African Heritage Delegation to Israel/Palestine

AUGUST 2, 2011

DOWNLOAD: Click here to download the statement as a PDF

WATCH: Click here for video of delegation participants presenting statement and observations at Washington DC Press Briefing

On 16-29 July 2011, we participated on a study trip to Palestine/Israel. 

The delegation consisted of seven men and seven women, aged 25 to 73, who came from different parts of the United States - the West coast, the east coast, New England, the Midwest and the South.  The group included teachers, professors, university administrators, human rights activists, as well as priests and laypeople representing Christian and Islamic religious traditions.  Our main mission was to listen and learn about the impact of the Israeli occupation on the lives of Palestinians in the, Gaza and Israel, as well as those scattered around the world.

Many of us fought for civil rights and human rights in the American Civil Rights movement, the anti-apartheid movement, the Haitian solidarity movement and the anti-war movement against the American wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. For 11 of us, this was our first trip to Palestine/Israel.

Thanks to our experience in combating racism and exploitation in the United States, we are united in our support for the civil and human rights of all people around the world.  Before we went to the delegation, we had an intellectual understanding of the impact of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinians, but we wanted to get first-hand information from members of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, religious groups, civil society and public organizations.

Based on our observations and discussions with the Palestinians and Israelis, we have come to the following conclusions:

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza are a direct violation of international law and numerous UN resolutions;

The occupation has led to the physical, mental and spiritual oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, as well as to the forcible expulsion of millions of Palestinians from their homes, farms, businesses and homeland;

In addition to the illegal occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Government, many Israeli businesses and a wide range of Israeli society discriminate against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and Mizrahi Jews (Arab Jews) who are citizens of Israel;

The Israeli occupation and the abolition of Palestinian rights correspond to the UN definition of apartheid.

In connection with the proposals and proposals, we have adopted the following resolutions:

We call on African Americans and all people of goodwill to support the end of the occupation, including the destruction of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including the demolition of the apartheid wall, the end of the military and economic blockade of Gaza, the full equality of all Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel in Mizrahi, as well as the recognition and exercise of the right of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced Palestinians to return.

We call on Palestinian children and adults detained by the Israel Defense Forces and police to release all political prisoners and end their detention without trial.

We call on the U.S. Government to end the $3 billion in military aid that we pay to Israel annually, which is used in the name of security to continue the oppression, persecution, mutilation and murder of Palestinians.

We support an international campaign calling for boycotts, asset divestments and sanctions against Israel in order to promote freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians.

We invite US citizens to join the delegation of interfaith peace and go to Palestine/Israel to learn first-hand about the consequences of the occupation.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."We believe in the indivisibility of our human rights and the rights of all oppressed peoples.  We will not give up until all of humanity is free.



african heritage delegation info


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TRIP REPORTS & PHOTOS: Read trip reports and view photos from the inaugural African Heritage Delegation

VIDEO: 2011 Delegation Press Conference after return to DC

DELEGATION REPORT: IFPB's report on the inaugural African Heritage Delegation (pdf)

STATEMENT: The statement of the 2011 African Heritage Delegation


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African Heritage Delegation Members:
Queen Adams - Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia
Avery Blakeney - Washington, DC
Carolyn L. Boyd - Alexandria, Virginia
Gloria Brown - Streetsboro, Ohio
Jesse Hagopian - Seattle, Washington
Oscar Harrell - Sudbury, Massachusetts
Keith Harvey - Wareham, Massachusetts
Trina Jackson - Decatur, Georgia
Gerald Lenoir - Berkeley, California
Michael Nettles - College Park, Maryland
Sterling Pack - Marriottsville, Maryland
Mark Pollard - Atlanta, Georgia
Raheemah Raheem - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Paula Watts - Fort Washington, Maryland


Click here to download the statement as a PDF

Click here for video of the Washington DC Press Briefing

Media Contact:
Jacob Pace, Interfaith Peace-Builders staff


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