The movement provides a platform for the aspirations of Palestinians without taking any political sides.
Two significant public events came together in late August to turn this season of morbid political despair in the United States presidential election to highlight a far more significant social movement otherwise hidden to the outside world.
One was when the American football team San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem before games because he said the US oppresses African-Americans and other minorities.
The other was when the widely popular pop singer Beyonce brought a few mothers of police violence victims to MTV Video Music Award ceremonies.
These two public events are predicated on a much deeper and more enduring development in the US known as Black Lives Matter (BLM), a grassroots civil rights movement that originated in the African-American community campaigning against systematic violence and racism towards black people.
BLM began in 2013, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, and increasingly assumed national significance following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans: Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York.
Palestine as a fact and a phenomenon
Now in a magnificent manifesto published on August 1, the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), a coalition of more than 60 organisations, has pushed the BLM movement forward and issued a comprehensive programme of action, which consists of “six demands aimed at ending all forms of violence and injustice endured by black people; redirecting resources from prisons and the military to education, health, and safety; creating a just, democratically controlled economy; and securing black political power within a genuinely inclusive democracy. Backing the demands are 40 separate proposals and 34 policy briefs, replete with data, context, and legislative recommendations.”
Progressive forces now gathered around this noble movement for the dignity of black lives and beyond are in fact late in joining the rest of the civilised world denouncing the systemic violence at the core of the Israeli settler colony.
Among the declarations of M4BL is the most unambiguous position of the movement on the question of Palestinian national liberation, denouncing the US government for its unconditional support for the Israeli settler colony.
“The US justifies and advances the global war on terror,” the document declared, “via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people.”
In an equally significant statement, the manifesto declared its support for the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and condemned the Zionist-led campaign against it.
“Fight the expanding number of Anti-BDS bills being passed in states around the country. This type of legislation not only harms the movement to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but is a threat to the constitutional right to free speech and protest.”
The Zionist rage
Needless to say such a bold, brave, and unequivocal declaration in solidarity with the Palestinian cause by a robust national movement in the US has robbed the Zionists the wrong way.
At home in their settler colony in Israel or else commuting to their imperial habitat in the US, they are now furious with this statement and have launched a concerted assault on it to make it “controversial”.
Making this aspect of the M4BL declaration “controversial”, and thus by extension the whole movement “controversial” is the key strategy now launched by Zionists to discredit their entire project.
In other words, the M4BL must either embrace the Zionist colonisation of Palestine as all good and dandy or else it is “controversial” and must be discredited. This is how self-delusional these Zionists are.
There is, however, absolutely nothing controversial about calling the settler colony for the racist apartheid state that it is, nothing controversial to call the systemic annihilation of Palestinians a genocide, and nothing controversial about joining the global solidarity movement of BDS.
If anything, progressive forces now gathered around this noble movement for the dignity of black lives and beyond are in fact late in joining the rest of the civilised world denouncing the systemic violence at the core of the Israeli settler colony.
A game changer
By fabricating this non-existent “controversy” about this historic document, the Zionists are also muddying the water to pollute a global recognition of its world historic significance.
The most significant civil rights movement of the 21st century in the US has solidly sided with the Palestinian national liberation, denounced the Israeli killings of Palestinians, endorsed the non-violent civil disobedience of BDS, and with the stroke of one historic manifesto rendered the entire Israeli propaganda machinery obsolete.
This is the fact that the Israeli propaganda network cannot fathom or “allow” to happen, for they think they own the US.
Historically, there has been an ideological division of labour between hardcore Zionists who are violently engaged in stealing Palestine and slaughtering Palestinians, while their liberal contingency has offered a false caring image vis-a-vis progressive movements in the US. That sham is no longer working.
A courageous, principled, and globally informed, generation of civil rights uprising has now picked up where the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s left behind.
Among the ranks of this generation are liberated post-Zionist Jews shoulder to shoulder with a younger generation of Muslim immigrants who denounce Islamist violence, Christians who oppose the US’ Christian imperialism, and equally principled people who no longer identify with any religion at all.
Rooted in the black suffering in the US but reaching out far and wide into the larger communities and countries around the globe the M4BL can no longer be racially profiled or subjected to propaganda and disinformation.
The Israeli propaganda machinery has successfully convinced itself and its Zionist supporters worldwide that any Palestinians who resist the colonisation and theft of their homeland are “terrorists” precisely on the blueprint that today white supremacist racists in the US are outraged against the M4BL movement.
The historic solidarity between these two movements is all but inevitable, and its leaders are not the corrupt US politicians that AIPAC can buy and recruit to support one of the most vicious legacies of European colonialism, now sustained by US militarism, in the heart of the Arab and Muslim world.
Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policies.