Colorlines asked Palestinian-American activist and organizer Linda Sarsour how she thinks people in the United States should respond to Israeli Defense Forces killing 62 Palestinian protesters and wounding about 2,400 on Monday (May 14). While people as young as 18 months were mowed down by gunfire and tear gas, Trump administration envoys celebrated the opening of a controversial United States embassy in Jerusalem. Critics have declared the Trump administration’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol the end of any pretense that the far-right Israeli government and its ally, the United States, are seeking a peaceful two-state solution that would grant Palestinians—who are indigenous to the land—their own state. Here’s what Sarsour, Justice League NYC member, co-founder of MPOWER Change, national co-chair of the Women’s March and senior fellow at Auburn Seminary, told us:
Decades ago brave Americans stood up against the Vietnam War and decades later more brave Americans stood up against South African apartheid. The time is now for our generation to stand up for the Palestinian people and against illegal occupation and apartheid. Will we choose to be the brave Americans of our time and choose to be on the right side of history.
For good measure, Sarsour offered three relatively simple actions for Americans to take, even if they are not steeped in the politics and history of this 70-year struggle.
- “Call your member of Congress and demand that they speak up about the atrocities happening to unarmed Palestinians in Gaza.”
- “Be cautious how you frame things. Words matter. People did not ”die” in Gaza, they were killed by Israeli soldiers with live ammunition. There is no war. The Palestinian people do not have a military, tanks, snipers, airplanes, missiles or drones. They also do not have control of their borders or airspace.”
- “Elevate Palestinian voices in the Diaspora. Some examples of important voices: Dr. Noura Erakat, Dr. Hatem Bazian, Ahmed Shehab El-Din, Yousef Munayyer, Ahmad Abuznaid, Manal Omar.”