IPMN Endorses Platform of Movement for Black Lives
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. ~1 Corinthians 12:12-16
August 10, 2016 — The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) endorses the platform of the Movement for Black Lives (MBL) in its entirety. We are in full solidarity with the MBL’s struggle.
The platform is a detailed call to action at the local, state, and federal levels for the broad scale liberation of Black people in America and around the world. Written by more than 50 organizations, including the Black Lives Matter Network and other Black anti-racist groups, the platform calls for an end to the undeclared but very real war on Black people, reparations in the form of investments in Black communities, economic justice, community control, political power and divestment from military expenditures.
Of particular relevance to the work of IPMN is the “invest-divest” section of the platform. As many recent news stories and commentaries have noted, this section identifies Israel as “an apartheid state” and calls for people to “build invest/divestment campaigns that end US aid to Israel’s military industrial complex and any government with human rights violations.” The platform also encourages people to “fight the expanding number of anti-BDS bills being passed in states around the country.”
We commend these suggestions as necessary components of the movement to liberate Palestinians from the racism they too face on a daily basis.
We acknowledge that the Movement for Black Lives’ call for justice and liberation in Israel/Palestine comes within the context of their broader call for justice and liberation for black people in the United States. Specifically, they argue, the billions of US taxpayer dollars used by the Israeli and Egyptian militaries to violently suppress Palestinian rights could have been better spent on “domestic education and social programs” for Black and other discriminated-against communities here in America.
We cannot, therefore, continue to call for a just peace in Israel/Palestine without also working in solidarity with Black people in America toward justice and liberation. Conversely, we encourage Presbyterians who have long struggled against racism in the United States to join the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality in Israel/Palestine. As the platform authors state, “We recognize we have a shared struggle with all oppressed people; collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.” And as the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his letter from a Birmingham Jail, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”