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Where Do African Americans Stand in the Israel/Palestine Conflict?

By Caleb Onyeabor/Special to The African Times/USA

Amid the rekindled and protracted conflict between Israel and Palestine, the world finds itself taking sides as the recent violent attack by Hamas on October 7th prompted a forceful Israeli response, leading to an escalation marked by significant violence and humanitarian concerns. As the conflict re-enters the global spotlight, it becomes an opportunity for various factions to reexamine their positions on the matter of who’s right and who’s wrong. In the midst of this polarizing issue, where do African Americans stand: with Israel or Palestine?

Historically, African Americans have established connections with both Israelis and Palestinians, drawing from their own narratives of hardship and oppression, while maintaining a nuanced perspective on the intricate Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Their relationship with Israel is founded on shared experiences of discrimination and joint participation in social justice movements. The parallels between the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and Israel’s struggle for independence resonate deeply with African Americans, as both quests revolved around the pursuit of equality, justice, and self-determination. The collaborative efforts between African American and Jewish communities extended beyond that period, encompassing joint initiatives in education, social activism, and political causes. These shared endeavors reflect a commitment to societal progress, rooted in mutual empathy and the desire for a more equitable and inclusive world.

Conversely, African Americans also feel a connection to Palestinians based on shared experiences of marginalization, advocacy for social justice, and a quest for self-determination. Enduring centuries of systemic racism and struggle against marginalization, African Americans relate to Palestinians’ ordeals of displacement, occupation, and the quest for self-determination in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Solidarity efforts and advocacy for both communities highlight the shared challenges faced by African Americans and Palestinians in their respective fights for recognition and rights.

In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, African Americans often seek a balanced perspective, acknowledging the complexities and perspectives of both sides. With a recognition of the historical connections and empathetic ties to both Israelis and Palestinians, African Americans tend to advocate for a peaceful resolution, human rights, and justice for all involved parties. They strive for a balanced perspective that supports the rights, dignity, and self-determination of both Israelis and Palestinians.

The stance of African Americans regarding Israel or Palestine is not firmly fixed on one side or the other. They are neither here nor there. They are also here and there. The African American embraces the complexity and understanding of shared historical experiences. African Americans empathize with both the Israeli and Palestinian plight. They criticize Hamas for its violent attacks on Israel and, at the same time, censure Israel for responding with disproportionate force. The condemnation extends to both sides: Hamas for its threats against Israel’s existence and Israel for its harsh policies and occupation of Palestinian territories. African Americans aim for both Israeli and Palestinian survival and fair treatment, seeking a balanced resolution acknowledging the hardships and experiences of both parties.

Most African Americans advocate for a win-win solution, addressing concerns of both Israelis and Palestinians. Their position stems from the understanding of the experiences shared by both groups. They aim for a solution that considers the well-being and rights of both sides, reflecting their empathy and historical understanding of the adversities faced by Israelis and Palestinians alike.

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