#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.

#123 | A Bull In A China Cabinet: Israel, Gaza, & The Madman Theory w/ Zak Witus

In this episode, I speak with Zak Witus, freelance journalist and activist. Zak discusses the unfolding events in the Gaza Strip, in which thousands of Palestinians, over the past several months, have demonstrated against the horrific conditions imposed on the Palestinian territory by the state of Israel. Over a 100 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed by Israeli forces, with over 1200 injured, during what has been called "The Great March of Return," a large scale protest that demands “that Palestinian refugees and their descendants be allowed to return to what is now Israel.”* Zak also goes over the recent decision made by the Trump Administration to move the US Embassy to the city of Jerusalem, and how this decision fits into the demonstrations in the Gaza Strip.

In the later half of this episode, Zak and I discuss his most recent piece in Truthout titled ‘Israel Continues Aggression Against Syria While Playing the Victim,’ an article that explores Israel’s belligerent and aggressive relationship with it’s neighboring nations, in particular Lebanon and most recently, and frequently, with Syria. To quote from the article: “[o]ver the past six years, Israel has launched at least 100 attacks against convoys in Syria that were allegedly carrying weapons (perhaps advanced missiles) to Hezbollah and other Shi’ite militias. In February, the Guardian reported that Israel had been conducting near weekly strikes in Syria for the past 18 months, and there’s little reason to think that the rate of attacks has since ebbed. These attacks, which escalated under Trump, target Syrian government forces, Hezbollah and, as of late, Iran.” What are the aims of the Israeli government in Syria? How does US President Nixon’s infamous “Madman Theory” describe the kind of behavior coming from the state of Israel? Zak goes over this, and more, in this episode.

Zak is a freelance writer, and a recent graduate from the University of Michigan, where he studied Cognitive Science and Art History. His research and writing post-graduation have focused on US foreign policy and international relations, particularly the US role in the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israeli Occupation of Palestine. Zak presently lives in Jerusalem, and is participating in Achvat Amim (Solidarity of Nations), a service-learning program dedicated to the principle of self-determination for all peoples in the place that they call home. **

*Source: https://bit.ly/2LjQ2FM
**Sources: https://bit.ly/2JenmNG / https://bit.ly/2sySYGE


Episode Notes:

- Read Zak’s most recent piece in Truthout ‘Israel Continues Aggression Against Syria While Playing the Victim’ here: https://bit.ly/2stsHKZ

- Follow Zak’s recent articles on Truthout: https://truthout.org/authors/zak-witus

- Also on Times of Israel: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/zak-witus

- Follow Zak on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZakWitus

- The song featured in this episode is “Badd” by Sporting Life from the album 55 5’s.