Wed, 18 February 2015
Cowardly Black Caucus Reacts to Israeli Insults, Ignores Israeli Apartheid
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Nobody celebrates victories against racism and apartheid a generation or two back more often and more lavishly than the Congressional Black Caucus. It's something they must do constantly not just because some of those victories made their careers possible, but because apart from their own careers, they haven't accomplished much in the last 40 years.
From the 1990s onward, most of them voted for legislation that doubled down on the war on drugs, and to intensify overpolicing and mass incarceration in their communities. When it became clear that Katrina was the excuse to dispossess and disperse into exile a couple hundred thousand black people on the Gulf Coast, the black caucus called no hearings, sounded no alarms. And despite their relentless celebrations of victories over racism the entire caucus has consistently turned a blind eye to brutal settler-state apartheid in Israel.
The CBC's promise to skip out when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses the US Congress on March 5 is not an act of vision or moral courage. When Israel demolishes Palestinian houses, lynches and deports Africans, when Israel passes more discriminatory laws and steals Palestinian land the Congressional Black Caucus says nothing. When successive US administrations of both parties endorse Israeli punishment of civilians with water and power cuts and blockades of medical and construction supplies, books and even toys, the CBC is silent then too. When Israel threatens all its neighbors with nukes, and makes the false claim that Iran has nuclear weapons, the CBC are quiet. When Israeli fighter jets, armored copter gunships and tanks rain white phosphorus and shellfire on Palestinian neighborhoods the CBC, with the rest of Congress, unanimously endorsed the aggressor's right defend themselves by murdering children, and voted to resupply the expended Israeli munitions.
So let's be clear. Netanyahu is a demagogic racist. He heads the planet's most vicious apartheid regime, a US supported and funded client state engaged in the conquest and occupation of neighboring territories and the genocidal dispossession and exile of their populations, all with US tax dollars and US diplomatic cover. But that ain't the CBC's problem with him or with Israel.
Like the rest of the US ruling elite the CBC has no problem with Israeli apartheid. The CBC's problem is that Republican House leader John Boehner invited Netanyahu, not President Obama, so the Netanyahu visit is a violation of protocol, a kind of insult to the First Black President.
We shouldn’t be surprised. The CBC's tunnel vision works the same way at home as it does abroad. Thanks to the large numbers of blacks pushed out of homes and the workforce in recent years, the rate of black child poverty stands now at 38.2%, an all time high. The CBC isn't calling daily press conferences over that either. Detroit is executing its own slow motion Katrina, and pursuing water cutoffs and evictions that will affect over 100,000 residents, just abhout all black, and the CBC hasn't noticed that either. But let somebody insult or disparage the first lady, and they'll be all over that.
It's because the CBC, like the rest of the black political class, are self-serving cowards. Their failure is symptomatic of the shrinkage of black politics from one of vision and struggle to a politics of protecting their own privilege.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.