"UK Minister of Justice Michael Gove opposes a welcome to refugees fleeing war and seeking sanctuary here and he fights against Palestinian refugees who do not want to come to Europe but desire to return to Palestine from which they were ethnically cleansed."
The Zionist programme of occupation, colonisation, Apartheid and dispossession of the Palestinian people continues. Periodic massacres of scores, hundreds and sometimes thousands of Palestinians has been Israeli policy towards Palestinians in the territories conquered and occupied by Israel in 1967 and earlier in 1948.
The commitment of political Zionism to removing Jews from Europe creates common ground between Zionists and the worst anti-Semites. Zionism’s founder, Herzl, believed “The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies." Zionism incorporated many of the anti-Semites’ racist views of European Jews. This working alliance with anti-Semites included Balfour, Churchill, extreme xenophobes in Europe today.
The self-proclaimed Jewish State of Israel is based on past successes, ongoing campaigns, and plans for future ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. This state is based on Jewish privilege over Palestinians from birth to death in legal, political, economic, residential, and employment fields. Opposition to a racist state is a duty, as is solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for their freedom against that racist state.
Most people are horrified by the cruelty and violence of Israel’s programme to eliminate as many Palestinians as possible and replace them with Jewish immigrants from around the world. Scottish Minister Humza Yousaf joined the Scottish Government’s voice to many around the world in condemning “the depth of inhumanity” of Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in 2014.
We reject the idea of collective guilt and distinguish on principle between the crimes of the Apartheid State of Israel, and the citizens of that State (as we hope others make the same distinction for UK citizens). Jewish communities in Scotland or elsewhere are not responsible for Israel’s crimes against humanity.
Under bombs, bulldozers, mass imprisonment for resistance, Palestinian civil society issued a call in 2005 for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) to force Israel to concede Palestinian human rights. Worldwide support for that call is seriously worrying the regime in Israel and its supporters around the world, whose considered strategy is to attack BDS as anti-semitic. This idea is being pushed ever more shrilly by pro-Israel elements around the world, usually the same groups who support every Israeli crime against the Palestinian people. Tony Blair for example, Chair of the so-called European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), is one of those who agrees with Cameron on the need to criminalise those who answer the Palestinian call for practical solidarity, i.e. BDS.
At a conference in Berlin this week, Michael Gove, UK Minister of Justice has attacked those who answer the Palestinian call for BDS as anti-Jewish and called for “solidarity with the Jewish people - and in solidarity with their right to national self-determination."
Addressing the same conference Bundestag President Norbert Lammert smeared arriving refugees as anti-semitic and declared that their integration will involve “accepting Israel’s right to exist.” It is Gove and Lammert who are being racist and anti-semitic in claiming that Jews form a separate nation from the people they live amongst, that all the Jews of the world have a right to “national self-determination”.
Gove and Lammert demand that refugees – and all of us – accept the right of Israel to continue to dispossess and massacre Palestinians. They both oppose the rights of Palestinians to freedom from occupation, for an end to siege and massacre, second class citizenship inside Israel. They demand we accept a state based on Jewish supremacy and the denial of the rights of Palestinian refugees to return.
UK Minister of Justice Michael Gove opposes a welcome to refugees fleeing war and seeking sanctuary here and he fights against Palestinian refugees who do not want to come to Europe but desire to return to Palestine from which they were ethnically cleansed.
The racists are those who support and arm a sectarian state based on the denial of the human rights of Palestinians, and who talk of Jewish citizens of Scotland being a separate nation, not those who argue for universal human rights and political equality in a state where religion is no business of the government.
Racism – including anti-Semitism – is a crime. Anti-Zionism is a duty.
18 March 2016
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
15 March 2017
BREAKING: New UN Report
Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid - an evaluation of Israel’s practices against the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and other key human rights laws
Richard Falk, co-author of this UN report starts a speaking tour of Scotland - details below.
Confirm your attendance on our Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/scottish-palestine-solidarity-campaign-8444581160
Published by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the report concludes that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” The UN report avoids comparisons between Israel and South African apartheid but examines how Israeli practices measure up against the legal definitions of apartheid as a crime against humanity and finds “beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crimes of apartheid” as defined in international law.
