BLM Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors Resigns, But the “Trained Marxist” Israel-Hater Is Poised To Be Even More Influential
As a video of her calling to “End Israel” on pain of “Doom” resurfaces, Cullors leaves BLM armed with contracts with massive enterntainment conglomerates and the tacit endorsement (not to mention funding) of Big Tech.
In the year since the death of George Floyd, 37-year-old activist and Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors has become a household name. Now, she’s finally announced—as the last of the three original co-founders to do so—that she’s stepping down from her role as the director of BLM umbrella group, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF). Nevertheless, with massive enterntainment conglomerate contracts and the tacit endorsement (not to mention funding) of Big Tech, Cullors is poised to be even more influential in the coming months than she has been ever before.
After months of controversy surrounding Cullors’ past remarks, lucrative corporate contracts, and accusations of wealth hoarding, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors has announced that she is stepping down from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF). And while, at first glance, that might feel like good news to people suspicious of BLM leadership’s intentions, Cullors resignation from BLM isn’t likely to lessen her burgeoning influence on national race, policy, and social justice conversations.
We’ve followed Cullors’ exploits for years, including in:
- “Trained Marxist” Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors Resigns After Her Real Estate Wealth Revealed
- “Trained Marxist” and BLM Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors Says Outrage Over Her Personal Wealth is a “Tactic of Terror”
- “Trained Marxist” and BLM Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors Reportedly Buys $1.4m Estate
- “Trained Marxist” and BLM Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors Signs Warner Bros. TV Deal
- Prof. Marc Lamont Hill: Goal of Black Lives Matter is to “dismantle the Zionist project”
- Contrary to Media Narratives, ‘Defund the Police’ Is About Literally Abolishing Police Departments
- Capitalist Much? Big Tech Donated $7.5 Million To ‘Marxist’ BLM Co-Founder Groups
- Black Lives Matter Website Scrubs Section Calling for Destruction of ‘Nuclear Family’
- Black Lives Matter Founder: We Wouldn’t Meet With Trump. Because Hitler.
- Dream Defenders: Defending the Dream of Anti-Israel Activism
With her October 2020 “multi-year and wide ranging” deal with Warner Brothers to produce content aiming “to amplify the work of the Black Lives Matter”; a November 2020 YouTube Originals documentary series (entitled “Resist”); her late 2020 naming as one of Time‘s 100 most influential people (along with the other two BLM co-founders Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi) of the year and one of the BBC’s 100 women of the year; her nomination alongside BLM for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize; and the impending October 2021 publication of her second book, Cullors appears largely unfazed by (what she flippantly dismisses as merely “right-wing propaganda”, but what are actually) multiple legitimate accusations of opportunism, hypocrisy, dishonesty, and various types of bigotry.
Patrisse Cullors, A (Secretly-Capitalist?) Marxist
As we’ve noted before,
It’s no secret that the Black Lives Matter movement and its co-founder (and self-identified “Marxist”) Patrisse Cullors has long accused American capitalism of being fundamentally, systemically racist and “wiping out entire communities“; these assertions are core tenets of multiple official Black Lives Matter organizations. Cullors’ BLM organization’s disdain for American capitalism is well documented.
Cullors has long held as her mentor Eric Mann—a notorious member of radical far-left militant group, the Weather Underground.
This is not correct. They are not speaking about any book by @OsopePatrisse. They are talking about a pamphlet by former #weatherunderground leader & Patrisse Cullors' mentor, Eric Mann. https://t.co/QWHLwN8bAa pic.twitter.com/7vEFuV3Z2K
— Samantha R Mandeles (@SRMandeles) May 7, 2021
We [BLM] actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia [Garza] in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk.
A 2018 review of Cullors’ memoir in Time magazine expounded:
Cullors weaves her intellectual influences into this narrative, from black feminist writers like Audre Lorde and bell hooks, to Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong. Reading those social philosophers “provided a new understanding around what our economies could look like,” she says.
