A cartoon has been circulating on social media that shows an American policeman crushing a black man’s throat with his knee while embracing an Israeli soldier doing the same to a Palestinian man; atop the picture is a caption reading “Black lives matter.” Such an attempt to link the Palestinian cause to that of the protests taking place across the U.S. is neither an outlier nor something new. Tracing the history of African American leaders’ embrace of anti-Zionism, Joshua Washington sees as a turning point the 1967 decision of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)—a prominent civil-rights organization in which Jews once played a prominent role—to adopt not just a pro-Palestinian platform, but an anti-Semitic one. In his view, this move was not only wrongheaded, but highly detrimental, allowing Arab leaders to “hijack” the civil-rights movement in order “to legitimize their own cause.”
Such a propaganda campaign is only effective among [those Martin Luther King, in a related context, called] the “color consumed.” If one is color consumed, all Israel’s enemies must do is to get him to see Israel as a country of white Europeans. . . . It’s why Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, calls Israel an “apartheid state,” though nothing in Israel resembles apartheid. To the black South African with unresolved hurt and bitterness from apartheid, not much else needs to be said.
Fast-forward to the present day: the Movement for Black Lives is one of the major partners of Black Lives Matter (BLM). In its policy platforms, it has an “invest-divest” section that, under “cut military expenditures,” mentions Israel as an apartheid, genocidal regime that routinely arrest four-year-old Palestinians. All lies, taken straight out of the SNCC playbook—a playbook [based on] unverified libels and anti-Semitic stereotypes.
From its beginning, BLM had an anti-Israel bias. “From Ferguson to Palestine, occupation is a crime” was a slogan taken up immediately following Michael Brown’s killing by officer Darren Wilson [in 2014]. This feigned support is nothing more than a calculated effort by Palestinian leaders to divert attention away their oppression of their own people. And we know now that this is nothing new.
Blacks and Jews have much more history that binds us than we could ever have with the likes of the PLO, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or Mahmoud Abbas. I will concede, however, that we [African Americans] share a common struggle with the Palestinian people, and that is the struggle of many manipulative leaders who claim to be our saviors.