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Watch: US racial justice activists rally for Palestine in Nazareth

Jan. 16, 2015 5:35 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 19, 2015 10:18 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A group of activists for racial justice from communities of color in the United States have released a video filmed in Nazareth in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against Israeli "apartheid."

The video was filmed at the conclusion of a ten-day tour by representatives of groups associated with Black rights and racial justice including the Dream Defenders, Black Youth Project 100, Black Lives Matter, and activists associated with the Ferguson movement against police brutality.

Organizers said that the video shows a "solidarity demonstration as a call for support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign that was called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005," and contains a number of messages from activists, artists, and poets highlighting the connections between the oppression face by Palestinians and the struggles of youths of color in the US.

Journalist Marc Lamont Hill is seen in the video introducing the rally by saying: "We came here to Palestine to stand in love and revolutionary struggle with our brothers and sisters, we come to a land that has been stolen by greed and destroyed by hate."

"We come here and we learn laws that have been co-signed in ink but written in the blood of the innocent and we stand next to people who continue to courageously struggle and resist the occupation, people continue to dream and fight for freedom, from Ferguson to Palestine the struggle for freedom continues."

Other participants in the video, which was filmed at a square in front of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in the heart of Nazareth's Old City, recite poetry and spoken word in the rest of the video, before finishing with chants expressing solidarity between Black struggles in the US and the fight against occupation in Palestine.

One of the tour participants, Black Lives Movement founder Patrisse Cullors, was quoted in an article earlier this month as calling Israel an "apartheid state" and challenging people around the world to recognize it as such.

"This is an apartheid state. We can't deny that and if we do deny it we are apart of the Zionist violence. There are two different systems here in occupied Palestine. Two completely different systems. Folks are unable to go to parts of their own country. Folks are barred from their own country."

The release of the video by the visiting delegation of activists from the United States comes only two months after a group of Palestinian students toured the United States sharing their experiences and connecting with advocates for racial justice in the country.

The delegation, which was associated with the Right to Education campaign, held an event in solidarity with the Black struggle in the US at Birzeit University in December.

Fittingly, the video recently released by activists was filmed in a city considered to be the capital of the 1.2 million-strong community of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Although 80 percent of Palestinians inside what is now Israel were expelled in 1948 and prevented from returning by authorities, residents of Nazareth are among the approximately 125,000 who managed to stay.

They lived under military occupation until 1966 and the predominantly agricultural communities faced massive land confiscation by the state, and today continue to face discrimination in all aspects of life.
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