(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said her “long-term support of justice for Palestine” was the reason the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama rescinded her human rights award.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.”
The institute had announced Davis as the recipient in September.
In a statement over the weekend announcing the change, the institute did not specify which “supporters and other concerned individuals and organizations, both inside and outside of our local community, began to make requests that we reconsider our decision.” The statement did not specify the reasons for the requests to reconsider.
But 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 that in high school in New York City and 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.”