Guardian characterisation of Angela Davis as a “civil rights activist” is absurd

Here are the opening paragraphs of a Jan. 8th Guardian article (Angela Davis ‘stunned’ by decision to rescind civil rights award):

The veteran civil rights activist Angela Davis said she was “stunned” by the decision of Alabama’s Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to revoke an award she was set to receive.

The institute announced in October that Davis, a Birmingham native, would receive the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights award, calling her “one of the most globally recognized champions of human rights, giving voice to those who are powerless to speak”.

But last week, the organization reversed course and said she does not meet the criteria after all, in an apparent response to objections over her outspoken support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that protests against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.


Davis, who was an active member of the Black Panther party, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the US communist party, said her support for Palestinian prisoners is consistent with her support for political prisoners in other parts of the world.

Further, Davis, an American radical left activist, is quoted in the article predictably maintaining that though she’s ‘critical’ of Israel, she passionately opposes antisemitism.

However, once again, the Guardian, in uncritically repeating Davis’s talking points, has only provided readers with a small piece of the story. 

For starters, Davis is a hardcore anti-Israel activist who has, for instance, falsely claimed the existence of racially segregated Israeli roads, accused Israel of apartheid and charged the state with engaging in “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” against Palestinians.

Moreover, Davis’s conception of “political prisoners” – whose freedom she hopes to secure – appears to encompass literally all Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons, as she’s a co-author of a highly propagandistic document called the Robben-Island Declaration – named after the South African island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.  

To Davis, even Palestinians – such as Marwan Barghouti – imprisoned for the murder of Jews are “political prisoners”.

Not surprisingly, Davis is also a fan of Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh – convicted for her role in the murder of two Israeli students in a 1969 Jerusalem supermarket bombing.  Odeh, who was released in a prisoner swap in 1980, emigrated to the US, but was recently deported after being found guilty of failing to reveal her terrorist background to immigration authorities. 

A genuine “civil rights activist” (and opponent of antisemitism), it seems, would make common cause with Jewish civilian victims of terrorism, not the perpetrators of such attacks.

Finally, even Davis’s record on the narrow issue of political prisoners is one of ideological extremism and profound moral hypocrisy. Davis was a communist who openly supported the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and even refused a Czechoslovakian dissident’s plea, in 1972, that she express support for true prisoners of conscience in their Soviet bloc country. (Angela Davis reportedly believed that those jailed in Eastern Europe were trying to undermine their governments and that those who went into political exile were attacking their own countries and, thus, undeserving of her support.)

So, when Angela Davis had the opportunity to truly ‘speak truth to power’ on behalf of actual political prisoners in a totalitarian regime, she failed to do so. Yet, decades later, she ardently champions for the release of Palestinian terrorists convicted for acts of violence against citizens of a democratic state – and is of course bestowed the moral badge of “civil rights activist” by the Guardian for doing so.

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13 replies »

  1. Next episode: The Guardian declares that Idi Amin was a civil rights activist and hero, because of his dismantling of Milton Obote’s secret police force, and freeing of political prisoners.

  2. I haven’t seen you comment on Avi Shlaim’s Monday Guardian article summarising Israel’s wicked treatment of Gaza’s civilians before and since Cast Lead.
    Perhaps it is because there is no remotely plausible defence of the periodic massacres and wholesale destruction which the Israeli military callously refers to as ‘mowing the lawn ‘.

    • Ham-Ass treats the people of Gaza as Human Shields.

      Ham-Ass leaders live in underground bunkers and the people are forced to stand on rooftops as Human Shields.

    • Sh’lame regurgitates discredited counterfactuals. If Hamas wanted to prevent Cast Lead all they had to have done was stop firing rockets, which they were repeatedly asked to do. Forgotten in Sh’lame’s BS is that Hamas had their own name for Cast Lead – “Operation Oil Stain”. Their goal was to draw the IDF in and use civilian casualties as propaganda to stain Israel’s reputation. Forgotten to is the shame/honour dynamic of Arab politics – for Hamas to have launched such a massive attack and not been defeated would have been taken as a sign of Israeli weakness and a victory for Hamas leadership.

