Standing for Palestinian lives, land, and liberation is not antisemitic. It’s part of the fight against racism.

To be anti-racist one must also be anti-Zionist

In 2023, the long-term lobbying efforts of Zionist organizations resulted in a U.S. House of Representatives resolution declaring that anti-Zionism means the same thing as antisemitism. Across the US, elected officials, government agencies, companies, universities, and other institutions increasingly use accusations of antisemitism to punish and vilify supporters of Palestinian liberation. False accusations of antisemitism against critics of Israel serve to shut down dissent and conversation.

Zionism is a belief, not a people. Opposing it does not imply prejudice against Jews. Nonetheless, people and institutions invested in the state of Israel have spent decades mislabeling anti-Zionist protests, movements, and individuals as antisemitic in order to quash dissent. Such false accusations are currently on the rise. As the violence inherent in maintaining a Jewish ethno-nationalist state in Palestine becomes more exposed, popular support for Anti-Zionism is surging. In response, Zionists are trying desperately to conflate Anti-Zionism and antisemitism in order to discredit Anti-Zionism and impede the movement for a Free Palestine. Recently, such efforts have included the enactment of new laws aimed at punishing pro-Palestine speech and conduct. These measures, which include the recent resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives, contribute to the already repressive environment facing advocates for Palestinian rights. 

These false accusations of antisemitism: 

  • Attempt to justify the repression of people who speak for Palestinian liberation and human rights
  • Undermine free speech 
  • Mislead people into believing that solidarity with Jews requires support for Zionism
  • Falsely imply that Zionism is intrinsic to being Jewish
  • Deflect and impede efforts to track and combat actual antisemitism
  • Reinforce antisemitic tropes that all Jewish people have shared political aims, agendas, and beliefs, and
  • Suppress criticism of the State of Israel and its Zionist practices, policies, and ideologies

Despite these cynical efforts and the repression they generate, the movement for Palestinian liberation is growing stronger every day. As Anti-Zionist Jews, we know that what keeps us safe is solidarity and standing together against oppression in all its forms. The repression of Palestinians and their allies is a threat to us all. 

Zionism, anti-Zionism, and antisemitism: why they’re different and why that matters

Zionism

Zionism is Jewish nationalism.

Zionism was first formulated in Eastern Europe in the late 1800s in response to the persecution of Jewish communities. The originators of Zionism drew on the prevailing ideologies of racial dominance and colonial expansion prevalent in European society at the time. 

Zionism was the ideological underpinning of the Nakba wherein Zionists massacred, displaced, and dispossessed over 750,000 Palestinians as part of the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. Today, Zionism remains a driving force of Israel’s conduct, including its expansionism, its granting of privileged citizenship to Jews, and its mistreatment of Palestinians, namely its occupation, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, sieges, genocidal military campaigns, and other forms of extreme violence. Israel’s Law of Return makes citizenship available to any person with one-quarter Jewish ancestry, thereby relying on the same criteria for Jewishness used by the Nazis. At the same time, Israel refuses the return of Palestinian refugees despite UN recognition of this right. To this day, Zionism continues to drive Israel’s ongoing violence against Palestinians and its ruthless expansionism. 

Zionism is not and never has been the same as Judaism or Jewish identity. Many Jews are not Zionists. In fact, the number of anti-Zionist Jews is rapidly increasing. And many Zionists are not Jews. In the United States alone there are 30 million Christian Zionists, a figure four times larger than the entire Jewish population of the U.S. 

Anti-Zionism

Anti-Zionism is opposition to the racism and nationalism at the heart of Zionism.

Jews have been around much longer than Zionism has been a political project  – by thousands of years. And as long as there has been Zionism, there has been opposition to it – among Jews, Palestinians, and many others. Opponents of Zionism object to its central aim: the preservation of a Jewish ethno-religious state on the historic territory of Palestine, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, because it necessitates the dispossession of Palestinians and the use of extreme violence against them.

Anti-Zionists also object to Israel’s worldwide role in repression. For decades, the State of Israel has strengthened repressive regimes around the world by supplying them with advanced weapons, strategies and surveillance technologies designed for repression and tested on Palestinians. 

