“If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” — Malcolm X
Though the latest chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has calmed to a — more than likely temporary — ceasefire, the illegal occupation of Palestine by the Israeli military remains intact.
Social justice advocates and organizations continue to call for not only an end to this occupation, but to the financial and military complicity of the United States government. Leading the call to action is the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.
See the organization’s statement in full below:
The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement condemns in the strongest terms the Israeli assault on Gaza and the US governments full political and diplomatic support for this illegal and amoral military operation.
We firmly assert the right of the Palestinian people to resist their ongoing occupation and colonization by the Israeli government and the international forces of Zionism. We also firmly support the Palestinian peoples right to self-determination and statehood, and the unequivocal and irrevocable right to return.
We recognize that this assault comes at a very critical period for the Southwest Asian and North African region. A period where political alignments and being renegotiated and political maps redrawn by a shifting body of forces, some progressive and some extremely reactionary. In this context we call on the Arab League and all of the Arab governments from Algeria to Iraq, from Saudi Arabia to Sudan, to stand united in solidarity and resistance with the Palestinian people. And to those states that supported regime change in Libya, and are supporting the ongoing regime change operation in Syria, we call on them to provide the Palestinians with the same level of political and economic support for their just cause against the illegitimate Zionist colonial project.
Finally, we call on all people of Afrikan descent within the United States to stand with us in condemning this assault and the ongoing occupation of Palestine. We ask you all to join us in demanding that President Barack Obama condemn this assault, demand that Israel cease its aggression, abide by international law, and by the numerous United Nations resolutions that condemn the occupation, the apartheid system, and the various human rights violations being committed by the Israeli state.
Free the Land!
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United States taxpayers fund the vast majority of Israel’s continual assault on Palestinians. In the previous decade, the United States gave Israel $24.1 billion in taxpayer money for military aid. “The United States licensed, paid for and delivered more than 670 million weapons and related equipment (including the Iron Dome) to Israel, including almost 500 categories of weapons.”
CLICK HERE for U.S. Military Aid To Israel: Policy Implications and Options PDF.
But it doesn’t end there.
Israel is violating U.S. law by misusing U.S. weapons and shouldn’t be eligible for additional aid. During the Bush Administration, Israel killed more than 3,000 innocent Palestinians, often with U.S. weapons, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, which limits the use of U.S. weapons to “internal security” and “legitimate self-defense.” Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip is not “internal” and intentionally killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure is never “legitimate.” In addition, Israel’s systematic human rights abuses of Palestinians and its apartheid policies toward them place Israel in violation of the Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits U.S. aid “to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
Bolivian president Evo Morales announced that he has cut diplomatic ties with Israel over the horrifying atrocities carried out during the latest attack on Palestine, during which 166 Palestinians — primarily women and children — and 6 Israelis were killed:
“Bolivia had diplomatic relations with Israel. [But] considering these grave attacks against…humanity, Bolivia will stop having diplomatic relations with Israel,” Morales said in a speech before diplomats in the government palace.
Support of Israel has always been a necessary campaigning tool during presidential elections, as was shown during the foreign policy debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, both attempting to out-Israel the other. Even in the face of the murder of innocent children, both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced support for Israel’s right to “defend itself”:
“There’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” President Obama said in a press conference in Thailand.
While some close observers have noted the tragic irony inherent in that statement coming from a president who sends unmanned drones into Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somolia and Yemen — when not one rocket has been aimed at the United States — there are those who ignore those facts and accept the version of events that is broadcast in mainstream media.
Particularly in the African-American community, religion and politics often blurs, leading some in our communities to broadly support the Israeli government because of their Christian faith. It is not widely known that there are many Jewish people who speak out against the human rights violations of the Israeli government, but their voices are not often heard. There is also the commonly held belief that Palestinians are racists who owned slaves, therefore are not “worthy” of African-American support.
This is deeply troubling in light of African-Palestinians relations throughout history.
In our exclusive interview, Attorney Troy Nkrumah, a Human Rights activist and Pan-Africanist currently serving as the President/CEO of the Anchorage Urban League, said that idea is born of ignorance and should be dispelled:
“To suggest that the racist Arabs in the Sudan and in some parts of Libya are in any way the same Arabs in Palestine is just an ignorant correlation,” say Nkrumah. “That’s like saying the Black folks in Uganda that are using children soldiers to fight for [Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph] Kony are the same as Nelson Mandela and the [African National Congress] ANC because they are both Black. That logic or lack of makes no sense.
“The Palestinians first connected with our struggle in the USA as far back as when Malcolm X met with their leadership and formed solidarity between our conditions here and theirs there,” continued Nkrumah who has taught classes on Africa and the anti-colonialism struggle. “Then the Black Panther Party unified with the PLFP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), and there was also a connection with the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization).
The African National Congress and Palestine Liberation Organization trained together in Libya under Muammar Ghaddafi,” said Nkrumah, who traveled to Libya at the end of 2009 as part of a delegation lead by former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. “That is one reason that when Mandela was released [after serving 27 years in prison on Robben Island] the first person he went to see was Ghaddafi to thank him for his support. See I don’t expect people to know all this history, it’s not so widely available.”
In 1997, Mandela called the occupation of Palestine “the greatest moral issue of our time,” going on to say in part:
The temptation in our situation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine to a state of their own. We can easily be enticed to read reconciliation and fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. Having achieved our own freedom, we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others faces.
Yet we would be less than human if we did so.
It behooves all South Africans, themselves erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice.
What becomes obvious upon closer inspection is that Palestine is not the so-called God-forsaken land of terrorists that some leaders in Israel — and to some extent the United States government — would have us to believe. Though the details are complex, making it difficult to understand the full scope of the issue, it really comes down to one simple question:
Are you for justice or against it?
And sometimes that question may lead to what is perceived by many to be an unpatriotic answer, but in the words of Malcolm X:
“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
So too should we all be if we are ever to move forward as a nation and as human beings. If not, all talk of peace and diplomacy is just an exercise in hypocrisy.