the fire these times

Special Episode: A Conversation on Israel-Palestine

A conversation with my good friend Maya Schkolne on (anti)Zionism and international solidarity. Also: having multiple identities, Jewish supremacists in Israel, erasing the Nakba, apartheid (South Africa/Israel), and more.

List of resources:

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Music by Tarabeat.

3 replies to “Special Episode: A Conversation on Israel-Palestine

  1. Joey, one thing that came to mind listening to this is the role of antizionism in the Palestinian liberation movement. You touch on this several times in the discussion.

    As someone with a Palestinian background, my own interest in antizionism came out of my relationships with my Jewish friends, including activists. However, I am also sympathetic to the view that the philosophy/justification of the oppressor should not be relevant when it comes to social justice, and certainly should not distract from the movement.

    You touch on the need for Palestinians to work with refuseniks – do you also think there are practical reasons to engaging with antizionism in general? Of course the antizionist activist groups are very valuable allies.

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    1. Hey, that’s a tough one. I guess what I’d say is that there has to be some practical element to it. I don’t want the oppressors’ philosophy to matter, but it does matter. We all must understand white supremacy in order to fight it, for example.

      On the more practical side, yes. I think the refusenik example is pretty good. They’re not that many, but for the most part we just ignore them. They get shunned by a militaristic Israeli society and ignored by everyone else. I think that’s a mistake.

      I would even go further and point to the fact that the civil rights movement in the US needed both ‘moderates’ and people who are more radical. They needed both MLK and Malcolm X, and James Baldwin and Medgar Evers, and Rosa Parks you know. Black Panthers Party and people trying to work ‘from within’.

      I don’t necessarily have an answer to all of this. I don’t, for example, know whether Palestinians taking part in the Israeli elections does more harm than good. I’ve certainly heard arguments for and against. Same goes for any upcoming Palestinian elections for example. If the PA have lost their legitimacy, and Hamas is problematic, should people vote at all? If not, what’s the plan? No answers on my part either, but loads of questions.

      Similarly on the question of engaging with anti-Zionism, I think it’s probably even more uncomfortable. I think we need to provide a vision of anti-Zionism that can appeal to a lot of people who may still call themselves Zionists today (or non-Zionist/post-Zionist) but mainly because it’s a term they’ve inherited and haven’t really given it much thought until now. A lot of people who are sucked into state propaganda can change their minds.

      We know this from deradicalization programs (ex- white supremacists etc) but also through the work of Israeli groups like Zochrot.

      I doubt we’d ever get a majority to change, but we may only need a sizeable percentage. Definitely more than now. I’m not saying it should be our priority even, but certainly part of a wider strategy.

      More immediately I think it’s a matter of putting outside pressure on Israel, starting with the military aid it gets. This combined with support for BDS is already likely to provoke a lot of change. When that happens, if that happens, lots of people would start asking themselves questions, and I think we need to be ready with the answers.

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