Anti-Zionists also recognize the threat Zionism poses to Jewish safety. Israel’s alliances with repressive regimes, its brutal military campaigns, and its false conflation of being Jewish with support for Israel – a suggestion that all Jews have shared aims and agendas – has fanned the flames of antisemitism. Moreover, Zionism suggests that Jews can only achieve safety within the confines of an ethno-nationalist state, legitimizing the views of antisemitic rulers and regimes throughout history that have called for separating Jews from other populations. 

Anti-Zionists object to the Zionist effort to exceptionalize antisemitism and to separate it entirely from other forms of racial, religious, and ethnic persecution. Anti-Zionists recognize that Jewish history, which includes both persecution and fierce resistance to it, is connected to the histories of genocide and resistance embodied by other movements for liberation. Zionism obstructs efforts towards true Jewish safety by persuading many Jews that they lack common cause with international movements for racial justice, collective humanity, demilitarization and decolonization, when in fact solidarity with such movements is the surest path towards Jewish safety and the safety of all people.

Anti-Zionists object to Zionism because it is racist. Zionism privileges Jewish lives (particularly the lives of European and Ashkenazi Jews) above all others, especially over Palestinian lives. Opposing Zionism is thus an essential part of combating racism. One cannot be truly anti-racist without being anti-Zionist. 

Antisemitism

Antisemitism is prejudice, hatred, or violence directed at Jews because they are Jewish. Antisemitism is a threat that must be countered by all who oppose racism, white supremacy, and religious discrimination. 

Ruling classes invoke antisemitism to maintain power by redirecting public anger and blame towards “the other.” Scapegoating Jews has proven particularly effective in periods of economic discontent and collective despair. Scapegoating disguises the cause of social problems and undermines popular resistance.  

People of any political perspective can be antisemitic, but the epicenter of antisemitism historically and today is the fascist and far-right, where white supremacy, Christian Nationalism, and Christian Zionism are dominant. To consolidate their power, antisemites attribute any opposition they encounter to Jewish influence.  

For Jews to be safe, all persecuted people must be safe. Antisemitism is a form of oppression advanced by the same forces that perpetuate racism, Islamophobia, and other forms of oppression and exploitation. It must be combatted as part of a joint, international struggle against all forms of religious discrimination, economic exploitation, and racial and ethnic oppression, including Islamophobia, anti-Arab narratives, and targeting of Palestinians. Zionism aims to separate Jews from such struggles and thus impedes the path towards ending antisemitism. 

Zionism is aligned with the same forces that fuel antisemitism.

Collective liberation and solidarity – not Zionism – is what will end antisemitism.

Anti-Zionism is part of the fight for collective liberation.

IJAN Bay Area Urges SF Board of Supervisors to Adopt Pro-Ceasefire Resolution

IJAN Bay Area is strongly supportive of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ ceasefire resolution, which will be put to a vote this Tuesday, January 9th. In advance of Tuesday’s decision, and in collaboration with Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area, and other Jewish organizations, IJAN has distributed a petition urging SF’s city supervisors to support the resolution.

The petition has garnered an astonishing 900+ signatures from Bay Area Jews in favor of the resolution. Just this morning, we sent it to the eleven San Francisco city supervisors so they can see how broadly the local Jewish community supports the resolution.

In addition to encouraging the supervisors to vote in favor of the resolution, the letter also urges the supervisors not to pay heed to those who exploit jewish grief in an effort to justify Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza. The letter highlights a local organization that is particularly guilty of manipulating Jewish grief in this way, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Bay Area. As the letter details, JCRC-Bay Area has an extensive history of punishing people and organizations with whom it disagrees by using its influence to cut funding, publicly denounce individuals, pass legislation limiting free speech, and wage lawsuits against academic institutions. Accordingly, the letter, and its 900+ signatories, urges the city supervisors to refrain from collaboration with JCRC-Bay Area and to disregard the organization’s claims to speak on behalf of our whole community.

