

Today, a group of more than 1,000 black activists, scholars, artists and students released a statement on Palestine. In the 2015 Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine, the coalition says:

On the anniversary of last summer’s Gaza massacre, in the 48th year of Israeli occupation, the 67th year of Palestinians’ ongoing Nakba (the Arabic word for Israel’s ethnic cleansing)—and in the fourth century of Black oppression in the present-day United States—we, the undersigned Black activists, artists, scholars, writers, and political prisoners offer this letter of reaffirmed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.

Among those who signed are Angela Davis, Cornel West, Dream Defenders, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Talib Kweli, the Organization for Black Struggle, Jasiri X, Rosa Clemente and Patrisse Cullors. In January 2015, a delegation of leaders from Black Lives Matter, Dream Defenders and Ferguson traveled to Palestine to connect with activists on the ground there.

Today’s statement challenges the U.S. government to cut diplomatic ties and economic aid to Israel. It also calls for support of a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and G4S, a private security company that profits from Israel’s occupation of Palestine. It also explicitly ties the plight of Palestinians to that of African Americans:

While we acknowledge that the apartheid configuration in Israel/Palestine is unique from the United States (and South Africa), 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 US, including the political imprisonment of our own revolutionaries. Soldiers, police, and courts justify lethal force against us and our children who pose no imminent threat. And while the US and Israel would continue to oppress us without collaborating with each other, we have witnessed police and soldiers from the two countries train side-by-side.

US and Israeli officials and media criminalize our existence, portray violence against us as “isolated incidents,” and call our resistance “illegitimate” or “terrorism.” These narratives ignore decades and centuries of anti-Palestinian and anti-Black violence that have always been at the core of Israel and the US. We recognize the racism that characterizes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is also directed against others in the region, including intolerance, police brutality, and violence against Israel’s African population. Israeli officials call asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea "infiltrators" and detain them in the desert, while the state has sterilized Ethiopian Israelis without their knowledge or consent. These issues call for unified action against anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and Zionism.

“We’re at a crucial moment in the global struggle against racism, in which the black and Palestinian struggles play a crucial role,” said statement co-organizer Kristian Davis Bailey in a press release. “We wish to send a loud and clear message to Palestinians, as well as the governments of the US and Israel that now is the time for Palestinian liberation, just as now is the time for our own in the United States.” 

Read the full statement at