Anti-Palestinian Racism

Supporting Palestine. Photo: Morning Star

JVL introduction

The post was found on Facebook. H/t Eyal Clyne.

Just passing it on.

29 September 2018

Anti-Palestinian Racism is hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians.

Manifestations of Anti-Palestinian Racism might include the denial of Palestinian rights to a state of Palestine as recognised by over 130 member countries of the United Nations. It frequently charges Palestinians with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Palestinians for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and may employ sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of anti-Palestinian racism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

1. Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and nationhood, or actively conspiring to prevent the exercise of this right.

2. Denial that Israel is in breach of international law in its continued occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

3. Denial that Israel is an apartheid state according to the definition of the International Convention on Apartheid.

4. Denial of the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba and of their right, and the right of their descendants, to return to their homeland.

5. Denial that Palestinians have lived in what is now the land of Israel for hundreds of years and have their own distinctive national identity and culture.

6. Denial that the laws and policies which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel (such as the recently passed Nation State Law) are inherently racist.

7. Denial that there is widespread discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories in matters of employment, housing, justice, education, water supply, etc, etc.

8. Tolerating the killing or harming of Palestinians by violent settlers in the name of an extremist view of religion.

9. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Palestinians — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth of a Palestinian conspiracy to wipe Israel off the map.

10. Justifying the collective punishment of Palestinians (prohibited under the Geneva Convention) in response to the acts of individuals or groups.

11. Accusing the Palestinians as a people, of encouraging the Holocaust.

Comments (4)

  • Tony says:

    We salute our Jewish labour members for their honesty and support for justice for the downtrodden Palestinian people.God bless you all brothers

  • Anthony Campling says:

    We should move formally to adopt that definition of anti Palestine racism

  • Jaap Bosma says:

    It says of the examples “could, taking into account the overall context, include”, which means that the examples are not necessarily racist.

    That looks too much like the IHRA-definition of anti-Semitism, which is geared at framing as much legitimate criticism of Israel as possible as anti-Semitism.

    A definition of anti-Palestinian racism should have examples that are undisputable examples of racism, not depending on the context. And that is possible, because Zionism is deeply racist.

  • Jaap Bosma says:

    This is my proposal:

    Definition of anti-Palestinian racism

    “Anti-Palestinian racism is hatred of or discrimination of Palestinians as Palestinians or Palestinians as a group.”

    Examples include, but are not limited to:
    1. denying the Palestinian right of self determination in historic Palestine, while at the same time supporting the Jewish right of self-determination in historic Palestine
    2. denying the Palestinian refugees’ of the 1948 Nakba their ‘right of return’ to what is now Israel while at the same time granting all Jews in the world a ‘right of return’ to Israel
    3. subjecting Palestinians in the OPT to a suppressive colonial legal system, denying them basic human and civil rights, while subjecting Jews in the OPT to a normal civil legal system
    4. denying a (possible, future) Palestinian state equal rights to any other state
    5. denying Palestinian citizens equal rights to other citizens of the same state, e.g. by a discriminatory land policy, discriminatory housing and development plans or building permit policies, ethnic profiling, or discriminatory budget assignments
    6. demonizing or dehumanizing Palestinians by making hostile generalizations that are not based on facts, e.g. by framing Palestinians in general as terrorists, as backward, as less human, as a demographic problem, or consistently in a negative way
    7. denying the existence of the Palestinian people
    8. denying the large scale ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in and since 1948

    The general idea of a definition of anti-Palestinian racism is that it can serve certain goals in the Palestinian struggle against Zionism like delegitimizing Israel and legitimizing the Palestinian struggle and BDS in particular. By using examples it makes explicit that Zionism’s privileges for Jews are racist, and it makes clear that the three demands of BDS are all struggles against Israeli racism and for equality between Jews and Palestinians.
    The definition should be as clear and concise as possible, and the examples should on the one hand be geared to expose Israeli racism and to serve the Palestinian struggle for equality, and on the other hand be factually indisputable. Note that they are not geared to illustrate the boundary between what constitutes racism and what not, but geared to be indisputable examples of anti-Palestinian racism. By using indisputable examples the definition avoids limiting free speech.