See the letter, along with the 900+ signatures, here:

SIGN THE PETITION: JCRC Bay Area Doesn’t Speak for Me

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) has a known track record of not only attacking communities of color in the Bay Area but targeting teachers, school districts, non-profits, educational initiatives, and city councils.

JCRC-BA promotes the silencing of people and organizations that speak up for Palestinian freedom and human rights. It does so by wielding its influence to get people publicly denounced, to cut organizations’ funding, and to eliminate their ties with government agencies. Though JCRC-BA presents itself as a liberal organization, it operates as an enemy of free speech and a willing attack-dog for the zionist movement, in its effort to thwart any and all discussion of Palestinian lives and liberties.

PLEASE SIGN: https://forms.gle/18hahSH1e4aWUiFv6

IJAN UK Demands an End to Genocide: Holds Protest Outside the Israeli Ambassador’s Home

On November 10, 2023, IJAN-UK held a protest outside the home of Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely. The action added to the growing calls for an end to Israel’s Gaza Genocide and called attention to Ambassador Hotovely’s culpability for the ongoing atrocities against Palestinians.

On 16 October Tzipi Hotovely, the UK ambassador for Israel, lied: “there is no humanitarian crisis” in Gaza; Israel is working to “make sure all Palestinian civilians will be safe.”

On 17 October, she said that Israel could kill as many as “600,000 civilians.”

Israel’s siege of Gaza is genocide by bombing, white phosphorus, starvation, thirst, disease, and destruction of hospitals, homes, and life-saving infrastructure. As of time of writing, Israel has killed more than 10,000 Gazans, including more than 4,104 children – plus another 1,270 still under the rubble, and 2,550 women, plus nearly 20,000 wounded, and 1.5 million people displaced.

Millions around the world are protesting this indescribable, Nazi-like horror, including thousands of Jewish people (hundreds of whom were arrested for demonstrating in the US Capitol and New York City’s Grand Central Station).

Dr Marika Sherwood, a survivor of the Budapest ghetto said: “I have to say to the Israeli government, which claims to speak in the name of all Jews, that it is not speaking in my name”.

We will not be silent.

We demand ceasefire now.

We demand the allowance of humanitarian aid.

We demand an end to the siege.

Sign the Statement: No Final Solution in Our Name – – – Never Again For Anyone.

Jewish people who stand against genocide, please read IJAN’s statement below and sign onto it here.

No Final Solution in Our Name

Never Again For Anyone.

Sometime after [1956] I heard a news item about Israelis herding Palestinians into settlement camps. I just could not believe this. Weren’t the Israelis also Jews? Hadn’t we – they – just survived the greatest pogrom of our history? Weren’t [concentration] camps – often euphemistically called ‘settlement camps’ by the Nazis – the main feature of this pogrom? How could Jews in any measure do unto others what had been done to them? How could these Israeli Jews oppress and imprison other people?I have to say to the Israeli government, which claims to speak in the name of all Jews, that it is not speaking in my name. I will not remain silent in the face of the attempted annihilation of the Palestinians; the sale of arms to repressive regimes around the world; the attempt to stifle criticism of Israel in the media worldwide… I will not allow the confounding of the terms ‘anti-Semitic’ and ‘anti-Zionist’ to go unchallenged.”~ Dr. Marika Sherwood is a survivor of the Budapest ghetto.

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network calls on all Jews of Conscience to stand and act against Netanyahu’s goal of a “final solution” for “the Palestinian problem.” We are a diversity of Jewish people who carry the intergenerational trauma of genocide, ethnic cleansing, forced displacement, political persecution, ghettoization, colonization, and ethnic and religious persecution and discrimination.We will not allow these histories to be used for the massacre of Palestinians. We say never again for anyone.This latest assault on Gaza is consistent with the violent colonization of Palestine that imposed the State of Israel on the Palestinians and has maintained it for over 75 years: its ongoing apartheid policies, military occupation and siege, ethnic cleansing, ghettoization, and forced displacement.

