Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Angela Davis Says Criticism Of Israel Caused Civil Rights Museum To Scrap Award

(JTA) — Civil rights activist Angela Davis said her “long-term support of justice for Palestine” was the reason the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama rescinded her human rights award.

Davis called the decision “regrettable” and “not primarily an attack against me but rather against the spirit of the indivisibility of justice.”

In a statement over the weekend announcing the change, the institute did not specify its reasons for yanking the honor. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said in a statement that the complaints came from the Jewish community.

Davis in a statement published Monday on the Mondoweiss website said the institute refused her requests “to reveal the substantive reasons” for withdrawing the award, but she later learned that “my long-term support of justice for Palestine was at issue.”

The statement acknowledged that she has been critical of Israel.

“I have indeed expressed opposition to policies and practices of the state of Israel, as I express similar opposition to U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and to other discriminatory U.S. policies,” she said.

Davis noted in college at Brandeis University in the late 1950s and early ’60s, “I learned to be as passionate about opposition to antisemitism as to racism. It was during this period that I was also introduced to the Palestinian cause.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.