And Cullors’ own 2019 article in the Harvard Law Review proudly proclaims,
We draw upon the theoretical work of many before us. Professor Angela Y. Davis — philosopher, Marxist, and former Black Panther whose work on pmarcrisons, abolition, and Black struggle has proven relevant over time — has informed our movements and communities for decades. Her political theories and reflections on anticapitalist movements around the world have sought not only to transform U.S. society by challenging white supremacy in U.S. laws, institutions, and relationships, but also to act as a catalyst toward building a broader antiracist and antiwar movement internationally. [Note: You can see some of our coverage of Angela Davis’ audacious anti-Semitism here.]
Yet, as we’ve also noted, none of this professed dedication to anti-capitalism has stopped Cullors from signing a big contract with a major purveyor of reviled corporate consumerism: Warner Bros Television; launching a project partnership with the billion-dollar UGG apparel company and the Los Angeles-based Hammer Museum; and reportedly accumulating enough personal wealth to purchase not one, but four apparently luxury homes, at least one of which is in an affluent, almost all-White neighborhood.
Do you even comprehend my take? She had a lot of options on where to live. She chose one of the whitest places in California. She'll have her pick of white cops and white people to complain about. That's a choice, bro. https://t.co/rBkOnSjb4u
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) April 9, 2021
BLM Founder Patrisse Cullors Inks Deal With Warner Bros. TV Group – Variety – It pays to build orgs on the backs of dead black men. https://t.co/zQgWAX9x6v
— Johnathan Lee Iverson (@lastringmaster) October 17, 2020
Such “do as I say, not as I do” contradictions have upset many who might otherwise support Cullors and her work. In the wake of Cullors’ resignation announcement, The New York Post reported that,
Grief-stricken mothers who have accused Black Lives Matter of profiting from the deaths of their sons condemned the group’s embattled co-founder Patrisse Cullors after she announced she was stepping down from the movement.
“I don’t believe she is going anywhere,” Samaria Rice, the mother of a 12-year-old boy shot by Cleveland police while playing with a toy gun, told The Post. “It’s all a facade. She’s only saying that to get the heat off her right now.” [Note: You can also see our post about Ms. Rice’s anger with former Women’s March leader and close BLM associate, Tamika Mallory, here.]
Lisa Simpson, a Los Angeles-based mother whose son was slain by police in 2016, also blasted Cullors. “Now she doesn’t have to show her accountability,” Simpson, 52, told The Post. “She can just take the money and run.”
…In March Rice joined with Simpson, the mother of Richard Risher, to blast BLM for, as Simpson put it, “raising money in our dead sons’ names and giving us nothing in return.”
BLM’s Los Angeles chapter raised $5,000 for her son’s funeral, but Simpson claimed she never received any of it.
“We never hired them to be the representatives in the fight for justice for our dead loved ones murdered by the police,” said the statement by Rice and Simpson posted March 16 by activist @Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. “The ‘activists’ have events in our cities and have not given us anything substantial for using our loved ones’ images and names on their flyers. We don’t want or need y’all parading in the streets accumulating donations, platforms, movie deals, etc. off the death of our loved ones, while the families and communities are left clueless and broken.”
Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead in a police raid at her home in Louisville, KY, said the movement also failed her.
“I have never personally dealt with BLM Louisville and personally have found them to be fraud (sic),” Palmer wrote in an April 14 Facebook post that was quickly removed. Palmer did not return The Post’s repeated calls.
Today our co-founder, #Ferguson frontline organizer @VanguardTNT alongside #MikeBrown's father demands 20 million from #BlackLivesMatter in order to continue the work they and other have been doing since the uprising since 2014. pic.twitter.com/4rDA28ZKnB
— TheIBFA (@THEIBFA) March 2, 2021
Elsewhere, we’ve noted the complaints of angry social justice activists and a number of official BLM chapters, with local organizers claiming that Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has failed to distribute the massive windfall it raised in 2020.
Patrisse Cullors, A Radical Anti-Israel Activist
But there are other ways in which Cullors has inspired (or, at least, should have) outraged ire. Not least among her faults as a self-identified activist for “justice” is her extensive, unapologetic connections with viciously anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic agitators—including alumni of the Marxst terrorist group, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
For her part, Cullors’ has publicly shown her anti-Israel animus since at least August 2014, when she echoed themes promoted by that summer’s popular post-Michael-Brown-shooting propaganda campaign—and thus helped co-opt the Ferguson tension for the sake of the anti-Israel cause.
