In light of recent flyering campaigns done by Aryeh: Columbia Students Association for Israel (formerly known as LionPAC), in which they use the image and words of Martin Luther King, Jr. in favor of their Zionist views, we as the Columbia University Black Students’ Organization, write to condemn their co-optation of Black liberation struggle for the purposes of genocide and oppression and we re-proclaim our unequivocal support of Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace – Columbia/Barnard Chapter, and the people of Palestine in their fight for freedom from Israeli apartheid.
Numerous Black scholars and activists, both contemporary and otherwise, have already connected the Palestinian struggle for liberation with the struggle for Black liberation. The chant “From Ferguson to Gaza” echoed this year is not hyperbole, but a unifying idea against oppressive systems that subjugate Black people and people of color globally and act as a reminder of our tradition of solidarity and support. While we as an organization also acknowledge that Black and Jewish people also share a history of oppression, we understand that zionism has no place in our solidarity and, thus, we cannot and will not excuse the actions of the Israeli state and their acts of discrimination, segregation, and genocide. This is NOT what Black liberation activists stood for. This is not what we will stand for.
We encourage Aryeh and their supporters to more deeply explore the relationship of Blackness to Palestinian liberation and Israel before they continue to leverage our legacy and heritages in their favor. Until then, from Ferguson (and Harlem and Staten Island and Chicago, and Cleveland, OH, and Port Gibson, Mississippi and…) to Gaza, WE stand on the side of liberation and justice.