Following the recent attacks on Gaza, Abayomi Azikiwe examines the sentiment of the African-American population against Israeli aggression and the support of this violence by the US. Azikiwe argues that a direct correlation exists between the Palestinian and Arab struggle for independence, the plight for African liberation during colonialism, the Atlantic slave trade, apartheid, and African-American movements in the US. By highlighting the connection between imperialism, colonialism, and Zionism, Azikiwe affirms the need for oppressed peoples worldwide to speak out against Israel’s aggressive policies and actions, and for the media to disseminate accurate information concerning the impact of the Israeli occupation upon the people of Gaza.
Beginning on 27 December, Israeli warplanes pounded areas within the Palestinian enclave of Gaza. In the corporate and government-controlled media outlets, the case for supporting Israeli aggression and US administration was immediately made.
According to the political and military pundits who are recruited, financed and trained by the Pentagon, intelligence agencies and private military and security contractors, the root cause of the brute force exemplified by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is the firing of rockets by some elements within Gaza against Israeli-controlled border towns.
The fact that Palestine has been under an imperialist-backed occupation since 1948 receives no recognition by the big business news programmes and journals. In attempting to pass off their allegedly balanced approach in covering the region, they almost always equate bombings and ground assaults on Gaza with the relatively negligible impact of rockets being fired on Israeli towns from Gaza.
In figures released by the Israeli government itself, the number of casualties was less than 20 people in the three weeks of air strikes and ground assaults by the IDF on Gaza. However, within Palestine, over 1,400 people have been officially reported killed and approximately 5,000 wounded and injured. The IDF used chemical weapons, such as white phosphorous, which have been documented to cause egregious permanent burns and other injuries to innocent people.
In addition, a considerable number of news and humanitarian reports were issued that cite the impact of the Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME). This weapon causes devastating damage to people in strikes, most of whom are innocent civilians. The most disconcerting implication made by Israeli governmental spokespersons was that Hamas used civilian populations as shields and are thus responsible for the hundreds of deaths of Palestinian children, women, and the elderly.
Yet it is quite obvious that the long-range bombing of a densely-populated area like Gaza would automatically result in large-scale civilian casualties. The complicity of the Western-based multinational media outlets reminded many of the roles of the same firms in the invasion of Iraq. The notion of ‘embedded journalism’ was not discussed in the latest IDF attacks on Gaza, but the same method applied.
The corporate media network tells its viewers that they are being prevented from reporting in Gaza, meaning reporters are forced to work from the Israeli side of the border. Nonetheless, footage is available from Arab and other independent television networks that reported from Gaza during the whole period of the Israeli siege between 27 December and 16 January. Sometimes this footage is used in the aftermath of telling viewers that the media are being kept out. More often than not, the corporate networks show very little of the actual effects of high-powered Israeli weaponry, weaponry which is largely manufactured and paid for by US taxpayers.
The point of this article is to review the relationship between US foreign policy toward Palestine and the overall anti-colonial struggle in which the African continent and African peoples in the West have had an intricate political involvement. At the same time, those concerned with correcting the deliberate misrepresentations and distortions of the Palestinian question have an obligation to make as much information available related to the effect of Israeli occupation on the people of this region.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM AND ZIONISM
Beginning with the conclusion of the 19th century, the world Zionist movement has been allied with the system of Western imperialism. This phenomenon coincided with the consolidation of colonial rule in Africa and institutionalised segregation in the United States. Consequently, the struggle against Jim Crow, apartheid, and for genuine national liberation of oppressed peoples in Africa and the US, has inevitably clashed with efforts geared toward the building of support for the state of Israel as well as Zionist political aims and objectives.
According to Ismael Zayid in his 1980 study entitled ‘Zionism: The Myth and the Reality’, ‘Zionism, as a modern political creed, emanated in Europe, as a recognizable political ideology, at the end of nineteenth century with three main inherent and fundamental qualities. These three qualities have characterized the movement ever since, and have become inseparable from it. They are namely settler colonialism, racism and expansion.’