Most recently, Cullors’ anti-Israel leanings have manifest in the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s wildly tone-deaf tweet trumpeting its “solidarity with Palestinians”, even as Jews in Cullors’ own hometown of Los Angeles were targeted for physical attacks by “pro-Palestine” demonstrators.
Clearly not in ALL its forms, given that y'all appear to have no issue w the massive & brutal history of Arab/Muslim settler-colonialism, which continues to this day & whose legacy remains & perpetuates suffering all over the world.
Hypocrites. Nothing more.
— Samantha R Mandeles (@SRMandeles) May 19, 2021
How fitting, then, that at least one of Cullors’ two picks to assume the BLM Global Network Foundation’s new number-one role as co-Senior Executive—longtime BLM supporter Makani Themba—shares Cullors’ skewed, pro-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) perception of the Jewish state.
“Palestine” Travels with Dream Defenders
Shortly after Cullors rose to national prominence with the Ferguson violence in 2014, she began to funnel her anti-Israel energies into more concrete action. In January 2015, Cullors traveled to Israel and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas on a 10-day “solidarity” trip with the Florida-based organization Dream Defenders—a group that, like Cullors herself, has been a key connector of Black Lives Matter to anti-Israel organizing. (Dream Defenders’ anti-Israel stance makes plenty of sense given its co-founder: Ahmad Abuznaid, an eastern Jerusalem-born son of Nabil Abuznaid—a close friend and adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Yasser Arafat.)Also on Cullors’ trip were Abuznaid himself, Women’s March co-organizer Carmen Perez, and Marc Lamont Hill. The trip did not appear to include any meetings with ordinary Israelis or Jews, and was clearly meant to assert that (only) Jews in Israel are racist and oppressive, but particpants seem to have accepted this lopsided portrayal of the conflict as truth without much question. (For example, during the course of the trip, Cullors’ fellow trip participant Tara Thompson of Hands Up United publicly expressed distaste for “Jewish laws” and even for the very idea of a Jewish state.)
Instead, Cullors and the other participants apparently met with Ali Jiddah, a known member of the PFLP, who had
planted four hand grenades on Strauss Street in downtown Jerusalem in 1968. The blasts injured nine Israelis and Jiddah spent 17 years in Israeli prison. His cousin Mahmoud also served 17 years for a similar attack; the two were released in 1985 in a prisoner swap. [Note: The swap, known as the Jibril Agreement, necessitated Israeli negotiation with the terrorist faction Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command; Israel was required to release 1,150 terrorists from its jails (including Hamas founder and arch-terrorist Ahmed Yassin) in exchange for three young Israeli soldiers captured during the 1982 Lebanon war.]
At the time, Dream Defenders’ official Instagram account featured a picture of Ali Jiddah, having met him during their “journey in the Old City.”
Jiddah’s “tear[ful]” remarks to the Dream Defenders group seem to be part of a rehearsed performance. According to The Times of Israel,
After his release from prison in 1985, Jiddah worked first as a journalist, then started giving alternative tours of Jerusalem’s Old City, showing the Palestinian perspective of life under Israeli rule. “Due to the responses from my clients I am satisfied, and I am convinced that the work I am doing today is more effective than the bomb I planted in 1968,” he said. [Note: Jiddah may be correct about the success of his propaganda efforts; in 2016, almost a year after joining the Dream Defenders trip, Marc Lamont Hill reportedly urged his Twitter followers to support Jiddah’s GoFundMe page (now gone), which was set up to seek “donations to cover medical debts [Jiddah] incurred over the years due to his refusal to pay into the Israeli insurance system.” In the years since then, Hill has apparently also remained in touch with Jiddah, visiting him at what appears to be his home in Jerusalem, and stating that it “never feels like I’m back [in “Palestine”] until I see Ali Jiddah”. Furthermore, subsequent Dream Defenders trips have continued to visit with Jiddah, as well as his cousin and open fellow PFLP veteram Mahmoud, and other PFLP-associated figures.]
