#184 | Cycles Of Trauma: A Critical Look At The Zionist Project w/ Yoav Litvin & Rob Seimetz

In this collaborative interview with Rob Seimetz, host of Moving Forward on PRN, we speak with Yoav Litvin, doctor of psychology, photographer, and writer. Yoav's work focuses on the roots of the ideology of Zionism, in particular how trauma has informed its formation and practice, through the policies and actions of the State of Israel, and through such powerful organizations like AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) — "a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States."  

In this discussion, Yoav expounds on his views and deep research into the settler-colonialist and supremacist roots of Zionism, not only from a socio-historical perspective, but from a neurological and psychological perspective as well. How has a collectivized form of post-traumatic stress disorder shaped the genocidal policies of the State of Israel, especially toward the Palestinian people and land that the State of Israel has been literally built upon? As Yoav gets into his piece in Monthly Review Online: “In response to antisemitism, Zionists embraced their fear and contempt of their abusers to produce defensive aggression, reinventing identity in a reactionary attempt to ensure survival and restore pride. The reward of violence–power-quickly enticed Zionist leaders to morph what began as a defensive strategy into an offensive one that culminated with a settler colonialist vision of a homeland in Palestine at the expense of its Indigenous population, the existing Palestinian people.”*

Along with addressing the trauma Jewish populations have individually and collectively experienced, we ask Yoav to explain the conflation between legitimate criticism of the policies Israel and Zionism with antisemitism in general. This conflation is done primarily to obscure the real and existing genocidal policies of the State of Israel towards the Palestinian people, with the direct backing of the United States government. With U.S. politicians like Rep. Ilhan Omar coming under intense pressure to apologize for her accurate criticisms AIPAC's influence in U.S. politics, the conflation between antisemitism and criticism of Zionism is no accident. It's specifically intended to shut down rightful protest and criticism of Zionism as an ideology and as a settler-colonialist project, which has lead to one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world to date (e.g. the Gaza Strip and the West Bank).

Yoav Litvin is an Israeli-American doctor of psychology, a photographer and writer. In his work, he investigates the intersections of science, the arts and politics and aims to promote creative and radical causes with a focus on urban culture, social movements and peoples. Litvin’s work has been featured in Truthout, Al Jazeera English, Mother Jones, Mondoweiss, and more.

This is the third joint interview I’ve done with Rob Seimetz, host of Moving Forward on PRN. Follow Rob’s work: http://bit.ly/PRNseimetz


Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Yoav’s work: https://yoavlitvin.com

- Read his article at Monthly Review Online: http://bit.ly/2OEgJrE

- Read his recent piece in Truthout: http://bit.ly/2FR4VzE

- Follow Yoav on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nookyelur

- The songs featured in this episode are “Slow Country” (instrumental) and “Double Bass” by Gorillaz from their self-titled album.