“We in the North who are committed to purging our society of racist violence need to guarantee that the call for justice in Palestine echoes through all of our struggles and that the BDS movement achieves the stature of the anti-apartheid boycott of the 1980’s, regardless of our specific focus in the area of social justice”
– Angela Davis, May 17th at the Vrije Universiteit
Last week, Professors Angela Davis and Gina Dent were in Amsterdam for the Moving Together: Art; Activism and Education weeklong event. The event included speeches, workshops and meetings around different social justice movements inside and outside the Netherlands with solidarity as a central theme running throughout.
SRP and De Verrekijker were fortunate to meet with Prof’s Davis and Dent at the beginning of the week to discuss Palestinian solidarity in the Netherlands and repression of organising around this. We discussed the event with Palestinian organiser, Rasmea Odeh and the subsequent eviction of De Verrekijker; the board of directors bowing to pressure from actors external to the university and the general situation of the Palestine solidarity movement here. We spoke about the need for developing better ties with progressive organisations (such as leftist; anti-racist or other social justice groups) around Palestine. Davis and Dent also made a point of raising the issue of Palestine in all their public events and calling on stronger solidarity.
At the closing night of the weeklong program, Prof Davis gave her keynote speech in the Vrije Universiteit. This institution has repeatedly repressed and issued punishment in response to displays Palestinian solidarity. Davis addressed the De Verrekijker eviction “I call on the board of directors to immediately return the space to the students” and about the Dutch response to the Rasmea Odeh event “Rasmea has been exiled from the US and it seems the Netherlands wants to exile her for a second time”.
She highlighted the connection between Palestinian liberation struggle and other liberation struggles, particularly the Black Lives Matter movement. The importance of Palestinian solidarity with Ferguson during the war on Gaza forged strong ties and uplifted each other’s struggles. “It’s very difficult to imagine the rise of the Black Lives Matter without the assistance of the Palestinians”. Every reiteration of Palestinian solidarity was received with cheers and applause.
The continuous reiteration and emphasis on the importance of inclusion of Palestinian liberation in our movements against oppressive forces in this world has heightened awareness and consciousness on those who were attending these events. Especially at a time when Palestine has been reaching mainstream news headlines again. On Saturday, SRP participated in demonstration with hundreds of others in solidarity with Gaza and against the US embassy move to Jerusalem. This is a crucial time to advance the Palestinian solidarity movement here in the Netherlands.
Following the week with Angela Davis, during which SRP facilitated a workshop on countering Zionist rhetoric, we are filled with renewed conviction and motivation for our organising work. We express our admiration and gratitude to Prof’s Angela Davis and Gina Dent for their strong support of the Palestinian liberation struggle and the use of their platforms to declare this. In the coming weeks, we will be developing some new campaigns; projects and collaborations. We invite you to get involved in whatever way you can.
You can discuss this with us at our next benefit dinner for our Jalazone playground project at Joes’ Garage. 7pm on June 4th. See you there!