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Black Press, Civil Rights Groups Condemn Attacks on Israel

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), representing the Black Press of America, has issued a resolute statement of support for Israel amidst the recent escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

In a joint statement, NNPA Chair Bobby Henry and NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. unequivocally condemned the devastating acts of violence perpetrated against the Jewish people and the nation of Israel by Hamas. The militant group’s firing of a deadly barrage of rockets and infiltration of Israeli territory marked a significant escalation in the ongoing conflict between the two sides.

“The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), representing the Black Press of America, forthrightly condemns the brutal, fatal terrorist attacks today on the Jewish people and the nation of Israel by Hamas,” read the statement. “Terrorism against innocent civilians in Israel and in any other place in the world can never be justified, tolerated, or sanctioned. We stand firmly in solidarity with Israel.”

The Birmingham Times is a member of the NNPA.

The statement underscores the unity and solidarity between the African American and Jewish communities in the face of adversity. While their shared history is complex and nuanced, the NNPA’s declaration underscores their shared common ground by condemning violence and terrorism against innocent civilians, regardless of where it occurs.

The NNPA, founded in 1940, is the trade association for African American-owned newspapers and media companies throughout the United States. Its mission is to advocate for the African American press and promote the importance of Black-owned media in shaping public opinion and preserving the African American cultural experience.

The support for Israel comes at a critical juncture, and it emphasizes the importance of solidarity with nations and communities facing acts of violence and terrorism, transcending historical differences to unite in a common cause.

Meanwhile, a Woodfin administration official on Tuesday night clarified the mayor supports Israel after Woodfin reportedly deleted a tweet appearing to back the Jewish state after it prompted backlash on social media.

Denise Gilmore, senior director of the mayor’s office’s division of social justice and racial equity, addressed a gathering of Birmingham’s Jewish community at the Levite Jewish Community Center when she passed along a message from Woodfin:

“I want to make my position very clear: The attack on Israel was an act of terrorism by Hamas. The killing and kidnapping of innocent people should be unacceptable to everyone,” Gilmore said on Woodfin’s behalf. “I support Israel protecting the lives of its innocent citizens, including its children.”

At the Jewish community gathering on Tuesday night, Gilmore spoke of the “historical bond between Jewish and Black communities” during the Civil Rights Movement, which celebrates its 60th anniversary.

“Today we pledge to stand just as tall with our Jewish neighbors,” she said. “The City of Birmingham is heartbroken over the senseless attacks.”

Meanwhile, the nation’s leading Civil Rights organizations issued the following statement on the deadly terrorist attack against Israel over the weekend.

“Today we are again witnessing the horrifying effects of violence upon innocent civilians in the Middle East. We condemn this terrorist attack on Israel in which civilians have been targeted, killed, and kidnapped. The long thread of Middle East history reaffirms that the region remains an unsettled boiling point.

“We again reaffirm our commitments to one another and the certainty that throughout the world, our safety and futures are intertwined. We hold innocent civilians’ families and our partners in our hearts, sharing prayers for their safety. We call on all our partners and colleagues to join us in solidarity because hatred and war must end.”

The statement can be attributed to Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN); Martin Luther King, III, Chairman, and Arndrea Waters King, President of the Drum Major Institute (DMI); Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League (NUL); Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP; Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable; Shavon Arline-Bradley, President and CEO of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW); and Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS.