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Palestinians have no responsibility for saving Jews from Western racism

21. March 2024

Speech by “Not in our name” (NION) member, who grew up in Israel (Demo, March 16, Vienna):

I’m here as an individual and also as part of Not In Our Name Vienna – a diverse group of individuals outraged at what is happening in Gaza and at over 75 years of colonialism and separatism in Palestine. I am a fraction of the group who identify as Jewish. I also grew up under the Israeli government. I know firsthand about the indoctrination of the education system, the media, the government, and the Zionist regime. I know firsthand how it creates a society filled with fear, anger, and revenge.

It’s a society that’s bred for the military from a young age and all along the way to becoming young adults. I am privileged to say – I  was not part of the military. Even though it’s obligatory, it is difficult, and you’ll be shunned by society, it is possible to get out. It can be by evading the system, or as a political pacifist, or as I’m seeing more young people today, are resisting service as conscientious objectors. Under the Israeli system, we’re taught only one side of the story. We are taught that the Zionists came to a land without people and taught that Israel is attacked for no reason. They “forget” to mention the long process of ethnic cleansing that began even before 1948 and is continuing today. They omit the part about deliberately and violently chasing Palestinians out of their cities, their villages, their lands, and their homes. They hide the part about not letting them return. The Zionists didn’t come to be part of a society, but to create a society at the expense of another. 

And we are seeing the peak of the fruits of the Zionist regime today in Gaza, the West Bank, and inside the 48 borders. It’s a regime that sees one people as superior to another. They create a system that corrupts people at their core. It creates a culture based on violence and militarism. We are seeing today how Israel is bombing relentlessly, starving, denying aid, denying health care, bombing hospitals, religious relics, schools. What is happening today in Gaza is only a symptom of a much deeper problem. How many times has Israel attacked the Gazan population? Is this the first time Israel uses its powerful and forceful weapons on the people of Gaza? No. Not at all. There have been many military operations since 2007. But this time it’s the most relentless, the most ruthless, the most out spoken – open for everyone to see. This time it has made a larger part of the  world wake up, be loud, and stand against forces of injustice, occupation, apartheid, massacres, genocide – the perpetual Nakba.

The Western countries like to use my people’s genocide 80 years ago to justify Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people. I’m here to say NO. NO! There is no justification for what is happening to Palestinians in Palestine. Palestinians should not be living as refugees on their own land. There is no justification for Palestinians all around the world who live stateless and as refugees in numerous countries – all around the world. Palestinians have nothing to do with the Genocide which killed millions of people, not only the Jews, which happened HERE, in EUROPE. Just because the Europeans could do it. Palestinians have no responsibility for saving Jews from Western racism. From Western antisemitism. Western countries need to start taking responsibility for their own actions. Palestine has nothing to do with the pogroms that happened in Russia, with the Ghettos, the concentration camps, and eventually the death camps. Palestine has nothing to do with Europe’s actions. But somehow Palestinians are getting punished. Somehow the Western countries and their allies are looking away. There is no justification for what is happening in Palestine. None. And the West needs to take a good look in the mirror and ask itself who is it really defending? Is it defending the Jews? No, they know that the answer is no, they are not defending Jews. The complicity with the genocide happening in Gaza shows exactly the moral compass of the politicians in the German speaking countries and other Western countries today. 

I’m here to say that what the Israeli government is doing has no justification. There is no justification! These actions don’t defend the Israeli population and do not defend Jews around the world. There is no such thing as self-defense against a population that is being occupied. The only justified action is to stop the militarization against the Palestinian population. To lift the siege from Gaza. To end the apartheid. To end the occupation. To understand that Palestinian lives are equal to any other life. There is no life which is more important than another. There are no lives that have more worth over another. There needs to be freedom, justice, and equality for all. Human rights are for all. There needs to be a true democracy, a democracy that doesn’t see one people’s existence as more important than the other. The apartheid state must be dismantled, Palestinians should be able to live freely on EVERY part of historic Palestine, without restrictions by occupation forces. Without restrictions from apartheid policies. Palestinians are not a demographic problem. No people can be a demographic problem. We are all part of the same planet.

And most important of all – my voice, our Jewish voices should not be better received and heard than our Palestinian cousins. Palestinians who experience the occupation daily. Who experience the systematic racism. Who have their houses demolished, have their houses taken from them to settle others. Who must live with the continuous harassment, live with the house raids in the middle of the night, live with the constant fear that their kids, women, elderly, and men will be taken hostage and put into a prison, sometimes for months and years, without even a trial. Who everyday don’t know if 6they will be shot at with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets, and live ammunition. And as we are seeing in Gaza, being bombed daily and put in starvation. Who every day face the violence of the occupation. Our voices should not be more heard than the Palestinians who live, here, in Diaspora. This is not a textbook – it’s a reality that needs to be told and heard. Be heard from the people who experience this. 

Palestinians should be able to be loud without the backlash of being called antisemitic. Without laws and rules denying Palestinian voices from speaking out loud and clear – this violence and occupation has got to end! This genocide must stop now!  

So, I call on the West – take responsibility. Israel – take responsibility because this freedom of power won’t last forever and Justice will be served to any and all wronged communities and peoples. Accountability will be had. We aren’t quiet anymore. I was taught to ask why the whole world was silent during the Holocaust. I’m here to say we won’t be silent against these atrocities, against this ongoing Nakba! I’m here to say that Never again means Never again for anyone! Never again is now! 

Cease fire now – forever!


Video of the speech