Two Black Caucus Members Ask Gaza Flotilla Probe, the Rest are Silent

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Terrified of offending the Israel lobby, Black congresspersons routinely vote for anti-Palestinian resolutions as “if they represented some Arab-hating constituency in Utah.” Two Black Representatives – Barbara Lee (CA) and Keith Ellison (MN) – last week dared to ask President Obama to support lifting Israel's blockade of Gaza and an investigation into last week's savage attack on the aid flotilla – but were careful to note they did not speak for the Congressional Black Caucus as a body.

Two Black Caucus Members Ask Gaza Flotilla Probe, the Rest are Silent

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The relentless pressures of the Israel lobby have succeeded in causing most Black elected officials to cower in fear of being labeled anti-Israel.”

Every objective observer of Black American grassroots political sentiment recognizes that African Americans are the most inclined of any major demographic group to empathize with the plight of Palestinians. It is an historic and contemporary fact that is consistent with Black America’s special identification with the downtrodden and dispossessed of the world. This relative pro-Palestinian bent in the Black American worldview flows from obvious and formative facts of the Black experience in the United States, which has led Black people to put the highest premium on social justice. That’s why Blacks can sing about Moses and the Promised Land all day long on Sunday, and still feel that the people currently in charge in Israel are on the wrong side of justice.

Since at least the mid-Sixties, many Jewish organizations have treated Black sympathies for the Palestinian people as rank anti-Semitism of the kind Jews experienced at the hands of whites. In some Jewish circles it is accepted as a truism that that Blacks are anti-Semitic. We see such perceptions, today, in the willingness of some to believe that even Barack Obama is somehow out to get Israel, despite his groveling support of the Israeli regime’s barbaric behavior since his election.

Over the years, the relentless pressures of the Israel lobby have succeeded in causing most Black elected officials to cower in fear of being labeled anti-Israel. Black officeholders now typically embark on periodic, pitiful pilgrimages to the Jewish state, bowing symbolically to Jerusalem, so as not to be marked as sympathetic to Palestinians. And on the floor of the U.S. Congress, the Black Caucus shames itself and misrepresents its constituents by endorsing every fawning resolution promulgated by Israel’s operatives in the United States.

Even this exceedingly mild letter is apparently too risky for the rest of the 42-member Black Caucus to sign.”

Two Black congresspersons – Barbara Lee, of California, the Caucus chair, and Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, one of two Muslim members of the House – recently wrote a letter to President Obama, saying they were “deeply troubled by the military action aboard the aid flotilla en route to Gaza...resulting in the death of nine civilians, including one American.” Representatives Lee and Ellison requested that Obama “support a thorough investigation” and that he “call for a lifting of the blockade on Gaza.”

Yet even this exceedingly mild letter is apparently too risky for the rest of the 42-member Black Caucus to sign.

Back in January of 2009, as Israel was massacring more than 1,300 Palestinian men, women and children, and President-elect Obama stood shamefully silent, only two Black Caucus members – Maxine Waters of California and Gwen Moore of Wisconsin – had the courage to vote against a House resolution vilifying the Palestinian victims. Barbara Lee and Keith Ellison were among the seven members that sought “neutral” ground by simply voting “present,” while the bulk of the Black Caucus behaved as if they represented some Arab-hating constituency in Utah. Clearly, the Black Caucus is collectively terrified of the Israel lobby. The bigger the Black Caucus gets, the less representative it becomes of Black America and its desire for global social justice. But that's alright – Tel Aviv is pleased. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].


Lee & Ellison

While I appreciate Lee and Ellison's call for lifting the blockade, LAST MONTH WHY DID THEY VOTE FOR H.R. 5327 TO ARM ISRAEL??? See:

The YES vote here is absolutely reprehensible.  Especially when constituents in their districts have more pressing needs than arming Israel.  By voting for this bill last month, both Lee and Ellison are complicit in the Israeli attack on the flotilla.  These "calls" are nothing but cosmetic surgery especially if they're negated by YES votes to arm Israel who will probably sell some arms to a racist apartheid regime in South Africa.  Lee and Ellison can do this cosmetic measure, which Obama will probably ignore, but they have some explaining to do about their role in arming racist regimes across the world.  -RF.


Fortunately for us, the last apartheid regime in Africa (depending on how one defines the crisis in the Sudan,) went out of business about 15 years ago, (leaving its legacy intact)so any arms sales that Israel makes in South Africa won't support apartheid. Back when apartheid was in force, just like now, most so-called black leaders rubber stamped any and all arms sales/transfers/giveaways to Israel in spite of its open collusion with the apartheid government and distanced themselves from those who questioned or criticized their behavior. The spectacle of blacks and their "leaders" being accused of anti-semitism while cowering before Israel and its lobby and catering to the "needs" of its people while their own people do without is just a tired continution of business as usual.


