Israel, touted as the only democracy in the West Asia cannot stay shrouded behind the same tag anymore. The whole world watched crowds dance gleefully to zochreini na. Perhaps the easiest way to evade discussions on the issue would be to retort by saying it is too complicated. Now that the whole world is watching, ‘it’s too complicated’ is complacency with the oppressors. Al Aqsa burns, Sheikh Jarrah needs saving and Palestine is getting wiped off the map every day- Israel can no longer claim to be the inclusive, women friendly and queer friendly haven it claims to be. The narrative of a complicated conflict has fallen flat. Bestowing equal responsibility to both sides simply will not work anymore (although it is no surprise that older settler colonies are touting the narrative). The conviction of Elor Azaria in 2016 bears evidence to the racial hierarchy in Israel. After Netanyahu’s victory, even the dregs of labour Zionism has disappeared. Israel’s sophisticated technology iron dome technology with ease have destroyed the rockets fired by Hamas. Celebrated as the bastion of freedom in the orient, Israel is a settler colony. Why so? Because the perks of the bourgeoisie democracy only exist for the citizens of Israel and that itself is enough to thwart the ‘both sides are responsible narrative’. Take the law of return, for instance. A person who is able to prove Jewish ancestry is bestowed with Israeli citizenship while the same is not applicable to a Palestinian. For both sides to be equally responsible, there needs to be an assumed symmetry of power. A state that gets billions in US aid cannot claim oppression in the hands of those it disenfranchises. The figures speak for themselves- more Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli forces than the other way round. Israelis and Palestinians do not have access to the same facilities. As Palestinians navigate through the brutality of multiple check points, Israelis lead relatively cushy lives.
The asymmetric nature of power more blatant with media reporting of the situation: the recurring juxtaposition of Palestine with Israel, expressing shock and awe following Hamas’ attack, over looking settler colonialism come alive in Sheikh Jarrah and finally terming it as ‘clash’ between both sides. Their efforts to frame the criticism of Zionism as anti Semitism has also backfired. It is NOT anti Semitic to call out a Zionist expansionist project which rekindles the nakba. It is NOT anti Semitic to stand in solidarity with dispossessed Palestinians. Prior to this, the west’s reporting of anti Zionist solidarity movements was absolute balderdash. Anti Zionists were either radical Islamists or a section of Haredis (who believe that the state of Israel is against Judaism because the messiah has not arrived) like Neturai Karta (looking at you, Vice). By largely ignoring other diasporic opposition to Zionism, the west was largely responsible for reducing a settler colonial project into a religious conflict. Is the west’s reportage an outcome of its own anti Semitism in the past or does the Zionist project benefit the global north? All of this require separate debates. But the point being that Israel’s thanatopolitics is out in the open, very visible to the naked eyes as it razes Gaza, kills children with impunity.
The whole world has watched. Colonial narratives have fallen flat. Nakba can no longer be denied while being televised. This time, the whole world bears witness to the continuation of the nakba. The people have spoken- the sheer number of solidarity marches speak for themselves. Anti Zionists are Indians, Pakistanis, Irish, South Africans, Muslims, atheist, Jewish- they cannot be framed as radical Islamists anymore. Israel is neither the first settler colony nor the last active settler colony. It is important to remember that settler colonialism is aimed at accumulation of capital- the colonizers are here to make profits, and the creation of a racial hierarchy is a consequence of the same. Settler colonial projects like Israel are not unique and they definitely won’t be as long as capitalism is the dominant system.
As the death toll in Gaza rises, I am reminded decolonization is indeed a violent project. In solidarity, Noor Hindi wrote,
‘Metaphors about death are for poets who think ghosts care about sound.
When I die, I promise to haunt you forever.’