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Amidst radical anti-Israel protests taking over Canadian streets and campuses, a prominent Jewish advocate says that hating on Israel will not bring justice to Palestinians

Ysabella Hazan, a 24-year-old University of Ottawa law graduate and founder of Decolonized Judean, an organization dedicated to “empowerment, movement, promoting justice & decolonizing Jewish identity,” recently gave an interview to True North.

“Hating Israel does not mean you love Palestinians, hating on Israel will not bring justice to Palestinians,” she said. “You can’t blame the consequences of war on one side. It just ignores the history and the context.”

She added that to truly fight for justice for Palestinians, one must first acknowledge “that Israel is not going anywhere.”

Hazan, who has visited the encampment occupying the McGill University campus, believes that some people are participating in encampment protests “who genuinely care about the Palestinian struggle and Palestinian rights and Palestinian suffering.” 

She, however, added that many are just using the current issue to push their hatred of Jews, and hence there is “an inherent issue” within the Palestinian movement.

As previously reported by True North, the encampments have seen disturbing amounts of antisemitism, hate and far-left extremism. At McGill, an encampment organizer of the McGill protest refused to condemn Hamas, its Oct. 7 attack or call for a return of the hostages. An Iraqi Jew was also harassed and told to “go back to Europe.” There have also been calls for Intifada (violent uprisings) at the McGill encampment. 

Hazan also touched on common claims made by protesters, including in regards to Zionism and the situation in Gaza.

Many pro-Palestinian protesters claim that Zionism and Judaism are very different things and that it is okay to be radically anti-Zionist, and stigmatize Zionists, as it is not the same thing as being antisemitic.

However, Hazan noted that nearly all Jews are Zionists. 

“All Jews are Zionists, and the exception is not the rule,” she said. 

She elaborated by noting that Zionism, the belief that Jews have the right to self-determination in their ancestral and indigenous homeland of Israel is inherent to Jewish culture.

“We pray towards Jerusalem,” she said. “Our holidays are based on the seasons of the land.”

Amidst this, Hazan says “anti-colonial tactics” seen in struggles for decolonization around the world have not and will not work on Israel because Israelis are not settlers but Indigenous peoples.

“Anti-colonial tactics do not work on Indigenous people,” she said.

“They’re appropriating the South African apartheid struggle, it won’t work on Israel because we won’t respond that way,” she said. “We just saw in the aftermath of October 7th. Jews will respond like the ancient custodians of the land that we are. We’re not going to let ourselves be butchered in our home.”

Something else that pro-Palestinian activists have been doing is comparing Israel’s war against Hamas to the Holocaust while pushing the false claim that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

Hazan noted that the appropriation of Jewish suffering and the use of terms like “never again” to describe the situation in Gaza is “a very, very offensive thing to do. Especially when there are Holocaust survivors who are still alive.”

She pointed out that Israel sends leaflets and calls to areas it is about to attack to warn civilians to get out and create passages for humanitarian aid in Gaza, things that the Nazis didn’t do.

“We didn’t have humanitarian aid in Auschwitz,” she said. “So to use the language of our suffering, to appropriate it, to turn it against us, is very, very, very disturbing.”