After the 2006 siege on Gaza, Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer warned:

“What is happening in Gaza is a slow-motion genocide. At first the Nazis put us in ghettos, then they moved us to work camps and concentration camps. The final solution came later in their efforts. It is painful to witness the parallels I observe between my own experience in Germany and those suffered by Palestinians today.”“The various forms of collective punishment visited upon the Palestinian people – coerced ghettoization behind a ‘security wall’; the bulldozing of homes and destruction of fields; the bombing of schools, mosques, and government buildings; an economic blockade that deprives people of the water, food, medicine, education and the basic necessities for dignified survival – force me to recall the deprivations and humiliations that I experienced in my youth. This century-long process of oppression means unimaginable suffering for Palestinians.”

Gaza is a concentration camp and rapidly becoming a death camp. Gas chambers and firing lines have been replaced with bombs, tanks, and white phosphorous. We say never again for anyone.Talli Gotliv, an Israeli lawmaker, demanded that Israel “Shoot powerful missiles without limit. Not flattening a neighborhood. Crushing and flattening Gaza,” she continued… “Otherwise, we would have done nothing. Not with passwords, with penetrating bombs. Without mercy! Without mercy!” A wish Netanyahu is fulfilling. Israel is bombing neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, places of worship, tunnels through which people are trying to escape, without regard for civilian life. Half of Gaza is children. The intention is clear. The intention is genocide. Depriving people of food, water, electricity and basic needs, is not just collective punishment, it is an act of genocide.As we offer solidarity with Palestinian resistance, we are reminded of the Warsaw and Vilna Ghetto and concentration camp uprisings against the Nazis. Both are acts of resistance against fascist regimes. In both cases, there is a struggle for freedom from genocide and ethnic cleansing and the right to exist as a free people.

Since 1948, Palestinians have had to flee while resisting so that they could stay as much as possible in their own homes on their own land, and for their own self-determination.Dr Meyer called for a return of Palestine to Palestinians and a return of Judaism to the ethics of “do unto others.” We stand on the history of Jewish participation in struggles for our collective liberation. We stand with the right of Palestinians to their collective self-defense. We stand against genocide, whether the genocide that killed many of our families, or the genocide we are witnessing. The majority of the world is against this genocide. Internationally, many are showing up and protesting, calling out the US, UK, and EU, who are backing Israel’s genocidal plan with their arms, propaganda, and censorship. We stand with the majority. No genocide in our name.We say never again for anyone.We invite other Jews of Conscience to join us in demanding an immediate end to the escalating genocide in Palestine.

To show your support for this statement, please sign here.

OPEN LETTER TO THE BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS

PRESS RELEASE: 18 June 2018

‘The BOD doesn’t speak for us.’ An open letter to the Board of Deputies of British Jews from Jewish people

Today we have sent an Open Letter to the BOD, signed by 75 (currently 105) Jewish people in the UK, appalled that it supports the continuing Israeli massacre of Palestinian people.

The signatories include a number of prominent people: Prof Sir Geoffrey Bindman; Prof Moshe Machover; Michael Rosen; Alexei Sayle; Sir Stephen Sedley; Avi Shlaim FBA; Gillian Slovo; and Jamie Stern-Weiner.

Amongst the first to sign was Ronnie Kasrils, a leading anti-apartheid campaigner, who was in exile in Britain for some years, and later a minister in the Mandela government. He asked to be included because it was a “much needed statement”.  

The letter was initiated by three members of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK. 

For more information, see Facebook here; email UK@IJAN.org.


OPEN LETTER TO THE BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS FROM JEWISH PEOPLE IN THE UK

We are appalled that the Board of Deputies (BoD) which claims to be “the voice of British Jews,” has once again attempted to justify the massacre of unarmed Palestinian people by the Israeli military.  You issued a throw-away tweet on 31 March and a full statement on 15 May, followed by a comment opposing the World Health Organisation fact-finding mission into the health needs of the occupied territories on 24 May.

As you know, on 30 March, when Israel began its latest attack, Palestinians were commemorating Land Day. [1] It was the launch of their Great March of Return demanding the right to go back to their homeland and an end to the blockade of Gaza. The March continued until 15 May, the seventieth anniversary of the Nakba, when three-quarters of a million Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their land: hundreds of towns and villages were depopulated and destroyed to make way for the state of Israel.

