Debunking The Myth That Anti-Zionism Is Anti-Semitic

This article was first published in 2019

Anti-Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitism: A Definitive List Of Reasons WhyPhoto: Gili Getz

Peter BeinartPeter Beinart, The Forward, February 27, 2019

It’s a bewildering and alarming time to be a Jew, both because anti-Semitism is rising and because so many politicians are responding to it not by protecting Jews but by victimizing Palestinians.

On February 16, members of France’s Yellow Vest protest movement hurled anti-Semitic insults at the distinguished French Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut. On February 19, swastikas were found on 80 gravestones in Alsace. Two days later, French President Emmanuel Macron, after announcing that Europe was “facing a resurgence of anti-Semitism unseen since World War II,” unveiled new measures to fight it.

Among them was a new official definition of anti-Semitism. That definition, produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, includes among its “contemporary examples” of anti-Semitism “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.” In other words, anti-Zionism is Jew hatred.

In so doing, Macron joined Germany, Britain, The United States and roughly thirty other governments. And like them, he made a tragic mistake.


Anti-Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitism: A Definitive List Of Reasons Why

People take part in a rally against anti-Semitism on the Republic Square on February 19, 2019 in Paris, France. Image by Getty Images

Anti-Zionism is not inherently anti-Semitic — and claiming it is uses Jewish suffering to erase the Palestinian experience.

Yes, anti-Semitism is growing. Yes, world leaders must fight it fiercely. But in the words of a great Zionist thinker, “This is not the way.”

The argument that anti-Zionism is inherently anti-Semitic rests on three pillars. The first is that opposing Zionism is anti-Semitic because it denies to Jews what every other people enjoys: a state of its own. “The idea that all other peoples can seek and defend their right to self-determination but Jews cannot,” declared Chuck Schumer in 2017, “is anti-Semitism.”

As David Harris, head of the American Jewish Committee, put it last year, “To deny the Jewish people, of all the peoples on earth, the right to self-determination surely is discriminatory.”

All the peoples on earth? The Kurds don’t have their own state. Neither do the Basques, Catalans, Scots, Kashmiris, Tibetans, Abkhazians, Ossetians, Lombards, Igbo, Oromo, Uyghurs, Tamils, Quebecois nor dozens of other peoples who have created nationalist movements to seek self-determination but failed to achieve it.

Yet barely anyone suggests that opposing a Kurdish or Catalan state makes you an anti-Kurdish or anti-Catalan bigot. It’s widely recognized that states based on ethnic nationalism — states created to represent and protect one particular ethnic group — are not the only legitimate way to ensure public order and individual freedom. Sometimes it’s better to foster civic nationalism, a nationalism built around borders rather than heritage: to make Spanish identity more inclusive of Catalans or Iraqi identity more inclusive of Kurds, rather than carving those multi-ethnic states up.

You’d think Jewish leaders would understand this. You’d think they would understand it because many of the same Jewish leaders who call national self-determination a universal right are quite comfortable denying it to Palestinians.

Argument number two is a variation on this theme. Maybe it’s not bigoted to oppose a people’s quest for statehood. But it’s bigoted to take away that statehood once achieved. “It is one thing to argue, in the moot court of historical what-ifs, that Israel should not have come into being,” argued New York Times columnist Bret Stephens earlier this month. However, “Israel is now the home of nearly nine million citizens, with an identity that is as distinctively and proudly Israeli as the Dutch are Dutch or the Danes Danish. Anti-Zionism proposes nothing less than the elimination of that identity and the political dispossession of those who cherish it.”

But it’s not bigoted to try to turn a state based on ethnic nationalism — a state designed to protect and represent one ethnic group — into a state based on civic nationalism, in which no ethnic group enjoys special privileges.

In the nineteenth century, Afrikaners created several countries — among them the Transvaal and the Orange Free State — designed to fulfill their quest for national self-determination. Then, in 1909, those two Afrikaner states merged with two states dominated by English-speaking whites to become the Union of South Africa (later the Republic of South Africa), which offered a kind of national self-determination to white South Africans.

