In our latest blog post, some of our team members provide an offering to anyone who would like to better understand the need to take a stand when it comes to the injustice Palestinians are facing, why this isn’t a ‘complicated issue” that we can prevaricate over, and why Palestinian liberation is connected to liberation struggles the world over - including the fight against antisemitism. As many people were drawn to grow their anti-racist practice as the global movement for Black lives reignited after the murder of George Floyd, this piece seeks to also connect the fight for Palestinian liberation within a wider anti-racist and anti-colonial framework.
Over the last week, the fight for Palestinian liberation has gained international attention once more as right wing Israeli settlers - with the backing of the state - have been expelling Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, an area of annexed East Jerusalem.
The attention has been in large part due to Palestinians being able to share the violence they have been enduring by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and others on social media. Even more recently, Israel has engaged in a bombing campaign on Gaza, as it claims to defend itself from Hamas rockets. Gaza is widely understood as the world’s largest outdoor prison as the people there are unable to enter or exit, and at the time of writing, 243 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, tens of thousands displaced from their homes and 1900 wounded, and 12 Israelis have been killed.
While we cannot cover the full complexities of this history in one newsletter, these are the main topics covered in the piece itself:
1) How to understand what's going on in Palestine using Fearless Future's Systemic Oppression Analysis Framework:
2) Describing the eviction and killing of Palestinian civilians as "clashes" or a "conflict" is dangerous because it suggests that the violence is between parties of equal standing. The colonial legacy of the US and the UK are a critical component of the establishment and maintenance of Israel's military state that devalues the lives of Palestinians indigenous to the land. In 1986, then-Senator Biden said “If there weren’t an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region,” making clear that US military investment in Israel is not about protecting Jews from the atrocities of the Holocaust, but rather a colonial tactic to control an entire region that they deem barbaric and primitive.
3) Criticising Israel/ being pro-Palestine is not anti-semitic, and in fact when antisemitism as a system of oppression relies on the (false) narrative that Jewish communities round the world are all-powerful - seeing Jews as a monolith aligned with the violence of Israel, is itself to further antisemitism. This makes life more dangerous for Jewish people. Conflating Israel and Jewish people also actually silences the many Jewish people around the world who are anti-Zionist and who actively condemn the actions of Israel and have done so for many years.
4) What about Hamas? The loss of any life should be mourned. Israeli citizens do not deserve violence or to live in fear. And of course Israeli citizens have the right to self defence - they just don’t have this to a greater extent than Palestinians. This is about holding nobody's life or right to self determination or self-defence above anybody else's. If we are to end violence in Israel and Palestine, Israeli and Palestinian lives must be seen as equally valuable and Israeli or Palestinian violence must be seen as equally abhorrent.
5) What Now? The Biden administration approved a $735 million arms sale to Israel in early May 2021, and the US remains the only country on the UN Council to block a statement that condemns Israel’s military response and calls for a ceasefire. However, as more countries and communities stand in solidarity with Palestinians, there is an urgent need to be vocal and maintain pressure on institutions that make a profit off of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and weapons used to kill Gazan civilians.
Silence is complicity. Make your voice heard. This isn’t too complex or too political. As we mentioned, the idea that it is, is a narrative utilised to silence opposition to the violence of the Israeli state and to deny the humanity of Palestinians. And don’t stop speaking and agitating for Palestinian freedom even if the situation in Palestinian territories and communities is no longer on the TV or your twitter feed. When it’s quiet - the oppression is still happening. Read the full blog here.