Tzedek Collective: ‘The safety that Zionist ideology offers is a lie’

May 3, 2024
The Tzedek Collective shows solidarity to the University of Sydney encampment. Photo: Isaac Nellist

[Maggie K is a member of the Tzedek Collective, an anti-Zionist, anti-colonial Jewish community group. She gave the following speech to a solidarity rally at the University of Sydney encampment for Palestine on May 3.]

I’m here with Tzedek Collective to remind everyone that Zionists don’t speak for all Jews.

They claim that solidarity with Palestine and action against Israel makes Jews unsafe.

But nobody is safe when other oppressed peoples remain an acceptable target for government violence.

Erasing Palestinian voices makes Zionists feel safe, lets them retreat into their fantasy of a nation-state that exists outside of history and that they can belong to — in a metaphysical way.

It excuses diasporic Jews from doing the work of building a liberated, diverse, and intersectional home, right here in Australia.

Zionism is a displacement of a religious faith on to a political entity.

The more Israel fails to live up to that faith, the harder Zionists try to cling to it and the more they have to justify it to keep that feeling of safety.

And the more they need to try to convince the rest of us that we are unsafe without it.

But we know the safety that Zionist ideology offers is a lie.

It is a lie that has been bought with the blood of Palestinians for 75 years.

It is a lie that siphons off resources and organising energy of the Jewish diaspora to run interference for a corrupt government.

It is a lie that allows white supremacists to use us, to use the Jewish community to launder their reputations, because as long as they claim to stand with Israel they don’t have to stand against any of the people who actually harm us.

It gives far-right antisemites, including the organisations we are up against today, the green light to indulge in racism of all forms, as long as they support Israel.

The Australian Jewish Association, for example, peddles the neo-Nazi “Great Replacement” theory, as well as the conspiracy theory that George Soros is the puppet master behind leftist and anti-Zionist causes.

Painting criticism of Israel as antisemitism allows governments and institutions to suppress free speech, including Jewish free speech, in the name of “Jewish safety”.

The truth is that safety for diaspora Jews and oppressed allies cannot be achieved through window-gazing towards a fascist ethno-state.

Safety comes from activists fighting together, much like we are at this University of Sydney encampment, for an intersectional, liberated, and decolonised community space, here in Australia.

Safety has to be built on a regular basis by strengthening our local communities, maintaining relationships, leaning on people and supporting people, coming together and learning from each other.

Safety comes from solidarity, not from isolation.

So we are here to show solidarity to the brave students who are willing to stand up to powerful institutions and demand divestment from war crimes and atrocities.

Solidarity from the Jewish diaspora to the Palestinian diaspora, because safety is not a zero sum game.

Solidarity to the people dying in Gaza.

There is no justification for what is happening there, certainly not in our name!

[Maggie K is a member of the Tzedek Collective in Gadigal/Sydney.]


Rallying in support of the University of Sydney Palestine encampment. Photo: Isaac Nellist


Photo: Isaac Nellist

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