Welcoming the UN Report, Khaled Khalil, a Palestinian resident in Edinburgh, said
My grandfather lost our 30-acre property on the shores of Haifa in 1948 by the military invasion. It is impossible for me, as a grandson, to claim my right of this property. However, any Jew, or someone claiming to be a Jew, will be immediately welcomed by the occupying state and given citizenship, home and social support. There are millions of Palestinians around the world who are in the same situation as I and don't have those rights, nor right of return.
The UN Report urges national governments to “support boycott, divestment and sanctions activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives.”
See report and analysis today in Electronic Intifada: Landmark UN report backs Israel boycott
United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Palestine 2008-2014
Co-author of UN report on Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid
'Palestine - the Search for a Just Peace'
ABERDEEN - 16 March, 6pm New Kings, LT10, University of Aberdeen
EDINBURGH - 17 March, 6pm Grassmarket Centre, 86 Candlemaker Row
GLASGOW - 18 March, 2pm STUC, 333 Woodlands Road
(Richard Falk will also be a speaker at the Stand Up to Racism demonstration in Glasgow on Saturday)
When he arrived in Tel Aviv airport leading an official UN delegation, Richard Falk was detained and expelled by Israel, who refused him entry to Palestine to gather data first hand. He nonetheless reported back to the United Nations in 2008 that "Israel maintains its Gaza siege in its full fury, allowing only barely enough food and fuel to enter to stave off mass famine and disease." He asked the UN to evaluate whether "Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law". On December 27 that year Falk condemned Israel strikes on Gaza as "war crimes", collective punishment, and targetting of civilians. Falk was bitterly attacked by the US, Israel and the UK Governments for his findings. The murderous siege of Gaza continues in "in its full fury". Falk supports the Palestinian call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel until it concedes Palestinian rights.
Today we are witnessing a concerted attack on free speech for Palestine as supposedly "anti-semitic", an evidence-free claim.
The attack is launched by a UK Government that supports every Israeli massacre of Palestinians, and is supported by pro-Israel groups who also endorse every Israeli massacre of Palestinians. A letter from Minister for Universities Jo Johnson to all UK universities attacks Israeli Apartheid Week events and proposes a definition of antisemitism that would criminalise opposition to the crimes of the State of Israel. Universities in England have cancelled academic conferences on Israel-Palestine, and some have put pro-Palestine campus meetings under special measures - police in attendance, audiences restricted, requests for officials to check the content of talks beforehand. In Edinburgh, the City Chambers booking for Richard Falk to speak was cancelled because the topic was "controversial".
Falk sees himself as "an American Jew", which for him signifies above all, "to be preoccupied with overcoming injustice and thirsting for justice in the world, and that means being respectful toward other peoples regardless of their nationality or religion, and empathetic in the face of human suffering..."
Support these meetings with Richard Falk to:
Please publicise these meetings on social media:
Retweet or quote and share the Tweets on the Richard Falk meetings from the SPSC national Twitter account https://twitter.com/scottishpsc e.g.
UN Human Rights investigator Richard Falk speaks in Scotland on "full fury" of Israel's Gaza siege #humanrights #bds http://bit.do/richardfalk
Confirm your attendance on our Eventbrite page
PALESTINE: Sexual Violence, Women`s Bodies, and Israeli Settler Colonialism
by Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Sarah Ihmoud and Suhad Dahir-Nashif
17 November 2014
"They not only invaded our home, took over our space, and evicted us—they even arrested me and took me to the Maskubya—the police station. I was put in room number four, alone, for a long time. Then, a big and tall man, a police officer, entered the interrogation room. I was alone, and started shivering from fear as he closed the door, started moving things around in the room and examining me from head to toe. I was terrorized, and my heart was beating so fast. His eyes penetrated my body, as he was opening the drawers looking for something. Then, he left the room and came back five minutes later holding a box. He pulled out a pair of blue plastic gloves, and put one on each of his hands, while looking at me and saying “…Come here…” I must tell you that I was terrorized when they invaded the house and evicted us. I was extremely anxious when they arrested my son. But my fears of ‘you know what’…You know…being abused…being raped by his blue big hands and more…were the most terrifying moments of my life".