    The definition follows the model of “anti-X racism is hatred of X as X”, with X indicating the victim group. Since Zionism’s anti-Palestinian racism is not primarily informed by hatred but rather by Zionism’s privileging Jews as a group over Palestinians as a group the definition reflect this by including “discrimination of” and “as a group”. The ‘list’ of “hatred of” and “discrimination of” could in principle be extended with e.g. “negative stereotyping of”, “demonization of”, “dehumanization of”, “subjugation (in action, word or other expression) of”, “violence against”, or “intimidation of”, but those are left out for the sake of brevity.

    Example 1 reflects what Zionism’s anti-Palestinian racism is originally informed by, the idea and central Zionist tenet that Palestine belongs to the Jewish people and not to the Palestinian people. The way its formulated avoids calling support of “one democratic state” (denying both peoples’ rights of self-determination) racist, because it is clearly not racist.
    Israels ‘Nation State Law’ of 2018 codifies this Zionist idea in a Basic Law, but it has always been a central tenet of Zionism.

    Examples 2, 3&4, and 5 reflect the three demands of BDS, which are all, in fact, demands for equality between Jews and Palestinians. Full equality between Jews and Palestinians requires equality for all three groups of Palestinians: refugees, Palestinians in the OPT, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
    BDS is an anti-racist movement that demands full equality between Jews and Palestinians.

    Example 2 refers on the one hand to the ‘right of return’ of the Palestinian refugees of the Nakba, and on the other hand to the openly racist Israeli ‘Law of Return’. The Palestinian refugees of the Nakba were (or are descendants of) citizens of the Mandate of Palestine. As such they have a right to be citizens of its legal successor, the state of Israel. The Israeli ‘Law of Return’ does grant the right to be citizens of Israel to Jews who don’t have the citizenship-connection to the land and denies it to Palestinian refugees of the Nakba. The reason for the discrimination is clearly racist, whether a persons ethnicity is Jewish or not.
    Normal democratic countries have laws that prohibit discrimination based on race or ethnicity, but in Israel such discrimination is a central tenet of the state ideology, Zionism.

    Example 3 refers to the racist Israeli practice in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    Example 4 refers to the goal of the so called ‘Peace Process’, a ‘Two State Solution’, and the racist remarks by several Israeli prime ministers that the resulting Palestinian state will have limited sovereignty, will be a ‘state minus’, or that Israel will retain ‘security control’ west of the Jordan river. A non-racist solution requires equality between Jews and Palestinians, and also equality between the Jewish and the Palestinian state.

    Example 5 refers to the institutionalized discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, both by laws (according to human rights NGO Adalah over 65 Israeli laws discriminate directly or indirectly,, accessed 2 Oct. 2018) and by practice (e.g. by budget allocation or ethnic profiling)

    Example 6 refers to common anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism in Israeli society, e.g. as, according to prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, is common in Israeli school books (‘Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education’, I.B. Tauris, 2013)

    Example 7 refers to the idea that Palestinian Arabs or Palestinians are actually Arabs who can live anywhere in the Arab world, but not in Palestine, which belongs to the Jewish people. While perhaps the Palestinian nation did not exist in the 19th century, it certainly exists since 1948. Since the Oslo Accords it has become more common in Israel to refer to Palestinians as Palestinians instead of as Arabs, but the idea is certainly not dead.

    Example 8 refers to the Palestinian Nakba of 1948, the ethnic cleansing of 700.000 Palestinians. While it is still disputed whether expulsions by Israeli military actions constituted a systematic and purposeful expulsion policy, it is undisputed that military attacks and expulsions were the major cause of flight (e.g. Benny Morris, ‘Righteous victims – A History of the Zionist-Arab conflict, 1881 – 2001’, Vintage Books, 2001, p. 257), and it is undisputed that since 1948 successive Israeli governments engaged in the completing act of ethnic cleansing, the prevention of the return of refugees, whether they are peaceful or not (see also example 2).

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