Since 30 March, 123 Palestinians have been killed, including children, women and medics, and journalists wearing vests marked PRESS, many shot in the back, and 13,600 have been maimed or injured by live ammunition, tear gas and firebombs.  For six weeks the killings continued, day after day, and on 14 May, when the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem, despite “overwhelming global opposition”, another massacre: 60 people killed, and 2,771 maimed and wounded.  The Israeli use of illegal “dumdum” bullets which expand after entering the body was clearly intended to cause not only greater pain but permanent disabilities

Your statement justifying this massacre prompted over 500 Jewish Zionists to write to outgoing president Arkush and president-elect Marie van der Zyl [2] protesting that BoD had “deeply misrepresented” their views by relieving Israel of all responsibility for the deaths caused by their snipers. 

BoD is doing its best to hide that Jews are divided over Israel’s ongoing repression and slaughter of the Palestinian people, which many of us, like most people everywhere in the world, including a number of Zionists, are outraged by.  So much for BoD “speaking for all Jews”!  You are so determined to defend Israel that you have even accused Jewish organisations and individuals of “antisemitism” because they support Palestinian rights, and campaigned for their expulsion from the Labour Party.

This is not the first time the BoD has condoned murder, claiming to speak on behalf of Jewish people in the UK.  The BoD publicly supported pro-Israel rallies during the bombing of Gaza in 2008/9 and 2014 that killed thousands of Palestinian women, children and men.  It has consistently supported a regime that is widely considered guilty of war crimes and the racist crime of apartheid.  You are now saying that opposition to Israel’s actions is antisemitic, thus demanding that Israel should be the only government in the world exempt from criticism.

The BoD in recent years has been uncritical of Israel and pro-Tory, contrary to the great Jewish working-class tradition of struggling for social justice in every situation.   Arkush declared his political allegiance when (on 9 June 2017) he mourned the Tory prime minister’s failure to win an outright majority at the general election as a “loss” for the Jewish community, and described the Tory alliance with the extreme right-wing, homophobic, anti-abortion Democratic Unionist Party in the North of Ireland as “positive news” and the DUP as “exceptionally warm and friendly”.  The Tories that Arkush supports are aligned in Europe with right-wing political parties that honour Nazi collaborators and Islamophobes.  Arkush also celebrated the election of Trump undeterred by his racist, Islamophobic, and antisemitic campaign.

Your identification with the Israeli government could prove even more frightening. Governments and people around the world fear that the wrecking of the agreement with Iran by Netanyahu and Trump (the heads of two nuclear powers) may start yet another war, repeating the horrors of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.  You may find yourself not only supporting the destruction of Iran, but urging the risk of nuclear war.

As Jewish people we are distraught that the Nazi holocaust has been, and continues to be, used to justify the brutal occupation of another people who played no part in our historic persecution, and to indulge in warmongering.

We reclaim our tradition of struggling for social justice for all by echoing the call by Jamal Juma, coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and the Land Defence Coalition:

“It is time for the world to stop standing in implicit or explicit complicity with Israeli apartheid and to join us in nonviolent action by taking up the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions until Israel respects international law and human rights.” [3]


Footnotes

1. Land Day is the annual remembrance of the 1976 general strike protesting Israeli land theft from Palestinian citizens of Israel, when six unarmed Palestinians were killed, a hundred were wounded, and hundreds arrested.

2. We note that van der Zyl’s suitability to be president of BoD has been questioned by victims/survivors of child sexual abuse who accuse her of “abandoning” them in their efforts to eradicate this crime from Jewish institutions.