Until black people learn that there is no escape from each other, because other racial and ethnic groups, in spite of their claims to the contrary, see and (mis)treat us as a group, we will be stuck with the politics of powerlessness. When we learn to push as energetically, ruthlessly, selfishly and as unapologetically for our interests as do other groups such as Native Americans, immigrant groups, and Jews and other white ethnic groups, we will begin to make change that is real and permanent. As long as the primary goal of most black people and their so-called leaders is to "get along" with those who have absolutely no respect for us or for our legitmate claims on the state, we are wasting time pretending to be players in the political arena.

No More Politricks from the Black Misleadership Class

Thank you for your insight Glen. The occupation army of the zionist apartheid settler state is heavily funded by the US. By law the military spending for Israel has to be done through US based “defense” industries (war profiteers). That would place Israel as an integral part of the US military industrial complex; it means that the US pays for the zionist military in the same way that it pays for its own imperial military. US war profiteers make money from Israel’s genocidal wars the same way they make money from their own imperial Af-Pak and Iraq wars. A single congressional vote for Israel is a vote for a dead Palestinian baby and a vote for a US capitalist to get paid for it. If most Black congresspersons are voting for that then they are voting against the conscience of our people. We probably can’t reform them and we sure as hell can’t reform their party, the democrats are dead! We need to break from them politically and reestablish Black political independence through a Black working class based Black Agenda militant party. Malcolm X was complaining about the nature of the democrats in the 1960’s. Why in the world are we still complaining about it in 2010? Our generation can't wait I don’t want to reach Chomsky’s age still talking about the need for an alternative. We need to act now!

"Conscience of the Congress" my black ass

This is the culmination of what integration entails for our people. Absolutely impotent excuse for bold and courageous Black eldership/leadership. These stooges never fail to piss me off. The CBC's collective political cowardice is shameful and has been for too long. We can't with a straight face tell our children to look up to the crop of Black American governmental leaders as role models to emulate in future life.

So how the hell do we get it through the rest of our people minds in various districts to throughly comprehend that these are just clowns in brown skin? At this point, Black Congressional representation don't mean jack but an 'diversity' stamp of approval. Seriously, this is embarrassing. At minimum we need a whole "new" CBC of totally new and vetted Black men and women who are about it "just 'cause" and don't crave political points in regards to working with the status quo paradigm. At maximum we need to create a new Council of Elders natiotnwide outside the current leadership establishment.

The Emperor has no coattails


Here's the rub with these gutless wonders.  Sucking and kissing White "Independent" (read closet conservative) voter ass doesn't work.  Running further and further to the Right, doesn't work.   Obama is going to find this out in 2012, unless of course the Repugs run a complete idiot and buffon which is very, very likely.  But even the GOP town idiot will give him a run for his money.


"Barack Obama’s historic 2008 victory was supposed to herald a new era in American politics, one in which the conventional wisdom that there were limits to how far ambitious African-American politicians could expect to go — nationally or statewide — had been demolished.


So much for that theory.


The stunning defeat suffered by Rep. Artur Davis — one of the brightest stars in a new generation of talented black pols — in Tuesday’s Alabama Democratic gubernatorial primary marked the latest setback in an election year that is proving no better, and perhaps even worse, for African-American candidates who are attempting to ascend to high office."


One of the takeaways from his own experience, Williams said, is that party insiders in many ways were a harder sell than the primary voters themselves and that traditional party structures aren’t designed to accommodate statewide African-American candidates.



Ha. I love it.  "So much for that theory," you dumb, chickenshit bastards.  Surprise, surprise, "that traditional structures aren't designed to accomodate statewide African American candidates."


When Black folks wake up to the fact that they are on their own, that no one gives a shit about their plight, that "mainstream" suck asses not only won't fight for them but won't win, that economic empowerment is their ticket, then real transformation will occur.  Until then, the masses will feed on bullshit like "post-Racial" America even as crackers spit in their faces and call them ni**as behind their backs. 


White America has spoken you dumb fucks, are you listening??


You could be a plantation overseer and STILL not get elected.





Uncle Rangel the Stoolpigeon

More news on the further degeneration of the "conscience of congress." Uncle Rangel was at it again shakin' his butt for the zionists at a New York press conference along with white New York lawmakers that are trying to prevent the survivors of the Mavi Marmara Flotilla from speaking at a Black Church in Brooklyn this Thursday. The press conference was organized by some New York based zionist group (Source: "Horses Mouth" 1) It is already bad enough that Uncle Rangel wants to re-introduce the draft and force young Afrikans to go and fight in imperialist wars; why does he always have to run to the support of zionists against his own people time and again? I guess Glen is right, "Tel Aviv is pleased", especially the new rich zionists (Source: "Horses Mouth" 2) I guess our values of social justice are worth nothing but a broken penny to this clown. If BAR ever brings back the annual Lawn Jokey Award maybe this one can get a life time lawn jokey achievement prize.