Whoever speaks about the question of Palestine
should start by saying who they are,
how they are impacted by the question of Palestine
or how they have been implicated to hold Palestine as an imperial question,
for which, by definition, only imperial solutions could be given.
Often, the struggle of colonized people is also a struggle against
the imperial violence that turned them or their place
into such a question to be solved, or a struggle against the violence that
forced them to embody the imperial solution to that question.
Who am I, then?
Well, I am a Palestinian Jew – today an almost extinct species.
And I am an Algerian Jew, an almost extinct species as well.
I say extinct since the Euro-Christian imperial technologies
of freedom, (international) law, sovereignty and order
were forcibly used to extinguish these identities and forms of belonging.
These identities and forms of belonging were seen as obstacles to the invention of the modern nations,
including a modern Jewish nation.
What these technologies produced was a form of nationality that Euro-Zionists were later
mandated to impose on children who were born in the human factories
that emerged in the Zionist colony in Palestine.
This nationality was consolidated when a nation state for the Jews was declared,
and Palestine was destroyed.
In reclaiming and embodying these almost extinct identities,
I refuse to recognize myself in the identity
that was invented with the purpose of rendering
the return of Palestine – and the return of Palestinians to their homeland – impossible.
The Jews didn’t have lands that Europe could have colonized;
rather, they possessed a strong group identity,
which they transmitted and preserved through social and spiritual
principles, practices, and formations.
Europe sought to destroy and replace this group identity
with its own forms, principles, beliefs and technologies of organization,
or, to say it straightforwardly – they sought to colonize it.
Colonization often targets lands,
however, the colonization of the Jews targeted and destroyed their diverse identities,
forms of belonging, practices and beliefs,
and subjected them to the law and control of the colonizing powers of the modern state.
This colonizing state formation forced diverse Jews to assimilate
while simultaneously representing themselves as members of one single people,
a people that was rendered by Europe a problem to be solved.
The colonization of the Jews by Europe didn’t cease with the “solution” of assimilation.
It went on through other “solutions,”
of which Zionism was one.
Each of these solutions made the real problem – Europe
and its racializing and colonizing technologies – disappear!
Euro-Zionism started as a European solution for the Jewish people,
and it served as a resolution for the question of Palestine,
decades before Palestine
was literally destroyed by Euro-Jewish-Zionists,
who emptied Palestine of its inhabitants.
Over the course of several decades following the late 19th century,
the Euro-Zionist movement,
a tiny movement unattractive to most Jews in the world at the time,
relied on and used various violent imperial technologies,
the same that were used to create the Jews as a problem, to provide a solution to it.
The state they formed was a misshapen imperial solution that was presented as a project of Jewish (national) liberation.
This could not have come into being if the Jews had not been colonized,
if their plural histories as different Jews had not been falsified,
if the historical memory of the violence done to them was not limited to the Nazi era,
and if the centuries of life they shared with Muslims had not been
destroyed, sent to oblivion, and
made impossible to imagine.
The destruction of that world is not a coincidence
but an imperial crime. It is the outcome of the invention
of these two entangled questions,
The Jewish Question and the Question of Palestine,
which made Palestine and Palestinians
into the enemy of the Jewish people,
and vice versa; Jews were forcibly
associated with the Zionists
and with the Jewish people whom the Zionists claimed to represent;
thus, they were turned into the enemy of Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims.
Thus, a threefold destruction was the solution for that pair of questions:
of Palestine, of the diversity of Jewish communities,
and of Jewish Muslim communities worldwide.
Till today, this European racializing technology, compounded by
its American variant,
is leveraged to preserve that split
between Jews and Muslims, Jews and Arabs,
nurturing the invention of a “Judeo-Christian tradition.”
In the aftermath of the Second World War, this tradition enabled Europe to be reborn
as the savior of the Jews.
It determined who Jews could become, how they could speak
and act in this world.
Jews were forced to adhere to this tradition’s mandates,
lest they turn once more into a problem
to be solved again by Europe.
The only way out of this European terror
is to strive for the decolonization – and de-nationalization – of this Jewish people,
to render us a problem again for the Euro-American “new world order,”
and to revive a shared Jewish Muslim world.
This form of decolonization is inseparable from the decolonization of Palestine
And from the effort to dismantle the imperial technologies
that enabled its destruction.
Proponents of decolonization cannot aspire to any of the common solutions
that promise to transform Palestine into a “modern” nation-state.
It is necessary to return to what was destroyed,
to the ruins and to the possibilities that were doomed to appear as “past.”
It is necessary to rebuild and resurrect them
with and for the sake of those who were colonized and expelled,
with and for the sake of their descendants.
The ruins should be inhabited as part of processes and formations of repair,
of a slow repair,
drawn on the many different formations of social, political, and spiritual care that were
destroyed by European technologies of violence and expertise law.
These were formations that once organized the Jewish Muslim world,
and they could still be revived, continued and mended.