By Kristin Delfs and Sophia Armen, Two Young CODEPINK activists
“Without community, there is no liberation” - Audre Lorde
CODEPINK has long stood in solidarity with Palestinian and Israeli nonviolent activists and human rights advocates working to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law, educate Americans about the realities of the Israeli Occupation, and change U.S. foreign policy and support for the oppressive Israeli military. Today, our communities of conscience are growing and working together as we see connections between the realities of oppression and violence.
This past weekend we, on behalf of CODEPINK Los Angeles, had the pleasure of attending and participating in the US Campaign to End The Occupation’s 13th Annual National Organizers’ Conference in San Diego. The conference largely focused on BDS efforts both local and national. Discussion of “solidarity” and “joint struggle” also reverberated throughout the weekend in regards to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the oppression felt here in our own country.
The murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson in August, and the subsequent outpouring of support and solidarity for the people of Ferguson, has highlighted a similar kind of oppression inflicted here at home – by a brutal and highly-militarized police force that targets Americans of color, and hides behind the same guise of “defense”. Los Angeles police officers, like others nationwide, have traveled to Israel numerous times to receive military training from the Israeli government. They have received training in the ways of occupation, the use of battle-proven weapons, and counter-intelligence from the Israeli government, who is currently the 10th largest exporter of weapons in the world, despite being one of the smallest nations.
A few days ago the ADL published an online article claiming that , “while Gaza and Ferguson no longer dominate the headlines, these unrelated events continue to be connected by a number of groups and individuals in an attempt to bring attention to their activism.” This outrageous claim is an insult to all people feeling oppression who fight for a voice, regardless of nationality or origin. It is a pathetic attempt to belittle their experience – an attempt for which the ADL should be ashamed of themselves. But the attention our solidarity efforts are gaining even by pro-Occupation lobbies, show the meaningful connections affected communities are making and reinforce our dedication to joint-struggle
The conference’s theme “The Mainstreaming of BDS & Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights” represents a turning point in Palestinian solidarity activism in the United States. Thanks to the dedicated work of Palestinian activists and people of conscience internationally, solidarity activism for Gaza and the West Bank has been moving into the mainstream. This new trend is also a direct result of the recent horrific round of attacks on Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge, which social media and independent voices helped push in front of the eyes of citizens of the West – especially Americans – whose complicity in the occupation amounts to over $3 billion of military aid to the Israeli government every year for this continuing colonial project.
Now more than ever is the time to connect these struggles and stand in solidarity against the oppression and apartheid that exists across the globe. We ask you to please consider standing in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, by participating in #FergusonOctober‘s Week of Resistance in Ferguson, MO October 10-13. If you are unable, consider trying to pass a local resolution to demilitarize the police in your community. You can contact [email protected] for more information and get involved with our BDS campaigns by contacting [email protected].
“What Do We Want? Justice! When Do We Want It? Now! Read and share our Youth Manifesto, and help support the youth of America in standing up against war and militarization. Only together can we forge a new path of justice, dignity and equality for all. We of CODEPINK ask you to stand up in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and Palestine, in the name of resistance and in the name of peace.
Kristin Delfs and Sophia Armen are two recent graduates and young organizers with CODEPINK Los Angeles who are dedicated to fighting systems of oppression in our communities and abroad.