Newly unearthed footage presents a learning opportunity about how and why a US group like Black Lives Matter cares about international matters like Israel vs. Gaza.
It was yesterday that we learned Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors announced she was stepping down as executive director of the BLM Global Network Foundation.
The distinction is important because when it comes to the cottage industry of professional activism, wealthy organizations like Thousand Currents and the Tides Network come up. For those brave enough to read something lengthy, an October 2020 Tablet expose explains how a seemingly grassroots movement like BLM got some serious backing and money from the political elite.
But for our purposes it explains how Patrisse Cullors got her book/TV deals, houses, and money to throw around.
It also explains how in April 2015 BLM’s Patrisse Cullors was at a Harvard Law School panel. The “Globalizing Ferguson: Racialized Policing and International Resistance” panel, to be exact.
Per The National Pulse.
“Palestine is our generation’s South Africa, and if we don’t step up boldly and courageously to end the imperialist project that’s called Israel, we’re doomed.”
The Ferguson riots from the year prior were a catalyst of the Black Lives Matter cause, as an organizational foundation. By that meaning the protests and demonstrations thereafter had a blueprint to work off of. In both planning as well as the anticipated degrees of police response any demonstrators could potentially expect.
“But how does a seemingly local matter like police brutality in the USA go global?”
At the very least we can immediately look at this case and say BLM and Palestinian groups shared ideas and strategies.
As The National Pulse explains, BLM’s co-founders went on a trip to the Gaza area a few months before Patrisse's talk at Harvard.
Tensions between Palestinian factions and Israel from 2014 were significant enough that opposition movements were at a crossroads.
Patrisse Cullors at the time is quoted as disavowing Israeli leadership as running an “apartheid state.” She goes on to say:
“I believe the Black Lives Matter movement can benefit greatly by learning about struggles outside of the U.S., but particularly the Palestinian struggle. I want this trip to be an example for how Black folks and Arab communities can be in better solidarity with one another.”
What we’re left with is the context needed to explain how pro-Palestinian groups were able to quickly organize on the streets of New York’s Diamond District and the city of Seattle in 2021. All in all, the international response spurred in the wake of the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas forces. Something that days ago Senator Josh Hawley expressed concerns over, about it all spilling over into a new wave of antisemitism.