Numerous posts on social media platforms feature hashtags like #BLM and #PLM, underscoring the perceived parallels between the struggles of Palestinians and African Americans in their fight against systemic racism.
Black Americans have expressed a range of emotions regarding Hamas’ recent and deadly attack on Israel, with many taking to social media to highlight what they perceive as a lack of support from Israel and some members of the Jewish community for the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The sentiment was especially pronounced after George Floyd’s assassination in Minnesota in 2020.
Numerous posts on social media platforms feature hashtags like #BLM and #PLM, underscoring the perceived parallels between the struggles of Palestinians and African Americans in their fight against systemic racism. One widely circulated message emphasized the cross-border nature of these movements, stating, “Palestinians & African Americans have been [creating] a social movement, without borders, to fight systemic racism. As part of international protests, in Palestine/Israel signs read ‘Justice for Eyad. Justice for George.’, ‘Black lives MATTER. Palestinian lives MATTER.’”
Another post drew attention to what the author viewed as a lack of awareness about the treatment of Black people in Israel, saying, “If African Americans Knew How Israel Treats Black People, Black Lives Don’t Matter in Israel.”
Former NBA star Amari Stoudemire, who previously announced his conversion to Judaism, took a contrary stance, denouncing African Americans who do not support Israel. Stoudemire openly criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, asserting they were not contributing positively. He stated, “For all y’all Black Lives Matter who ain’t saying nothing or ‘let me figure out exactly what happened before I say anything,’ F. you. Figure out what? It ain’t never been cool to kidnap kids.”
In a joint statement released on Saturday, October 7, NNPA Chair Bobby Henry and NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. unequivocally condemned the acts of violence committed against the Jewish people and the nation of Israel by Hamas. The statement emphasized that Hamas’ actions, including firing rockets and infiltrating Israeli territory, significantly escalated the ongoing conflict between the two parties.
“The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), representing the Black Press of America, forthrightly condemns the brutal, fatal terrorist attacks today on the Jewish people and the nation of Israel by Hamas,” read the statement. “Terrorism against innocent civilians in Israel and in any other place in the world can never be justified, tolerated, or sanctioned. We stand firmly in solidarity with Israel.”
Despite this, a different social media user expressed skepticism, asking, “When has anyone in Israel said to pray for the American Negro? Our Holocaust has been ongoing for 400+ years. Has Israel ever told the USA not to send any money until after it repairs Black Americans? I mean, it’s biblical to take care of your own family first.”
Experts said the diverse range of opinions within the Black American community underscores the complexities and multifaceted nature of the ongoing debate surrounding the conflict in the Middle East and its implications for various social justice movements. Further, many observed that, as the situation continues to evolve, how these perspectives will shape the discourse within the Black community and on the broader global stage remains to be seen.