“Tracing the Roots of the Black-Israel Alliance”
West Bloomfield Lecture Series: Israel in the World
This talk provides an historical overview of Sephardic/Mizrahi civil rights protests in Israel and examines how the Mizrahi struggle helped forge ties between the African-American community and the State of Israel. Drawing inspiration from the American Civil Rights Movement, Mizrahi Jews fought against inequality by means of hunger strikes, marches, sit-ins, and tent protests.
On the other hand, African-American civil rights leaders drew parallels between the Mizrahi and African-American communities and used this as a basis for forging strategic alliances with the State of Israel. As a result, civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King and Whitney Young corresponded with Israeli diplomats and statesmen in order to gain insights from the Mizrahi experience and reproduce a blueprint for how to achieve equality and advance the position of Blacks in America. These transnational intellectual exchanges laid the foundations for Israel advocacy among Black social justice and religious activists.
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