These were the words of Sama, a thirty-six-year-old Palestinian woman who lost the intimate familial and physical space of her home, only to experience further terror with the threat of sexual abuse. Sama’s narrative is not uncommon, as colonized women living under severe deprivation and dispossession are subject to daily attacks against their sexuality and bodily rights. Sexual violence is central to the larger structure of colonial power, its racialized machinery of domination, and its logic of elimination. This is readily apparent in the history of
settler colonial contexts, where the machinery of violence explicitly targets native women’s sexuality and bodily safety as biologized “internal enemies” since they are the producers of the next generation.
Settler colonialism, as a “structure, not an event” operates through a “logic of elimination” that seeks to erase indigenous presence on a specific territory (settler colonialism’s “irreducible element”). Settler colonialism “destroys in order to replace.” The invasion of indigenous land seeks to permanently erase the indigenous presence on the land, in order to replace it with the new settler society and polity. Scholars have argued that settler colonialism’s logic of elimination may culminate in indigenous genocide. In its European formations, both settler colonialism and genocide have “employed the organizing grammar of race.” Since its inception, the Jewish state has been embedded in a racialized colonial logic. This logic constructs the Palestinian as a dangerous other in opposition to the white/Jewish subject and polis. As numerous authors have noted, this racial configuration is articulated through early Zionist thinkers’ Orientalist ideology that framed the Jewish people as bearers of European civilization in the face of a culturally backward region and people. Such a “modernizing” project or “civilizing” mission relied on a Zionist imaginary of exclusively Jewish labor cultivating an empty, uncultivated land, and “making the desert bloom.” Early Zionist leadership attempted to actualize the foundational Zionist myth of a “land without people for a people without land” through systematic ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians in 1948. The Zionist entity continues to evict native Palestinians today. The massacres in Gaza of July- August 2014, and the repressive “iron fist” policies targeting Palestinian Jerusalemites at the time we write this article, are contemporary modes of settler colonial eviction of the Palestinian native.
The targeting of Palestinian women’s bodies and sexuality, we contend, is structural to the Israeli settler colonial project’s racialized logic of elimination. Rape and other forms of sexual violence against Palestinian women have always been an element of the settler colonial state’s attempts to destroy and eliminate indigenous Palestinians from their land. In addition to rape and other forms of sexual violence, the racialized logic of sexual violence energizes the very imaginary and project of conquering and cultivating Palestinian land, in transforming it into the Jewish polis. Hence, our discussion of sexual violence is embedded not only in the sexualized practices and politics of the Zionist state, but also in the nature of Israeli settler colonial violence itself.
As Palestinian feminists, we assert that the Zionist movement’s imaginary of conquering and settling the Palestinian body is inseparable from the project of conquering and settling Palestinian land, and erasing indigenous presence. Here, we build on native scholar Andrea Smith’s assertion that the logic of colonial sexual violence “establishes the ideology that Native bodies are inherently violable—and by extension, that Native lands are also inherently violable.” It is the logic of settler colonial sexual violence that we center in our analysis of the continuous Nakba that targets our people. We trace the logic of sexual violence, in its historical and present context, as machinery, hidden and apparent, of colonial patriarchy against indigenous communities in Palestine. The logic of sexual violence attempts to fragment Palestinian family and communal life, as it severs the connection to the Palestinian homeland. The Zionist project is inherently based on the destruction of Palestinian native bodies and land, which cannot be separated from the colonial logic of elimination. Sexual violence is not simply a byproduct of colonialism, rather “colonialism is itself structured by the logic of sexual violence.”
Sexual Violence and Palestinian Genocide Since the Nakba
Understanding the intensified attacks on Palestinian women’s bodies in times of heightened attacks by the settler colonial regime requires a feminist analysis. Such an analysis takes the Nakba as its analytical point of departure. Israel was built on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland, on its land, pain, and displacement. It was built on the destruction of our communal social ties, the violation and invasion of our homes and bodies.
Rape and killing of Palestinian women was a central aspect of Israeli troops’ systematic massacres and evictions during the destruction of Palestinian villages in 1948. During the Deir Yassin massacre, for instance:
All the inhabitants were ordered into the village square. Here, they were lined up against a wall and shot. One eyewitness said her sister, who was nine months pregnant, was shot in the back of the neck. Her assailants then cut open her stomach with a butcher’s knife and extracted the unborn baby. When an Arab woman tried to take the baby, she was shot…Women were raped before the eyes of their children before being murdered and dumped down the well.
