We sat down and spoke w/ former political prisoner, Black Panther (Panther 21) and BLA member Dhoruba Bin Wahad who gave us an incredible in-depth history about the relationship between the Black Panther Party and the Palestinian Liberation Movement.. It’s important history that has been erased in the current conversation as there is a concerted effort by organizations like AIPAC to rewrite history and downplay the militant aspects of the Black Freedom struggles. For example many do not know that there were Palestinian Black Panthers in Palestine. Dhoruba explained that they formed because they felt organizations like the PLO were not militant enough. The breakdown on this is serious history.
Our conversation started off with Dhoruba laying down the history of how Israel formed in the first place and the mass displacement of Palestinian people. He clears up the common misperception of Palestine and Israel being in armed conflict for centuries. Its an excuse given so that people avoid looking at Israel’s human rights violations. It obscures the racist and imperialistic aspects of Zionism which is driving the current conflict. More importantly as Dhoruba points out it takes away from the reality of Israel being a ‘settler state’.
Dhoruba talks about the role colonial powers, in particular Britain and France played in issuing mandates and how they fostered a climate that eventually resulted in the current conflict we see going on now in the Middle East..
Dhoruba detailed how and why the Black Panthers linked up with the Palestinians and the important role that the struggles in Algiers played in bringing folks together. Dhoruba explained his role as one of the liaisons between the Panthers and Palestine’s UN delegation..he also details how J Edgar Hoover and his infamous Cointel-Pro program launched a campaign with a racist name called Operation Hymie where they sent off letters to Jewish organizations asserting the Black Panthers were Nazis and Anti-Semitic. It was an attempt to demonize the Panthers and dampen the relationship and support they had from Jewish folks who did support the Panthers.
We were joined in our conversation by local activist and scholar Danea Martinez who detailed the relationship between Palestine and the Black freedom struggle in South Africa. She gave us an accurate perspective on Nelson Mandela, the ANC (African National Congress) and where and how they intersected with the Palestine struggle. She also gave us perspective on Israel displacing Palestinians in 1948 from their homeland and the formation of Apartheid in South Africa that same year.. Its remarkable and sobering history as she details Zionist Israeli’s long sordid relationship with Apartheid South Africa. Its history that many in power are trying to erase.
Both Danea and Dhoruba talked at length about Arab racism and slavery on the African continent. Dhoruba who lived in Africa for a number of years detailed the racial politics and how they play out both here in the US and abroad. He reminded folks that many of the Arabs we’re talking about involved in slavery in places like Mali and the Sudan are actually Black. he noted they are ‘Blacker than you and me’ but in appearance but they identify as Arab. He walks us through some of the complexities around this and talks about where and how Anti-Black sentiment emerges within the Arab world. The information he breaks down in this segment is extremely insightful and gives important context to this discussion on Arab racism.
We also talk at length about the impact the cold war had on the liberation struggles in both America amongst Black people and in Palestine. We talk about the role it played in heightening racist Zionism..
We conclude the conversation with a discussion of how Israel’s policies and practices are being exported to US police departments and SWAT teams here in the US.. There is an NYPD office in Tel A Viv and many officers have taken leaves of absence to go fight for Israel’s IDF to hunt down Palestinians. This slaughter has got to stop.
Check out the full Hard Knock Radio Interview below
Update: As we are finishing up this interview we got word that Palestinian futball (soceer) legend Ahed Zaqout was killed as a result of Israel’s relentless bombings of Gaza. We also got word that 9 members of Dr. Mona El-Farra, of the Middle East Children’s Alliance and the director of Gaza Projects Lost 9 members of her family yesterday. You can hear her first hand accounts HERE