The Israeli occupation of Palestine is becoming bloodier and more brutal by the day. Since the beginning of the Great March of Return in March 2018, the Israeli defense force has killed over 310 Palestinians who are protesting the blockade of the Gaza Strip and demanding their right to return to the land from which they were displaced at the founding of Israel. This period has marked the deadliest days since the 2014 bombing of Gaza. The violence of the ongoing Nakba and subsequent Israeli occupation have not let up. Palestinians daily resist extrajudicial executions, mass imprisonment, land confiscations, house demolitions, restrictions of movement, lack of access to water, and the fallacious notion that their lives are less valuable than others. This could not happen without the support of the United States government, which funds Israel to the tune of over $10 million a day all while subjecting black, brown, and poor communities to run-down housing, lack of quality health care, a school-to-prison pipeline, and the highest rate of inequality of any developed nation.
The best of the Black Church emerges from a legacy of fighting oppression and speaking truth to power. This prophetic tradition calls us as Black Christians to support the rights, security, and basic human dignity of Palestinian communities. Scripture tells us to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” Today this means joining the movement for justice in Palestine, a struggle so intimately connected to the Black experience in the United States.
Black people around the world have built solidarity with the Palestinian people. As Robin Kelley insists, This solidarity is not based on a common experience of oppression, but from a collective commitment to building a world free from oppression. We have seen Black leaders—Angela Davis, Marc Lamont Hill, Michelle Alexander, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and others—come under attack for speaking up for Palestine. But Black freedom fighters throughout history have reminded us that it is not hate, but a love for justice, that animates Black resistance.
The time is now for Black churches, clergy, faith leaders, and laypeople to cast aside the politics of Christian Zionism and link arms with our Palestinian neighbors and their allies in the global movement for freedom and justice. As followers of a sun-baked Palestinian Jew who the Roman empire hung on a tree for challenging oppression, it is our spiritual obligation to fight for “the least of these.” This is not merely a matter of politics. It is what many of us learn in Sunday school: that all of God’s children are precious.
We can no longer be silent amid one of the most pressing moral issues of our time. Silence in the face of injustice is sin.
Let’s get free,