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Museum Yanks Angela Davis' Award Over Palestine Support

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute got cold feet over her activism
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2019 7:19 AM CST
Angela Davis, author, educator, and iconic civil rights activist, speaks at the University of Michigan-Flint on Feb. 19, 2015.   (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP, File)

(Newser) – Activists are calling for a boycott of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama after it rescinded an honor for longtime activist Angela Davis, who cites "my long-term support of justice for Palestine." President Andrea Taylor in October announced Davis, a former member of the Black Panther and US communist parties and "one of the most globally recognized champions of human rights," would be given its Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights award, per the Guardian. On Saturday, however, the institute said it had canceled a February award ceremony after "supporters and other concerned individuals and organizations" protested. Davis "unfortunately does not meet all of the criteria on which the award is based," the publicly funded museum said, per CNN. Birmingham's mayor further mentions complaints from the "local Jewish community and some of its allies."

Southern Jewish Life had described "some indigestion" over the honoree, who "advocates extensively on college campuses for the isolation of the Jewish state, saying Israel engages in ethnic cleansing and is connected to police violence against African-Americans in the United States." A supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement protesting Israel's treatment of Palestinians, Davis says she's devoted her activism to "linking struggles in other parts of the world to US grassroots campaigns against police violence, the prison industrial complex, and racism more broadly." The museum's decision is "an attack ... against the very spirit of the indivisibility of justice," adds the activist, who plans to attend "an alternative event" in Birmingham next month. Per NBC News, supporters want a boycott and for museum leaders to quit. (A US student linked to the BDS movement was detained in Israel.)

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