These political and economic objectives worked in conjunction with the rise of colonialism in Africa and the institutionalisation of legalised racism in the US. These developments also occurred as a logical extension of the Atlantic slave trade between the mid-15th century to the end of the 19th century, when slavery was abolished in the United States as a result of the Civil War between 1861 and 1865. In the Caribbean and Latin America, slavery did not end in Cuba until 1878 after a long war for national independence, and in Brazil in 1888, after the collapse of the monarchy in the South American country.
ZIONISM, IMPERIALISM AND THE AFRICAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT
Examples of some of the crudest forms of colonialism in Africa occurred with the advent of Dutch and British settler intervention in southern Africa beginning in 1652 and continuing through the early 19th century. However, during the mid-15th century continuing into the early 16th century, the Portuguese and the Spanish engaged in exploration for mineral resources and eventually slaves. The purpose of these expeditions was to break into the world economic system, in which Europe had played a marginal role prior to the 15th century.
Also, the onslaught of Portuguese colonialism in south-west, west and south-east Africa led to one of the most vicious and highly exploitative slave structures in history, lasting nearly five centuries. The colonies of Angola, São Tomé & Príncipe, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde and Mozambique suffered immensely under colonial rule, with Africans exploited under a slave system that relied on forced labour and mineral extraction, including oil exploration in Angola and São Tomé & Príncipe in the 20th century.
The most well-known connection between the world Zionist movement and European colonialism and apartheid took place in the former colonies of Rhodesia and South Africa. According to Zayid in the same referenced study, ‘from its inception, the Zionist movement saw a natural systematic alliance with European imperialism. The rapid advances of aggressive and chauvinist nationalism in Europe stressed that the superior racial qualities were the basis for the exploitation and “civilisational mission”, under the notion of the “white man's burden”.’
Throughout the negotiations involving the Zionist proposals for white penetration into Africa and Asia, Theodore Herzl, in the manner of 19th century imperialist thinkers, spoke of imperialism and colonialisation as a ‘noble activity destined to bring civilization to the “backward races”.’ Viewing the Jewish state with occidental white binoculars, he asserted that this state is designed to 'form a part of a wall of defense for Europe in Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism.’
African territories were strongly considered as a ‘homeland’ for the Zionist state. This contradicts the proclaimed scriptural basis for the colonisation of Palestine. Zayid states that ‘in their search for a location for the Zionist enclave, to be created, a variety of options were explored including Uganda (east Africa), Tripolitania in Libya (north Africa), Cyprus (Mediterranean), Madagascar (off the southeast African coast), Congo (in central Africa) and Palestine.’
Joseph Chamberlain, the British racist theoretician told Herzl that ‘I have seen a land for you on my recent travels, and that is Uganda. It is not on the coast but the climate of the interior is excellent for Europeans. Though Herzl strongly favored Uganda as the location for the Jewish state, the committee, appointed by the World Zionist Congress to explore the area, found it unsuitable.’
During the period of the First World War, Lord Balfour issued a declaration on 2 November 1917 utilised as the legal basis for Zionist settlement and the eventual creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The successor to Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, viewed a Jewish settlement in Palestine as a protector of British interests in the region, with specific emphasis placed on safeguarding the Suez Canal. Weizmann's letter to Churchill in 1921 discussed an ‘identity of interests’ as well as a ‘natural alliance’ between the British Empire and the Zionist outpost. ‘If there were no Palestine it would, I believe, be necessary to create one in Imperial interests. It is a bastion to Egypt.’ At the Nineteenth Zionist Congress in 1935, Labour Zionist Ben Guirion declared that ‘whoever betrays Great Britain betrays Zionism’. He also stated that the Zionist enclave could maintain ‘bases of defense on sea and on land’ for British imperial interests.
Zayid proposed that ‘Herzl’s efforts in England included soliciting the backing of major colonialist figures, foremost amongst whom was Cecil Rhodes, the founder of the British colonial outpost in Rhodesia during the late 19th century. In a letter explaining his interest, Herzl wrote that although his project did not involve Africa but a piece of Asia Minor, “had this been your path, you would have done it yourself by now.” Why then did Herzl turn to him, the Zionist leader rhetorically asked? “Because it is something colonial was the answer”. What Herzl sought was a Rhodes Certificate for colonial viability and desirability.’
