2016 DNC Raises New Questions About How to Make Palestinian Human Rights a Touchstone Progressive Issue

Guest Post Written by JVP Philly member Egina Manichova 

Just four years ago, it would have been unthinkable. But at the 2016 DNC, I witnessed firsthand how the groundswell of support for Palestinian equality made waves inside and outside the convention arena.

From overflowing events discussing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, to marches outside of city hall, to delegates on the convention floor proudly holding signs that read “I support Palestinian Human Rights.”

Just weeks before the DNC, activist and author Dr. Cornel West addressed his fellow platform members: “Democratic Party you’ve been in denial for too long, Palestinians ought to be free.”

Like Dr. West, I am invested in pointing our political systems towards equality for Palestinians. As a political refugee from the former Soviet Union, I was brought to America as a child because my mother wanted me to grow up in a society free from the structural violence of anti-Semitism, a society that would give me economic and social opportunities, and that would not deny me rights.

As we all know, these basic dignities are afforded to a select few in the U.S. and the world. In 2016 we still have to chant that Black Lives Matter, that state violence does not make us safer, that people deserve a living wage and clean water, that immigrants are not criminals, and that Palestinians deserve human rights.

As a Jewish refugee, I see it as my moral obligation to fight for these basic tenants of human dignity. Like you, I refuse to define my humanity at the expense of the unjust suffering of others, both at home and in Palestine.

Our voices are joining a rising chorus, because that is what it means to be progressive.

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