For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!

Second lecture in the ACMES lecture series "Race, racism and racialisation in the Middle East and Europe". Speaker: Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University.

Event details of Black Radical Politics, Palestine and Zionism
Date 25 March 2021
Time 17:00 -18:30

Over fifty years ago, a group of Black public intellectuals authored and published an ad in The New York Times in which they expressed “complete solidarity” with the Palestinian struggle and Palestinian right to self-determination, return, and anti-colonial resistance. Titled “An Appeal by Black Americans against United States Support for the Zionist Government of Israel,” the NY Times Palestine statement sought to disrupt what looked like a consensus of Black support for the State of Israel that garnered credibility in mainstream media and civil rights circles not least due to some of the names identified with Black Zionism, such as Bayard Rustin, the prominent and respected leading organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. Co-drafted by Professor emeritus of Africana Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and co-edited by then Sarah Lawrence Professor Sam Anderson, the statement was signed by a register of names of who’s who in 1970 Black Radical circles, including Francis Beal, Grace and James Lee Boggs, Dolores Cayou, Ella Collins, Phil Hutchings, Flo Kennedy, Askia Toure, Robert Van Lierop, and Robert F. Williams, to name a few.

Drawing on my experiences as a Palestine scholar/activists, along with oral histories and archival material, and on-going collaboration with several authors and signatories of the NY Times statement, this presentation will compare and contrast Black perspectives on Israel, Palestine and Zionism, analyzing how and why solidarity with Palestine, in this statement and elsewhere, was framed in anti-racist, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist terms that clearly rejected and defied exceptionalism. The presentation will discuss strategies employed to express their rejection of Zionism and Israel, that they defined, along with Rhodesia and South Africa as “three privileged white settler states that came into existence by displacing indigenous peoples from their lands.” Finally, the presentation will shed light on the cost the signatories of the statement have incurred as a result.

Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi is the Director and Senior Scholar in the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas and Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and affiliated Faculty in Sexualities Studies San Francisco State University. Before joining SFSU, she served as the first director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. She is a Policy Advisor for Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian independent think tank, and serves on the Boards on the Afro-Middle Center (Johannesburg, South Africa); the World Congress of Middle East Studies; the International Association of Islamophobia Studies; and co-chairs Feminists for Justice in/for Palestine in the National Women's Studies Association. She is lead editor of several anthologies, book co-author and author of over 80 articles and book chapters in academic, print and social media. She is currently working on oral histories of Palestinian feminist activism and editing a volume on Teaching Palestine: Pedagogical Praxis and the Indivisibility of Justice. Her scholarship, pedagogy and public activism focuses on Palestine, Arab and Muslim communities and their diasporas, race and resistance studies, transnational feminisms, and gender and sexuality studies.

This lecture will take place online via Zoom. If you want to attend, please register by sending an email to


ACMES Spring Lecture Series

The series Race, racism and racialisation in the Middle East and Europe is inspired by the global Black Lives Matter protest movement. The various lectures explore the complexities of race, racism and racialisation, their intersections with other inequalities, and emerging spaces of resistance and solidarity.

4 March 2021, 5 PM
Dr. Rachel Schine, University of Colorado
Race-making in Early Arabic Fiction

25 March 2021, 5 PM
Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University
Black Radical Politics, Palestine and Zionism

8 April 2021, 5 PM
Dr. Sarah Bracke, University of Amsterdam
Europe’s ‘Muslim Question’: A Biopolitical Approach  

22 April 2021, 5 PM
Dr. Deniz Yonucu, Technische Universität Berlin
Policing and Resistance in the Racialized Urban Spaces of Istanbul

20 May 2021, 5 PM
Annual ACMES lecture
Prof. Amade M’charek, UvA
Beach Encounters and Forensic Evidence: Migrant Death, Colonial Currents and the Art of Paying Attention