Weizmann later found an identity of interest with Jan Smuts of South Africa. Smuts addressed a meeting organised by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the Zionist Federation in Johannesburg on 3 November 1919, stating ‘I need not remind you that the white people of South Africa have been brought up almost entirely on Jewish tradition. The Old Testament has been the very matrix of Dutch culture, and it is the basis of your Jewish culture; and therefore we are standing together on a common platform.’
By 1948, with the creation of the State of Israel and despite the virulent anti-Semitic ideology of the Afrikaner Nationalist Party, which came to power in the Union of South Africa that same year, the party shifted its position strongly in favour of Israel. It also changed its views in support of Jewish community interests in South Africa.
According to Richard P. Stevens in his study of Weizmann and Smuts, as it related to the apartheid system, ‘not only did it perceive the necessity of white solidarity if a minority racial regime were to be maintained. Also Dr. Edwin S. Munger, a long-time observer of the South African scene, saw the post-war Jewish-Afrikaners rapprochement was also due to the feeling of highly influential Afrikaners that “the elimination of Jews from South Africa would shake the country to its foundation since it would lead to the withdrawal by wealthy Jews of sufficient capital to precipitate an economic slump”.’
During the period of apartheid in southern Africa, the State of Israel was a staunch supporter of the racist state. Consequently, and particularly after the 1967 alleged six-day war, the African National Congress (ANC), the liberation movement in South Africa, the South West African Peoples' Organization (SWAPO), in addition to other liberation movements in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau, as well as independent Algeria, were firm supporters of the Palestinian national liberation struggle. This fact was used by the former apartheid regime to gain propaganda points in the US under the guise of fighting terrorism and maintaining Western civilisation in Africa and the Middle East.
This alliance between the national liberation struggle in Africa and Palestine, in addition to many other endeavours for independence and self-determination in the Arab world, continues today in the aftermath of apartheid and the independence of the former colonial nations of Africa. One of the strongest Palestinian support movements exists today in South Africa.
During the World Conference against Racism (WCAR) in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, the US government, under the Bush administration, attempted to sabotage the international gathering because it allowed Palestinians equal rights of expression and participation. Other issues including reparations for slavery and the right of self-determination for indigenous peoples drew the ire of the United States administration. Therefore, even today, the American administration and Israel stand on the wrong side of history.
ZIONISM AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIBERATION
Africans in the United States have always taken an interest in international affairs. Moreover, the struggle of the African-American people is inherently international because most of them were brought to the US as a result of the Atlantic slave trade. Even after the Civil War, Africans from the Caribbean and Latin America immigrated to the US, often through labour contracts between colonial governments working on behalf of corporations with interests throughout the Americas.
During the years of the Great Depression, 1929–41, the African-American people fought against the economic exploitation and impoverishment prevalent during this period. Blacks, in their millions, joined mass labour struggles aimed at pressuring the federal government and private companies to provide better wages and to end national discrimination in employment practices.
One such organisation that sought to build a broad front of African-American organisations during the Depression was the National Negro Congress (NNC). The coalition brought together hundreds of groups from across the country in order to push for civil rights and labour reform. The NNC had liberals, socialists, and communists within its ranks. One leading activist in the NNC was the Detroit-born Ralphe Bunche, who was educated in political science at UCLA and Harvard, and worked as a faculty member at Howard University during the 1920s and 1930s.
Bunche later broke with the NNC for political reasons. He joined the US military after working on international issues as a faculty member at Howard. During the Second World War, Bunche served as an agent within the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that was formed after the conclusion of the war.
Having been noticed by top military officers and State Department officials during the Second World War for his work on African and colonial affairs, Bunche was appointed as associate chief of the Division of Dependent Area Affairs in 1944. Bunche was also involved with the initial planning for the creation of the United Nations at the Dumbarton Oaks Conversations in Washington, D.C., in August 1944.
In 1945, as a member of the US delegation to the UN, Bunche was closely involved in the drafting of the charter. While attending the first session of the General Assembly in London during 1946, he was asked by Secretary-General Trygve Lie of Norway to join the UN Trusteeship Department.