The problem, of course, was that the versions of self-determination upheld by the Transvaal, the Orange Free State and apartheid South Africa excluded millions of blacks living within their borders.

This changed in 1994. By ending apartheid, South Africa replaced an Afrikaner ethnic nationalism and a white racial nationalism with a civic nationalism that encompassed people of all ethnicities and races. It inaugurated a constitution that guaranteed “the right of the South African people as a whole to self-determination.”

That wasn’t bigotry, but it’s opposite.

Anti-Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitism: A Definitive List Of Reasons Why

A BDS protest of the Israeli Philharmonic outside Carnegie Hall today in NYC. Image by Photo: Gili Getz

I don’t consider Israel an apartheid state. But its ethnic nationalism excludes many of the people under its control. Stephens notes that Israel contains almost nine million citizens. What he doesn’t mention is that Israel also contains close to five million non-citizens: Palestinians who live under Israeli control in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (yes, Israel still controls Gaza) without basic rights in the state that dominates their lives.

One reason Israel doesn’t give these Palestinians citizenship is because, as a Jewish state designed to protect and represent Jews, it wants to retain a Jewish majority, and giving five million Palestinians the vote would imperil that.

Even among Israel’s nine million citizens, roughly two million — the so-called “Arab Israelis” — are Palestinian. Stephens says overturning Zionism would mean the “political dispossession” of Israelis. But, according to polls, most of Israel’s Palestinian citizens see it the opposite way. For them, Zionism represents a form of political dispossession. Because they live in a state that privileges Jews, they must endure an immigration policy that allows any Jew in the world to gain instant Israeli citizenship yet makes Palestinian immigration to Israel virtually impossible.

They live in a state whose national anthem speaks of the “Jewish soul,” whose flag features a Star of David and which, by tradition, excludes Israel’s Palestinian parties from its governing coalitions. A commission created in 2003 by the Israeli government itself described Israel’s “handling of the Arab sector” as “discriminatory.”

So long as Israel remains a Jewish state, no Palestinian citizen can credibly tell her son or daughter that they can become prime minister of the country in which they live.

In these ways, Israel’s form of ethnic nationalism—Zionism—denies equality to the non-Jews who live under Israeli control.

My preferred solution would be for the West Bank and Gaza Strip to become a Palestinian state, thus giving Palestinians in those territories citizenship in an ethnically nationalist (though hopefully democratic) country of their own.

I’d also try to make Israel’s ethnic nationalism more inclusive by, among other things, adding a stanza to Israel’s national anthem that acknowledges the aspirations of its Palestinian citizens.

But, in a post-Holocaust world where anti-Semitism remains frighteningly prevalent, I want Israel to remain a state with a special obligation to protect Jews.

To seek to replace Israel’s ethnic nationalism with civic nationalism, however, is not inherently bigoted. Last year, three Palestinian Members of the Knesset introduced a bill to turn Israel from a Jewish state into a “state for all its citizens.” As one of those Knesset members, Jamal Zahalka, explained, “We do not deny Israel or its right to exist as a home for Jews. We are simply saying that we want to base the existence of the state not on the preference of Jews, but on the basics of equality… The state should exist in the framework of equality, and not in the framework of preference and superiority.”

Anti-Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitism: A Definitive List Of Reasons Why

Israeli Arab lawmakers were ejected from parliament as they stood to protest a speech by Vice President Mike Pence. Image by Getty Images

One might object that it’s hypocritical for Palestinians to try to repeal Jewish statehood inside Israel’s original boundaries while promoting Palestinian statehood in the West Bank and Gaza. One might also ask whether Zahalka’s vision of Jewish and Palestinian equality in a post-Zionist state is naïve given that powerful Palestinian movements like Hamas want not equality but Islamic domination.

These are reasonable criticisms. But are Zahalka and his colleagues — who face structural discrimination in a Jewish state — anti-Semites because they want to replace Zionism with a civic nationalism that promises equality to people of all ethnic and religious groups?

Of course not.

There is, finally, a third argument for why anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. It’s that, as a practical matter, the two animosities simply go together.

