African Americans who embraced the creation of the State of Israel in the wake of World War Two—W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson among them—were likely enthusiastic supporters of the promise of Diasporic politics culminating in the formation of a homeland. In order to understand why most African-American radicals embraced the creation of the State of Israel, one must consider how African American political struggles have been rooted within and against notions of the national and international. As Nikihl Singh shows in Black is a Country, Black Americans have waged struggles that have been shaped by the desire for international and Diasporic movements and by the desire for redress within the framework of the nation-state. When the modern State of Israel was created in 1948, African-American radicals were committed to a civil rights strategy in the United States that looked to the nation-state’s logic of inclusion as a rubric for the movement; this may have led some African Americans to see the formation of a Jewish state as the most appropriate means to challenge anti-Jewish anti-Semitism. Ralph Bunche, for example, a communist internationalist during the 1930s, was the United Nation’s representative in charge of administering the partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel. Bunche’s role in the creation of Israel illustrates the complexities of African-American anti-colonial politics that were themselves operating against and within the logic of empire.
— Alex Lubin, "Locating Palestine in Pre-1948 Black Internationalism" (2007)
Between 28 July and 5 August 1973, hundreds of thousands of students and young people filled the streets of East Berlin as part of the Tenth World Festival of Youth and Students. Organized with considerable support from the communist bloc, the event had the feel of a large American rock festival as the city's central district was transformed into a giant pedestrian zone and vendors selling everything from German pilsner to fried chicken and bitter lemon took positions on along the street corners. as part of the celebration, Yasir Arafat, Angela Davis, and representatives from the Vietnamese NLF, the PRC, Warsaw Pact states and African liberation movements were presented to the thousands in attendance. Arafat's visit coincided with the opening of a PLO office in East Berlin (making East Germany only the second socialist country after the PRC to allow the opening of such a facility) and marked a general warming in the organization's relationship with Moscow and the socialist bloc. It also demonstrated that operations such as those at Lod and Munich had not undermined international support for the PLO and the Palestinian cause. After the event's conclusion, Arafat announced that in East Berlin the PLO had been invited to take up "the banner of global struggle" from the Vietnamese revolution. Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish described the significance of the visit as the final transformation of the Palestinians from refugees to resistance fighters:
There was a time when the world had a well-defined role to play towards us; namely to send us parcels of cheese, bread and clothing, parcels which became the motif or our nation. We were well behaved children....The world came to us—we were not allowed to go to the world....Our duty was to be refugees....We have changed a great deal and so has the world...what sustains us vis à vis the world is that we are fighting a battle for national liberty which has a progressive intellectual foundation....The world is neither a single integrated unit, nor is it true that East is East and West is West. But we are part of an international revolutionary movement which has branches in both East and West. Crawling on our knees so as to gain the sympathy of official Western quarters will do nothing to diminish our alienation from the world....Palestine is no longer a pawn in anyone's hands....A cause may have justice on its side but remain struggling in thin air until it provides itself with muscle.
Echoing Arafat, Darwish proclaimed: "In the conscience of the people of the world, the torch has been passed from Vietname to us." A question remained, however: "Can we live up to that heavy responsibility?"
— Paul Thomas Chamberlin, The Global Offensive: The United States, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Making of the Post-Cold War Order (2012)
I have no doubt that what I say here will have no effect on the ongoing peace process, nor on the thinking of the current leadership. I write in order to be heard by other Arabs and other Israelis, those whose vision can extend beyond the impoverishing perspectives of what partition and separation can offer. We know that trying to draw lines between peoples whose cultures, histories and geographical proximity cannot be separated will not solve the basic problems of conflict between them. Political separation is at best a makeshift measure. Partition is a legacy of imperialism, as the unhappy cases of Pakistan and India, Ireland, Cyprus, and the Balkans amply testify, and as the disasters of 20th-century Africa attest in the most tragic way. We must now begin to think in terms of coexistence, after separation, in spite of partition. And for this, as I said above, the only solution is a politics of the local, people on the ground who tackle injustice and inequity on the ground, far away from the misleading summits with Clinton, and the treacherous secret channels of Oslo. Those leaders are far from the real long-term interest of their people, but they do what they have to do. They can do no more.
So let us see these new partitions as the desperate and last-ditch efforts of a dying ideology of separation, which has afflicted Zionism and Palestinian nationalism, both of whom have not surmounted the philosophical problem of the Other, of learning how to live with, as opposed to despite, the Other. When it comes to corruption, to racial or religious discrimination, to poverty and unemployment, to torture and censorship, the Other is always one of us, not a remote alien. These abuses recognise only the victims of unjust power, and these victims must resist all efforts to cause their further suffering. That is the platform of the future.
— Edward W. Said, "What can separation mean?" (1999)