The Palestinian population are suffering an institutionalised form of racism far more extensive and deeply-rooted than has been seen elsewhere in history. This is according to Arab-American human rights activist, Dr. Rania Masri, who delivered an address on “White Supremacy and Zionism” at the AIDC Solidarity Centre on Saturday. The talk, hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, sought to tackle misconceptions of racism as well as bringing light to various forms of discrimination enacted by both Israel’s Zionist regime, as well as historically in the U.S. against people of colour.
The crucial misunderstanding of Zionism has been the inability of some to differentiate it from Judaism, many assuming the respective movement and religion to be one and the same. Speaking to Drivetime, Masri was keen to stress that while many-a-Jew may align themselves with the ideologies of Zionism, the movement was in fact a philosophy aimed at promoting Jewish heritage while oppressing and suppressing those with historic ties to the land of Palestine.
“The similarities between Zionism and old-fashion white supremacy values are striking. This is not a point of opinion or political perspective, this is simply by looking at the facts and what Israel has managed to do since 1948,” she said.
She suggested the movement, very much a form of Apartheid, was in many ways worse than the same system of racial segregation witnessed in South Africa pre-1994.
“Yes there was expulsion of people from their homelands but there was still this concept that the white supremacists in SA needed the original inhabitants for cheap labour. In Palestine it’s not at all that concept, it is a full expulsion and separation of everything one can imagine,” she explained.
According to Masri, there could be no understanding of the present day tragedies of Palestine without going back to the 1948 Nakbah, where the vast majority of the Palestinian population were expelled from their homeland by force. Regardless of ones support for a ‘two state’ or ‘one-state’ solution to the issue, she said the matter need come down to the Palestinian right of return.
“Once we recognise the fact that we are denied our right of return solely because we are not Jewish, not because there is no space for us or because they are worried for their safety, than we realise the path to justice is through right of return and the dismantling of all forms of discriminatory laws Zionists have put in place,” she declared.
She added that the oppressed, in this case the Palestinian population, need have the right to choose their own means of self-defence and liberation, including armed resistance if they so choose.
“The right of the oppressed and the occupied to defend themselves should never be compared with the right of the oppressor and occupier to defend themselves,” she concluded. VOC