Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sent a letter to the family of American civil rights icon John Lewis, sending his condolences "on behalf of the State of Palestine," who he wrote continues to struggle for "dignity, peace, self-determination and independence" in the spirit of Lewis' values.
Calling Lewis a "great advocate of human rights," Abbas said that Lewis was as "A true civil rights leader and a politician whose integrity, actions and beliefs inspire millions of people, both in the United States and around the world."
Lewis passed away on July 17 after a months-long battle with cancer at the age of 80. He was a longtime member of Congress and a civil rights hero whose beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped spur opposition to racial segregation.
He was the youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that had the greatest impact on the movement. He was best known for leading some 600 protesters in the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma 55 years ago.
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Lewis has stated that although he opposed the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, he also rejected attempts to make such boycotts illegal, and emphasized that boycotts for political reasons were a protected form of speech.