Anti-Palestinian racism: Tropes and mistruths

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Anti-Palestinian racism: Tropes and mistruths

We are Na’amod, a movement of British Jews seeking to end our community’s support for the occupation, and to mobilise it in the struggle for freedom, equality and justice for all Palestinians and Israelis. We are inclusive and welcoming of all Jews who want to oppose the occupation and adhere to our values.  Na’amod does not take a common position on Zionism, BDS or borders.  We focus on what unites us: our conviction that the occupation is a moral crisis and our determination to end British Jewish support for it. Our values of anti-racism and anti-occupation are deeply entwined – see below for more. 

In recent years many of our leaders and organisations in the British Jewish Community have committed to anti-racism via public statements, commissioning reports and much more. 

Sadly, despite this, anti-Palestinian racism is often seen and left unchallenged within our community. This form of racism, with its associated mistruths and stereotypes, clouds our community’s conversation on the occupation and prevents us from uniting in a truly anti-occupation and anti-racist stance.

Although you may have never heard the term ‘anti Palestinian racism’, you may still recognise some of the examples below from your own experience. We gathered these examples together because we want everyone in our community to feel empowered to call out these racist mistruths and stereotypes. On occasion, we have seen our communal organisations demonstrate leadership on this issue (see the sixth question here) so we know it can be done. Unfortunately, this is not a consistent or routine stance. 

We believe many others in our community want to see a united anti-racist and anti-occupation stance. Here’s how to get involved:


As stated above, only when we as a community feel empowered to call out these tropes and mistruths, will we be truly anti-racist. By sharing this project and starting a conversation in your community, you can play your part. 

And we want to hear from you. Find out more here.


How have other British Jews seen anti-Palestinian racism manifest in our community?  We have come together to share testimonies, read them here.

Have your own story to share? Use this form to share your experience or email


Although this may sound harmless, this statement ignores Palestinian history of agriculture and connection to the land. The sharp end of this mistruth is that the Palestinians have neglected the land and therefore have lost their right to manage it, or even live there. 

The occupation seeks to destroy communities’ connections with the land and nature : water supplies to communities are cut; the separation barrier and checkpoints prevent farmers from accessing parts of their farms; settler violence is an everyday occurance; Israeli environmental laws are weaker in the Occupied Territories for settlers, resulting in higher pollution; and much more.

Everyone has a right to a safe and secure home. The land, nature and livelihoods are being destroyed – the desert will only bloom when the occupation ends.

Labelling Palestinian leaders as terriorists is inaccurate and dangerous – many Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza demand change for their community and risk their lives in protesting against more established figures and the occupation. 

Millions of people living across Israel-Palestine, and millions more around the world have an emotional connection to the conflict. By opposing the occupation, we are all partners for freedom, equality and dignity. 

To build a better future for tomorrow, we have to show leadership today, and unite our community in opposition to the occupation. 

Terrorism and violence must be opposed and condemed. Generalisations are inaccurate, dangerous and prejudicial. This racist statement is strongly linked to Islamophobia. Often this view may be implied, or hinted at, rather than stated explicitly.

Many Palestinians and Israelis use non-violent means to oppose the occupation, at huge personal risk. Our community must stand with these groups, not demonise them as terrorists or troublemakers.

Non-violent action is the most powerful tool to end the occupation as ultimately the solution is political. Neither Palestine nor Israel will be free until the occupation is over.

This erases the differences and nuances of Arab identity and history across the region. It also ignores the connection the Palestinian people have to their land and homes, to generations of tradition. It hints that even Palestinian-Israeli citizens are not secure in Israel and will be driven from their homes. It equates Palestinian identify with dishonesty and violence.

Everyone’s history and identity is important. Ending the occupation and building a new future requires uplifting all of our histories and identities.

The occupation prevents communities from creating their own businesses and opportunities by limiting resource access, imports and exports, denying permits for construction and prohibiting many other activities. Many low-paid posts are filled by highly-educated and over-qualified people. 

Violence by settlers in the West Bank is a near daily occurrence. It prevents children from attending school and stops farmers from working the land. Settlers face near zero penalties for such attacks, and are often protected by the Isareli army. 

Shepherding is a valued Palestinian tradition, representing a connection to the land. It should not be belittled. From historic livelihoods to the walk to school, the violence of the occupation is ever present, in settler attacks, to home demolitions, to water and land cut offs.

Children love to learn, and often have big dreams for the future. By ending the occupation we will bring these dreams nearer to reality in a world where everyone’s potential is valued.

We stand against violence in all forms. The Jewish settlers’ violent acts are the antithesis of our Jewish values.

Only by ending the occupation can we stop this violence. We can build a brighter future world where everyone’s histories and differences can be celebrated and valued

The Gaza Strip is so crowded that any airstrike is likely to hit civilians. The occupation exacerbates overcrowding by limiting land, water and imports, and tightly controlling borders – people are trapped within the Strip. This trope ignores this reality, instead portraying Palestinians as inherently violent, even against their own loved ones.

A parent’s love for a child is universal. Until the occupation is over and a political solution is reached, families across Israel-Palestine will live in fear. 

There is no need for misinformation or manipulation of the situation – the lack of rights and fair treatment make clear the reality Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza face, and the violent system young Israelis are pushed to enforce. 

With the advent of social media and smartphones we are given a front row seat to this violence. Rather than opposing the policies and rhetoric that cement this system, others categorise it as fake, staged ‘Pallywood’, a portmanteau of ‘Palestinian’ and ‘Hollywood’.

The mistruth above also infers that Palestinian people are not only untrustworthy as individuals, but also unable to run formal institutions, implying that self-governance and independence are beyond their capabilities. 

Assuming someone is lying because of their identity and in order to ignore the evidence they present, is racist. All peoples have the capacity for and right to self-governance. A safer world would be impossible without trust, truth and whistleblowers.

This mistruth touches on Nakba denial or minimisation. The Nakba (catastrophe in Arabic) began with the permanent displacement of 700,000 Palestinian civlilians and the related depopulation and destruction of over 500 Palestinian villages by Israeli forces during events surrounding the creation of the state in 1948. Denying or minimising the Nakba, or suggesting it was self-inflicted, is racist.

Although the Nakba started before Israel took control of Gaza and the West Bank in 1967, it is viewed as ongoing because of the violence and dispossession faced day-to-day under the occupation. For example, many families in East Jerusalem who are being evicted from their homes by settler organisations are refugees from 1948.  The occupation is a major barrier to giving people secure homes and legal rights. 

No one willingly leaves their home and community – it is so often an act of survival. By the same credit no one chooses to be a refugee. 

Everyone deserves a secure home and legal recognition. We are not blind to the history that has brought us to this point – by opposing the occupation we seek to learn from the stories of the past and build a better future. 

For more information, go to our Frequently Asked Questions. 


Want to be a part of the anti-occupation British Jewish community? Join us here. Support our work here.