News and Commentary

BLM Co-Founder Called For An End To Israel

“End the imperialist project that's called Israel.”
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 11: Honoree Patrisse Cullors speaks at the 2018 ACLU National Conference at the Washington Convention Center on June 11, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Paul Morigi/Getty Images

In April 2015, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors told an audience at Harvard Law School that they should “end the imperialist project that’s called Israel.”

Speaking on a panel hosted by the Human Rights Program at Harvard, entitled “Globalizing Ferguson: Radicalized Policing and International Resistance,” Cullors stated:

I am also the co-founder of Black Lives Matter … What I will say, what’s important, I think, in this conversation around trans-national solidarity is that it’s simple. We should be building relationships with people across the world. If we believe we are part of the human family, then we need to push ourselves in particular ways to see the connections always. The other thing I’ll say is Palestine is our generation’s South Africa, and if we don’t step up boldly and courageously to end the imperialist project that’s called Israel, we’re doomed.

Cullors then referenced the recent trip she had made with a group called “Dream Defenders” to Israel, claiming, “Nothing would’ve prepared me for the level of militarization and the level of violence that we would witness”:

And I think that I had learned about Palestine for a long time, I’d known about it, been wanting to travel, and I was really, really grateful when the Dream Defenders asked me to come on the delegation. But nothing would’ve prepared me for the level of militarization and the level of violence that we would witness those ten days inside of Palestine. Nothing would have prepared me for the ways in which we witnessed people’s terror. People live in terror on a daily basis. And nothing would have prepared me for how much clarity I would have on why we have to be a part of Palestinian solidarity.

Cullors made no reference to the terrorist attacks that have targeted Israel for decades, including the Second Intifada, during which over 1100 Israelis were murdered, as reported here.

As CAMERA reported in 2020: Dream Defenders was a BLM-affiliated group that brought black activists to meet BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) co-founder Omar Barghouti and other radical anti-Israel activists. CAMERA noted of Dream Defenders:

One of the co-founders of the group was a Palestinian-American activist by the name of Ahmad Abuznaid whose own focus was to create a nexus between Palestinian grievances and those of African Americans and to link the emerging BLM movement with BDS. … By December 2014, Ahmad Abuznaid stepped up his efforts by recruiting prominent black activists to join a “Delegation to Palestine,” the goal of which, he stated, was: “to allow for the group members to experience and see first-hand the occupation, ethnic cleansing and brutality Israel has levied against Palestinians, but also to build real relationships with those on the ground leading the fight for liberation.”

During the December 2014 trip, CAMERA reported, “Cullors organized a flashmob calling for BDS, performed by activists and leaders of various groups that view themselves as part of the BLM movement (including Tef Poe, Phillip Agnew aka Umi Selah, Aja Monet, the journalist Marc Lamont Hill, and others). They publicized a video they made of their BDS flashmob online.”

Cullors, who declared in the 2014 video that “We are going to have a flashmob,” continued during the 2015 panel:

We can have a whole conversation about the settlements that we witnessed, the stories of murder and death at the hands of Israelis and Zionists, and I think the biggest piece, for me, coming back home, was what do we do here, right? What’s our work look like here, in relationship to Palestine? And what does the Black Lives Matter movement have to do with Palestine? I know a lot of people ask that. A lot of black people asked that while we were there, right? 

We had great responses, people were super-excited, and then we also had black people being like, “Why aren’t you home?” I think like there’s like this deep gap in the black community specifically among black Americans, because we can’t assume all black people in the United States are American. There’s a gap that we must deal with our issues at home, as if our issues at home have nothing to do with issues abroad.

And so we understood that coming back we had to do a lot of education about why we chose to make this trip, why it was important to us and why it was actually crucial to this conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement. When we talk about militarization, when we talk about the ways in which the U.S. government funds, literally funds the state of Israel, we’re complicit in that unless we’re fighting it actively, unless we’re making those connections here inside of this country. And so it was an honor to go on that trip and being back home, a lot of us, we’ve been talking to colleges and high schools, talking about our trip.

Then Cullors segued to the terrorist Rasmeah Odeh.

Two things I think people should really be thinking about in relationship to the state of Israel and Palestinian solidarity: One is BDS, boycott, divestment, sanction, so if folks aren’t on that tip, please Google it, super-simple, it’s a great website, and the second is Rasmea Odeh’s case. Rasmea lives in Chicago, and it’s a very long story, but essentially the U.S. government is trying to deport her back to Israel, where she was tortured as a prisoner inside of Israel. And so I would really push this audience, whether it’s the law school or students to develop some sort of Rasmea Odeh solidarity team to really, I think this summer, we need to, like get on it as a team. The media has essentially iced out everybody from talking about her case and so we have our own media, it’s called social media. I think we need to be diligent about uplifting her case.

The Daily Wire noted in a story about Odeh being one of the organizers of the 2017 Women’s March:

[Odeh] bombed a supermarket in Jerusalem in 1969, killing two Hebrew university students, Leon Kanner, 21, and Edward Joffe, 22, who were grocery shopping … Nine other people were injured in the explosion. Rasmea Odeh … spent ten years in prison, then lied to become a U.S. citizen in 2004. On Nov. 10, 2014, a federal jury in Detroit pronounced her guilty for illegally procuring naturalization by falsely answering questions as to whether she “EVER” had been convicted or imprisoned. After she was convicted of immigration fraud three years ago, Odeh got a new trial claiming PTSD caused her to lie. In addition, she is an alleged former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terrorist group, and was convicted for her role in the bombing of a British consulate. … an observer from the International Red Cross was present for her entire six-month Israeli trial, and stated afterward that the Israeli military court “had given the accused every chance of defending themselves, and the trial was – in his opinion – a fair trial.”

For a comprehensive look at the background of the bombing, its aftermath, and the facts countering the claims of Odeh’s supporters, see here.

This context was left out of Cullors’ comments, as was any mention of the murders of Israelis by Palestinians in the so-called “settlements” located in Judea and Samaria, such as the Fogel family, which was brutally slaughtered in their home in 2012 by two Palestinian terrorists, including the decapitation of a three-month-old infant.

Watch Cullors’ comments below:

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