WC4BL Statement On Palestine Solidarity and Resisting Israeli Apartheid
In light of the recent escalation of Israel’s long history of violence towards Palestinians and the 73th anniversary of the Nakba, White Coats for Black Lives affirms its support of the Palestinian liberation movement, including the rights to life, self-determination, justice and return. We believe in the health and well-being of those most marginalized in our communities, which requires the dismantling of all forms of settler colonialism, apartheid, and white supremacy.
As many of you know, we have added a metric to the 2020-2021 Racial Justice Report Card that evaluates all medical institutions on whether they participate in or provide funds to prisons or Israeli apartheid. This metric pulls from the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and comes from a larger understanding of the interconnections between Black liberation struggles in the U.S. and Palestinian freedom movements. We want to briefly talk about what the inclusion of this metric means for our organizing in general, and the significance of linking and fighting for the rights of Black and Palestinian people collectively.
First, joining in solidarity with Palestinian Freedom movements is about affirming the rights of Palestinian people, including the rights to life, health, and freedom as defined by those impacted. Almost 800,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced in 1948, referred to as the Nakba, beginning the creation of an apartheid state. Since then, through settler colonialism and violence, Palestinians have been subjected to mass murders, dispossession, denial of basic rights, imprisonment, segregation, and the theft of wealth and resources.[i] [ii]
The United States is a large funder of Israeli Apartheid and has given more military aid to Israel than any other country in U.S. history. In 2016, the U.S. offered Israel $38 billion over the next 10 years, meaning over $10 million dollars a day.[iii] Most of the U.S.’s foreign aid dollars support Israeli apartheid when you include money given to Egypt, a local ally.[iv]
In addition to dismantling colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, and white supremacy, as an organization, White Coats for Black Lives believes in police and prison abolition, and demilitarization. Because of the relationships between American policing and Israeli militarism, it is impossible to be a prison abolitionist in the U.S. without also opposing Israeli apartheid. For years, American police departments have been partnering with Israel in “exchange programs” for training.[v] This practice is wide-spread and directly impacts how Black and brown people are brutalized by police in the U.S.[vi] In addition, both countries perpetuate the prison industrial complex, imprisoning and profiting off of a disproportionate amount of Black and brown people. Several corporations profit off of both Israeli and American prison systems, including Motorola, Siemens, and G4S.[vii] [viii] Opposing Israeli apartheid is an act of opposing interlocking systems of militarism, police brutality, racial capitalism, and the violent control of Black and Palestinian communities.
For all of these reasons, there has always been a strong link between radical Black movements in the U.S. and Palestinian freedom movements. For decades, Black and Palestinian organizers have understood their struggles as anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, anti-militarist, and anti-capitalist. The Black Panthers, and individual organizers, such as Angela Davis, have consistently acted in solidarity with Palestine and voiced the commonalities in these movements for freedom.[ix]
As an organization, we want to uplift Palestinian organizers’ demands, which include ending U.S. funding of Israeli apartheid, ending Israeli occupation, returning stolen land and homes, and reversing the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with all demands and follow the lead of Palestinian organizers for next steps. Several resources are provided below. We also demand, as stated in the RJRC, that all U.S. medical institutions divest from Israeli apartheid and end all complicity with Zionist settler-colonialism and violence.
The WC4BL National Working Group
Current demands and resources from organizations working towards Palestinian liberation:
Additional resources for self-education: