By Bill Fletcher, Jr., NNPA Newswire Contributor
Think about it this way. If every tactic that was used by African Americans in the Civil Rights Movement and/or in the fight against apartheid South Africa was either criminalized or attacked by the US Congress, how would you respond?
HR 246 is a bill before Congress that attacks the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) movement that emerged as a NON-VIOLENT response to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. BDS is a form of economic pressure on the Israeli state that is the equivalent of an international Montgomery bus boycott. It is saying that Israeli human rights abuses and violations of international law will simply not be tolerated.
The US Congress cannot have it both ways. It cannot, on the one hand, attack the Palestinians when they have used violence to oppose the occupation while at the same time attacking the Palestinians for using non-violent protests against the Israeli occupation. This is particularly the case given that the United Nations has roundly condemned the Israeli occupation as illegal.
Efforts around the USA to criminalize those who support the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions movement flaunt the Constitution. We are supposed to have the right to peacefully protest. There is no exception when it comes to the question of Israel. There is nothing in the US Constitution that suggests that the people of the USA cannot protest the actions of another country.
To argue that there is something wrong with engaging in or supporting BDS is to argue that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories; the Israeli refusal to recognize international law when it comes to the right of return for refugees; and the Israeli atrocities against peaceful protesters in the Gaza Strip is permissible.
We, African Americans, have heard such nonsense before and we have cast it aside. In the face of oppression, people resist and we—African Americans—have generally been at the forefront of those who supported resistance. We are called upon to express our solidarity again.
Call your Congressional Representatives immediately. Call them whether they are members of the Congressional Black Caucus or not. Call them and tell them that you have no interest in them siding with those who would have criminalized the Civil Rights Movement or the anti-apartheid movement.