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Black Ties To Palestinian Liberation

Above photo: Representatives of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) meet with Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chair Yasser Arafat in Beirut, Lebanon in 1979. Archives/AFP via Getty Images.

As a worldwide series of protests in solidarity with Palestine erupt in multiple cities across the globe, the clear distinction between the will of the people and that of militarized fascist states couldn’t be more clear. It is pivotal during this time for the Black community to recognize the origins of our oppression and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. The genocidal strategies of settler colonial states are not unfamiliar to Black communities, and the source of our oppression is coming from the same systems and institutions. Afro Palestinians are our siblings in the Black diaspora who have consistently been at the forefront of the occupation. Their ‘dual oppression’, as Afro Palestinian Ali Jiddah calls it, comes from them being both Black and Palestinian, facing heavy discrimination from Israeli police and being one of the first Palestinian communities to face displacement by Israeli occupation. The Palestinian and Black liberation struggle are tied together through history and principle, and to justify the occupation of Palestine is to justify our own oppression.

Right now in Palestine, Israel is committing several international war crimes with the direct intention of killing civilians, and imperialist powers are sending funds in support. In a country where dozens of predominantly Black and Indigenous communities lack access to clean water, health care, and proper education, the United States sent $3.3 billion to Israel which helped to fund the maintenance of the open air Gaza prison in 2022. However, this behavior by the United States has precedence in the way they prioritize the incarceration of Black and Indigenous communities over education and healthcare. From reservations to the projects, it is clear how the United States systematically segregates predominantly Black and Indigenous communities. On his 1964 trip to Palestine Malcolm X cemented ties between the Black and Palestinian struggle, while exposing the imperialistic foundation of Israel and exportation of European and U.S. settler colonialism through military support. After this trip and his publication of his letter Zionist Logic, solidarity continued to form between Black communities the U.S. and Palestinians. In 1967 the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) published, The Palestine Problem: Test Your Knowledge, which was one of the first pieces to come out of the U.S. to directly question the formation of Israel, amplifying its impact on the Palestinian people. In 2014, after the murder of Michael Brown, and again in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd, both at the hands of police, we have seen the continued solidarity between the Black struggle in the U.S. and Palestine, with each movement uplifting the other. In the face of criticism, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has shown unwavering support for the Palestinian cause with the understanding that the U.S. is using the same resources and strategies to maintain our oppression. The U.S. forces our communities into areas purposely lacking access to basic resources such as fully funded education, housing and fresh food in communities susceptible to climate disasters, which are also overpoliced, just as Israel is doing to Gaza right now.

For years, there has been an ongoing collaboration between Israel Defense Forces and United States law enforcement, from the CIA to the New York Police Department which maintains an office in Kfar Saba, Israel. The purpose of these collaborations being to exchange tactics on how to surveil, infiltrate, and break down efforts of resistance in Black and Palestinian communities against forced displacement and continued marginalization. We can see the results of this exchange when Stop Cop City organizers and comrades were charged as domestic terrorists in the same way western media is trying to demonize defenseless Palestinians with the same rhetoric. And here lies the commonality in our struggle: two states with a $816 billion and a $23 billion military budget labeling some of the poorest communities in the world as threats, villains, and terrorists for fighting for the right to live free. In moments like these we can see how much our liberation is a threat to imperialist powers, and what they are willing to do to maintain and further the conditions of our oppression. This is exemplified by how unwilling western media is to humanize the people of Palestine and denounce Israel and its genocidal actions, the veto of a United Nations resolution calling for peace by France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and United States, and Israel and the United States’ long history of supporting apartheid states. These racist colonial powers are not defending Israel out of dedication to fighting what they say is anti-Semitism, but instead to maintain colonial power in the middle east at the expense of Palestine.

Our liberation poses the same threat to the states and institutions that oppress us, which is why Palestinian solidarity is non-negotiable. But even without this long history of shared struggle, in the end half of  Gaza’s population are children, who have no way of defending themselves. The continued bombings of Gaza are unconscionable, and standing by Palestine is to stand by humanity. When people are occupied, resistance is justified. We must continue to support Palestinian liberation.

Krys Cerisier is a New York based Haitian Panamanian organizer and journalist, specializing in amplifying Queer voices within the movement for Black Liberation. Krys is also a member of Black Alliance for Peace and the Black Indigenous Liberation Movement, working against U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.

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