Aside from visits with PFLP entities, the group’s itinerary also featured meetings and lectures from some of the most notorious anti-Israel propagandists working today, including hypocritical BDS-proponent Omar Barghouti; former PLO spokesperson Diana Buttu (well-known for propagating the myth that Hamas rocket fire contains no explosive warheads); and the “lunatic” activist David Sheen, who chased a left-wing German lawmaker into a bathroom at the Bundestag in 2014. Cullors was evidently pleased with this line-up, effusively praising them on Twitter, and accepting their narrative without question.
In contemporaneous tweets, Cullors refered to the Israeli city of Haifa as part of “Occupied Palestine”; shared an article from extremist anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada; labeled the automobile license plate system (yellow for Israeli citizens and green for Palestinian Authority citizens) an example of “apartheid”; and implied that Israelis—the “oppressors”—lie about ever being victimized by Palestinians.
BDS “Flash Mob”
One of Cullors’ main projects during the Dream Defenders trip was the production of a “solidarity” “flash mob” in the Israeli city of Nazareth as a declaration of the delegation’s support for the BDS campaign against Israel.
Cullors and her colleagues performed, recorded, and then promoted their “demonstration” online, framing it as a victory of sorts over Israeli “apartheid” and “occupation”. (Though, their own 10-minute video of their effort showed that (a) there had only been three or four bemused onlookers total—hardly a “mob”—and that (b) the activists’ chants and ‘poetry’ were recited almost entirely in English in a city whose residents instead speak Hebrew and/or Arabic.)
Footage of the display showed some of the activists wearing the trademark ‘Yasser Arafat’ black-and-white-fishnet patterned keffiyeh (headscarf) that has become a ubiquitous anti-Israel symbol. Others were filmed referring to Nazareth—a city located firmly within the bounds of Israel-proper—as part of “Palestine” and set within a “sea of settlements”.
You can see the entire video here or below.
Patrisse, after “Palestine”
After her return from the Dream Defenders trip, Cullors actively promoted her participation. In a fawning piece in Ebony, Cullors’ fellow anti-Israel-obsessive and BLM agitator Kristian Davis Bailey quoted Cullors’ reflections on the trip. (The article was later approvingly reposted on the official PLO website.)
“This is an apartheid state. We can’t deny that and if we do deny it we are apart of the Zionist violence. There are two different systems here in occupied Palestine. Two completely different systems. Folks are unable to go to parts of their own country. Folks are barred from their own country.”
Immediately following the delegation, Cullors proudly publicized her appropriation of the keffiyeh for interviews and travels in other ‘conflict tourism’ adventures.
Cullors later appeared on the Laura Flanders show to discuss her trip; during the interview, she declared,
It was important for the Black Lives Matter movement to show up to Palestine. There was also this sort of kindredness that we felt with Palestinians as black people—the constant sort of battering and terrorizing by military and for us by police is eerily similar, and we thought it was important, even though we knew that it might be a huge risk for a lot of us, to show up and let Palestinians know that we are in deep solidarity with them. And, frankly, we believe that Palestine is the new South Africa.
Cullors’ interview with the show can be seen in its entirety below.
As recently as May 2020, Cullors’ own personal promotional website bragged about her experience, claiming “Patrisse continues to tour and organize for global Black liberation.”
In January of 2015 Patrisse joined representatives from Ferguson and members of the Dream Defenders in a 10-day trip to the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel. There she saw firsthand the occupation, ethnic cleansing, and brutality Israel has levied against Palestinians, and built real relationships with those on the ground leading the fight for liberation…
“I believe the Black Lives Matter movement can benefit greatly by learning about struggles outside of the US, but particularly the Palestinian struggle. I want this trip to be an example for how Black folks and Arab communities can be in better solidarity with one another.”
[Note: Interestingly, since then, Cullors appears to have scrubbed all mention of Dream Defenders or Palestine from her site. When I looked for those pages in August 2020, they were gone—see the screenshots below—and have not reappered. Luckily, I archived copies months ago.]
And, as a newly resurfaced clip (reportedly from an April 2015 panel at Harvard Law School on “Globalizing Ferguson: Racialized Policing and International Resistance”) shows, Cullors wasted little time after the Dream Defenders trip in calling for Israel’s destruction. On this particular occasion, Cullors even vaguely predicted the attendees’ and panelists’ collective impending “doom” should Israel continue to exist:
Palestine is our generation’s South Africa, and if we don’t step up boldly and courageously to end the imperialist project that’s called Israel, we’re doomed.
