Roundtable on Anti-Blackness and Black-Palestinian Solidarity moderated by Noura Erakat

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In thinking about Black and Palestinian solidarity since the 2014 Gaza bombings, one of the most exciting dimensions is how the genesis of a burgeoning movement against state sanctioned violence inside the US has intersected with the increased visibility and success of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement. Aided by the coincidental timing of the Ferguson protests with Israel’s bloody assault on Gaza civilians last summer, many protestors experienced a convergence of struggles in which young people found themselves facing down military weapons, including tanks, armed assault rifles, Kevlar shod “soldiers”, and CS gas. The juxtaposition of images of human vulnerability in the face of overwhelming force, embodied by Israel’s carpet-bombing of residential areas spanning forty percent of Gaza and of armored vehicles advancing on young Ferguson teens in their own neighborhoods as they kneeled with their hands up, forged a lasting historical memory of the genocidal intent of using weapons of war against civilians. Indeed, at precisely the moment that members of Israel’s Home party openly advocated genocide through attacks on Palestinian women as “mothers of snakes,” African Americans began using the term to describe the state violence they were facing at the hands of law enforcement. In the ensuing months, genocide has become a lingua franca to express the plight of both African Americans and Palestinians. The victories of BDS have literally helped to lift the gag rule of both the mainstream press and particular arenas of social media thereby enabling much more unselfconscious discussion about the shared histories of the US and Israel as “racial states” and “settler societies.” In addition to genocide, recurrent themes are the shared experiences of statelessness, entrapment, and carcerality. This cross-fertilization of political culture and analysis is an incredibly exciting development that links both intellectual production and grassroots protest of African Americans and Palestinians.

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