Dr. Cornel West has been an often fierce critic of President Barack Obama over the first five and a half years of his presidency, and that streak continued over the weekend when the professor spoke at a protest that drew thousands of demonstrators to Washington, D.C. to rally in support of the Palestinian people, who have been killed by the hundreds over the last few weeks during Israel’s war in Gaza. Because the U.S. gives financial and military support to Israel, West said that makes President Obama a “war criminal.”
West invoked the names for suck black leaders as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B Du Bois, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X in a fiery speech denouncing Israel’s “occupation” of the Palestinian people. “Benjamin Netanyahu is a war criminal, not because he’s Jewish, but because he has chosen to promote occupation and annihilation,” he said to the cheering crowd.
“A Palestinian baby has exactly the same status as a white baby in white Newtown, Connecticut, as a black baby on the east side of L.A., as a Jewish baby in Israel,” West continued. “Every human being is made in the image of God.”
Later, he extended the “war criminal” charge to the U.S. president. “What I want to say to my black brother in the White House,” West said, “Barack Obama is a war criminal, not because he’s black or half-African and white, but because his drones have killed 233 innocent children and because he facilitates the killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.”
The drone issue has long been a point of contention when it comes to West and President Obama. During an interview with Tavis Smiley in 2013, West said the “the immorality of drones” and the Obama administration “dropping bombs on innocent people” amounts to “war crimes.”
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