Home » Campaigns » Anti-Palestinian racism » Testimony 3: Anonymous

Testimony 3: Anonymous


When I was on my gap year in Israel, on a programme coordinated by my youth movement, we took part in a day of activities and education with many of the other international Jewish youth movement participants who were on similar gap year programmes. What could have been a really interesting day engaging with the complexities and nuances of the situation in Israel-Palestine was instead a day of hasbara and learning how to advocate for Israel as Jewish diaspora youth — aka how to dismiss the Palestinian perspective entirely. I remember that in the main session – an interactive lecture from a well-known Israel educator (originally from the UK and often platformed in our community) — the speaker displayed photos of LGBTQ+ students on US campuses holding up “Queers for Palestine” banners. The speaker completely ridiculed them, which invited similar ridicule from the hundreds-strong audience, thus wilfully generating plenty of homophobia. The speaker then displayed graphic photos of LGBTQ+ people in Gaza being killed for their sexuality by the Hamas authorities. His intention was clearly to make the point that LGBTQ+ people shouldn’t be pro-Palestine and rather should be pro-Israel, though of course he didn’t mention that LGBTQ+ people in Israel don’t have equal rights… The idea that the Palestinian people don’t deserve freedom, and instead deserve to live under blockade and occupation, because the Hamas regime in Gaza is anti-LGBTQ+, is a deeply racist idea — and one that often goes unchallenged in our community. All peoples deserve freedom and self-determination, regardless of the views of their leaders. Arguing otherwise is simply an attempt to justify brutal oppression and subjugation. I felt totally let down that this is the kind of “education” on offer for British Jewish youth when it comes to learning about Israel-Palestine, and I was deeply saddened by the fact that our community does very little to try and solve the issue.