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It’s Racism, By God

November 29, 2011

By Perry Redd

 You know, I’ve been thinking about a story that cropped up in the news over the weekend and it’s been in my craw today. Yes, it’s about race and politics-the two things that can wake me from a dead sleep. I read that Israel is recruiting American Blacks to champion their cause of Zionism. I’m not so bent that Israel would do that, but that Blacks would allow themselves to be exploited by Israelis.

For those of you who are Christians and are reading this, you’re probably already appalled that I could say such a thing; then there are those who know me and wonder why I haven’t gone off the chain? Actually, I’m off the chain, but civilly off the chain.

There was a recent meeting in Brooklyn billed as “A Gathering of Solidarity with the State of Israel,” sponsored by Christians United for Israel, the biggest Christian Zionist group in the country. That is their American-born right to assemble on any issue imaginable. My issue is that Black Americans would entertain Zionists plea for their support after the atrocious history that Euro-Zionists have compiled over the past century and a half.

In the late 1800s a group in Europe decided to colonize this land called Palestine. Self-proclaimed as Zionists, they represented an extremist minority of the Jewish population. Their goal was to create a Jewish homeland, and they considered locations in Africa and the Americas, before settling on Palestine.

 At first, this immigration wasn’t problematic. However, as more and more Zionists immigrated to Palestine-many with the express wish of taking over the land for a Jewish state-the indigenous population became increasingly alarmed. Eventually, fighting broke out, with escalating waves of violence. Hitler’s rise to power, combined with Zionist activities to sabotage efforts to place Jewish refugees in western countries, led to increased Jewish immigration to Palestine, and conflict grew to what we know today.

 In 1947 the United Nations, led by the United States, decided to intervene. However, rather than adhering to the principle of “self-determination of peoples,” in which the people themselves create their own state and system of government, the UN chose to revert to the medieval strategy whereby an outside power divides up other people’s land. This is the seed of occupation.

 With the 2012 elections on the horizon, President Barack Obama is positioning himself as an unwavering friend of Israel-to the peril of people of color in the region and around the world. In May, Obama spoke to AIPAC, giving an explicit, emphatic ‘no’ to the ’67 lines and Hamas, while expressing boundless support for the State of Israel as a Jewish and a democratic state whose security is ensured-though Israel does everything antithetical to America’s principles.

As this article is published, the Palestinian bid for statehood hangs in the balance. It shouldn’t. The Palestinian people have had their lands occupied, their humanity diminished and their people bombed from the air by the state we know as Israel. Their democratically-held elections have been nullified by the western world. To ask support of Black Americans in light of a racially-driven occupation is at least, insulting.

Pastor Michael Stevens, the African-American outreach coordinator for Christians United for Israel, is on a mission to build a bridge between the nation’s black and Jewish communities based on support for Israel, partly by pointing out what he calls parallels between the two groups. Stevens isn’t alone in promoting the alliance. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has begun building relationships with rising leaders at historically black campuses like Spelman and Morehouse College, both in Atlanta.

 The outreach comes at a time when Israel has become increasingly isolated on the international stage and is looking for new allies. What’s often missed is that Israel has caused its own alienation. Israel has refused to cease building settlements on Palestinian lands despite repeated US requests to do so-although half-hearted requests at best. It has also continued to block shipments of human aid to Gaza, as well as threaten the flotillas delivering that aid as they sailed international waters. 

This outreach to Blacks reminds me of the 1960s Life cereal commercials with its familiar tagline: “Let’s give it to Mikey; he’ll eat anything.” When you’re running out of allies, then run to the Black community…they go for anything. Pastor Stevens’ is willingly doing the subtle but desperate bidding of Israel whose “friends” list is dwindling. Funny how Israel never enlisted Blacks as friends before now? Just examine its historically dismal track record at building bridges and you’ll understand why. I hope that Brooklyn church listened intently, listened politely to Pastor Stevens, and then resoundingly responded “If you believe that [that we believe you, Pastor Stevens], I’ve got a [Brooklyn] bridge to sell you.”

 Black leaders like Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson have been sharply critical of Israel, decrying its treatment of Palestinians. Despite that fact, American Evangelical Christian groups have been zealous in carving out a segment of the Black community to rival the more defiant leaders. This is a “divide & conquer” strategy that I am here to warn of.

Many Blacks see themselves as kindred to the Israelis. I have found amusing Black Americans who cling to the notion that Israel is their ancestral home. This is the picture of successful brainwashing, and not some newfound phenomena. This is a conditioning that took place over hundreds of years, implanted via slavery. Blacks who embrace modern-day Israel (Zion) as their kin mistakenly confuse Zionists for Old Testament Israelites.

Same land-Palestine. Different people–Europeans, different time-Zionists, 2011. Increased alienation on the world stage calls for innovative tactics for winning. Israel will staunchly defend its right to invade, occupy, and ultimately erase every trace of Palestinian sovereignty from Palestine. To achieve its goal, Israel is seeking new allies. One’s imagination needn’t be too vivid to capitalize on the sympathy of Black Americans toward Israel for its desire to return to its “original” homeland of Palestine; and, I already mentioned the Old Testament Bible-based notion of a Black American-Israel kinship-even if the notion is erroneous.

They say it’s God’s will. The Israeli occupation of Palestine is led by white-skinned Jews; the darker-skinned Palestinians are the subject. This is the epitome of racism, by God.

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