Members of the Interfaith Peace Builders’ first African Heritage Delegation to Israel/Palestine have issued a call on African Americans to support the struggle for Palestinian rights, and have declared their support for the Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel.
The group of seven women and seven men, “included teachers, professors, college administrators, human rights activists, and ministers and lay leaders from both Christian and Islamic faith traditions.”
According to the statement, many delegates “worked in support of civil and human rights in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the anti-apartheid movement, the Haiti solidarity movement, and anti-war movements against U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.”
In its full statement, the group made the following appeals:
We call on African Americans and all people of good will to support an end to the Occupation, including the removal of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the dismantling of the apartheid wall; the end to the military and economic blockade of the Gaza Strip; the granting of full equality to all Palestinian citizens and Mizrahi Jewish citizens of Israel; and the recognition and realization of the right of return for Palestinian refugees and internally displaced Palestinians.
We call for the humane treatment of Palestinian children and adults in the custody of the Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli Police; the release of all political prisoners; and an end to indefinite detentions without trial.
We call for the United States government to cease its military aid of $3 billion of our tax dollars annually to Israel, which, in the name of security, is used to further oppress, harass, maim and kill Palestinians.
We endorse the international campaign calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in support of Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.
We call on US citizens to join an Interfaith Peace Builders delegation and travel to Palestine/Israel to learn about the impact of the Occupation firsthand.
The delegation was organized by Interfaith Peace Builders, a US-based civil society group that has helped organize delegations from the United States for more than a decade.
Last month an independently-organized Indigenous and Women of Color Feminists group also endorsed BDS after witnessing conditions in Palestine themselves.