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The Huawara pogrom: this is Zionism


Last Sunday in the occupied West Bank, we saw the inevitable outcome of Zionism, a form of Jewish nationalism and the primary political ideology that drove the establishment of Israel.

Israeli settlers destroyed Palestinian homes, livelihoods, and lives. In the worst settler attacks in decades, nearly 300 Israeli settlers rampaged through the Palestinian villages of Huwara, Zatara, and Burin, burning homes to the ground, lighting vehicles on fire, and injuring 350 Palestinians. 

Throughout, the Israeli military stood by and watched the settler violence, and even prevented ambulances and medics from treating the injured, making it indisputably clear that the Israeli settler movement is supported and enabled by the Israeli state.

The far-right Netanyahu government would like its people to believe these acts of violence and aggression are demonstrations of its might. But we know the opposite is true: such reckless and indiscriminate acts of violence are not the actions of a stable nation. They’re the actions of a crumbling state lashing out in anger and fear to maintain its untenable apartheid regime. 

Why is the Israeli government scared? 

The Israeli state is in the throes of instability — politically, socially, and economically.

For weeks, tens of thousands of Israeli citizens have been mounting mass demonstrations in protest of Netanyahu’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s judiciary. And while popular unrest may not make much of a difference to the ultra-right regime, the power-hungry government is susceptible to disruption in at least one realm: economics.

As newspapers including the New York Times and Haaretz have been reporting, foreign investors are withdrawing their money at an unprecedented rate, as Israeli entrepreneurs frantically transfer their money abroad. This flow of foreign capital was essential to Israel’s self-styled brand of “Start-Up Nation” — a title it’s in serious danger of losing. 

Leo Bakman, president and founder of the Israeli Institute for Innovation, a nonprofit startup incubator, told Haaretz: “Investors are taking a step back and saying: ‘First decide if you’re a democracy or a dictatorship, and then we’ll talk.’

In light of its increasingly damaged international reputation, longtime critics of Israel’s apartheid practices and supporters of Palestinian freedom are seeing significant wins. Barcelona recently became the first major city to officially cut ties with Israel until it improves its human rights record. There’s no doubt that more and more cities, nations, and organizations will take similar courageous stands in the months and years ahead. 

Nothing New

As pressure mounts globally and internally, the Israeli government is confronted with its destabilization and its status as a pariah state, and its sense of desperation is growing. Israel’s own president, Isaac Herzog, stated recently that the country was “on the brink of constitutional and social collapse.” 

Israel’s response to its own precarity is, of course, the massive settler attack on Huwara. It’s the massacres the Israeli military has carried out in Jenin and Nablus. It is powerful members of government both implicitly and explicitly endorsing the murder of Palestinians by both settlers and the military. It is carrying out “the law of Palestinian elimination,” the basis of Israel’s settler-colonial project, as a daily practice. It is making Palestinians pay for simply existing.

This is not an exception or an aberration or a temporary escalation. This is Zionism. 

Together in Action

As the new Israeli government escalates state violence against Palestinians to unprecedented levels, join JVP’s Power Hours for Palestine — a virtual 30-minute gathering to learn the latest, take action, and connect with others who share your anger and resolve. 

The next Power Hour is this Thursday, 3/2, at 12pm PT / 3pm ET.


the Wire

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