Later, Bunche was asked to assist in the mediation of the first major international crisis during the formative years of the UN, the Arab–Israeli war of 1948. The failure of the implementation of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the UN partition plan of 1947, which called for the creation of two separate Arab and Jewish states, resulted in Israel declaring itself a state in 1948. The State of Israel was recognised by the UN amid the eruption of war throughout the region. It is important to note that during this period the UN was dominated by the US and European colonial states.
Bunche was commissioned by the UN to serve as an assistant to the Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte as the first UN Mediator in Palestine, and the first mediator in UN history. After a ceasefire was achieved in the conflict, Bernadotte and Bunche travelled extensively in the region between Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, seeking to achieve an armistice agreement between the Arab nations and Israel.
However, on 17 September 1948, Bernadotte and a French UN Observer were assassinated by a Zionist group known as the ‘Stern Gang’. Bunche then took over as the chief mediator in the conflict and was able to pressure all parties, with the backing of the UN and the US, to sign an armistice in 1949. Bunche was later awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1950 for this act, becoming the first person of African descent to achieve the recognition.
Nonetheless, another major conflict would erupt in 1956 between Egypt, under Gamal Abdel Nassar, and the nations of Britain, Israel, and France. Nassar nationalised the Suez Canal after decades of control by the British and the French. The State of Israel saw this as an opportunity to attack Egypt under the aegis of the British.
Consequently, Israel, Britain, and France invaded Egypt and attempted to destroy its military and economic infrastructure. Even though the US did not support the nationalisation of the Suez Canal, the Eisenhower administration viewed the attack on Egypt as an effort by the British and French imperialist states to regain some of their influence, lost as a result of the events of the Second World War. The US demanded a ceasefire within the United Nations and threatened the UK government with a withdrawal of credit which could have bankrupted the British state.
The British accepted their subordinate status within the post-WWII international context, and withdrew their forces from Egypt along with Israel and France. The humiliation of Britain and Israel in this conflict of 1956 enhanced Nassar’s status within the Arab world and throughout the African continent. Nassar would go on to become a co-founder of the Non-Aligned Movement, which formed in 1961 and served as a forum for newly emerging post-colonial nations, as well as Yugoslavia.
The Suez crisis, which prompted the Soviet Union to threaten to use force in Egypt, revealed growing Soviet efforts to gain greater involvement and influence in the Middle East. To counter this threat and to encourage stability and independence in the area, the US adopted what came to be known as the Eisenhower Doctrine. In January 1957, President Eisenhower asked Congress first for authorisation to use military force if requested by any Middle East nation to check aggression and, second, to set aside a sum of US$200 million to ostensibly help those Middle Eastern countries that desired aid from the US. Congress granted both requests.
In 1958, in response to revolutionary nationalist upheavals throughout the region, Eisenhower dispatched US marines to Lebanon in order to prevent the overthrow of a pro-Western government. This occurred after Egypt and Syria were accused of supporting revolutionary elements in Lebanon and Iraq, where a national democratic uprising occurred in 1958 against the monarchy had emerged. British troops were sent to Jordan to prevent the Iraqi uprising from spreading.
With regard to the African-American movements in the United States, the Nation of Islam, which was growing during the mid-1950s under the influence of Malcolm X, took a pro-Egyptian stance surrounding the 1956 Suez Canal conflict. This position would continue as a result of the changing consciousness among Africans in the US.
According to Lewis Young in his article published in the Journal of Palestine Studies in Autumn 1972, ‘The Nation of Islam, led by Elijah Muhammad, has since 1956 consistently taken an anti-Israeli stance through its publication Muhammad Speaks; it was, in fact, the only black organization prior to the 1960s, to manifest some concern for the Middle East conflict. This Muslim concern is quite logical given the common religious basis of the organization with most of the Arab world. It was due primarily, however, to the late Malcolm X, who left the Muslims in 1964, that the foundations for this pro-Arab attitude were laid, through his articulation of an anti-Israeli resentment while still serving as the organization's national spokesman.’
