Chloe Valdary, the self-titled “Lioness of Zion” wrote a public letter to the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) movement, published today in Tablet magazine. Valdary addresses the letter “from an Angry Black Woman” and delineates the student group’s hypocrisies, noting their nefarious misappropriation of African American history:
You do not get to pretend as though you and Rosa Parks would have been great buddies in the 1960s. Rosa Parks was a real Freedom Fighter. Rosa Parks was a Zionist.
Coretta Scott King was a Zionist.
A. Phillip Randolph was a Zionist.
Bayard Rustin was a Zionist.
Count Basie was a Zionist.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Zionist.
Indeed, they and many more men and women signed a letter in 1975 that stated: “We condemn the anti-Jewish blacklist. We have fought too long and too hard to root out discrimination from our land to sit idly while foreign interests import bigotry to America. Having suffered so greatly from such prejudice, we consider most repugnant the efforts by Arab states to use the economic power of their newly-acquired oil wealth to boycott business firms that deal with Israel or that have Jewish owners, directors, or executives, and to impose anti-Jewish preconditions for investments in this country.”
You see, my people have always been Zionists because my people have always stood for the freedom of the oppressed. So, you most certainly do not get to culturally appropriate my people’s history for your own. You do not have the right to invoke my people’s struggle for your shoddy purposes and you do not get to feign victimhood in our name. You do not have the right to slander my people’s good name and link your cause to that of Dr. King’s. Our two causes are diametrically opposed to each other.
Known for going against the grain, Valdary’s statement cuts to the core of the Pro-Palestinian movement’s attempts to draw a correlation between the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and America’s civil rights movement. The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, whose member groups include chapters of national organizations CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as SJP, devotes an entire section of their website to “Black America and Palestine Resources“. A quote from Palestinian American academic Edward Said motivates their campaign:
The late Edward Said wrote in the year 2000 that, to understand US policy towards the Middle East, “one must pay close attention to an aspect of America’s history mostly ignored by or unknown to educated Arabs … the contemporary treatment of the African American people, who constitute roughly 20 per cent of the population, a not insignificant number”.
Said co-founded the field of critical theory known as postcolonialism, a racist school of thought “…that interprets history, politics, and culture in the context of [white] Western domination and oppression.” The roots of postcolonial theory influenced the racist and anti-Semitic Black Nationalism of the 1960’s. Instead of campaigning for civil rights, the movement focused on “elevat[ing] racial separatism into a religious doctrine and declar[ing] that whites were doomed to destruction.”
Postcolonialism is a defense of human shields, of schools and hospitals being used as terrorist launching pads, of children growing up only to strap bombs to their chest in order to destroy the “white” menace. Valdary’s letter is a clarion call to renew the civil rights movement championed by both blacks and Jews that was so grossly distorted by racist theorists like Malcolm X and Edward Said. All those who “stand for the freedom of the oppressed” must confront and correct the racist lie that defends slaveholders like Hamas based on the color of their skin.