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Claim to be Pan-Africanist? Zionism is a Litmus Test

In the 1980s, the title for this article was a commonly stated refrain to express the extent to which Zionism was shielded and protected in ways different from how all other forms of settler colonialism were treated. The then settler colonial regimes in apartheid ruled Azania (South Africa), the Americas, and Australia, were generally accepted and criticized as crimes against humanity (at least on some level),  but the issue of Palestine was still viewed by many, even on the so-called left, as something different. For example, there was a specific event organized at Cal State University, Sacramento, in the spring of 1988 that featured women organizers from the Irish Republican Socialist Movement, the Palestinian Liberation Movement, the Indigenous Movement of the Western Hemisphere, and the Pan-African Movement. Even during this event of freedom fighting women, there were attempts to center whether Ashkenazi (European) Jews had some religious and/or ethnic right to the land of the Palestinian people. Even in 1988, no one present at such an event would raise whether the European colonizers in Africa or the Americas were actually right in their crimes.

It was Ahmed Sekou Ture who once said “truth crushed to earth will rise a thousand times!” Today, in 2023, the truth of the settler colonial oppression of the Palestinian people is being opposed by millions of people all over the planet. There is also a developing interest in the role the zionist state of Israel plays in exploiting Africa’s resources to finance their terror against the Palestinian people. This is an extremely important aspect to anti-zionist work because Israel’s has a long history of destabilization work throughout Africa. After all, Israel must protect its ability to produce upwards of 40% of the polished diamonds on the world market today, diamonds that originated from Central and Southern Africa. This destabilization is done in order to maintain a dis-unified and dis-organized Africa, and is crucial to the zionist state’s ability to function as it does.

Still, there is significant weight to that age-old statement about Zionism and the litmus test for settler colonialism and this is evident by the number of African people who are expressing support for the zionist state of Israel. African people from Europe, Africa, and the West can be seen all throughout corporate media sources and especially on social media, Tiktok, etc., providing hot takes on Arab racist attitudes against African people, xenophobic rants claiming “No one cares about us except us” (so why should we care about Palestinian suffering?), etc. There are theories that much of this propaganda is being financially supported by interests tied to Zionism, and this may one day turn out to be true, but for now, we should focus on some irrefutable facts that should help us understand how to properly contextualize these issues in logical ways.

On Religion 

First, we have to acknowledge that faith and history are not the same thing. Biblical prophecy is just that, ideas and beliefs. It is not history. In other words, there is absolutely no evidence that Ashkenazi Jews were present in the Middle East in 1200 BC. There is plenty of historical evidence that Arabs were there and African people were there and that these people practiced all types of faiths from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, to other traditional african spiritual belief systems. Some of this evidence can be found in books like Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism, where Freud takes great chronological steps to prove that Moses’ mother Jochebed or Asiya (depending upon which source you study), never spoke Hebrew, but instead spoke Amorite language utilized in the lands of Caan. In other words, an African language. 

Roots of Zionism 

Next, since we are relying on history and not faith to guide our understanding, we have to go to the first zionist conference in Balse, Switzerland, in 1897. The Balfour Declaration from Britain in 1917, and the work of the World Zionist Congress (WZC) throughout the first part of the twentieth Century. The work of the WZC is very comprehensively spelled out by anti-zionist Jewish scholar Lenni Brenner who explained in his well documented book Zionism in the Age of Dictators how the WZC negotiated with anti-Judaic states like Romania, Russia, Poland, and yes – Nazi Germany – to encourage those states to terrorize their Ashkenazi Jewish populations into wanting to flee, thus boosting support the establishment of the state of Israel. 

All of this historical information comes to point out the obvious facts that Ashkenazi Jews who descend from the Holocaust in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s have a very strong grievance against western and eastern Europe. They have absolutely no claim against the Palestinian people whose land they officially took in 1948. A Palestinian people who were nowhere to be seen anywhere around the crime scene of the Holocaust. The historical argument used by Zionists to justify their theft of Palestine has no value to anyone who refuses to believe their made up historical fantasy.

African Opposition 

And certainly, conscious African people have our own concrete historical reasons for being opposed to Zionism that are connected to the zionist state of Israel’s reliance on exploiting Africa’s natural and human resources. Again, this point is very under-represented and of high importance because it explains why and how the zionist movement has been a key player in helping imperialism dominate Africa and African people for decades. A weak and disorganized Africa is essential for maintaining zionist dominance within the Middle East. So, any efforts by the African masses to organize against this zionist exploitation will place those Africans within the cross hairs of international imperialism and Zionism.

Therefore, despite the ramblings of some Africans on social media expressing disdain for protests supporting Palestinian self-determination, any African who woke up this morning should have enough intelligence to understand that our struggle for justice is objective and without sentimentality. The Palestinian people winning their fight against zionist Israel would severely weaken the same international capitalist and imperialist interests who keep Africa and African people exploited. Without question, a Palestinian victory is a victory for Africa and African people because a defeated Israel cannot cause havoc throughout our communities worldwide. This would remain objectively true even if every single Palestinian on the planet earth hated everything African from the drum to jollof rice. We still benefit from their victory, as they will benefit from ours. 

This is the food we use to nourish the spirits of our people, especially those who are online asking why we should support the Palestinian struggle. Even in 2023, with the high levels of organization that the zionist movement has always operated with, the Palestinian question still remains the litmus test on white supremacy. Settler colonialism is bad for the planet and no lies about God’s promises can ever change that. We need to operate as if no other colonized people should ever have any issues understanding this.

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Ahjamu Umi is revolutionary organizer with the All African People's Revolutionary Party, adviser, and liberation literature author.

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