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In Solidarity with Monument-Topplers

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September 12, 2017

FROM NORTH CAROLINA TO PALESTINE

by Jewish Voice for Peace -- Triangle NC

JVP-TRIANGLE stands in solidarity with those who have been arrested, harassed, and targeted following the community-led removal of the Confederate monument at the Old Durham Courthouse on August 14th. If Takiyah Thompson and other freedom fighters in Durham had not taken down the statue, it would have stood indefinitely because our NC General Assembly passed a repressive and racist law two years ago forbidding municipalities from removing monuments without their approval.

The targeted arrests of these activists tells us that statues of dead white racists are more important to the government than the well being of Black and Brown people who are alive today. We call on the Durham County District Attorney to drop all charges against those who were arrested, and we call on the sheriff to stop the arrests of anti-racist activists.

The white supremacist violence that occurred last month in Charlottesville was the catalyst for our community rising up to remove the statue at the Old Durham Courthouse. White supremacy is nothing new in this country. The United States was established through the genocide of American Indians and using the labor of enslaved black people; that legacy continues to this day.

[caption id="attachment_63376" align="alignleft" width="346"] JVP-Triangle Members Sandra Korn, Gabriel Baldasere and Noah Rubin-Blose[/caption]

As Jews, we know that the white supremacists hate us. And we know that we aren’t the only ones. We see the deep links between anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, and anti-Black racism in the United States, and we recognize that the brunt of white supremacist aggression is born by people of color, including Jews of color. White supremacy is terrifying. We must push back against it in order for any of us to be free.

Imperialism, occupation, colonization, and white supremacy exist both within and beyond US borders, from North Carolina to Palestine; we oppose the use of monuments to glorify and sustain these legacies. We affirm our solidarity with UNC students of color calling for the removal of the Silent Sam confederate statue in the middle of UNC’s campus. We likewise affirm our solidarity with Palestinians who have protested ha-Davidka Square, which memorializes a literal weapon that was used by the new Israeli regime in 1948 to force Palestinians from their homes.

How we tell our history matters. Here in the US South, Confederate monuments tell the story of the Civil War from the perspective of whites in power -- erasing centuries of racist violence against black people, as well as histories of black resistance. Most of these monuments are not only memorials but also instruments of white supremacy, erected during the Jim Crow era as part of a broader program of institutional white supremacy. In Israel, the government glorifies its own racist violence with memorials and replaces Palestinian village names, while seeking to expel Palestinian people from Israel.

To counter this, domestic and transnational solidarity movements for justice are critical. Discriminatory judicial systems, the suppression of dissent, and attempts to criminalize activists are shared struggles here, in Palestine, and around the world. Globally, repressive and racist governments are forming alliances and taking cues from each other, sharing weapons, techniques, and worst practices. We cannot leave anyone out; we must challenge white supremacy, repression, and apartheid from the US to Israel, and worldwide.

Those in Israel/Palestine and here in the United States must face our histories honestly and fight with all our heart and all our might for liberation for all if we hope to build a just, liveable future.

This piece was written by collaboration of the membership of JVP-Triangle.