David Ben Gurion, like other Zionist leaders, openly discussed the rape and sexual torture of Palestinian women in his diary entries during 1948. At the same time that he advocated the killing of Palestinian women and children, constructing them as a threat to the Jewish settler polity, he awarded a prize to every Jewish mother on her tenth child. Ben Gurion ensured that the Jewish Agency, not the state, administered such pronatal incentives in order to guarantee the exclusion of Arabs. The fetishization of fertility has made Palestinians, especially women, targets of nationalist rhetoric that deeply politicizes their reproduction. For Zionists, Palestinian women have always been, and continue to be, as we have seen in the latest attacks on Gaza, targets of the Zionist killing machine.
Feminist scholars have also suggested that the Zionist state mobilizes violence against Palestinian women’s bodies and sexuality to strengthen indigenous patriarchal structures and aid in the eviction of Palestinians from their land. Militarized sexual abuse has been rampant under Israeli occupation. The Israeli state and military forces have exploited the threat of sexual violence against Palestinian women, and patriarchal perceptions of sexuality and “honor” to “recruit Palestinians as collaborators” during periods of uprisings and deter attempts at organized resistance. This practice has been so historically prevalent that it gained its own term in the Arabic language as isqat siyassy, meaning the sexual abuse of Palestinians for political reasons. The state’s security apparatus continues to use Palestinians’ sexual identities and Orientalist conceptions of “Arab culture” to recruit collaborators and fragment Palestinian society. Recent revelations by Israel’s secret military intelligence Unit 8200 have revisited this fact. The literal and figurative “rape” of Palestinian women’s bodies, framed as inherently violable by the Zionist entity, is inherently structured by the same logic of sexual violence that energizes the settler colonial project’s violation and continued confiscation of Palestinian natives’ land.
Unmasking the Logic of Sexual Violence
The silence on the Zionist machinery’s use of sexual violence against Palestinian women and their communities has been further revealed since the inception of the state’s most recent military operations. The logic of sexualized violence that structures the Israeli settler colonial project has become more visible during the last period of military invasion. Slogans such as “Death to Arabs” and “Arabs out” have become more usable and tolerable in the Israeli public sphere, exposing the necropolitical drive against Palestinian natives at the core of the so-called Jewish democracy.
On 1 July, just after discovery of the bodies of three Jewish settler youth who had gone missing in the occupied West Bank, Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies remarked on public radio: “the only deterrent for … those who kidnapped the [Israeli] children and killed them, the only way to deter them is their knowledge that either their sister or their mother will be raped if they are caught … this is the culture of the Middle East.” His comments suggested that raping Palestinian women was the only deterrent to Palestinian resistance and “terrorism.”
We as Palestinian feminists were not surprised to hear Kedar advocating rape as an antidote to anti-colonial resistance. Making such comments on public radio, in the open, where it would be heard by a wide Israeli Jewish public, women as well as men, including Israeli Jewish feminists, reflects the settler’s mentality and socialization towards Palestinians. Discussing the rape of Palestinian women as a military strategy by a so-called scholar from one of the prominent universities in Israel reveals the mode in which colonizers portray colonized women. The presentation of a sexualized Orientalist discourse positions Palestinians as culturally “backward,” non-human Others.
Lest the sexualized discourses Kedar mobilized appear an aberration, it is important to note that he was not the only performer in this latest theater of sexualized violence. Israeli soldiers on their way to killing Palestinians in Gaza read slogans of support prepared by their fellow Jewish-Israeli civilians stating: “Go pound their mothers, and come back to your mother.” Israeli Jews gathered on hillsides to watch and cheer as the military dropped bombs on Gaza. One young Jewish woman’s Facebook post summed up the sexualized pleasure they received in spectatorship of our collective lynching: “What an orgasm to see the Israeli Defense Forces bomb buildings in Gaza with children and families at the same time. Boom boom.” Even their Prime Minister Netanyahu received a post, which circulated widely among the Israeli public via social media, showing a veiled woman labeled “Gaza,” naked from the waist down, holding a message: “Bibi, finish inside this time! Signed, citizens in favor of a ground assault.” This is in addition to Knesset member Ayelet Shaked’s public declaration that Palestinian mothers should be killed.
