Jewish Voice for Peace slams Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

It is always to be expected that when  justice raises its beautiful but battered head, the twin demons of reaction and the power of money to subvert truth will suddenly appear.the assault on Palestinian rights led by AIPAC and other tribalists are becoming more and more desperate as the world has cottoned on the horrendous injustice and dispossession of the Palestinian people.

 

The attack on Angela Davis is but the latest.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is continuing to come under fire after rescinding a human rights award for the scholar, civil rights activist and author Angela Davis. In September, the institute announced it would award Davis the Fred L. Shuttlesworth award, named after the civil rights icon. But last Friday, the institute voted to withdraw the award and canceled this year’s gala event in February.

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Davis is a Birmingham, Alabama, native who grew up in a neighborhood known as Dynamite Hill because it was bombed so frequently by the Ku Klux Klan.

The institute rescinded the award days after the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center sent a letter urging the board to reconsider honoring Davis. According to AL.com, the January 2nd letter cited Davis’s, quote, “recent outspoken support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel [which] is very troubling as it targets the Jewish people excessively,” the letter said. It went on to state, “We do not suggest that Israel should be immune from criticism, but BDS ignores gross human rights transgressions by other countries around the world and focuses solely on Israel, the world’s only Jewish state,” unquote.

Others in the Birmingham area criticized Davis for her support for the Black Panthers and Communist Party.

The institute’s decision to rescind the award has sparked outrage in Birmingham and around the country. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said he was dismayed by the institute’s decision, which he said came after, quote, “protests from our local Jewish community and some of its allies,” unquote. The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously to express support for Dr. Davis, as did the Birmingham School Board.

In addition, more than 350 academics have signed on to a letter supporting Davis that was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace. The letter signed by more than 350 academics states, in part, quote, “ The cancelling of this award by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is unjust, insulting and ill-conceived, especially because it is likely premised on Professor Davis’ long-standing support for Palestinian human rights, The decision seems to stem from a misinformed view that to advocate for Palestinian human rights is somehow offensive to the Jewish community,” unquote.

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Meanwhile, three members of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute have resigned, including the chair and first vice chair, following calls for their ouster over the controversy.

Angela Davis is now scheduled to attend an alternative event in Birmingham next month on the same night she would have come for the Shuttlesworth event, which is being organized by a coalition of grassroots groups.