Civil rights activist Shaun King didn’t cast the first stone in the debate over who’s right and who might be wrong in the war between Russia and Ukraine. King, however, stoked fiery opinions while comparing Ukrainian nationals fighting for their homeland to Palestinians fighting to protect themselves against Israeli attacks in the Middle East.
During the third full day of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, King asked his social media followers if it was OK to now see revolting Palestinians in the same light as Ukrainians defending their home turf.
“I just wanna be clear on something … it appears it’s now publicly acceptable to take up arms, make & use Molotov cocktails, and take any measure possible to defend your literal home & homeland from violent occupying forces & invaders. Right? OK. (Notes to self for Palestine),” King tweeted.
King’s tweet came Saturday during the third day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While women and children fled Ukraine, the countrymen took up arms—some by choice and others by order of the government for all men aged 18-60 to remain in the country to fight tooth and nail.
The fighting folks of Ukraine have used a myriad of ways to thwart Russian aggression, from traditional weapons to improvised methods.
People and countries around the globe have publicly stood against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including people in Russia—from prominent professional athletes to thousands getting arrested for their anti-war protests in Moscow. When it comes to Israel and Palestine, opinions sharply contrast.
King has been outspoken for human and civil rights in the past, even when his own race was being questioned. Though he was regarded as a “white man” by both his birth certificate and light skin color, he has declared himself as a man of color since his father was a “light-skinned black man,” which he wrote in 2015 while leading a faction of the Black Lives Matter movement.
His statement over the weekend regarding Palestinians addresses a decades-long feud between Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which has lasted longer then the current Russia-Ukraine conflict of a little more than a decade.
Palestinians had much of their homeland stripped from them following World War II, and they have fought to not only maintain what they say is theirs, but from Israeli attacks as well.
Both sides have been blamed by the other for car bombs, rocket fire, kidnappings, and terrorist attacks. Comparing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like opening up the old apples vs. oranges debate when likening it to the Russia-Ukraine war, which has drawn sharp international interest in a short amount of time.
Here are a few comments said following King’s tweet on Saturday.
“No. That is not the lesson here but your point is valid. More violence can’t be the answer anywhere,” one King follower wrote.
“This situation is much different than the Palestinian war that has been ongoing for decades (religious reasons). This attack on Ukraine was unprovoked and based on misinformation. Which country is next?” another tweeted.
“Shaun I’m with your overall message brotha but it’s a different beast. Russia is attempting something bigger than Ukraine,” a third wrote.
“This example paints the Middle East conflict as simple as what’s happening in Ukraine. And it isn’t helpful in this sea of misinformation. The Hamas terror organization is the leading force behind the Palestinians heartbreaking suffering – not Israel,” another wrote.