The International Business Times quoted more of Cullors’ remarks adressing her Dream Defenders experience, reportedly made during the same lecture (though it remains unclear exactly how Cullors “witnessed the settlements”, given that the Dream Defenders itinerary does not appear to have included them; perhaps Cullors was referring there to the Israeli city of “occupied” Haifa):
“We could have a whole conversation about the settlements that we witnessed and the stories of murder and death at the hands of Israelis and Zionists,” she adds before describing Palestinian solidarity as “crucial” to the BLM movement.
Of course, and as we covered here, Cullors’ historically illiterate characterization of Israel would be matched almost word-for-word by fellow Dream Defenders trip participant and BLM devotee Marc Lamont Hill only a few years later, in a February 2021 panel alongside Dream Defenders trip speaker Omar Barghouti:
…Black Lives Matter, very explicitly, is talking about the dismantling of the Zionist project, dismantling of the settler-colonialist project, and very explicitly embracing BDS on those grounds.
Jew-Hate Doesn’t Count
Still, Cullors has evidently had plenty of help fostering anti-Israel opinions even beyond Dream Defenders propagandists, and has long even ignored the overt bigotry of some of her favorite BLM activists. Case in point: Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles co-founder, frequent BLM-Los Angeles protest leader, and Cullors’ dear friend of over a decade, Melina Abdullah—an admirer of the Nation of Islam and its notoriously anti-Semitic leader Louis Farrakhan, as well as a long-time anti-Israel agitator in her own right.
Indeed, in the days directly following George Floyd’s death, Abdullah was instrumental in organizing many of the Los Angeles Black Lives Matter protests that devolved into riots and attacks on local Jewish institutions. Abdullah has never shown regret for the victimization of Jews during those or other BLM demonstrations; instead, she reportedly described the BLM-Los Angeles decision to protest in Pan Pacific Park the weekend after Floyd’s killing (an area of Los Angeles’ heavily Jewish Fairfax neighborhood that serves as the site of the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum) as a deliberate one (emphasis added):
…[it was] absolutely about letting white folks who are from more affluent backgrounds understand or get a little glimpse of what we experience as black people every day.
Asked about the damage Fairfax sustained from the riots that rose out of the peaceful protests, Abdullah reportedly
discounted concerns that some took advantage of Black Lives Matters’ peaceful demonstrations to create chaos and inflict damage.
This is unsurprising; Abdullah’s feelings about Jews and Israel have been clear for many years. Naturally, she has augmented her public castigation of Israel with hysterical accusations and outright lies. Abdullah has also come out in support of Islamist congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Cullors’ fellow Dream Defenders participant and virulent Israel-hater, Marc Lamont Hill.
Meanwhile, Abdullah has joined conspiratorial Twitter followers in decrying the percieved increase in the number of “Jews invading” college campuses, “causing islamophobia, racism, &intolerance! [sic]”
Abdullah has also been equally happy to ‘like’ and retweet similarly unhinged ramblings about the “jewish patriarchy” and how it “offend[s] Muslims & control[s] our economy”.
Abdullah’s open dislike for Jews does not seem to upset Cullors’ vision of BLM branches as the “vanguard” of racial and ethnic justice, however; the two have remained close friends and colleagues for many years.
Most recently, Cullors spent nearly an hour and a half discussing BLM in a live Zoom event with Abdullah. The conversation was broadcast on Facebook, and proudly advertised on the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Twitter feed. You can watch the entire event here or below.
Regardless of the reasons for her departure from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, it’s clear that Cullors is not going to give up her grip on the limelight so quickly. Despite the many well-substantiated and legitimate complaints about Cullors’ apparently flawed ethics, demonstrable bigotry, intellectual dishonesty, arrogance and over-inflated ego, and bizarre admiration for a wide variety of violent ideologues, she has succeeded in going ‘mainstream’. With ever-deepenging reach into media, literature, the arts, and culture, Cullors and her followers are poised to continue hijacking legitimate civil rights battles for their own distorted ends.
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