“Of course it’s theoretically possible to distinguish anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism, just as it’s theoretically possible to distinguish segregationism from racism,” writes Stephens. In reality, however, just as virtually all segregationists are also racists, virtually all anti-Zionists are also anti-Semites. You rarely find one without the other.

But that claim is empirically false. In the real world, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism don’t always go together. It’s easy to find anti-Semitism among people who, far from opposing Zionism, enthusiastically embrace it.

Before Israel’s creation, some of the world leaders who most ardently promoted Jewish statehood did so because they did not want Jews in their own countries. Before declaring, as Foreign Secretary in 1917, that Britain “view[s] with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” Arthur Balfour had supported the 1905 Aliens Act, which restricted Jewish immigration to the United Kingdom.

And two years after his famous declaration, Balfour explained that Zionism would “mitigate the age-long miseries created for Western civilization by the presence in its midst of a Body [the Jews] which it too long regarded as alien and even hostile, but which it was equally unable to expel or to absorb.”

In the 1930s, the Polish government adopted a similar tack. It’s ruling party, which excluded Jews, trained Zionist fighters from Betar and the Irgun on Polish military bases. Why? Because it wanted Polish Jews to emigrate. And a Jewish state would give them somewhere to go.

You find echoes of this anti-Semitic Zionism among some right-wing American Christians who are far friendlier to the Jews of Israel than the Jews of the United States.

In 1980, Jerry Falwell, a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, quipped that Jews “can make more money accidentally than you can on purpose.”

Benjamin Netanyahu in 2005 said, “we have no greater friend in the whole world than Pat Robertson” — the same Pat Robertson who later called former US Air Force Judge Mikey Weinstein a “little Jewish radical” for promoting religious freedom in the American military.

After being criticized by the Anti-Defamation League in 2010 for calling George Soros a “puppet master” who “wants to bring America to her knees” and “reap obscene profits off us,” Glenn Beck travelled to Jerusalem to hold a pro-Israel rally.

More recently, Donald Trump — who told the Republican Jewish Coalition in 2015 that “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money” — invited Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, who has said Jews are going to hell for not accepting Jesus, to lead a prayer at the ceremony inaugurating the American embassy in Jerusalem.

In 2017, Richard Spencer, who leads crowds in Nazi salutes, called himself a “white Zionist,” who sees Israel as a model for the white homeland he wants in the United States.

Anti-Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitism: A Definitive List Of Reasons Why

Richard Spencer, a white nationalist, calls himself a Zionist. Image by Getty Images

Some of the European leaders who traffic most blatantly in anti-Semitism—Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Heinz-Christian Strache of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party and Beatrix von Storch of the Alternative for Germany, which promotes nostalgia for the Third Reich—publicly champion Zionism too.

If anti-Semitism exists without anti-Zionism, anti-Zionism also clearly exists without anti-Semitism.

Consider the Satmar, the largest Hasidic sect in the world. In 2017, twenty thousand Satmar men — a larger crowd than attended that year’s AIPAC Policy Conference — filled Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for a rally aimed at showing, in the words of one organizer, that “We feel very strongly that there should not be and could not be a State of Israel before the Messiah comes.”

Last year, Satmar Rebbe Aaron Teitelbaum told thousands of followers that, “We’ll continue to fight God’s war against Zionism and all its aspects.”

Say what you want about Rebbe Teitelbaum and the Satmar, but they’re not anti-Semites.

Neither is Avrum Burg. Burg, the former speaker of the Knesset, in 2018 declared that settlement growth in the West Bank had rendered the two state solution impossible. Thus, he argued, Israelis must “depart from the Zionist paradigm, and move into a more inclusive paradigm. Israel must belong to all of its residents, including Arabs, not to the Jews alone.”

Other Jewish Israeli progressives, including former deputy Jerusalem mayor Meron Benvenisti, Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy and the activists of the Federation Movement, have followed a similar path.

Can one question their proposals? Of course. Are they anti-Semites? Of course not.

To be sure, some anti-Zionists really are anti-Semites: David Duke, Louis Farrakhan and the authors of the 1988 Hamas Covenant certainly qualify. So do the thugs from France’s Yellow Vest movement who called Finkielkraut a “dirty Zionist shit.”

