Ferguson activists bring a message of peace, love, and solidarity to Palestine, with poetry and song.  

Freedom fighters from Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, and New York, who had come together earlier on the ground in Ferguson, came together once again, this time in Palestine, to witness firsthand the effects of Israeli apartheid and occupation.  The coalition included leaders from Black Lives Matter, Dream Defenders, Black Youth Project, and Hands Up United.

Parallels between the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the civil unrest in Ferguson and elsewhere in the United States have been drawn almost since Ferguson first happened.  What’s happening in Palestine is legally and literally apartheid.

The meaning of “apartheid” was defined by the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1973 and ratified by most United Nations member states.  Sadly enough–and interestingly enough–both Israel and the United States were exceptions.

According to Article II of that convention, the term “apartheid” applies to acts “committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

This means denying others the right to move freely about, depriving them of the right to leave and return to their country or the right to freedom of residence, creating separate reserves and ghettos for members of different racial groups (reservations would be an example here in America, if you cannot imagine what this is like), preventing mixed marriages, subjecting them to arbitrary arrests, or expropriating property–these are examples of the crime of apartheid specifically mentioned in the convention.

“We came here to Palestine to stand in love and revolutionary struggle with our brothers and sisters.  We come to a land that has been stolen by greed and destroyed by hate. We come here and we learn laws that have been cosigned in ink but written in the blood of the innocent. And we stand next to people who continue to courageously struggle and resist the occupation, people who continue to dream and fight for freedom. From Ferguson to Palestine the struggle for freedom continues,” says journalist Marc Lamont Hill.

“Palestinians were the first to reach out, sharing ways to protect Ferguson protesters from tear gas,” said Hands Up United organizer Tara Thompson. “We were honored to stand in solidarity by performing the flash mob in Nazareth. It was a small token of our appreciation. Our struggles are aligned which makes it imperative that our people be aligned.”

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More information on the video and the talented performers, courtesy of Dream Defenders:

In Nazareth, the delegates decided to do a solidarity demonstration as a call for support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that was called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005.

This demonstration was coordinated by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, and features “Ella’s Song” by Sweet Honey in the Rock, sung by Charlene Carruthers, National Director of the Black Youth Project 100 and Dream Defenders’ Executive Director Phillip Agnew; poet, artist, and New York Justice League member, Aja Monet; rapper and Ferguson/Hands Up United organizer Tef Poe, and Ferguson/ Hands Up United organizer, Tara Thompson. Dream Defenders Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, and Ahmad Abuznaid, journalist Marc Lamont Hill, New York Justice League organizers Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez, and Maytha Alhassen, a University of Southern California Doctoral Candidate, are seen preforming the debke, a traditional Palestinian folk dance.

Don’t forget to check out #DDPalestine on Twitter and our Instagram accounts for pictures, videos, and reflection from this trip.

Filming and Editing by Thorstein Thielow.