3. Quoted from The National (Scotland), Why the time is right for action to help Palestine, 23 April 2018


Initial signatories:

1.   Craig Berman

2.   Sarah Glynn

3.   Abe Hayeem

4.   Rosamine Hayeem

5.   Yael Kahn

6.   Michael Kalmanovitz

7.   Roisin Kalmanovitz

8.   Agnes Kory

9.   Selma James

10. Les Levidow

11. Moshe Machover

12. Helen Marks

13. Sam Weinstein

14. Karl Weiss

Signatories so far (21 Sept 2018):

15.     Susie Barry

16.     Graham Bash

17.     Mervyn E. Bennun

18.     Sir Geoffrey Bindman

19.     Pamela Blakelock

20.     Hagit Borer

21.     Haim Bresheeth

22.     Tony Booth

23.     David Cannon

24.     Michael Chambers

25.     Linda Clair

26.     James Cohen

27.     Jake Colman

28.     Ruth Conlock

29.     Ivor Dembina

30.     Greg Dropkin

31.     Judit Druks

32.     Thomas Eisner

33.     Bridget Dunne

34.     Mark Elf

35.     Liz Elkind

36.     Michael Ellman

37.     Pia Feig

38.     Tansy Feltis

39.     Deborah Fink

40.     Sylvia Finzi

41.     Carol Foster

42.     Kenny Fryde

43.     Claudio García Ehrenfeld (former UK resident)

44.     Dr Jay Ginn

45.     Dr David Goldberg

46.     Martin Golding

47.     Jen Green

48.     Tony Greenstein

49.     Malcolm Hecks

50.     Susan Himmelweit

51.     Hannah Hurst

52.     Nicholas Jacobs

53.     Riva Joffe

54.     Naomi Junnor

55.     Stephen Kapos

56.     Ronnie Kasrils (former UK resident)

57.     Jenny Kassman

58.     John Keidan

59.     Yosh Kosminsky

60.     Adam Kossoff

61.     Richard Kuper

62.     David Landau

63.     Bernice Laschinger

64.     Ruth Lass

65.     Lorry Leader

66.     Stephanie Lee

67.     Hilary Lester

68.     Leah Levane

69.     Rosalind Levy

70.     John Lipetz

71.     Jola Litwitz

72.     Renato Loeffler

73.     Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky

74.     Deborah Maccoby

75.     Ilana Machover

76.     James Mcleavy

77.     Ros Meadow

78.     Angie Mindel

79.     Prof David Mond

80.     Idit Nathan

81.     Diana Neslen

82.     Richard Pearl

83.     Stewart Permutt

84.     Miranda Pinch

85.     Judy Rabinowitz Price

86.     Jacqueline Rose

87.     Michael Rosen

88.     Leon Rosselson

89.     Sabby Sagall

90.     Prof Andrew Samuels

91.     Ian Saville

92.     Alexei Sayle

93.     Glyn Secker

94.     Emma Segar

95.     Sir Stephen Sedley

96.     Jenny Secretan

97.     Avi Shlaim, FBA

98.     Andy Simons

99.     Ray Sirotkin

100.    Gillian Slovo

101.    Annabelle Sreberny

102.    Jamie Stern-Weiner

103.    Ruth Tenne

104.    Jeremy Weinstein

105.    Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis

Apartheid Israel and US police


Five days after Minneapolis police brutally killed George Floyd, Iyad Hallaq a young Palestinian man with autism was shot in the back and killed by Israeli border police. Both men of colour, both unarmed.

Palestinians immediately drew parallels between the images of Floyd’s suffering under the knee of the police, and similar choke holds used by Israeli forces against them.

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Shehab News Agency: ‘Happening every day in occupied Palestine!’

While an Israeli police spokesperson has denied the use of the knee on neck choke hold, [1] the Israeli Tactical School (founded in the US) states “Our courses lead instructors are coming from the Israeli Secret Service (Shin-Bet), Mossad, Yamam (Israeli SWAT unit) and Israeli Navy SEALs (Shayetet 13), Israeli Delta Force (Sayeret Matkal)” and that they train police officers to incapacitate people which they illustrate precisely with an image of a knee on the neck. [2]

US/Israel joined in repression

As we said in 2009, “Like so many other countries, the U.S. purchases Israeli weapons of war to use against others outside its borders, and Israeli technologies, surveillance and policing strategies to use in repression internal to its borders.” [3] Israel has been complicit in the enforcement of racial supremacy internationally, and invited to train police forces to undermine grassroots liberation movements around the world.

