Black U.S. Christians in Solidarity with Palestine
Black U.S. Christians in Solidarity with Palestine
Why this petition matters
Micah 6:8 “And what does God require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”
We, the undersigned Black American Christian institutions, organizations, grass roots movements, educational centers, and individuals of good conscience mourn the deaths of thousands of lives claimed in the “Holy land”. As we type this, over 7000 Palestinians, including over 3000 children, have been massacred by Israeli airstrikes with no way to document their genocide or call for help from the outside world.
The events of October 7th, 2023 were horrific. We condemn the killing of all civilians, and our hearts are with all who have lost their lives and livelihood over the past 3 weeks, and more so, over the past 75 years.
We believe in a God of mercy, justice and grace. We condemn the weaponization of grief and trauma, to inflict that same pain on Palestinian civilians. In no world is genocide ever justifiable against any peoples. We grieve the selective empathy of the international community with regard to the massacres of Palestinians.
We stand alongside various Palestinian and Jewish siblings in the long and difficult work of justice. We call for an immediate ceasefire, a lifting of the siege on Gaza, the return of the 200 hostages held by Hamas in addition to the over 12,000 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel.
We acknowledge that Palestinian Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived peacefully in the land of Palestine before the Nakba in 1948, and reject any claims otherwise. This is not a religious war, and we call upon all Black pastors, clergy, and leaders to unlearn theologies that privilege Jewish supremacy, Christian supremacy, or any supremacy that justifies the crimes against humanity that the state of Israel commits.
We recognize and re-affirm that critique of the state of Israel is not a critique of Jewish people and therefore is not antisemitic. As acknowledged by millions of American Jews, there is a clear and distinct difference between Judaism and Zionism, an ideology which directly excuses the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Accordingly, we reject any claim that anti-Zionism is anti-Jewish. They are not synonymous.
Our faith, as Black theologians, Christians, clergy, religious educators and faith leaders, requires that we stand firmly against the settler colonization of Palestine. We have been and continue to be particularly vulnerable to doxxing, harassment, and threats within our communities, schools and the workplace when we decry crimes committed by the state of Israel against Palestinians. Nevertheless, we are driven by the spirit of love, justice and truth.
We stand firmly against intimidation tactics, and see them as reinforcing the already dominant power structures that co-sign genocide.
We reject the notion that collective punishment meted out by the apartheid regime against Palestinian civilians is justifiable.
Christian Zionism co-opts Biblical texts to justify ongoing apartheid and brutal massacre of Palestinian civilians with impunity. This does not align with our faith, especially in the name of the one we call Holy, the Palestinian Jew of Nazareth who said “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). We say, firmly, not in our name.
We reject the notion that War is the answer, and refuse to cosign a sentiment that “collateral damage” is inevitable in retaliation. To avoid creating the conditions for further violence, we call on our leadership and colleagues in the Black Christian community to prioritize the demands of civil society, as Palestinian and Israeli community organizations call for an immediate ceasefire.
The Black prophetic tradition, rooted in a radical commitment to moral consistency, human dignity and well-being, stands against systems of domination and oppression everywhere. This has and will continue to mean that we join the Jewish community in the struggle against racialized oppression, while fighting for Palestinian rights.
As Black American followers of Jesus, we reject the use of our tax dollars bombing hospitals, churches, schools and furthering any senseless death. We insist, instead, that our taxes go to supporting essential needs in our Black community, such as access to education, health care, climate justice, mental health services, and de-carceral solutions amongst others.
We refuse to remain silent to save face, or to appear “objective” in the wake of unspeakable horror and human rights violations. We stand alongside our Palestinian Christian siblings in declaring that in our faith walk, we all must unwaveringly “Learn to do right; seek justice; defend the oppressed” (Isa 1:17).
Signatures of Black American churches, individuals and organizations
Black Christians For Palestine
Rev. Wendell Griffen, New Millennium Church, Little Rock Arkansas
Pastor Anthony Bennett, Mount Aery Baptist Church, Bridgeport, CT
Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, Plymouth United Church of Christ, Washington, DC; Faith Strategies & The Senior Advisor, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, USA
Faith Baptist Church, Oakland, CA
Rev. Willie Francois, The Black Church Center for Justice & Equality, NYC
Dr. Cornel West, USA Presidential Candidate, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary
J. Paula Roderick, Steering Committee Member, United Methodists For Kairos Response
Rev. Earle J. Fisher, Ph.D., Senior Pastor, Abyssinian Baptist Church (Memphis)
Pastor Derrick Rice, Sankofa United Church of Christ
Valley View Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA
Bidwell United Presbyterian Church, Chico, CA
Rev. Stephen A. Green, Faith for Black Lives
Rev. Nyle Fort, Assistant Professor African American Studies, Columbia University
Rev. Eddie Journey, Ph.D., Executive Minister, Second Baptist Church of Evanston, IL
Rev. Dr. Iva Carruthers, Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference
Signatures of U.S. Ally Churches, Organizations and Individuals
Mennonite Palestine Israel Network, USA
Friends of Sabeel North America, USA
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
Community Peacemaker Teams
Boston Interfaith Ceasefire Coalition
American Friends Service Committee