Many Black people who support Palestinian rights say they see the Palestinian cause in the context of the African American experience, as the displacement, oppression and deprivation of a minority group.
“There’s no way for me, as an African American, to come back and stand before you, to witness segregation and not say anything about it,” the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates said after a trip to the West Bank on a broadcast of the news show “Democracy Now!”
The roots of the relationship between African Americans and Palestinians stretch back decades, to the early days of the modern civil rights movement. Even then, the question of Palestine was fraught for activists of that era, some of whom saw their struggle more aligned with that of a Jewish diaspora still recovering from the horrors of the Holocaust, and fighting to build a new and fragile nation.
Yet the views of some African Americans have shifted, especially as Palestinian and Black activists began to collaborate during the Black Lives Matter movement, and both sides began to see their respective causes as linked.
A New York Times/Siena College poll in December showed that African American voters were more likely than white or Hispanic voters to sympathize with Palestinians. The poll showed that 34 percent of Black voters sympathized more with Palestinians in the conflict, compared with 28 percent of Black voters polled who said they sympathized more with Israel. As with the other groups polled, younger voters said they were more sympathetic than older voters to Palestinians.