In some precincts, there’s a growing and reprehensible tendency to use the fact that many Jews are Zionists (or simply assumed to be Zionists) to bar them from progressive spaces. People who care about the moral health of the American left will be fighting this prejudice for years to come.

Anti-Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitism: A Definitive List Of Reasons Why

Pro-Israeli protesters with an Israeli flag confront Ultra-Orthodox Jewish anti-Zionism protesters who joined a pro-Palestinian demonstration. Image by Getty Images

But while anti-Zionist anti-Semitism is likely on the rise, so is Zionist anti-Semitism. And, in the United States, at least, it’s not clear that anti-Zionists are any more likely to harbor anti-Semitic attitudes than people who support the Jewish state.

In 2016, the ADL gauged anti-Semitism by asking Americans whether they agreed with statements like “Jews have too much power” and “Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind.” It found that anti-Semitism was highest among the elderly and poorly educated: “The most well educated Americans are remarkably free of prejudicial views, while less educated Americans are more likely to hold anti-Semitic views. Age is also a strong predictor of anti-Semitic propensities. Younger Americans — under 39 — are also remarkably free of prejudicial views.”

In 2018, however, when the Pew Research Center surveyed Americans’ attitudes about Israel, it discovered the reverse pattern: Americans over the age of 65 — the very cohort that expressed the most anti-Semitism — also expressed the most sympathy for Israel. By contrast, Americans under 30, who according to the ADL harbored the least anti-Semitism, were least sympathetic to Israel.

It was the same with education. Americans who possessed a high school degree or less — the most anti-Semitic educational cohort — was the most pro-Israel. Americans with “postgraduate degrees” — the least anti-Semitic — were the least pro-Israel.

As statistical evidence goes, this is hardly airtight. But it confirms what anyone who listens to progressive and conservative political commentary can grasp: That younger progressives are highly universalistic. They’re suspicious of any form of nationalism that seems exclusive. That universalism makes them suspicious of both Zionism and the white Christian nationalism that in the United States sometimes shades into anti-Semitism.

By contrast, some older Trump supporters, who fear a homogenizing globalism, admire Israel for preserving Jewish identity while yearning to preserve America’s Christian identity in ways that exclude Jews.

If anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are both conceptually different and, in practice, often espoused by different people, why are politicians like Macron responding to rising anti-Semitism by calling anti-Zionism a form of bigotry?

Because, in many countries, that’s what communal Jewish leaders want them to do.

It’s an understandable impulse: Let the people threatened by anti-Semitism define anti-Semitism.

The problem is that, in many countries, Jewish leaders serve both as defenders of local Jewish interests and defenders of the Israeli government. And the Israeli government wants to define anti-Zionism as bigotry because doing so helps Israel kill the two state solution with impunity.

For years, Barack Obama and John Kerry warned that if Israel continued the settlement growth in the West Bank that made a Palestinian state impossible, Palestinians would stop demanding a Palestinian state alongside Israel and instead demand one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, neither Jewish nor Palestinian, that replaces Israel.

Defining anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism reduces that threat. It means that if Palestinians and their supporters respond to the demise of the two state solution by demanding one equal state, some of the world’s most powerful governments will declare them bigots.

Which leaves Israel free to entrench its own version of one state, which denies millions of Palestinians basic rights.

Silencing Palestinians isn’t a particularly effective way to fight rising anti-Semitism, much of which comes from people who like neither Palestinians nor Jews.

But, just as importantly, it undermines the moral basis of that fight.

Anti-Semitism isn’t wrong because it’s wrong to denigrate and dehumanize Jews. Anti-Semitism is wrong because it’s wrong to denigrate and dehumanize anyone. Which means, ultimately, that any effort to fight anti-Semitism that contributes to the denigration and dehumanization of Palestinians is no fight against anti-Semitism at all.

Peter Beinart is a Senior Columnist at The Forward and Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a Contributor to The Atlantic and a CNN Political Commentator.

Foregrounding the political and decolonization after October 7

October 7 reminds us that resistance to settler colonialism is ever-present. The only way forward is decolonization, and that requires a political solution.


