Why is The Forward afraid of criticizing Israel’s discriminatory vaccine policy?


American Jews must recognize that Israel’s refusal to vaccinate all Palestinians under its rule is part of a supremacist policy that goes beyond the occupation

A Palestinian who works in Israel receives COVID-19 vaccination, south of Tulkarm in the West Bank on 8 March 2021

Sari Bashi writes in +972:

For American liberal Zionists, criticism of the Israeli occupation has become par for the course. Yet over the past few years, even as they have begun to understand the discriminatory foundations of the Israeli government’s policies toward Palestinians, many liberal American Jews have remained steadfast in their refusal to acknowledge that the occupation is but one aspect of Jewish supremacy in Israel-Palestine.

I recently encountered this dynamic after publishing an op-ed with The Forward, one of the most prominent Jewish American publications. In my piece, I argued that while the government is vaccinating Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in East Jerusalem, its exclusion of 5 million Palestinians living in the occupied territories from its COVID-19 vaccine distribution program is based on ethnic criteria. More than that, I argued that this policy is based on the Israeli government’s engineering of its citizenship laws, which grant automatic Israeli citizenship to Jews who move to Israel-Palestine.

Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities continue to deny citizenship to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, even though nearly half of them are refugees from inside the internationally recognized borders of Israel — and all live under some form of Israeli control.

By publishing my op-ed, The Forward demonstrated its commitment to a diversity of views. Yet what happened next suggests that legitimacy has its limits, particularly when one challenges the discriminatory foundations of the Jewish state.

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