Black musicians have been some of the most outspoken figures in the movement against what they see as police state policies in America. Now singer Lauryn Hill has joined several African American artists and activists in connecting their cause with the Palestinian rights movement in Israel.
The R&B singer is appearing in a new video alongside writers, artists, academics and activists including Alice Walker and Cornel West. The video explicitly ties the Black Lives Matter movement -- and its focus on ending unjustified police violence -- to the treatment of Palestinians in Israel and its occupied territories.
Palestinian activists have been vocal advocates for Black Lives Matter on social media, offering practical advice like how to shield people from tear gas.
Dream Defenders, one of the American groups behind the production of the “When I See Them” video, sponsored a trip for its Black Lives Matter activists to travel to Israel and see the Palestinian territories firsthand. Palestinian groups have also sponsored trips to American cities like Ferguson, Mo., to witness the ongoing movements there.
The video, titled “When I See Them I See Us,” juxtaposes similar imagery from recent U.S. protests against racism and violence in America with that of the contemporary Palestinian resistance movement.
Hill became associated with the Palestinian rights movement after canceling a planned concert in Tel Aviv in May. The move echoed concert cancellations by other artists inspired by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that uses economic and cultural pressure to seek changes in Israeli policy, namely ending its occupations and extending full rights to Palestinians.
“I’ve wanted very much to bring our live performance to this part of the world, but also to be a presence supporting justice and peace,” Hill wrote at the time. “May healing, equanimity, and the openness necessary for lasting resolution and reconciliation come to this region and its people."
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