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Eight red flags on Palestine

1) They only speak of apartheid, never of settler colonialism
Apartheid is a system of segregation or discrimination on the basis of race or identity—it doesn’t necessarily include occupation, ethnic cleansing, genocide and other of Israel’s horrors. Yes, Israel both practices apartheid and is an apartheid state. But it’s much more than that: It’s a settler colonial state.

2) They speak of living together with equal rights, never of dismantling the “Jewish state”
Yes, of course we want to live together with equal rights. But all other colonial aspects of the “Jewish state” must also be dismantled. This includes denying the right to return to non-Jews while granting citizenship to all Jews, or politicizing identity in any way.

3) They speak of dismantling the Israeli “régime”, never the “state”
A political régime is a form of government or a set of rules and policies. The root issue is not what Israel is doing, but what it is: A settler colonial state that defines itself as Jewish, pretends it is the nation-state of the Jews only, and claims it represent the will of all of the world’s Jews. Justice means dismantling this state, not just its régime.

4) They oppose two states solely on grounds of impracticality
Having two states means that Palestinians should 1) give up their rights and 2) give in to Zionist rhetoric that fragments societies on the basis of identity. The “two-state solution” is just a euphemism for “the occupation of 80% of Palestine”. We should oppose it because it is unjust and dangerous, not impractical.

5) They use “both sides” rhetoric like “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”
Speaking of a “conflict” between “two sides” implies that they are of comparable strengths or claims to legitimacy. The reality is that colonizers ethnically cleansed a land in order to supplant the native population. This is not a “conflict” but the occupation and settler colonization of Palestine.

6) They say things like “Israel-Palestine”
“Israel” and “Palestine” refer to two very different things:
The first is a Hebrew word that is borrowed from the Bible to refer to a settler colonial state.
The second is neither an Arabic nor an Islamic word and has for thousands of years referred to a territory where people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds lived together.

7) They say they “believe” in ODS—followed with a “but” statement
Establishing One Democratic State is not a matter of “belief”. ODS is the fundamental antithesis to Zionism and the only solution to it and to all the suffering it has caused. Regardless of the reasons why, refusing to support a transition from Zionism to democracy means complicity in its guilt.

8) They recognize international institutions as arbiters of Palestinian rights
International law is not a moral compass—it is whatever world powers think suits their interests. It is, notably, what partitioned Palestine and allowed genocide. Palestinian rights to resistance, to return and to a democratic state do not depend on the balance of power between other countries, but on universal values of justice and freedom.