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Black Lives Matter Activists Join Anti-Israel Boycott

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The multi-city network of American demagogues known as Black Lives Matter normally aims its venom at white countrymen.  But the group also thinks globally.  Operating on the old adage, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” this instant mob service is forging ties with a worldwide anti-Israel campaign, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS.  Claiming the high moral ground, BDS is committed to the economic destruction of Israel in the name of providing justice to neighboring Palestinian Arabs.  They view Israel in much the same way that Black Lives Matter views America:  a white colonial occupation force oppressing “people of color.”  The two groups are a perfect match.  Yet their political synergy is dangerously naïve.  And it may jeopardize a lot of lives.  

Black Lives Matter (BLM) got off the ground during the summer of 2013 in the wake of a wholly justified Florida jury verdict not to convict a white neighborhood crime patrol volunteer, George Zimmerman, who had been viciously assaulted by a black teenager, Trayvon Martin.  Convinced that this was a case of murder, these errant knight activists set about laying the infrastructure for a new brand of political radicalism exceeding even that of Old Guard mentors such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.  The organization achieved national prominence the following year, leading on-site street demonstrations in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.  A white police officer, Darren Wilson, had shot to death a large young black attacker, Michael Brown, also in self-defense.  Despite enormous pressure from local and national blacks, and from the Eric Holder-led U.S. Justice Department, a St. Louis County grand jury in November 2014 decided not to indict Wilson.  It was the right call.  There was no convincing evidence that Officer Wilson had gratuitously shot Brown.  And eyewitness accounts from local blacks were confused, contradictory and at times invented out of thin air, including Brown’s supposed last words, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”  St. Louis-area blacks responded by setting fire to more than a dozen local businesses.  Not only did Black Lives Matter organizers do nothing to discourage the riot, they did much to foment it.    

BLM leaders, like their audiences, are young and unusually vitriolic.  To fawning oracles such as Time magazine, that qualifies them as “idealistic.”  The group has a fully decentralized structure.  It has no formal headquarters.  Its “offices” are social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Their street rallies at times resemble riots – and sometimes degenerate into riots (as in Ferguson).  These people believe, contrary to common sense and experience, that white America, especially its police forces, is conducting a massive pogrom against innocent blacks.  Each of the claims of murder they cite has collapsed, however, given introduction of the full range of facts.  In conveying the notion that our nation is pervaded by systemic “racism,” Black Lives Matter uses fear, exaggeration, lies and distortions.  Evidence of its handiwork can be found not only in Ferguson, but also in Baltimore and various college campuses.  Yet their incitements, far from being tickets to self-marginalization, have won them political access in high places.  Black Lives Matter’s most visible spokesperson, DeRay McKesson, is now a Democratic Party candidate for Baltimore mayor.  McKesson and a BLM colleague, Brittany Packnett, this February were guests of President Obama at a White House meeting on race, crime and policing attended by more than a dozen black activists.   

Social media and inflammatory rhetoric aside, a major reason for Black Lives Matter’s rapid emergence is its growing willingness to network with other groups on the far Left.  BLM seeks alliances with people who, like them, view the world as an ongoing struggle between suffering, powerless people of color (good) and wealthy, powerful whites (bad).  In this grossly simple-minded frame of reference, the United States is the primary enemy.  Because the odds are stacked in favor of the current power structure, victory over racism requires coalition-building or, to employ a term now in vogue in Leftist circles, intersectionality.  Coalition groups each have a specific focus, yet intersect at a common goal:  overthrow of the American power structure.  And that includes foreign nations allied with us.  To strike a blow against a proxy of America is thus to strike a blow against America itself.  And Israel is proxy Number One.  In their view, forging ties with Middle East resistance (i.e., terrorist) movements is a way of fighting racism at home – and vice versa.  True, Leftist opposition to the Jewish state has been a global phenomenon for nearly 50 years.  But Black Lives Matter is bringing new aggression to the game.  They also like to travel.

This January, a group of black journalists, artists and political organizers traveled to refugee camps in Israeli-held Palestine territories on a fact-finding mission.  The 10-day trip was organized by the Palestinian hosts and the Florida-based Dream Defenders, a self-described “black-brown youth alliance for social justice.”  Among the delegation were representatives from Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100, Ferguson/Hands Up United, and the Justice League NYC, plus assorted individuals.  Ebony magazine provided a fawning account of these world travelers once they arrived home.  The delegates proved eager to voice solidarity with their newest soul mates.  Ahmad Abuzaid, legal and policy director for Dream Defenders, saw the trip as a way to connect radical movements here and abroad: 

The goals were primarily 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.  In the spirit of Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael and many others, we thought the connections between the African-American leadership of the movement in the U.S. and those on the ground in Palestine needed to be re-established and fortified…As a Palestinian who has learned a great deal about struggle, movement, militancy and liberation from African-Americans in the U.S., I dreamt of the day where I could bring that power back to my people in Palestine.  This trip is part of that process.

Steven Pargett, communications director for Dream Defenders, saw black neighborhoods as analogous to Palestinian refugee camps:

Our refugee camps are lower-income communities and project buildings all around the country that many would not be living in had we not been taken into slavery generations ago.  Rather than having the Israeli Defense occupations of police officers who often prove to have little disregard for our lives, being that they are not from these communities.

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, the BLM delegate, weighed in with this sentiment:

This (i.e., Israel) is an apartheid state.  We can’t deny that, and if we do deny it, we are part of the Zionist violence.  There are two different systems here in occupied Palestine.  Two completely different systems.  Folks are unable to go to parts of their own country.  Folks are barred from their own country.

Another delegate, community organizer Cherrell Brown, sees “parallels” between the U.S. and Israel, apparently all of them bad:

So many parallels exist between how the U.S. polices, incarcerates and perpetuates violence on the black community and how the Zionist state that exists in Israel perpetuates the same on Palestinians…This is not to say there aren’t vast differences and nuances that need to always be named, but our oppressors are literally collaborating together, learning from one another – and as oppressed people, we have to do the same.

St. Louis-based rapper Tef Poe saw possibilities for hip-hop recordings serving as a unifying revolutionary force.  He posted to Facebook:  “A refugee camp with a bunch of people fighting for their lives and using hip-hop to lift their spirits and spark the minds of children and break down gender barriers between young girls and boys.  I spent a day with these ppl…Most amazing day of my life.”    

The trip actually was part of an exchange program.  Two months earlier, in November, ten West Bank Palestinian college students had visited Ferguson and St. Louis.  The activists frequently met with street protestors in their misguided campaign to persuade a grand jury to indict Officer Darren Wilson.  A month later, upon their return home, the Palestinians hosted a series of events at their university to build support for black radicalism in the U.S.  During that time, Dream Defenders passed a resolution in support of the Palestinian-run Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.  Clearly, this is a two-way street.   

Aside from their caustic and ludicrous rhetoric, these radical ideologues, whether here or there, have a history problem.  Israel came into being during 1947-48.  And it was not because scheming interlopers “stole” Arab land.  Great Britain had controlled Israel, or Palestine, as it was known then, for three decades prior to that.  The British had acquired the territory during World War I from the collapsed Turkish Ottoman regime.  British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour declared in 1917 that the Palestine territory henceforth would serve as a homeland for the Jewish people.  While this “Balfour Declaration”

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