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The brutality of US police is well known arising out of the drive to repress labour: slaves in the South, and waged workers in the North. [4] That history has made way for the ongoing murder of Black people by the police and the state violence against all social justice movements. Rooted in the brutal ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and theft of their land, the Israeli military is trained to control every aspect of life.  In these, as in other countries, the job of the military and the police is to make sure that the economic and social hierarchy remains intact.

The US provided $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel in 2020 to purchase US weapons and technology to be used against Palestinians and neighboring countries. In turn, Israel creates surveillance, population control and military technology and strategies, and field tests them on Palestinians for the US to use against people in the United States, particularly Black people and other people of color but also immigrants, Muslims, poor and homeless people, transgender people and people with disabilities. Israel is also contracted to train police forces all over the United States, including Minneapolis, in militarized police tactics and weapons used against working class struggles.

Trained by Israel

Since 2002 thousands of law enforcement officials from all over the US have trained in Israel with Israeli police, military, and the Shin Bet (Israel’s security police).  Some of those trained include the Ferguson, Missouri police (who killed Michael Brown), the Deputy Director of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the current Chief of Police in Washington DC.  The New York Police Department actually has an office in apartheid Israel.[5]

The Israeli government and military contractors advertise themselves internationally as the experts in surveillance, the use of force, and counter-terrorism (of which racial profiling is an element). [6]

Israeli weapons and tactics have been ‘battle tested’ on Palestinians for over 70 years. They have “transformed the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank from a burden to a marketable, highly profitable, national asset”. [7]

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Tactics used both by Israeli security forces and U.S. police include: curfews, snipers, riot teams wearing unmarked uniforms; arrests of, and physical assaults on, journalists who are clearly identifiable; and the indiscriminate use of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to wound protesters and terrify them off the streets. [8]

At least 100 Minnesota police attended a 2012 conference hosted by the Israeli consulate in Chicago [9] [10] at which Israeli experts trained them in ‘restraint’ techniques. [11]

Police officials from at least 15 states have all been trained by a “chronic human rights violator – Israel”. [12]

In 2010 alone, the US-based Zionist Anti-Defamation League (ADL) trained over 10,500 law enforcement officers, including the FBI. [13] The ADL is known for its anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, and anti-Palestinian advocacy; for example, publishing a blacklist of organizations supporting Palestinian rights. [14]

Israeli police have also helped train forces in Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Greece, Iran, India and South Africa and no doubt other countries. [15] In the UK, City of London Police Assistant Commissioner Alistair Sutherland met with representatives of the Israeli government and security technology companies. [16]

#BlackLivesMatter, #PalestinianLivesMatter

It is often women who defend their loved ones and speak out for justice – mothers, sisters, daughters – in Palestine as in the US and other countries.

Rana Hallaq, Iyad’s mother said: “They stole my boy, a pure person, sensitive, an angel: I wouldn’t let a breeze of air touch him.  Aren’t they ashamed, they murdered my son in cold blood, I want justice for my boy.” [17]

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In 2014 Palestinians sent solidarity and useful tips on how to deal with tear gas and other tactics being used in Ferguson, Missouri, against the Black Lives Matter movement.

On 30 May 2020, the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) National Committee wrote: “We call on the Palestine solidarity movement in the US and elsewhere to stand with the Movement for Black Lives . . . in their righteous struggle for justice.” [18]

At a protest in Bethlehem, a poster depicting photos of Floyd and Halaq had the message “Our struggles are one. #BlackLivesMatter #PalestinianLivesMattter.” [19]

Speaking at a rally in Philadelphia Susan Abulhawa brought “greetings and solidarity from Palestine, where Palestinians have been marching in the streets of Jerusalem, Ramallah, Haifa, Gaza and beyond in support of Black lives over the past few days. I am here not as an ally, but as your comrade in arms, as your comrade in struggle…

“Every day in Palestine there is a Palestinian somewhere with an Israeli soldier’s knee on his neck. Every moment in Palestine there is a Palestinian being stopped, checked, frisked, humiliated, arrested, beaten or shot. We can say that we know what it’s like, and to some extent that is true. But we’ve not been terrorized for 400 years. Our ancestors weren’t kidnapped from their villages and flung across the world into unspeakable bondage that has only just changed form, but not truly ended”. [20]