      Sh’lame wants us readers to forget that Goldstone later repudiated the report with his name on it. Like an amateur propagandist he uses an unattributed “one estimate” solely to invoke a slander. He “claims” the blockade of Gaza is illegal – we know it is not. As for the phrase “mowing the lawn”, unless you’re talking about your personal hygiene

      the phrase means quite the opposite of what Sh’lame brain intends. The weeds that need to be mowed are Hamas and Islamic jihad who, as a distraction from their cruel, brutal and inhumane regime periodically launch large scale and thankfully useless attacks, but attacks nonetheless that terrorize. What “mowing the lawn” means is not attacking civilians, that’s Sh’lame’s false and mendacious interpretation, rather it’s a disparaging reference to the fact that such responses do very little to solve the problem. The weeds, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, keep coming back. To truly resolve the problem one would have to uproot them so they don’t come back. That’s what the Arabs would do in Israel’s place. Cynically Hamas uses the situations as a fundraising opportunity from the gullible virtue signalling trolls in Brussels who foolishly respond by filling Hamas’s coffers, whereas the Arab States, having understood the game, pledge big and barely deliver. The question for you, Sencar, is how much you contribute this ongoing fraud?

      Recently Hamas tried their fundraising tricks by firing over 500 rockets at Israel in order to provoke another war. This time Israel did not take the bait, likely estimating that this might trigger an excuse for Hezbollah to fire its Iranian supplied arsenal, coordinated with an infiltration by tunnel. So instead Israel launched Operation Northern Shield.

      Sh’lame brain is an idiot, but also a relic that no-one pays attention too. The Angela Davis “story” is fresher agitprop, but in the end nobody cares. These are yesterday’s people.

      • If you’d ever mowed a lawn, L, you’d know the process has very little to do with weeds.
        Repeating the lie that Cast Lead had anything to do with stopping rockets doesn’t make it true. Until Israel deliberately broke the ceasefire there were no rockets and even after the breakdown Hamas was actively seeking peace. Israel’s periodic assaults on Gaza’s civilians and infrastructure are part of a preplanned policy that has been attested to by senior Israeli military, politicians and commentators.

        • Yes I’ve mowed my lawn, and a reasonable way to deal with weeds, esp dandelions like yourself is to chop off their heads so they don’t get a chance to spread their seeds. Since weeds grow faster mowing can do this quite effectively. Extricating their roots is more difficult. Your excessive use of fertilizer is counter productive.

          Repeating the lie that Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense and Protective Shield were not about stopping rocket attacks from Gaza makes your lying more odious, not less. Each of these 3 operations were preceded by large scale launches of rockets, none of which, unfortunately, landed in your back yard. Nothing similar has happened in the west bank. The chain of cause and effect is obvious to anyone with a scintilla of intelligence, which lets you out of consideration. And yes, every military has a set of plans they can pull out to deal with anticipated potential problems. Nothing extraordinary about that – it’s merely prudent to be prepared, but then I don’t think you’d understand that.

        • I thought Hamas had some ill-gotten funds stashed away. Frankly it’s surprising they couldn’t hire a more talented online whore than Sencar.

  3. Let’s play Jeopardy:
    The answer is: Someone who I have been in a room with 3 times in my life and was totally unimpressed, and repulsed by.

    The question: Who is Angela Davis?

  4. “in an apparent response to objections over her outspoken support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that protests against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.”

    A reminder that no one is quoted as saying that Angela Davis’ views on Israel and BDS is the reason the award committee changed their minds. Just more Israel bashing goon behavior from the Guardian.

  5. Googel ” Angela Davis Arafat ”

    “Angela Davis’s hostility towards Israel not shared by Dr. King | Pastor Dumisani Washington sets the record straight”

    “In 1973, when I attended the World Festival of Youth and Students in Berlin (in the German Democratic Republic), I had the opportunity to meet Yasir Arafat, who always acknowledged the kinship of the Palestinian struggle and the Black freedom struggle in the United States, and who, like Che, Fidel, Patrice Lumumba, and Amilcar Cabral, was a revered figure within the movement for Black liberation. This was a time when communist internationalism—in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and the Caribbean—was a powerful force. If I might speak about my own story, it would have almost certainly led to a different conclusion had not this internationalism played such a pivotal role.”