Bill Fletcher Jr.ColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

Israel, Occupied Palestine and the Dred Scott Decision

Bill Fletcher

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

NNPA Columnist

 

I found myself thinking about the notorious Dred Scott decision (1857) by the U.S. Supreme Court while traveling the streets of Occupied Palestine this past January.  I was there leading a small delegation of African Americans who were trying to better understand the nature of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

There are many ways that the conditions of Palestinians have been described over time.  Most recently the system of Israeli domination of the Palestinians (both internal to the state of Israel and externally through the occupation of Palestinian territories) has been characterized as an “apartheid system,” based on the criteria and analysis of apartheid that the United Nations established in the early 1970s.  While I absolutely agree that apartheid describes the system in place, it was the Dred Scott decision that reverberated in my brain as I explored the reality of the conditions facing Palestinians.

As you will remember, the Dred Scott decision concerned the legitimacy of an African American slave’s assertion of freedom once he was in a non-slave state.  In this famous decision the Court argued, among other things, that Blacks had no rights that a White person was bound to respect.  While walking through Occupied Palestine I found myself confronting the reality that Palestinians have no rights that the Israeli authorities feel bound to respect.

In the interest of time and space, let me provide two examples.  The first is land.  Since 1948 there has been a systematic seizure of land owned by Palestinians, first in what is now known as the state of Israel, and later in the Occupied Territories.  Rationales have ranged from alleging security concerns to the discovery of archaeological relics.  Regardless of the rationale, once removed from the land, the Palestinians do not get it back.  More than likely it is turned over to an Israeli settler in flagrant violation of international law, and sometimes even Israeli law.

The second example concerns checkpoints and roads.  There are roads in the Occupied Territories that Palestinians are forbidden to travel unless they receive special permission.  There are checkpoints throughout the Occupied Territories that Palestinians must walk through, in an atmosphere of humiliation, to be inspected, questioned, etc.  Additionally, Israeli security personnel can feel free to stop any Palestinian, including in territory nominally controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and interrogate them and/or seize them.

In each case, protests by Palestinians rarely result in anything approaching justice.  If Palestinians are attacked by settlers in the Occupied Territories, the Palestinians have come to expect little or no justice from Israeli authorities.  If, on the other hand, a Palestinian attacks an Israeli, they can expect retribution from the Israeli authorities and the settlers.

If you have any questions as to why the tide seems to be turning in favor of a rethinking of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and why growing numbers of people recognize the profound injustice in the treatment of the Palestinians, just remember the name “Dred Scott.” At that point it will all come together.

 

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a racial justice, labor and global justice writer and activist.  He is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies.  For more on his recent trip, see the interview Tavis Smiley held with him at:  http://www.tavissmileyradio.com/bill-fletcher-jr-traveling-through-palestine/.

Tags
Show More

Bill Fletcher Jr.

Bill Fletcher Jr has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker