The District of Columbia is freshening up its massive “Black Lives Matter” street mural even as the Black Lives Matter organization faces intense backlash for social media posts aligning with the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel earlier this month.
BLM affiliates have expressed solidarity with the “resistance” against Israel, compared attacks on Israel to racial struggles within the U.S., promoted imagery apparently depicting the paragliders who slaughtered Israeli concert-goers during the attacks, and more.
The controversial mural, commissioned by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser following rioting over the death of George Floyd, features the words “Black Lives Matter” painted in 50-foot-tall yellow letters along a two-block portion of 16th Street NW, just outside the White House. That area has been dubbed “Black Lives Matter Plaza” by the city.
In an October 2021 news release, the city said that the work to “transform Black Lives Matter Plaza cost $4.8 million,” promising that another $3 million would be spent on the plaza in the following months.
The District Department of Transportation confirmed to The Daily Signal last week that the freshening of the mural is on track to be finished by Thanksgiving. A spokesman for the department initially thanked The Daily Signal for bringing BLM’s support for the Hamas attacks to its attention, but the department has not responded to further requests for comment.
Bowser declined to comment for this story. A spokeswoman for the mayor referred The Daily Signal to her remarks last week, when she addressed calls from federal lawmakers to rename Black Lives Matter Plaza in light of the BLM statements condoning the attacks.
“I would guess that those same senators never wanted me to name 16th Street ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza,’” she told the reporter. “What they should know is that is a public art piece. Artists rendered it, artists painted it, Jews and Gentiles were there to support it. It’s not linked to any particular group or person, but it is an expression of what our city felt and continues to feel.”
Her remarks come amidst multiple eyebrow-raising expressions of support from BLM-affiliated groups for the Hamas attacks.
“Black Lives Matter Grassroots stands in solidarity with our Palestinian family who are currently resisting 57 years of settler colonialism and apartheid,” BLM Grassroots said in an Oct. 9 statement, two days after the Oct. 7 attack. “As Black people continue the fight to end militarism and mass incarceration in our own communities, let us understand the resistance in Palestine as an attempt to tear down the gates of the world’s largest open-air prison.”
“As a radical Black organization grounded in abolitionist ideals, we see clear parallels between Black and Palestinian people,” the statement continued.
Black Lives Matter Grassroots even addressed the terrorism accusations, saying: “We, too, understand what it means to be surveilled, dehumanized, property seized, families separated, our people criminalized and slaughtered with impunity, locked up in droves, and when we resist, they call us terrorists.”
“We, too, dream of a world where our people may live freely on decolonized land,” the statement continued. “May the borders, checkpoints, prisons, police, and watchlists that terrorize our communities crumble, and may the world we build from their ashes honor those who have fallen in struggle.”
The Black Lives Matter Grassroots statement claimed that “for lasting peace to come,” Israel’s “entire apartheid system must be dismantled.”
“The war on the Palestinian people must cease,” the statement said. “We call on the United States government to immediately stop funding war and redirect the $4 billion in annual spending from the Israeli military to repair the damage caused by U.S.-backed wars, military air strikes, coups, and destabilizing interventions against oppressed people around the world.”
Black Lives Matter of Chicago similarly expressed support for the violent attacks by posting a graphic of a paraglider alongside a Palestinian flag, a reference to the Hamas attack on a music festival in Israel wherein terrorists in paragliders attacked and slaughtered festivalgoers.
“I Stand With Palestine,” reads the graphic, and BLM Chicago captioned the post: “That is all that is it!”
BLM Chicago received so much backlash for this post that it later removed it and said that it was not “proud” of the post.
“We stand with Palestine & the people who will do what they must to live free,” the group’s X (formerly Twitter) post said. “Our hearts are with the grieving mothers, those rescuing babies from rubble, who are in danger of being wiped out completely.”
And on Oct. 10, the Black Lives Matter chapter in Indianapolis, Indiana, retweeted a post from the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, praising “[t]he heroic Palestinian people” and their “right to resist their racist, white supremacist, land-stealing [Z]ionist occupiers!”
But BLM affiliates’ apparent support for the Hamas attacks has not gone unnoticed—the New York Post reported on Oct. 23 that Coca-Cola appears to have scrubbed references to the controversial group from its official website following backlash.
BLM did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this story.
Last week, Republican lawmakers from the House and Senate sent a letter to Bowser urging her to rename Black Lives Matter Plaza in light of the pro-Hamas rhetoric. That letter was led by lawmakers, including Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“You [Bowser] stated after the attacks that you ‘reject terrorism in all its forms’ and that ‘antisemitism has no place in our institutions, our country, our world, or our hearts,’” the letter said. “We wholeheartedly agree with this statement. We further believe that movements that celebrate violent antisemitism should not be honored by the government with a plaza, especially one located directly outside of our nation’s White House.”
“BLM continues to openly celebrate the antisemitic Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel,” they continued. “This stance is irreconcilable with American values. America must clearly affirm its stance against antisemitism, wherever it appears. We therefore urge you to immediately rename the Black Lives Matter Plaza, to remove the associated street painting in the plaza, and to end the city’s celebration of this terrorist sympathizer group.”
Bowser told a local news outlet Wednesday that she had not yet responded to the letter, saying, “I would guess that those same senators never … wanted me to name 16th Street Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
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