The present crisis did not begin on October 7, as Israel (and Biden) would have it. Focusing on immediate events, particularly the gruesome and indefensible killing of Israeli civilians, feeds right into Israeli hasbara. Not that the attack should not be at the center of attention in its own right, but taking it as the cause of Israel’s retaliation — indeed, proof that Israel is an innocent victim of Palestinian terrorism and must be allowed to “defend itself” — effectively conceals the wider political context which defines what is happening from the micro to macro: Zionist/Israeli settler colonialism. Indeed, it shuts down all political discussion. 

That is precisely why we need to view events such as October 7 through an informed and critical political lens. Only by understanding them as part of the Palestinians’ century-long struggle for liberation from Zionist/Israeli colonization can we explain why many Palestinians felt a sense of pride at the Hamas breakout from Gaza and continue to support the operation despite its tragic aftermath.

What is the lens through which the October 7 events and the disproportionate Israeli retaliation must be viewed?

It is the lens of Zionist/Israeli settler colonialism.

Now, the term “settler colonialism” has become very fashionable when talking about Zionism and criticizing Israel’s consolidation of its apartheid regime throughout historic Palestine, but is used mainly as an accusation, a way to delegitimize Israel and its expansionism — not as an analysis that leads to a political program. Only by understanding its logic and intentions can we interpret events big and small, from why the two-state solution never was to why Israel’s assault on the Palestinians of Gaza is so ferocious and, beyond exacting vengeance from Hamas, what political designs lie behind it. 


Settler colonialism is a deliberate, structured, and prolonged process in which one people not only takes over the country of another — violently, by necessity — but seeks to transform it from what it was at the time of invasion into an entirely new entity, a new country reflecting the settlers’ presence, entirely erasing the natives’ presence and history.

It is not a “conflict.” There are no “sides,” no symmetry of “violence.” The settler project is a unilateral one that must deny the indigenous population’s existence as a people endowed with rights to their land and identities if it is to claim the country exclusively for itself. Following from that is the need to move the indigenous off their land, killing them, driving them out of the country, or confining them to tiny enclaves, so as to settle the land with the settler population itself.

Then comes the process of erasure: erasing the physical and cultural presence of the indigenous from the landscape and replacing it with the settlers’ own manufactured history, heritage, national narrative, and national identity. After a prolonged process of violent displacement and the pacification of those amongst the indigenous who remain, the settler project concludes quietly.

Now, the world is presented as a normal, peace-loving, democratic country remade in the settler’s image. The settler colony fosters a popular perception that it is the “real” country. (Try buying a plane ticket to Palestine.) The process of normalization is complete; any further resistance on the part of the native population is criminalized as “terrorism” and, as such, is effectively de-politicized and delegitimized. 

Such was the history of settler colonialism in the United States and Canada, in Australia and New Zealand, in apartheid South Africa, and in Russified areas of the Ukraine and Tibet, among many other places. And so it is in Israel, now entering into the final stage of the Zionist national-colonial project that began some 130 years ago — that of normalizing its settler state over the entirety of historic Palestine from the River to the Sea.

This is not to deny genuine Jewish ties, historic, and religious, to Palestine/the Land of Israel, or the national character of Zionism. The problem is not Jewish aspirations to nurture a national life in that country. What delegitimizes Zionism is that it chose violent conquest, displacement of the local population, and an exclusivist settler colonialism over acknowledging the presence of a local population and accommodating its national project to their prior rights. And if that could not be done — and it was never even considered by the Zionist movement — then the Jews had to accept their status in Palestine as one of the national, ethnic, and religious communities comprising that society, as Jews had long done peacefully under the Ottoman Empire.   

Ever-present resistance

The indigenous, of course, can never reconcile with the loss of their lands, their patrimony, their culture and heritage, their identities, and their very communal, if not national, rights. Resistance is ever-present, whether armed (and colonized peoples possess the right to armed struggle in international law), political, or symbolic. This, then, is the lens through which the October 7 events must be viewed. One need not accept Hamas’s Islamic agenda or its illegal, indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilian populations to see it nevertheless as a resistance group.