The rape of the land as the rape of women’s bodies has thus come to the fore in Israel’s most recent eliminatory attacks against the Palestinian people. As the massacres of the Palestinian people in Gaza continued, the sexualized nature of Israeli invasion and racial terror against Palestinian natives came to the forefront of nationalist politics and discussion among the public sphere within 1948 Palestine as well. Palestinian women took to the streets with their communities throughout historic Palestine to demonstrate against the continuous massacres in Gaza. Public demonstrations took a sexualized turn, as crowds’ calls for “death to Arabs” quickly turned to chanting “Haneen Zoabi is a whore!” naming a female Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament who stood up for her people’s right to life. Israeli police attacked Palestinian women’s bodies, along with their male counterparts, and dragged them out of protests in Haifa and Nazareth, where they were arrested or beaten by racist crowds. Leading religious and military figures on the state’s payroll issued religious edicts which stated that during times of war it is permissible to bomb Palestinian civilians in order to “exterminate the enemy.” The city council of Or Yehuda, a settlement in Israel’s coastal region, hung a banner supporting Israeli soldiers that suggested the rape of Palestinian women: “Israeli soldiers, the residents of Or Yehuda are with you! Pound their mother and come back home safely to your mother.” 
We argue that the logic of sexual violence exhibited during attacks on indigenous Palestinians throughout historic Palestine, both historically and during the Israeli state’s most recent attacks, pervades both the Israeli settler state and settler society. Indeed, the state and settler society are inseparable entities, connected through a visceral psychological and political imaginary that exceeds the commonly framed state/civil society divide. As Lorenzo Veracini notes, settlers “carry their sovereignty with them.” Both the state apparatuses (including public elected officials, academic and military institutions) and settler society (including Israeli publics—situated along the continuum of Zionist ideology) embody the machinery of settler colonial violence. It is no surprise then, that both the official state apparatuses and unofficial settler spheres have exhibited grave attacks on Palestinian women’s sexuality, bodies, and lives in the context of the latest invasions of our people in Gaza, in the daily attacks today in Jerusalem, and throughout historic Palestine.
Israeli officials’ repressive policies and incitement against the Palestinian people work to empower and embolden Israeli settler society to embody the power of the state and viciously attack Palestinians. This is clearly exhibited in the attacks on Palestinian women’s bodies inside Al Aqsa mosque these last weeks in Jerusalem, by both settler publics empowered by the state’s military protection, and members of the state security forces. A recent example of the daily scene of sexual violence is Israeli border police’s violent beating and arrest of Aida, a Palestinian woman from the old city of Jerusalem. When she tried to enter Al-Aqsa mosque, border police attacked and brutally beat Aida. They tore off her hijab and pulled her by her hair, as they continued to beat her through the streets of the old city, and dragged her into the police car. She was then taken to the police station, where she was violently interrogated, further beaten and accused of attacking a police officer. Security forces’ brutalization and violation of Aida’s body, and attempts to mark her as an inherently criminal other, are a form of gendered and sexual violence. The legalization of such forms of violence marks the Israeli legal system itself as deeply embedded in the settler colonial project’s machinery of elimination.
Palestinian women’s brutalization and violation by the settler colonial state also takes on more mundane forms. When Samera was arrested for participating in a demonstration in occupied East Jerusalem, her release by authorities was conditional upon her completing what they termed “community service.” Samera’s “community service” required her to scrub the bathrooms of a facility for Israeli border police and soldiers. As she explained to us:
I could not afford to pay the huge fine, and needed to be released [from prison] to go back to my kids. I had no other choice but to scrub their bathrooms….Just by being there, in men’s bathrooms, in the Israeli men’s toilets felt like rape. I did it to avoid payment, but I can’t avoid feeling that I allowed them to keep me there, in their bathrooms, in a constant state of terror, fearing being sexually abused, then trashed like we trash toilet paper in toilets.
