Angela Davis compares Israeli's segregation policies with the previous Jim Crow laws of the US. Jim Crow was more than just racist laws of segregation but a whole way of life. Davis recently stated at the 2012 Russell Tribunal on Palestine that
We here in the U.S. should be especially conscious of the similarities between historical Jim Crow practices and contemporary regimes of segregation in Occupied Palestine.
Today I read an article by Heidi-Jane Esakov, a Jewish South African of Lithuanian origin who once supported Zionism but who came to realize her complicity in supporting the dispossession of indigenous Bedouin and Palestinians through seemingly benevolent acts like donating money to plant trees to green Israel.
Esakov's critical reflection on her changing role as a Jewish person is heartening. Rather than angry defensiveness of Israel no matter what, she not only has learned to see her complicity in once supporting land confiscation and population displacement, but also to talk about that in public and expose Israeli injustice.
Israel has undertaken the Prawer Plan whose aim is to remove and expel 30,000 Bedouin from the Negev Desert so an "environmental forest" and new homes for Jewish Israelis can be built. The Bedouin villages, like Palestinian villages since 1948, are being razed to the ground. Removed. Obliterated from history so that a new history can be encoded on top.
The Bedouin people of Al-Arakb have been displaced and removed from their village 39 times! Although their village has been in place for hundreds of years, it was recently once again expunged from the landscape by the Israeli government so that they can built a Jewish-only settlement on top of its ground.
To make the Jewish city of Lod, the Arab city of Lydda was cleansed of Arabs in 1948. Along with orders to shoot anyone seen on the streets, the people expelled were forced to walk out of the city and didn't even know where they should go. On top of their terror and fear, it was Ramadan and many died of thirst along the way. The history of the expulsion of the Arab residents of Lydda by the Israeli army in July 1948 is a difficult read.
I am sure that many Jewish residents of Lod don't even know that they live inside houses of Palestinians who were expelled by force. I am sure many Jewish residents of Lod don't even know the violent history of their city and the sadness, suffering, and grief inflicted on Palestinians. Like many Canadians, they are ignorant of the injustices and violence that occurred in making their country. Like many Canadians, I am sure many Israelis are not only ignorant of the continuing legacies of injustice that continue while they enjoy privileges denied to Others, but also blame the victims and disparage them.