"...you will search in vain for a statement condemning this or the previous Israeli massacres in Gaza from the Congressional Black Caucus or for the most part, its individual members..."
On Good Friday 30,000 Palestinians staged a peaceful and nonviolent march to a spot next to the infamous Israeli apartheid wall for a series of picnics and protests which they called the Great March of Return. “Return” refers to their righteous ambition to go back to the lands from which the US armed and financed apartheid state of Israel has dispossessed them.
From a fortified position on the other side of the wall, Israeli soldiers of the so-called Israeli Defense Force opened fire upon the peaceful unarmed crowd with lethal weapons, injuring somewhere between 700 and 1,000 Palestinians and murdering 17. In a Twitter post that was soon taken down, the IDF proclaimed that soldiers defended themselves against a terrorist mob, and that they knew where every bullet landed. Israeli authorities have announced there will be no investigation of possible wrongdoing. As in Ferguson or Sacramento, the settler state’s enforcers enjoy immunity and impunity.
Like previous massacres in Gaza, this one was scarcely covered at all in the US, though it’s been front page news for days on the rest of the planet. You can bet though, that members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other leading members of the black political class in this country knew about it. But you will search in vain for a statement condemning this or the previous Israeli massacres in Gaza from the Congressional Black Caucus or for the most part, its individual members. The omission is all the more glaring at the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination in Memphis this week.
For several years Dr. King and his work were lauded and praised to the skies by the US corporate media, he was awarded a Nobel Prize, and enjoyed friendly access to the White House. This was because US ruling circles endorsed the dismantling of southern Jim Crow as necessary to America’s image around the world and its conflict with the Soviet Union, which was actively aiding liberation movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But in April 1967 Dr. King directly, explicitly and unmistakably confronted and denounced the current genocidal US war in Vietnam, which would eventually kill 3 million Vietnamese.
King accurately predicted further US colonial wars in Asia, Africa and the Americas in the coming decades, and observed that economic and social justice inside the US were unobtainable amid the wars needed to preserve US global empire. Instantly the entire apparatus of US media turned upon him, and from one of the most admired Americans he became one of the most despised. As Cornel West observes, most of the institutions and people writing checks and commemorating his death this week would not allow the Dr. King of his final year, or a Dr. King of today at their podiums, their pulpits or on their airwaves.
Nobody embodies this transparent hypocrisy more than our Congressional Black Caucus. Nobody observes, celebrates and commemorates the seminal moments and victories of the Freedom Movement a half century and more back with more diligence and dedication than our black political class. But their observances and commemorations are mere branding, by which they hope to attach the air of the bygone movement to their shallow and self-serving careers.
"...it (the CBC) has always been silent on the larger matters of Israeli apartheid, on the daily violence which maintains it, and the indispensable arms, public relations, financial and diplomatic support rendered by Republican and Democrat parties alike..."
When Gaza was bombed and devastated twice during the Obama era CBC members unanimously voted to re-arm Israel, as they do each and every year. When Netenyahu addressed the Congress they only walked out because he insulted Obama, not because he practices ethnic cleansing against Palestinians. While the CBC did bestir itself last month to question Israel’s policy of mass deportation of African immigrants, it has always been silent on the larger matters of Israeli apartheid, on the daily violence which maintains it, and the indispensable arms, public relations, financial and diplomatic support rendered by Republican and Democrat parties alike.
Dr. King was an honest man. If he were alive today he would have to come to grip with the fact that no settler colonial regime has ever been overthrown by nonviolent means alone. We’ll never know how or whether he could square that particular circle, but it’s absolutely certain that he would mercilessly excoriate the US enforcers and enablers of apartheid Israel, Republican and Democrat, white and black alike. That’s called solidarity. And it’s easy to imagine he would reserve special and biting scorn and mockery for the black political class which have erased the substance of his life’s work and turned them into a mere corporate brand.
Some day Palestinians and all those who live in what is now the state of Israel will, with the help of outside forces make a government that represents all who live there. That’s what 30,000 Palestinians marched for on Land Day last Friday. Dr. King would have been with them, not at these hollow celebrations of his death.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find a new and complete issue with news, information and analysis from the black left each week at www.blackagendareport.com, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email notices of new content. You can find Black Agenda Radio on SoundClould and Facebook too. Soon we intend to be on iTunes and other platforms as well.