Samera’s words and analysis further illustrate the gendered and sexualized aspects of the complex machinery of settler colonial violence. Yet as Samera concluded: “Sometimes I feel I was their slave, but some other times I tell myself no, this is resistance, this is sumud, this is power…I did what was needed to come back to my children, without being touched or violated sexually….yes hard, complex…our situation is complex.” Even in the face of such violent inscription of settler colonial violence, Palestinian women’s daily acts of resistance and survival demonstrate their power and sumud, or steadfastness.
In sum, sexual and gender violence are not merely a tool of patriarchal control, the byproduct of war or intensified conflict. Colonial relationships are themselves gendered and sexualized. We contend that sexual violence, a logic embedded in the Israeli settler colonial project, follows two contradictory principles that operate simultaneously: invasion/violation/occupation and supremacy/purification/demarcation. That is, the Zionist settler colonial project’s invasion, violation, and occupation of indigenous Palestinians’ bodies, lives, and land is intimately intertwined with its demarcation of racialized geographical and physical boundaries between Jewish citizenry and Palestinian natives as well as attempts to “purify” the Jewish national body of the Palestinian body, which is framed as a biopolitical contaminant. It is thus that the logic of sexual violence, embedded in the Zionist regime, energizes historical and continuous attacks on Palestinian bodies and lives.
Thus our struggle for indigenous sovereignty within anti-colonial activism as feminists is necessarily situated in the protection of Palestinian women’s bodily safety and sexuality, family, and communal right to life. It is a struggle against the hypermasculine Zionist military and settler apparatuses that frame Palestinian women as inherently threatening racialized Others whose bodies must be violated and destroyed as the internal enemy and “reproducers of Palestinians.” This logic is inseparable from the settler colonial logic of elimination.
As Palestinian feminists concerned about the safety of women’s bodies and lives, the continuity of our people and our future generations, we call on local and international feminists to join our struggle, challenge the settler colonial culture of impunity and raise their voices against the ongoing Israeli state crimes.
 This quote was taken from a group discussion with Palestinian women in Jerusalem, 2014.
 In the 1950s Ben Gurion, as the first prime minister of Israel, turned the issue of women’s fertility into national priority, arguing that “increasing the Jewish birthrate is a vital need for the existence of Israel” and that “a Jewish woman who does not bring at least four children into the world is defrauding the Jewish mission.” See Sharoni, S. (1995). Gender and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: the Politics of Women’s Resistance. Syracuse University Press. Also see Davis, U. & Lehn, W. (1983). “And the Fund Still Lives: The Role of the Jewish International Fund in the Determination of Israel’s Land Policies”, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 7 (4), p.3, at pp.4-6(1978).
 While centering our analysis on Palestinian women, we also note the Zionist state’s use of sexual violence as a tactic to curb the “demographic threat” over some Jewish women’s bodies, including black women (from the Ethiopian community) and women from impoverished backgrounds. While attempting to curb the birth rates of black and/or poor Jewish women, a practice we analyze as connected to the racialized project of curbing Palestinian reproduction and life, Israel has simultaneously sought to increase European Jewish birth through modernized practices such as buying ovum for human reproductive cloning from poor, Eastern European women. Besides, the Israeli state suggested that the law for preventing human reproductive cloning (1999) had expired and many of Israel’s physicians, politicians and social researchers are embracing this practice as yet another strategy for maintaining a Jewish demographic advantage on the land of Palestine.
 In addition to the posts and declarations against Palestinian mothers, Jewish girls and women encouraged men serving in the Israeli Occupation Forces by sending them semi-nude or pornographic pictures as an expression of love and support (see http://www.pitria.com/israeli-girls-support-zahal).
Terror in Galilee: British-Jewish Collaboration and the Special Night Squads in Palestine during the Arab Revolt, 1938–39
The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
In 1938 in British Mandate Palestine, British army officer Orde Wingate organised and led a joint British-Jewish military unit, the Special Night Squads (SNSs), to defeat Palestinian rebels fighting against British rule and Jewish immigration to Palestine during the Arab revolt, 1936–39...This study argues that joint intelligence gathering operations introduced the British army to Jewish agents and the possibilities of collaboration—Wingate was an intelligence officer—before detailing combined military operations in the field with the irregular SNSs. The originality of this article comes from its dissection of how British soldiers brutalised Jewish troops by training them in well-established British counterinsurgency methods that targeted civilians and villages close to rebel attacks.
