Letter to Black
March and Rally Set for June 10
"It is time
for our people to once again demand that the silence be broken."
On 15 May 2007, 22 Black American professors, writers,
religious figures, and other leaders issued a call to Black America to join in
the June 10 March and rally, and break the silence on the injustices faced by
the Palestinian people.
This document originally appeared in Zmag.org.
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
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.
"People are scared in the US, to say 'wrong is
wrong,' because the pro-Israeli lobby is powerful - very powerful."
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
As Nobel Prizewinner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written, "People are scared in the US, to say 'wrong is wrong,' because the pro-Israel 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 that rally for Palestinian rights on June 10th - as will other Americans, including members 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 theOccupation as central to peace in the region.
Our leaders have not criticized the Jewish people but they
have expressed outrage at theIsraeli 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.
"Our own integrity as a people demands that we step
forward, speak out."
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
- Bill Fletcher, labor and international activist, and
- 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
- 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
- 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,
- 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 -
- Dr. Cornel West
- Emira Woods, co-director, Foreign Policy In
Focus, Institute for Policy Studies