Wednesday, October 21, 2015
On behalf of Baltimore-Palestine Solidarity
and Jewish Voice for Peace-Baltimore Chapter
On Thursday, October 22, 2015, members of the Baltimore community will publicly demand an immediate end to US military aid to Israel outside of the office of Senator Benjamin Cardin, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Despite concerted advocacy efforts by members of Baltimore Palestine Solidarity and Jewish Voice for Peace-Baltimore Chapter (as well as J Street, Pax Cristi, and other faith and secular peace groups), Sen. Cardin voted against President Obama’s Iran nuclear disarmament agreement. AIPAC contributions before 2010 to Cardin total $487,572 and NorPac contributed $22,730 from 2011 to 2016. He is an unequivocal supporter of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and disproportionate violence carried out by the Israeli state against the Palestinian people. Like nearly every member of Congress, he voted to rearm the Israeli Defense Forces last summer as they slaughtered thousands of civilians during the bombardment of Gaza.
Since October 1st, more than 49 Palestinians have been killed, including 10 children, shot by Israeli occupation forces during protests or in extrajudicial executions. A further 500 Palestinians have been injured by live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets, among thousands of other injuries. Israel has also escalated its collective punishment against Palestinian communities, especially in occupied East Jerusalem, the Old City, and Hebron.
In response, The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), a broad coalition of Palestinian unions and organizations, called last week for a wave of solidarity with Palestinian popular resistance to injustice. The #SolidarityWaveBDS specifically called on people of conscience to translate their solidarity into campaigning pressure on governments, institutions and corporations to end their role in Israel’s egregious violations of international law.
We, Baltimore-Palestine Solidarity, hear the Palestinian demands for freedom. As we continue to struggle for and demand an end to the criminalization and occupation of the Black community in our city and an end to the militarization of our city streets, we send our heartfelt support and love to the Palestinians who have resisted the institutional violence of occupation, displacement, and racism for decades.
We know that the Palestinian struggle for justice, equality, and freedom is our struggle. We know that the tactics of oppression in Palestine/Israel, such as mass incarceration and intensified surveillance, are directly linked to and replicated in Baltimore. We know that Israel’s power to silence Palestinian voices and amplify their own narrative in the American media directly contributes to the legitimizing of Islamophobia in and around Baltimore City. We know that our city and our state support the ongoing Israeli occupation in Palestine and siege of Gaza through economic, military, political, and symbolic means. We therefore, extend our solidarity from a place of shared struggle and resistance as well as from a place of responsibility.
We understand that the violence and the loss of lives will not end until the occupation ends and the occupation will not end until the U.S. stops funding Israel’s human rights abuses. It is with these understandings in mind that we call on our city to stop enabling Israeli Apartheid through programs like the the Ashkelon-Baltimore SisterCity Program, the well documented tactical training and exchange programs between local police departments and the Israeli Occupation Forces, and other initiatives that fund and support the Israeli military and security industrial-complex. We condemn local and state officials, such as Senator Cardin, for their unwavering support of the Israeli occupation and their failure to acknowledge the Palestinian struggle for freedom.
We add our voices to the demand that the Israeli occupation of Palestine end; we affirm our solidarity with Palestinian popular resistance; and we assert that the future of equality and freedom we struggle towards in Baltimore includes the equality and freedom of the Palestinian people.
Thursday, October 22, we will press our city to divest, expose publicly elected officials for their complicity in state-sanctioned violence against Palestinian people, and we will build solidarity between the popular resistance in Palestine and the popular resistance in Baltimore.
Notes for the editor:
- BNC call for #SolidarityWaveBDS http://www.bdsmovement.net/2015/call-out-turning-the-tide-13444
- Statement of Solidarity from Baltimore Community https://bmoreagainstapartheid.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/solidarity-statement-baltimore-to-palestine-102015/
- Open letter to Senator Cardin https://bmoreagainstapartheid.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/solidarity-statement-baltimore-to-palestine-102015/
- Facebook event for Solidarity With Palestinian Popular Resistance in Baltimore https://www.facebook.com/events/1503557343275865/