Away from the control of established British military chains of command, the SNSs were especially tough in their war with Palestinians and they fought a ‘dirty war', an operational method absorbed and normalised by Jewish soldiers serving under British command. This article is a military and imperial history that details the quotidian brutality of pacification, opens up wider debates on how imperial powers collaborated with loyalist colonial minorities, shows how regular armies used irregular forces in pacification campaigns and suggests that post-colonial regimes such as Israel carried over such methods of control.
When the British army deployed to Palestine in April 1936 at the start of the Arab revolt against British colonial rule and Jewish immigration to the country, it collaborated with the Jewish settlers there as a ‘loyalist’ force against Palestinian insurgents. The army readily turned to minority communities for colonial control, to recruit as soldiers, divide its enemies and to gather intelligence: Sikhs and Gurkhas in India, or after 1945 Turkish Cypriots, aboriginal trackers in Malaya, Kikuyu loyalists in Kenya and Protestants in Ireland.
Jewish military collaboration with the British army is the subject of this article, leaving aside the recruitment by the colonial government of thousands of extra Jewish settlement and supernumerary police, almost 15,000 according to one source. Army-Jewish collaboration started with shared intelligence gathering, a combination that morphed into joint military units, notably the unconventional Special Night Squads (SNSs) that fought in Galilee in northern Palestine in 1938–39 and were led by the Nazareth-based British Army intelligence officer Captain Orde Wingate, a dedicated (Christian) Zionist who died in Burma in 1944 leading irregular forces against the Japanese. British commitment to the SNSs initially took the form of three platoons of 37 British soldiers based in Jewish settlements such as Hanita and Ein Harod and commanded by three subalterns seconded from Brigadier John Evetts’ Haifa-based 16th Brigade: Lieutenants Mike Grove (Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment), Robert ‘Rex’ King-Clark (Manchester Regiment) and H. E. N. ‘Bala’ Bredin (Royal Ulster Rifles). Evetts had ‘encouraged’ Wingate to reconnoitre Galilee and draw up a ‘detailed plan’ for the ‘establishment of Jewish counter-insurgency units which would operate at night with the support of British troops … . The policy had the blessing of Force Headquarters in Jerusalem but because it was considered to be an irregular practice few papers ever mentioned it.’
Wingate led patrols and was wounded doing so at the village of Dabburiyya in July 1938. Large numbers of Jewish soldiers from the Zionist defence organisation Haganah (The Defence) keen to get formal military training from the British passed through the SNSs, including many future Israeli commanders such as Yigal Allon and Moshe Dayan. Haganah became the Israeli army in 1948.
The supreme general officer commanding (GOC) in Palestine in early 1938, General Archibald Wavell, had lent his support to Wingate, but his successor, General Robert Haining, and the high command in Jerusalem were uncomfortable with unconventional warfare and the army eventually demanded Wingate's departure from Palestine in October 1938, spurred on by reports of SNS brutality...
This study of the SNSs argues that tough, often brutal, exemplary action was standard military counterinsurgency practice for the British soldiers leading the SNSs, easily employed by them against local civilians and insurgents, and then passed on to Jewish soldiers training and fighting with the unit. British military counter-rebel practice and doctrine had always been harsh and openly targeted civilians but soldiers’ humanity, civil oversight, legal strictures, public and press scrutiny, rebel counter-measures and the colonial state's hierarchy of race—with ‘white’ insurgents usually treated less harshly—mitigated military action.
Moreover, soldiers rotated through Palestine on time-bounded regimental tours of duty on what was for them another interesting colonial posting and they were not interested in the country's fate and so had no personal animosity for Palestinians beyond their being in revolt. When asked whether he or his men knew anything about Palestine before shipping out from the UK in 1938, King-Clark remembered in his memoirs how ‘at that time, in the Army at least there was almost total indifference in and ignorance of political affairs—among the younger officers and men, anyway'. This was not the case with the independently minded SNSs. The mercurial Wingate was a fanatical supporter of a Jewish state and he filled the SNSs with Jewish soldiers training for a future war of survival against the local Palestinians, which would come in 1948. This, alongside the lack of a formal military chain of command, meant that brutality by the SNSs quickly spiralled out of control, upsetting senior officers mindful of the negative impact of atrocity stories, and was one of the reasons that they eventually curtailed and then closed down the unit. It is difficult uncovering the brutality inherent in military operations but the night-time actions of the SNSs are especially murky and ‘wild', as will be discussed below.11 British SNS brutality prompted Jewish soldiers, taught them how to deal with insurgency and insurgents and set this within a colonial legal framework of collective punishment and punitive action that normalised draconian action.
