"To Build a New World": Black American Internationalism and Palestine Solidarity
This essay traces the arc of Black American solidarity with Palestine, placing the phenomenon in the context of twentieth-century African American internationalism. It sketches the evolution of the political imaginary that enabled Black activists to depict African Americans and Palestinians as compatriots within global communities of dissent. For more than half a century, Black internationalists identified with Zionism, believing that the Jewish bid for a national homeland paralleled the African American freedom struggle. During the 1950s and 1960s, however, colonial aggression in the Middle East led many African American progressives to rethink the analogy. In the late 1960s and the 1970s, African American dissidents operating within the nexus of Black nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Third Worldism constructed powerful theories of Afro-Palestinian kinship. In so doing, they reimagined or transcended bonds of color, positing anti-imperialist struggle, rather than racial affinity, as the precondition of camaraderie.