Politics Mondays: Letter to Black America on Palestinian Rights and June 10th March & Rally

To Black America:

It is time for our people to once again demand that the silence be broken on the injustices faced by the Palestinian people resulting from the Israeli occupation.

On June 10th, the national coalition known as the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (endtheoccupation.org) will be spearheading a march and rally to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

We, the signatories of this appeal, ask that Black America again take a leading role in this effort as well as the broader work to bring attention to this 40 year travesty of justice.
United Nations resolutions have called for the Israeli withdrawal, yet the Israeli government, with the backing of the USA, has ignored them. The Israeli government has appropriated Palestinian land in open defiance of international law and overwhelming international condemnation.

Within the USA anyone who speaks in favor of Palestinian rights and justice is immediately condemned as being allegedly anti-Israel (and frequently allegedly anti-Semitic), shutting down legitimate discussion. A case in point can be seen in the current furor surrounding former President Jimmy Carter who was criticized for his assertion in his best-selling book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, that Israeli obstructionism lies at the root of the failure to achieve a just Palestinian/Israeli settlement.

As Nobel prizewinner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written, "People are scared in the US, to say 'wrong is wrong,' because the pro-Israeli lobby is powerful--very powerful. Well, so what? For goodness sake, this is God's world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists."

Many of those who most outspokenly agree with President Carter and Archbishop Tutu are American Jews. And many American Jews, including the national organization Jewish Voice for Peace, will be among those rallying for Palestinian rights on June 10th – as will many other Americans, including member groups of the leading anti-war coalition United for Peace and Justice.

Leaders from Black America have repeatedly and historically been among the most outspoken proponents of justice for the Palestinian people. Our leaders have defended the Palestinian people’s right to full self-determination and an end to the Occupation as central to peace in the region. Our leaders have not criticized the Jewish people but they have expressed outrage at the Israeli government that collaborated with the apartheid South African government (including in the development of weapons of mass destruction) and emulated South Africa’s treatment of its Black majority in its own treatment of the Palestinian people.

As we struggle to build our country's support for Palestinian human rights, we widen the door for both Arab and Black Americans to deal with the issues that join them together, as well as those that separate them. We will help to energize - and to heal - both communities.

June tenth and Juneteenth: will our struggles lead the way to a new emancipation of others? Our own integrity as a people, let alone our own experience with massive injustice and oppression, demand that we step forward, speak out, and insist on a change in US policy towards the Palestinian people. Since when have an illegally occupied people been wrong in demanding and fighting for their human rights and land? Since when have such people and their cause not been worthy of our support?

Please join us on June 10th!

Signed by (affiliation for identification purposes only)

Salih Booker, former Executive Director of Africa Action

Khephra Burns, author, editor, playwright

Horace G. Campbell, Professor of African American Studies and Political Science

Dr. Ron Daniels, President, Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Bill Fletcher, labor and international activist, and writer

George Friday, United for Peace and Justice Co-Chair, National Coordinator, Independent Progressive Politics Network

Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ; National President, Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice of the United Church of Christ

Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the Departments of Anthropology, Political Science and Public and International Affairs

Manning Marable, Professor of Public Affairs, Political Science, History and African-American Studies

George Paz Martin, National Co-Chair of United for Peace and Justice and Green Party U.S. Activist

E. Ethelbert Miller, literary activist; board chair, Institute for Policy Studies

Prexy Nesbitt, speaker and educator on Africa, foreign policy, and racism

Barbara Ransby, Associate Professor of History and African-American Studies

Cedric Robinson, Professor, Department of Black Studies

The Rev. Canon Edward W. Rodman MDiv.LCH,DD. Professor of Pastoral Theology and Urban Ministry at the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Ma.

Jamala Rogers, Black Radical Congress

Don Rojas, former director of communications for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Zoharah Simmons, human rights activist

Chuck Turner. Boston City Councilor

Hollis Watkins, Former Freedom Singer and staff member of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; human rights activist (1961 – present)

Dr. Cornel West

Emira Woods, co-director, Foreign Policy In Focus, Institute for Policy Studies


Endorsed by:

1. Hodari Abdul Ali, Executive Director, Give Peace a Chance Coalition
2. Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, Deputy Amir, Muslim Alliance in North America, and Imam, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, Inc.
3. Kali Akuno, National Organizer, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
4. Nadim Ali, Amir/Chairman, Community Masjid of Atlanta
5. Siraj Ali
6. Don Anderson
7. Lettie Barge, Social Justice Advocate
8. Bertiz Benhamid
9. Judith Beris
10. Diane Brelsford, Revered, Episcopal Church
11. T. Bruce Carpenter, Chair, Church and Society Committee, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
12. Brian Corr, National Co-Chair, Peace Action
13. James Crockett, US Navy (Retired)
14. Elaine Donovan, Co-Founder, Concerned Citizens for Peace
15. Craig Foster, CEO, Friends, Inc.
16. Monika Foster, Paralegal, Law Offices of Ronald B. Thompson
17. Yasmin Gado
18. John Gebhardt, Member, County Committee, Democratic Party
19. John Wheat Gibson, Lawyer, No Child Left Behind Bars
20. Peter Gunther, Founder, Progressive Archivists
21. Robert Harris, Jr., Attorney at Law
22. Nyree Herbert, Esthetician, An Army of Me
23. George Hutchinson, Co-Chair, Pacific Green Party (Oregon)
24. Dr. F. Javier Iribarren, Academic Researcher/Human Rights Activist, No-Child-left-Behind-Bars
25. Michael and Dolores Jackson
26. Mohamed Jagani, President, Aims Environmental
27. William Jastromb
28. Michael Jefferson, Founder, Kiyama
29. David Jones, First Vice President, Staten Island African American Political Association
30. Laveen Kanal, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland
31. Sister Elaine Kelley, Administrative Officer, Friends of Sabeel-North America
32. Nancy Kelly, Member, Fresno Center for Nonviolence
33. G. Kortes
34. Leila Larkin, Retired Home Maker
35. Sylvia Leach, Teacher, Wellesley Community Children’s Center
36. Carol Lems-Dworking, President, World Music Center, Inc.
37. VeLora Lilly, Psychologist
38. Eve Lopez
39. Dan Mahoney, President, JD Mahoney Construction, Inc.
40. Sheldon A. Maskin
41. Richard Mosley, Jr., Associate Pastor, First United Methodist Church
42. Luci Murphy, Network Convenor, Grey Panthers of Metropolitan Washington
43. Robert Nolan
44. Valerie Ozsu, Owner, Healing the Healer
45. Kevin Padden
46. Martha Perez, General Political Activist
47. Joyce Pritchard, Member, Holy Family Church
48. Hassan Rahmouni, Lead Engineer
49. Brian Ramsey, Convenor, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
50. Lawrence Saltzman
51. Mark Sannino
52. Suhail Shafi, Member, Western New York Peace Center
53. Dorothy Shaw, District 4 County Chairperson, Gwinnett, GA Democratic Party
54. Baxter Thomas, CEO, Divine Consultant
55. Sanna Towns, Twin Cities Coalition for Palestinian Rights
56. Robert Trabold
57. Michael Wolff, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
58. Lih Young, Life Member, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
59. Peter Yuslum, Member, Pax Christi
60. Wieslaw Zdaniewski, Partner, Patria

Editor's Note: This letter was first published at: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/modinput4.php?modin=105/)

Monday, May 21, 2007