Full article here
Fayez Sayegh (1965)
The frenzied 'Scramble for Africa' of the 1880s stimulated the beginnings of Zionist colonisation in Palestine. As European fortunehunters, prospective settlers, and empire builders raced for Africa, Zionist settlers and would-be state-builders rushed for Palestine...If other European nations had successfully extended themselves into Asia and Africa, and had annexed to their imperial domains vast proportions of those two continents, the 'Jewish nation' – it was argued – was entitled and able to do the same thing for itself.
By imitating the colonial ventures of the 'Gentile nations' among whom Jews lived, the 'Jewish nation' could send its own colonists into a piece of Afro-Asian territory, establish a settler-community, and, in due course, set up its own state – not, indeed, as an imperial outpost of a metropolitan home-base, but as a home-base in its own right, upon which the entire 'Jewish nation' would sooner or later converge from all over the world. 'Jewish nationalism' would thus fulfil itself through the process of colonisation, which other European nations had utilised for empirebuilding. For, Zionism, then, colonisation would be the instrument of nation-building, not the by-product of an already-fulfilled nationalism.
The improvised process of Jewish colonisation in Palestine which ensued was hardly a spectacular success, in spite of lavish financial subsidies from European Jewish financiers. By and large, Jews were more attracted by the new opportunities for migration to the United States or Argentina than by the call for racial selfsegregation as a prelude to state-building in Palestine. The objective of escape from anti-Jewish practices prevailing in some European societies could be attained just as well by emigration to America; the objective of nation-building – which alone could make the alternative solution of large-scale colonisation in Palestine more attractive – was still far from widespread among European Jews in the late nineteenth century.
The failure of the first sporadic effort to implant a Zionist settlercommunity in Palestine during the first fifteen years of Zionist colonisation (1882-1897) prompted serious reappraisal and radical revision of the strategy. This was accomplished by the First Zionist Congress, held at Basel in August 1897 under the leadership of Theodor Herzl.
Haphazard colonisation of Palestine, supported by wealthy Jewish financiers as a mixed philanthropic-colonial venture, was from then on to be eschewed. It was to be supplanted by a purely nationalistic program of organised colonisation, with clear political goals and mass support. Hence the over-all objective of Zionism formulated by the Basle Congress: 'The aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law '.
In addition to defining the ultimate objective of Zionism, the Basel Congress made a diagnosis of the special character and circumstances of Zionist colonisation in Palestine, and formulated a practical program suited to those special conditions. Three essential features in particular differentiated Zionist colonisation in Palestine from European colonisation elsewhere in Asia and Africa, and called for Zionist innovations:
It was in order to counteract these peculiar factors of its situation that the Zionist Movement, while defining its ultimate objective at the First Zionist Congress, proceeded to formulate an appropriate practical program as well. This program called for action along three lines: organisation, colonisation, and negotiation:
At the beginning, these efforts were focused mainly on the Ottoman Empire, then in control of the political fortunes of Palestine. Direct approaches to the Ottoman authorities were made; lucrative promises of financial grants and loans were dangled before the eyes of the Sultan; and European powers were urged to intercede at the Porte on behalf of the Zionist Organisation, in order to persuade the Sultan to grant the Organisation a Charter for an autonomous Zionist settlement in Palestine. Other efforts were exerted to induce the German Emperor to endorse the creation of a Chartered Land Development Company, which would be operated by Zionists in Palestine under German protection. Still other attempts were made to obtain permission from the British Government to establish an autonomous Zionist settlement in the Sinai Peninsula, as a steppingstone towards colonisation in Palestine. But none of these efforts bore fruit.
Extracted from Fayez Sayegh (2012): Zionist Colonialism in Palestine (1965), Settler Colonial Studies, 2:1, 206-225
The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.