Louisville, KENTUCKY––Muhammad Ali was a hugely important historical and political figure whose legacy has been distorted and whitewashed since his death by the white media. Chief among the posthumous assassins of Ali’s political legacy is Michael Lerner, Berkeley-based white Jewish rabbi and editor of Tikkun Magazine.
Lerner is being showered with praise for his “powerful” sermon at the June 10th funeral for Ali, but Lerner is not a friend of the Palestinians nor of the legacy of black power and anti-Zionist solidarity personified by Ali at his prime.
He is at best a liberal critic of Israeli policy.
Lerner is firmly supportive of the continuation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and simply believes, like many others of his political stripe, that Israel should give back a small chunk of the land to the Arabs and keep the rest for the Jews (the ’67 borders argument.)
He is a Zionist ideologue. His book “The Socialism of Fools: Antisemitism on the Left” equated opposition to Israeli settler-colonialism with a latent hatred for Jews, an argument that is virtually identical to the defense of Israeli barbarism spouted by the likes of Netanyahu.
I write this particular column as a member of the African People’s Solidarity Committee but also as a white person who grew up in a Jewish family where the question of Israel was hotly debated at the dinner table every passover, sometimes resulting in the angry dispersal of said dinner gatherings.
Loyalty to Israel is profoundly embedded in the modern Jewish identity and our material interests are linked with the Israeli State. The blood of every slaughtered Palestinian baby is on the hands of every European and North American Jew.
Therefore, I believe that every white Jew has a deep responsibility to be uncompromisingly in solidarity with total Palestinian liberation from Israeli occupation.
It is not a question of trying to “live in peace” with the Palestinians in a two-State solution, which is a Zionist deceit, but to unite in principled solidarity with the slogan, “free Palestine, from the river to the sea” made famous by the Palestinian Revolution of the 1970s, a righteous struggle to emancipate “every last millimeter” of Palestine from colonial domination, in the words of George Habash, Palestinian revolutionary leader.
Lerner’s presence was an insult to Ali
Lerner is not for Palestine, plain and simple. If I had been in that room I would not have even given that rabbi the faint, fake slow clap mustered by imperialist war pig Bill Clinton in the audience.
It was an insult to Ali, an African who visited Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and made loud and clear his fierce opposition to Zionism, much to the horror and rage of the liberal Jewish establishment at the time.
No. No, no, no, and a thousand times, NO! to Jewish apologism and collaboration with genocidal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
As Chairman Omali Yeshitela states, Israel is an illegitimate white nationalist colonial settler State built on stolen Palestinian land and forged through the expulsion and extermination of the indigenous Palestinians. Its origins are similar to the genocidal birth of the United States.
The Uhuru Solidarity Movement, the organization of white people working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), calls on white people–including white Jews––to stand in solidarity with the liberation struggles of African, Palestinian, Indigenous and oppressed peoples everywhere.
Lerner got a standing ovation because, as a Jew, he acknowledged the basic humanity of the Palestinians who are being murdered by the Jews.
Is that really such an applause-worthy statement?
Can you imagine if Lerner had called for support of “the Palestinian struggle to liberate their homeland and oust the Zionist invaders”?
No, of course not, but those are the direct words of Muhammad Ali in the 1970s, the man to whom Lerner falsely claimed to pay tribute!
European Jews and all white people have a responsibility to fight for reparations to African people AND stand in solidarity with Palestine!
We cannot overlook the greatest crime in history that continues to benefit us to this day––the assault on Africa and ongoing 600 years of colonial misery inflicted on Africans (all black people) for our benefit.
White Solidarity with Black Power!
Jewish solidarity with Palestinian Revolution!
Long live African and Palestinian Liberation!