Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bill Fletcher, Jr. tells Bono what's what at

Remember when U2 lead singer Bono ignored the existence of Palestinian nonviolent resistance in the New York Times even as Palestinian grassroots activists like Jamal Juma', Mohammad Othman, and Abdallah Abu Rahmah were thrown in jail for their nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid? Here's US Campaign Steering Committee member Bill Fletcher, Jr., speaking truth at
"It has become almost a cliché, yet people, including Irish rocker Bono, continue to wield King's name when they bemoan the alleged absence of his like among the Palestinians. It seems no matter what Palestinian activists do, they are condemned as terrorists....The condemnation of Palestinian activists as terrorists, no matter their approach, shares a great deal in common with the manner in which King and African-American freedom fighters (and their allies) were demonized and repressed. It was the basic cause that needed to be destroyed by the oppressor and not just the individuals. The same is true today as Palestinian activists, including those who have consciously and openly repudiated armed struggle, are sidelined so that the Israeli government can claim, with a straight face, that it has no Palestinian partner with which it can discuss peace."
Read the full article here, and write to thank CNN for publishing Fletcher's piece here. Of course, as Fletcher himself testified to the UN General Assembly in November 2009, it's not just the style of resistance that ties the struggle against Jim Crow in the U.S. to the struggle against Israeli apartheid--it's the style of oppression, too:
"As an African American in and from the United States, I am keenly aware of the similarities between the systems of Israeli apartheid, South African apartheid, and the home-grown apartheid in the United States of America once known as “Jim Crow segregation.”.... Notwithstanding the efforts of heroic individuals such as William Patterson, Paul Robeson and Malcolm X to bring the case of African Americans before the United Nations, the international ramifications of the oppression suffered here were often and conveniently ignored by the great powers of the global North. The South African apartheid system was, to a great extent, modeled on the Jim Crow system in the United States, a fact noted by many people in South Africa and in the global South. The United Nations failed to take up the challenge to racism in my own country a generation ago; it must not fail to take up the struggle against Israeli apartheid today."
Take up the nonviolent struggle against Israeli apartheid by participating in the 6th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week, March 1-7, 2010