Israeli Black Panthers, Mizrahi Jews, and Palestinian Solidarity

Join us for a unique opportunity to hear from Reuven Abergel about the Israeli Black Panthers, a radical movement of the 1970s that championed the struggle of Mizrahim (Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent) against discrimination, subpar education, lack of housing, and other forms of structural racism. He will discuss the legacy of the Panthers, the history of Mizrahi-Palestinian solidarity, and examine connections to current struggles across the US. Reuven Abergel is an icon of the Mizrahi struggle in Israel. He was a founder and leader of the Black Panthers of Israel in the 1970s and has remained at the forefront of social justice movements for more than 45 years in areas such as criminal justice, housing, education, and cultural expression. At the height of his activity with the Black Panthers in the 1970s, the Israeli government denied Abergel a passport, stating that he was not a legal citizen of the country. It would be 20 years before his citizenship was granted. Through activism and advocacy, Abergel has extended solidarity to the struggles of Palestinians, Ethiopians, and African asylum seekers. In 2003, while Ramallah was being besieged by Israeli forces, Abergel visited Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at his headquarters in the city. Over the years, he founded or led several organizations, including the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow, Taarabut, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, and SEDQ: A Global Jewish Network for Justice. Alongside his activism, he has had professional career as educator, youth counselor, organizational consultant, and lecturer.