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Report from an African-American delegation to Israel/Palestine

Hope you’ll remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in the occupied Palestinian territories.


‘It was clear to me as a black person just what I was seeing around me’

Two members of a delegation of African American journalists and artists who traveled to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in January spoke of their experiences at a public forum held at the historic Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Northeast Washington, D.C.

The speakers were PCUCC Senior Minister Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, and Bill Fletcher, Jr., labor activist, Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies and past president of TransAfrica Forum. Fletcher was leader of the January delegation. The public forum was moderated by Rev. Carolyn L. Boyd, Minister of Organizational and Ministry Development.

Rev. Boyd invited Rev. Hagler to speak first. Hagler recounted an encounter he had in the occupied city of Hebron on the West Bank with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) that triggered unpleasant memories from his adolescence in Baltimore:

It was clear to me as a black person just what I was seeing around me, this police state, this militarized zone, that they were there to enforce the kind of dehumanization that was going on. So in this particular incident we were walking down the road towards one of the Jewish settlements, and two young IDF soldiers come running at us, asking to see our papers… It’s sort of all the stuff that happened to me growing up in Baltimore where cops stopped you all the time to make that demand, that just bristled up in me, and even though I had my hand on my passport in my pocket, I just found that I could not produce it for them. And so as they got a little more frantic about seeing the papers, seeing the papers, and I wasn’t aggressive, I was just standing there non-responsive, and then I asked the question “What for?” One of the soldiers who was from Chicago originally, and I emphasize from Chicago originally, says to me “Because Arabs are not allowed on this road”. And with that, I wasn’t going to show my passport, and I didn’t have any interest in walking down that road… But it was one of those times where your experiences as a teenager sort of come back at you very quick, I don’t know whether you call that post-traumatic stress or whatever you call that, but the reality is I just could not, for the life of me, produce some papers on demand for some kids pointing some assault weapons at me.

more at (above) link…

Related: See Craig Nielsen’s blog, Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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