Today, Amnesty International released a report detailing what Palestinians have already told us – that Israel is committing apartheid against the Palestinian people, not only in the Occupied Territories but within Israel’s 1948 borders too. While it is encouraging to see Amnesty International join organisations such as B’tselem and Human Rights Watch in its condemnation of Israel’s system of apartheid, it is vital to remember that Palestinian human rights bodies such as Adalah and Al-Haq and Palestinian activists have been saying this all along.

Israeli seizures of Palestinian land, unlawful extrajudicial killings of Palestinians, forcible transfers, drastic movement restrictions, mass arrests and administrative detentions, regular home and village demolitions, and denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians all work to segregate, dispossess and exclude Palestinians in a colonial system that amounts to apartheid under international law. In fact, the Israeli apartheid system is rooted in the colonisation of Palestine. From the 1948 Nakba to the present day, the violent settler-colonial displacement of Palestinians from their land remains integral to the Zionist project, which racialises and erases the diverse Palestinian people in an attempt to stake a singular Jewish claim to the land. To speak of apartheid without colonialism is to speak of an effect without cause.

There is no possible justification for this racist, colonial, systemic oppression of millions of Palestinian people. From unceded Countries across the Australian colony, we have watched local peak bodies strengthen their financial ties with the Israeli government, despite a groundswell of community support for the Palestinian call to boycott, sanction and divest from apartheid Israel. We are also driven to speak about the colonisation of Palestine by the knowledge that here, too, we live on unceded lands. The Australian and Israeli colonies maintain their strong ties precisely because they share a foundational commitment to displacing, segregating and eliminating First Nations peoples. From this continent to Palestine and beyond, we say no more to settler colonialism.

As Jewish people we know the genocidal violence of white supremacy, and we insist that the only greater shame than being complicit in another peoples’ dispossession is to actively participate in it. Rhetorics of “Jewish self-determination” and labellings of Palestinian human rights activism as antisemitic (as outlined by the contested IHRA definition of antisemitism) ultimately claim that Jewish freedom and safety can only come at the expense of the Palestinian people. But we know that our true liberation can never be built on Palestinian dispossession. We must hear the calls from Palestinian and First Nations communities for justice, freedom and peace across all the lands we are connected to. This cannot be achieved without holding the Israeli and Australian governments to account for the ongoing devastation of sovereign lands, peoples and cultures. None of us are free until we are all free.

Read the reports:

Further readings:–palestine-rights-groups-prevent-palestinians-framing-their-own-reality

Act in solidarity:

BDS movement

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