Angela Davis, acclaimed activist and author, dominated headlines this week after the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute revoked their decision to award her the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award. It won’t come as a surprise to hear this was a result of Davis’ long-term support for the BDS movement.
Within the media, we only ever see the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) movement portrayed in a negative, biased light. Outlets like to hone in on equating support for the BDS with anti-Semitism. In fact, we have seen this relentlessly occur numerous times this past year.
The hypocrisy and double-standards in censoring anyone who speaks out on the genocide of Palestinians, and holding Israel accountable for its heinous actions is a narrative that is utterly insane.
In January 2018, Amena Khan stepped down from L’Oreal within days of being the first Hijabi model to front its haircare campaign over tweets from 2014 where she condemned the killing of innocent Palestinians. Whilst I personally feel disappointed that she claimed to have regretted tweeting that, it cannot be denied that those in positions of power seem determined to silence women of color with an outspoken opinion that goes against their views of how we should behave.
The hypocrisy and double-standards in censoring anyone who speaks out on the genocide of Palestinians, and holding Israel accountable for its heinous actions is a narrative that is utterly insane. Take Gal Gadot, an ex-Israeli soldier who openly supports the Israeli Defense League (IDF) and the massacre of Palestinian children, who is not forced to apologize. Of course, it is her right of opinion, and her freedom of speech. If anything, Gadot is glorified within the media for being a ‘feminist hero’. I guess being a feminist hero includes standing up for everyone except Muslim girls.
The BDS movement is crucial in our current political climate as it not only sheds light onto the plight of the Palestinians, but gives allies hope that this senseless genocide can come to an end. In an age of social responsibility, BDS has given businesses in partnership with Israel, such as HP and Airbnb, a bad reputation. It has ignited flames of debate across the world of what free speech really means, causing a lot of controversy.
Those who conflate opposition of the Israeli government and the BDS movement with anti-Semitism are the real issue.
Using the same tactics that ended apartheid in South Africa, the non-violent BDS campaign, formed in 2005, demands Israel admits responsibility for its brutal actions in Palestine, and its open willingness in violating international law and settler-colonialism. The cultural boycott of Israel tears down the false impression that it is a country built on anything other than genocide.
Those who conflate opposition of the Israeli government and the BDS movement with anti-Semitism are the real issue. It is possible to oppose an oppressive system without discriminating against an entire religion. The notion that many people assume the BDS movement itself is anti-Semitic is dangerous as it suppresses criticisms over the violation of Palestinian human rights.
Israel is so heavily involved in public relations with its major war crimes, and its consistently playing politics in American and European civil rights, yet the world stays silent. Each year, America gives around $3 billion to Israel, which is generally used to further its firearms and military strength.
This is totally unfair — the Palestinians are not receiving any international support, money, or aid from any foreign powers. Our Palestinian brothers and sisters have been suffering for too long, and this is utterly unacceptable. As we know, abuse of power comes as no surprise, so do not let your voices be silenced; use the power of your words to make sure these injustices cease to exist, much like powerhouses such as Angela Davis and Marc Lamont Hill are doing. After all, only through continued relentless pressure can we expect to see an iota of change.