And, indeed, their October 7 action represented agency, perhaps in the only form still available to the Palestinians. All other “acceptable” options had been foreclosed to them. Negotiations failed (Oslo collapsed under the weight of Israeli settlement after seven years of open-ended “talks” with no declared political aim; there have been no diplomatic initiatives since 2014). Appeals to international law have fallen on deaf ears (the U.S. refuses to support the implementation of the Fourth Geneva Convention since Israel’s blatant violation of virtually every article would cause the collapse of its occupation under the weight of its illegality. Even non-violent resistance, as in the First Intifada, was met with excessive military repression. Only armed resistance, delegitimized by Israel and its G-7 allies as “terrorism,” appears to many Palestinians as the only way, if not to defeat Israel, then to prevent it from completing its colonial project. 

By the dint of their own refusal to be erased, the Palestinians have begun to reverse attempts by Israel and its powerful to eliminate them from history and their own homeland. If the Hamas operation proved disastrous to the people of Gaza, and arguably to the cause of the Palestinians in the Court of Public Opinion, it did achieve (again, cold political analysis) a strategic political goal: after years of Israeli and American attempts to marginalize the Palestinians, to by-pass them completely through a normalization process with the Arab and Muslim world that would seal their fate and signal the triumph of the Zionist settler project, it was Hamas that returned the Palestinians to the political game. No more can they be ignored. That represents the transformational change that the Hamas attack released, intentionally or not.

Foregrounding the political

The political lens of settler colonialism plays yet another, far more important role when evaluating the present stalemate. It sets out what and what is not a (substantially) just and workable resolution. While that discussion may seem fanciful at this particular moment, the Hamas operation and the political and military forces it has set in motion have created an opening. Even the most transactional Western and Arab states see the need for a settlement. The Palestinians have been shaken out of their despair and given a new sense of agency, and world public opinion, while taken back by the brutality of the Hamas killings, has gained a much better sense of the suffering of the Palestinians and Israel’s role as occupier and oppressor. The impending ground invasion is, tragically, to strengthen support for the Palestinians’ plight.  

What becomes obvious through the lens of settler colonialism is how misguided and futile are attempts to resolve a colonial situation through means of conflict resolution and negotiations.

A wholly different approach is required — that of decolonization.

The colonial structures of domination and control must be thoroughly dismantled. Only then may a new body politic emerge in which the indigenous regain their place in their country. An anti-colonial struggle can engender only one post-colonial reality: liberation, the restoration of the national rights of the colonized, and, in the case of the Palestinians, the return of the refugees. Settler colonialism is different from classical colonization. On independence, the colonists left India, Nigeria, and Malaya. A settler state can be decolonized, but if the settlers have become strong enough to establish a state, and if they enjoy the backing of other powerful countries — as do Israeli Jews — they are too strong to drive out. There are few, if any, cases in which settlers have ever been forcibly removed (in Algeria, the Pieds-Noirs fled back to France, although some Jews re-settled in Gaza, but the FLN did not drive them out and did not even demand their expulsion). 

Palestinians will have to struggle with how to reconcile their aspirations for liberation in a Palestinian state with the post-colonial reality of a bi-national society. Israeli Jews will remain a large and powerful segment of the population and continue to identify themselves as a national group. This is not the place to get into a discussion of the One Democratic State Campaign’s political program, to which I subscribe. But only the establishment of a common civil state of equal citizens that will enable national expression of the two groups yet possesses the authority to constrain their hegemonic impulses will be able to cope with the complex post-colonial process of constructing a new, shared state and civil society.  

Only by foregrounding the political, even in times when immediate events grab all our attention and emotions, are we able to understand what is occurring. We must not allow ourselves to be diverted by the outrages that are part of any anti-colonial struggle. Foregrounding the political enables us, even at times like these, to differentiate between acts of genuine resistance and terror, and particularly between acts of resistance — including the lashing out of the oppressed, which can be understood if not excused — and massively more violent and destructive acts of pacification by the oppressing power’s military apparatus intended to maintain, in our case, the Israeli settler state. 

