'Three members quit the board of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute after its controversial decision to first award, then rescind a prize for iconic activist Angela Davis, following objections to her anti-Israel statements.
The protest gesture came hours after Davis took to Facebook, and called the retraction “not an attack against me but rather against the very spirit of the indivisibility of justice.”
The mass resignation is the latest step in a spiraling conflict that has torn apart a respected civil rights research center, and publicly humiliated Davis, who at 74 remains an active campaigner and academic.
The scandal started innocuously enough in October, when the Alabama institute gave the former Black Panther and American communist party figurehead its biggest annual prize, calling her “the most globally recognized champions of human rights, giving voice to those who are powerless to speak."
There was no immediate pushback, and a “homecoming” for the Birmingham-born Davis, who is professor emeritus at the University of California, was scheduled for the coming February.
As the date neared, organized dissent began to be heard. Online publication Southern Jewish Life wrote a 1,200-word editorial in December saying “there might be some indigestion at the [award-giving] dinner over this year’s honoree,” and detailing her consistent support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which “isolates Israel.”
On January 2, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center wrote a letter directly to the civil rights institute, expressing “concern and disappointment” at Davis being honored, while local celebrity, retired four-star Marine General Charles Krulak, an outspoken friend of Israel, also issued a public statement condemning Davis through a member of the local Jewish community.'
Read more: Resignations rock US civil rights institute after it strips Angela Davis of award over pro-BDS views
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