In this 1 on 1 talk our moderator Nura Al-Izzedin spoke with the “Boycott from Within” member Ronnie Barkan.
Ronnie Barkan is a longtime Jewish Israeli activist and math teacher. He has described himself as “among the group of the over-privileged in this struggle for Palestinian rights, acting against a system that has at its very core the Zionist principle of differentiation.” He describes the Israeli treatment of Palestinians as apartheid, identifies himself as “anti-Zionist,” and refers to Israel as “the Jewish-supremacist entity…founded on the basis of ethnic cleansing and ethnic segregation.”
He refused to serve in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and said: “There’s a lot of social pressure in Israel. We’re raised to be soldiers from kindergarten. We’re taught that it’s our duty to serve in the army and you’re a parasite or traitor if you don’t want to serve.”
Further he said: “Israelis are raised to be deeply racist,” and described his support for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) as a means of “renouncing my privileges in this land and insisting on equality for all.” He does not, however, support the turning away of Israeli academics or musicians from conferences or other gatherings abroad because they are Israelis, saying that such conduct amounts to racism.
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