During the civil rights movement there was a perception of mainstream Jewish-American support for the aims and objectives of Africans in the US who were demanding the abolition of legalised segregation, and advocating full voting rights. Jewish students and religious leaders made strong statements in support of civil rights and participated in marches and campaigns coordinated by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
However, other currents in the African movement, as represented by Malcolm X during and after his involvement with the Nation of Islam, maintained strong support for the Palestinian struggle as well as other Arab states that were attacked and threatened by the Israeli regime. Following his departure from the Nation of Islam in 1964, Malcolm X visited Egypt where he crossed over into Gaza and met with some of the founding members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
When the civil rights movement journeyed north in 1966, and with the advent of the Black Power movement initiated by SNCC in that same year, relations between the African-American struggle and white liberal sympathisers became strained. With the rapid outbreak of urban rebellions between 1964 and 1968, attention was focused on the role of Jewish businesspersons and landlords in African communities. However, it was after the so-called six-day war of June 1967 that the split between Jewish liberals and African-American radicalism became pronounced.
The SNCC, in response to the six-day war between Israel and Egypt as well as other Arab nations in the region, began an internal discussion around taking a position against Israel and American foreign policy in the Middle East. Ethel Minor, a former member of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X's Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) and then of SNCC, wrote a draft discussion document which was leaked to the corporate press criticising the State of Israel and US foreign policy’s favouring of the Zionist regime.
During the same period, James Forman, the then international affairs director for SNCC, held discussions with the Guinean ambassador to the UN, who made it clear that they would be in support of the Arab position in the region. These currents were bound to influence SNCC and its constituency with regard to coming out solidly in support of the Palestinians and other Arab states in conflict with Israel in the region.
Unfortunately, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., the leader of the SCLC, refused to come out in support of the Palestinians at that time. King was under fire for his position against the US war in Vietnam, and probably felt he could not afford to take a stand against Zionism. However, if King had lived beyond 1968, being the honest leader that he was, he would have inevitably taken a stand against settler colonialism in Palestine and the Middle East.
Later, the Black Panther Party, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers and the All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party took strong positions in support of the Palestinians and did considerable solidarity work on their behalf. All of these organisations, including the SNCC before, took a considerable amount of criticism and vilification in the corporate press because of their views on the Middle East. Nonetheless, because of the work of these organisations, the consciousness related to the plight of Palestinians in the African community in the US is far higher than it was during the 1960s and 1970s.
Today even liberal and moderate groups such as Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition support the creation of a Palestinian state. Unfortunately some of these groups have not been prepared to call for the dismantling of the State of Israel as the only real possibility for the creation of genuine peace in the region. With the aggressive policies of the State of Israel since its inception in 1948, the regime has not proved its willingness to live in peace with neighbouring states in Asia Minor and North Africa. The only reasonable future option for the peoples of this region is the creation of a unitary secular state of Palestine where Jews, Arabs, Muslims and other groups can live equally within a democratic dispensation. The American government has always been opposed to the right of genuine self-determination and independence for Palestinians.
With the aggressive Israeli war on Lebanon during July and August of 2006, the role of US imperialism has been made crystal clear. While the American-made F-15 and F-16 fighter planes and dropped bombs on innocent Lebanese people, the Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, stated that the administration would not support a ceasefire and that the genocidal actions of Israel represented the ‘birth pains of a new Middle-East’. Such venomous rhetoric directed against the peoples of the region has exposed the American regime as the principal threat to peace in the Middle East.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed resolutions during the Israeli war on Lebanon in support of the carnage. Within the Senate, the vote was 97–0 endorsing the Zionist aggression. In the House of Representatives, a few congresspersons stood up and refused to endorse the slaughter, although the overwhelming majority sanctioned the massive destruction against the Lebanese state and its people.
It was only the efforts of the resistance movement Hezbollah and its allies that successfully fought and deterred the Zionist aggressors. The defeat of Israel in the most recent war against Lebanon created a political crisis in the Zionist state. Its own military personnel complained of the logistical confusion, lack of food and water, and the fact that millions of Israelis were forced into bomb shelters for over a month.
With regard to public opinion in the US, more people are willing to speak out against Israel’s aggressive military policies. During July and August 2006, mass demonstrations were held both inside and outside of the Arab-American community in support of the peoples of Lebanon and Palestine.
