There have been several proponents of Black Nationalism throughout history, however. Small groups like the Republic of New Afrika laid claim to the southeastern region of the U.S. for an independent nation-state with full sovereignty for African Americans, since the economy of that land was built on the backs of black slaves. Malcolm X called for the acquisition of land and nationhood. Garvey called for western blacks to consider making continental Africa, their ancestral homeland, the location where they could live free from oppression. While these may sound similar, Herzl’s theories were in large part realized, making Israel truly remarkable and in some ways the envy of the oppressed world.
On May 14, 1948, while African Americans still suffered under the indignities of Jim Crow, the State of Israel was born after the British terminated their mandate over Palestine. Only three years removed from a mass genocide, Israel absorbed refugees from all over Europe. The oppressed Jewish people finally had what the Black Panther Party of the late 1960s longed for: the power and ability to determine their own destiny. However, African Americans have stopped short of supporting Israel en masse, and it is not because the communities are anti-Semitic (though there is an element of anti-Semitism in some parts). The opposition comes from seeing what appears to be internal colonies existing in Gaza and the West Bank. Tanks were rolling through the streets filled with rubble in the Gaza Strip mere days before they were rolling through the streets of Ferguson, Mo. In the eyes of many African Americans, just as the United States defeated its colonial rulers to become a free republic, freedom did not include enslaved Africans. It appears to many blacks in this country that Palestinians were turned over from one European colonizer to another.