This article and its title have been corrected to note that Black Lives Matter declared “solidarity” expressly with Palestinians rather than Hamas.
The official Black Lives Matter organization declared its “solidarity” with Palestinians on Monday, a stand that comes as Israel defends itself against rocket attacks by Hamas, a terrorist organization.
Writing on Twitter, BLM’s official account noted that it “always will be” partnered with the cause of “Palestinian liberation.”
“Black Lives Matter stands in solidarity with Palestinians. We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation. ( always have. And always will be ),” the organization said.
The sentiment echoes that of other progressive organizations and legislators, including Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), a member of the progressive “squad” who spoke out against Israel both in a floor speech, where she praised a Palestinian-American activist affiliated with Black Lives Matter who previously called for the death of police officers, and on Twitter, where she compared the conflict in Gaza to riots in Ferguson, Missouri.
“The fight for Black lives and the fight for Palestinian liberation are interconnected. We oppose our money going to fund militarized policing, occupation, and systems of violent oppression and trauma. We are anti-war. We are anti-occupation. And we are anti-apartheid. Period,” Bush tweeted, citing her own House floor speech on the matter.
Individual Black Lives Matter organizations have also declared their own allegiance to Palestinians. BLM of Patterson, New Jersey, was perhaps the most vocal, issuing a lengthy statement on the “occupation” and calling Israel a “repressive apparatus.”
Black Lives Matter Paterson condemns the ongoing violence against Palestinians in East Jerusalem by the state of Israel and stands in solidarity with those fighting occupation. We as an organization believe in the freedom to worship and a life free from fear of expulsion and violence. The scenes coming out of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Israeli soldiers are using excessive force against Palestinian worshippers, harkens to our struggle against a repressive state apparatus. BLM Paterson also condemns the current situation in the Sheikh Jarrah enclave where Israeli settlers are forcibly evicting residents from their ancestral homes.
That BLM branch went into detail about how the Black Lives Matter movement and Palestinian cause are connected, citing the Black Panther movement of the 1970s.
Our deep roots of solidarity are part of a rich tradition of mutual support and exchange between Palestine and US-based liberation movements, from the Black Panthers to the most recent communication between activists in Gaza and Ferguson, MO. Our struggles are connected in many ways, not least because the same Israeli forces forcibly expelling the original inhabitants of Sheikh Jarrah train repressive police forces around the world, including the US.
Black Lives Matter, as an organization, has been involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since its inception. According to the Atlantic, when the group formed in the mid-2010s, it gathered to lay out its political agenda and made sure that a statement on Israel was included.
“One week after the drafting committee released its political platform—a long document that covers everything from U.S. policing to education reform to mass incarceration—the activists felt they needed another ‘deep internal discussion,’ as they called it, on one small section toward the end: their statement on Israel and Palestine,” the outlet noted.
BLM is also heavily entwined with the explicitly anti-Semitic Boycott-Divest-Sanction, or BDS, movement, which calls for countries to strand Israel politically and cut off trade.
Progressive legislators have been outspoken on their desire to see the United States weaken its affiliation with and support for Israel. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), also a member of the “squad,” who has made anti-Semitic remarks about fellow members of Congress, met with President Joe Biden briefly on Tuesday morning when Biden landed in Michigan for a speech, likely about Biden’s decision to stay largely silent on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.