As Israel steps up ‘Judaization’ policy, IfNotNow takes a step toward anti-Zionism

Member of #IfNotNow is dragged away from Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day, May 24, 2017. (photo: Jon Atkins)
The American Jewish group IfNotNow calling this forced removal ethnic cleansing.

By Jonathan Ofir | Mondoweiss | Feb 2, 2019

In 1948, as Israeli Jews fought for and celebrated the formation of the new state, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were being forcibly displaced by Israeli military forces. From then to today, Israeli policies have frequently forced Arab residents off their ancestral lands, often for the benefit of the Jewish majority.

Last Monday, Israeli authorities announced a plan to “forcibly transfer 36,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel living in unrecognized villages in the country’s southern Naqab (Negev) region in order to expand military training areas and implement what it called ‘economic development’ projects,” according to Adalah (The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel).

The American Jewish group IfNotNow noticed this, and posted the article with the heading:

This is ethnic cleansing.

IfNotNow are now making it clear that when they speak of opposition to “occupation,” they are not just speaking about the 1967 occupation, but also the 1948 occupation. Or as they formulate it:

And this is part of what, when we demand that the Occupation end, we are talking about.

This is a critical qualification. Opposition to the 1967 occupation, be it real or ostensible, has not really been that radical an issue as far as Zionism is concerned. Liberal Zionists could easily take that position and still call themselves proud Zionists. In fact, liberal Zionists have used this position to claim that they were protecting Zionism from a “demographic threat,” in that controlling a large Palestinian population without rights means Apartheid (which they have warned that people will ‘accuse Israel of’), whereas granting them rights means an end to Jewish State

But calling 1948 an occupation marks a whole other kind of opposition to Israeli policy. It points to its inherently racial and racist character, also in what is considered “Israel proper,” and shatters the notion that if Israel merely relinquished its 1967 occupation, it would be a normal, liberal and democratic country. In other words, lumping 1948 into opposition to occupation is saying that Israel is not a democracy, and that its core and founding ideology, Zionism, is essentially racism.

Read the full article here →