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Testimony 6: Rebecca

The pervasive anti-Palestinian racism which I have witnessed in my life in the British Jewish community mostly takes the form of total and complete erasure of Palestinians. In my primary school we were taught about ‘The Land of Israel’, including Israeli history and Modern Hebrew; not once in the entire 8 years was the word ‘Palestinian’ uttered. This extends to my experience in B’nei Akiva. Somehow, an entire 4 weeks on Israel Tour managed to go by without the subject being touched or the term being uttered. This erasure acts as a dehumanisation: without history, culture and a stake in the region (or the world), Palestinians are relegated to a status of non-being, and what results is an undermining of their demand for civil and human rights and their claims to the land. The only time where Palestinians were ever referenced in either of those two settings was as the ‘Arab’ ‘enemy’, or the perpetrator of suicide bombings. This led to a culture where a simple mention of anyone or anything related to Arabic language or culture resulted in a racist ‘joke’ about the risk or threat they pose. These loud quips in the playground or on the coach went totally unchecked by the authorities, unsurprisingly, considering the prejudiced education they were enacting was what created these associations and licensed these comments.