In high contrast, Israel defenders, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the head of the Zionist Organization of America accused the BLM movement of antisemitism for expressing support for Palestinians. [21]

Targeting journalists

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In the BLM movement protests, US and foreign journalists have reported being fired at with rubber bullets, pepper sprayed, tear gassed at point-blank range, thrown to the ground, harassed, arrested, and even blinded by the US police.  In Palestine in September 2018 the Journalist Support Committee reported that Israeli forces had killed two Palestinian journalists that year and wounded 254 in Gaza while arresting 82 in the occupied West Bank. [22] This is despite the international community signing treaties and human rights agreements to ban tear gas in combat.

Victories v Israeli police training

There is a growing movement in the US against the Israeli militarization of the police. In April 2018, after successful lobbying by Demilitarize from Durham2Palestine, the Durham, North Carolina city council voted unanimously to bar participation in militarized police exchange trainings with Israel – the first to do so in the US. [23] And in December 2018 the Vermont State Police and the Northampton, Massachusetts police chief pulled out of a police exchange program managed by the ADL after pro-Palestinian grassroots organizing. [24]

In Oakland a lawsuit targeting the training of police by the Israeli military and other foreign powers has successfully won a temporary restraining order against the Police Department. It orders a freeze on the use of tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets – part of a large lawsuit by Black-led organizations and protestors, including students and movement lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild of San Francisco. The lawsuit is aimed at defunding police and moving those funds into community needs. It also calls for police accountability and the end to their military training as well as ending the use of the National guard used to police communities and protestors.

Black Lives Matter

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Israeli police and policies have a long history of racism not only against Palestinians but also against other people of color, including Jewish people.  The irradiation of Mizrahi children to “cure” ringworm [25], the forced sterilization of Ethiopian women [26], the murder last year of an Ethiopian Jewish teenager at the hands of an off-duty police officer [27], exemplify the state’s brutality against Jews of colour.

In addition, the Israeli authorities have rounded up African asylum seekers and bribed African governments with military hardware to take them, even against their wishes. [28]

The Black Lives Matter movement, in attacking the US racist monster from inside,  has made it more possible for antiracists all over the world to act in solidarity while also making their own case against racism, imperialism, ethnic cleansing, occuaption and apartheid.

Thousands of placards carried by people of every shade around the world proclaim that at this moment in time “White silence = Complicity”.  Since Israel claims its genocidal policies against Palestinians are on behalf of Jews everywhere, Jewish silence = complicity. Which side are you on?

# Justice4Iyad #Justice4George #BlackLivesMatter #PalestinianLivesMattter


Footnotes

1.      Twitter: Micky Rosenfeld

2.      Israeli Tactical Krav Maga: this page was deleted the day after IJAN UK’s letter in the local press referenced their web page, but it is still available, see Skwawkbox article, here.

3.      IJAN: Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression

4.      NPR

5.      New York Intelligencer

6.      Deadly Exchange

7.      The Lab

8.      Jonathan Cook: Middle East Eye

9.      The second time such an event had been held. Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota.

10.   Morning Star

11.   Jonathan Cook: Middle East Eye

12.   Arizona, Maryland, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington state as well as the DC Capitol police: Amnesty International – US and Deadly Exchange

13.   IJAN: Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression

14.   Grayzone

15.   Electronic Intifada and IJAN

16.   Times of Israel

17.   Facebook: Free Jerusalem

18.   BDS movement

19.   Mondoweiss

20.   Workers World

21.   Middle East Monitor and Electronic Intifada: Morton Klein, the head of the ZOA tweeted: “BLM is a Jew hating, White hating, Israel hating, conservative Black hating, violence promoting, dangerous Soros funded extremist group of haters”.

22.   The Canary

23.   Al Jazeera

24.   The Progressive

25.   Mondoweiss

26.   Ha’aretz

27.   Ha’aretz

28.  Minority Rights