As I write this, Biden has left Israel, having given the Israelis the green light to invade Gaza. As a settler colonial president, he follows in the footsteps of those presidents, from Washington to Harding, who waged the Indian Wars. The ground invasion of Gaza is imminent. Foregrounding a political settlement has become that much harder, yet so much more urgent.

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Podcast with Jeff Halper & Huwaida Arraf censored


J.G. Michael, Producer and Host of Parallax Views, reports that his recent podcast with Jeff & Huwaida has been flagged as “spam” and “hatespeech” on FaceBook.  Michael says, “Both of you called for a one, democratic state solution. Nothing hateful. Neither of you made for expulsion of Jewish people from that land, but rather a call for Palestinians and Jews to be able to live together as equals. Again, neither of you said anything hateful. You both called for an end to violence and bloodshed. I’m devastated by this along with everything else happening.”


Palestine olive oil harvest celebration transforms into a demonstration of solidarity

Zach Orlowsky,  

The Madison-Rafah City Project and Palestine Partners hosted Stand With Palestine, an event and vigil in solidarity of Palestinian civilians, at Tenney Park on Sunday.

MADISON (WKOW) — The Madison-Rafah City Project and Palestine Partners hostedStand With Palestine, an event and vigil in solidarity of Palestinian civilians, at Tenney Park on Sunday. 

The event was initially presented as a celebration of the Palestinian olive harvest season. But it shouldered a heavier burden amid Israel-Palestinian conflict. 

Now, organizers hope to support Palestinians whose lives are in danger and are cut off from food, power and water.

Visitors showed their support by purchasing Palestinian olive oil, olive oil soap, embroidery and jewelry from Women in Hebron Fair Trade Cooperative in the West Bank.

The event also featured a demonstration, in which people lined up with signs in protest.

Samer Alatout, a professor at UW-Madison, spoke on his view on the current conflict. 

“In Palestinian narrative, there is one war … and it started in 1948, and never ended,” he said.  “1948 was the war where Palestinians were displaced, the land possessed, and made into refugees.”

Alatout also expressed how difficult it can be to stay hopeful for a peaceful solution. 

“I was depressed, not because of the attacks on Gaza only, but because there is huge human suffering that’s ongoing … there is love, there is acceptance, there is celebration. Those things need to be opened up, and especially now,” he said.

According to a release by organizers, the olive harvest in Palestine has been shut down, and at least 1,000 olive trees have been destroyed.

Organizers have planned to sponsor the planting of an olive tree in the Madison-Masafer Yatta grove in response to those being destroyed in the West Bank.

People gather at Madison’s Tenney Park in support of Palestine

Shaina Nijhawan, WMTV NBC 15, Oct. 15, 2023

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Those in support of Palestine packed Tenney Park’s shelter Sunday to mourn the loss of life, donate to relief efforts, and discuss the ongoing war.

Many who attended Sunday’s ‘Stand with Palestine” rally believe Israel and Palestine will eventually achieve solidarity.

“I don’t think that any realm that Palestinian liberty is antithetical or mutually exclusive from to Jewish freedoms,” Jonny Teklit said. The freedoms of both people can coexist, and I think you see that in how many Jewish people decry the acts of occupation and decry the acts things being done in their name or their faith.”

Samir El-Omari has family in Palestine, he says he wants a peaceful end to the war.

“The U.S. and Europe, they have to realize the only solution is to have these people, Palestinians, live in dignity and human rights exactly as the Israelis,” he said. “They both should live with the same rights and dignity in this land.”

But even if the fighting stops and hostages are freed, El-Omari says a resolution may be difficult to reach.

“I am more into the belief that in one democratic state. We all should live in this land because it’ll be very hard now to draw a line and say this is Palestine, this is Israel.”

Both supporters say dignity for Palestinians is what they are fighting for.

“There’s no way that this will continue forever, and Israel should know that. Power and force and war will never let them live in peace.”

Since the start of the war, more than 2,300 people have been killed in Gaza and 1,400 killed in Israel. Twenty-nine Americans have also been killed and 15 remain missing, according to the state department.