In the Israeli siege of Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 16 January 2009, a similar pattern emerged among the American ruling class. The Senate voted completely to endorse the genocidal onslaught on Gaza. The House of Representatives had only five Congresspersons who voted against a resolution supporting the aerial bombardment and ground assault upon the 1.5 million Palestinians inhabiting Gaza. Among the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), there were only two members initially reported as voting against the pro-Israeli position.
Yet among the masses of African-Americans and other segments of the US population, the overwhelming sentiment was against Israeli aggression. The utilisation of the war pundits through commercial media further alienated people from the anti-Gaza campaign. This entire episode was apparently designed to conclude the Bush administration and provide the incoming Obama presidency with a further polarised situation in the Middle East.
Obama immediately appointed an envoy to the region, former Senator George Mitchell, who had worked on the Northern Ireland agreement of the 1990s which suspended armed struggle inside this British-controlled nation. Obama made reference to the creation of a Palestinian state, but he did not say when this entity would come into existence and he was not specific to the character and location of this state.
Since the 1993 Oslo Agreement, which created the Palestinian Authority, the people of this region have not realised an independent state that has real power and sovereignty. Ultimately it will be up to the Palestinians and Arab peoples of the region to decide the direction of their struggle for national liberation. However, it is instructive to note that when the Palestinian people were given the opportunity for democratic elections they chose Hamas. Since this decision was not in line with the hopes of the US and Israel, they have failed to recognise the legitimacy of the Palestinians’ political right to select the form of government that best suits their interests.
In the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza, there were unprecedented demonstrations throughout the US and the world in solidarity with the Palestinian people. In the city of Detroit, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice (MECAWI), in conjunction with the Congress of Arab-American Organizations and the Palestine Office of Michigan, organised a mass demonstration through downtown Detroit on 8 January 2009 amid the Israeli onslaught on Gaza.
During the annual Detroit Martin Luther King Day rally and march, the central focus of the event was the relationship among the ongoing siege of Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces, the deepening economic crisis inside the United States, and the need for solidarity around the issues of war and social justice. Despite the trip to Israel by the president of the Detroit City Council, there were thousands of people marching through the downtown area demanding the withdrawal of US taxpayer subsidies to the State of Israel.
The Black Coalition Against Genocide issued a statement in solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza. This was done in New York City to coincide with a demonstration of thousands of people in America's largest municipality, whose mayor had expressed support for Israeli aggression.
Despite the silence of Barack Obama during his transition period in relation to the growing deplorable humanitarian situation in Gaza, former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who was the Green Party candidate for president in the 2008 national elections, travelled on the ‘Dignity’ boat to provide aid to Gazans under Israeli bombardment. The ‘Dignity’ was prevented from carrying out its mission by the Israeli navy. The boat was forced to dock in Lebanon.
Nonetheless, these actions carried out by MECAWI, the Black Coalition Against Genocide, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and the countless solidarity coalitions, committees and networks throughout the country represent a historical tradition of anti-imperialist solidarity with the peoples of the Middle East in support of universal human rights and national liberation.
It is important that oppressed and working people in the United States support the liberation struggles of the Palestinians. There can be no peace in the Middle East without the resolution of the Palestinian question aimed at self-determination and statehood. In addition, the existence of the State of Israel and its security is utilised to justify aggressive policies against Syria, Iran, and Lebanon, as well as the continuation of the imperialist occupation of Iraq.
One African-American clergyman in Detroit, who is heavily financed by the conservative Christian Zionist lobby in the US, has declared that he will seek to build support for Israel among blacks in America. This lonely effort will only result in a political dead end. The masses of Africans in the US see the direct link between their own oppression domestically and the role of the American state in suppressing the peoples of the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia. It is only with the total liberation of the peoples of the world from racism, colonialism, neocolonialism and imperialism that the possibility of real peace in the Middle East and throughout the world will exist.
* The contents of this article were originally delivered in part at the ‘African-Americans Speak Out For Palestine’ public meeting in Detroit, sponsored by the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) on Saturday 31 January 2009.
* Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire, an international electronic press service established in 1998 to foster intelligent discussion on the affairs of African people throughout the continent and the world.
* Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at http://www.pambazuka.org/.