South African Jews denounce Israel’s ethnic cleansing and genocide in Gaza

Ceasefire today and decolonisation tomorrow!

With each passing day, the Israeli government escalates a fundamentally immoral and criminal offensive against the population of Gaza. The deliberate bombing of homes, schools, universities and hospitals, combined with the blockade of water, food, medical supplies and fuel, and the attempted forced expulsion of more than two million Palestinians into the Egyptian desert are unconscionable war crimes under international law.

There can be no justification for these atrocities. If the tables were turned, and two million Israelis were currently being interned in an open-air prison, indiscriminately bombed and starved, and compelled to leave their homeland under pain of death, we would equally call it out for what it is: collective punishment, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

This pogrom comes after more than a century of brutal colonialism, which began with Britain’s occupation in 1917 and its subsequent creation of a Zionist settler colony, when 750 000 Palestinians were forced from their homes during the Nakba, the catastrophe. During this time, the Israeli state has continued to inflict a regime of brutal violence against colonised Palestinians. It illegally occupies Palestinian territory, administers the territory under a system of Apartheid and settler colonialism, and keeps Gaza blockaded under the world’s longest siege, yielding the largest open air concentration camp in living memory.

The Israeli government has turned this concentration camp into killing fields to mask its own failures at stewarding an ethno-nationalist, colonial project. After failing to contain the most deadly incursion of Hamas militants into border communities, the project to normalize colonial occupation and Apartheid has reverted to a campaign of ethnic vengeance and genocide.

This genocide is enabled and encouraged by the United States and United Kingdom, which have provided financial, military and diplomatic support for Israel’s Apartheid policies, in much the same way that they supported Apartheid South Africa. Zionism is an ethno-nationalist colonial project underwritten by the West, which has forced Palestinian people to pay the price for Europe’s perpetration of the Holocaust.

In this context, there is no shortage of opportunists clamouring to debase Jewish identity, memory and grief as a social currency to be exchanged for a campaign of deathly vengeance, and seeking in the process to draw political dividends from their role as brokers.