‘FREE PALESTINE’ – Black Lives Matter UK Attacks ‘Israel’s Settler Colonial Pursuits’

Black Lives Matter
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

The Twitter-verified Black Lives Matter UK organisation has posted a “FREE PALESTINE” diatribe attacking “Israel’s settler colonial pursuits” and people allegedly being “gagged of the right to critique Zionism”.

“As Israel moves forward with the annexation of the West Bank, and mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism, and Israel’s settler colonial pursuits, we loudly and clearly stand beside our Palestinian comrades,” the group declared, hailing their supposed brothers-in-struggle with terminology commonly if not exclusively used among the far left and unreconstructed communists — and adding an emphatic “FREE PALESTINE”.

The tweet, the first in a nine-part tweet on the subject of Palestine and Zionism, may have been prompted by the sacking of former Labour leadership contender and Jeremy Corbyn ally Rebecca Long-Bailey from the British opposition party’s Shadow Cabinet by party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Long-Bailey had shared an “approving tweet” about an interview in which actress Maxine Peake suggested that, as the left-wing Guardian put it, “the U.S. police tactic of kneeling on someone’s neck was taught by the Israeli secret service.”

Black Lives Matter UK took aim not just at Israel but also at the United Kingdom, noting that Palestinians in Britain have “called for the active protection and promotion of ‘accurate information about current and past events in the life of the Palestinian people, as part of Britain’s ongoing, and outstanding, colonial debt.”

Mandatory Palestine, as the territory now comprising Israel was then called, was a British protectorate for a brief period after the end of the First World War, during which the British government committed to the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people in the area with the Balfour Declaration.

Black Lives Matter UK made no allusion to any “colonial debt” on the part of the Turks, who as the driving force in the former Ottoman Empire subjugated the Arab and indigenous Jewish population in the region for hundreds of years, before their empire entered the First World War on the side of the Germans and was defeated by the British and their allies.

Black Lives Matter UK faced criticism for its decision to weigh in on the situation in the Middle East in such a partisan manner, with Islamist activist turned left-liberal commentator and counter-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz tweeting: “Surprise surprise ‍♂️ It’s all revealing itself to be part of the same anti-Israel clique all over again, again, again”. He had previously highlighted anti-Israel rhetoric at Black Lives Matter rallies, noting that “the far-left subverts every social justice cause it infiltrates.”

Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage has raised similar concerns, warning that the “Black Lives Matter movement is a dangerous, Marxist organisation, hell-bent on anarchy, and we need to wake up, get some facts into our heads, and understand what it is we’re fighting.”

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