“Let’s be clear” – spoken word by Eman Khasawneh at the protest against Israeli president Herzog

Last week we published the first three speeches that were held at the protest against Israeli president Herzog, who came to Amsterdam to open the new Holocaustmuseum. The demonstration was organised by the Jewish anti-zionist organisation Erev Rav, against this head of a state in the process of committing genocide (and of course not against the museum). At the protest Palestinian activist Eman Khasawneh read her very powerful poem “Let’s be clear”. A week later, she read another poem, about Dutch complicity, at the anti-racism demonstration next to the Houses of Parliament in The Hague. We are happy to be allowed to publish the first one on our website, and want to thank Chihiro Geuzebroek for arranging this for us.

Video of the spoken word performance at Waterlooplein, borrowed from Instagram.

Let’s be clear

Herzog, Rutte, We know you’re scared
You thought the sight of us uniting is rare
You thought those who seek justice will be impaired
You underestimated how much we cared
when you dared
to speak for all Jews while massacring
Palestinians as we all heard you declare

But see, as I grew up I’ve been taught the difference between zionist and Jew
As a child I’ve read up on an antisemitic Europe
And how their colonies in the Middle East never actually withdrew
I never knew that I’d have to explain here that this is untrue:
That a semite is not referring only to those who speak Hebrew,
And that inherently zionism goes against Judaism.
To me there was no other point of view…
I thought this was widely understood!
Until I came to Europe and had to explain the difference that I knew

Let’s make it clear
We are gathered here today because this… is an insult
To both people, we’ve come here in disgust: they invite a criminal?
In honor of a Holocaust memorial?
In the same country he’s internationally accused of genocide?
That thought alone should leave each of us terrified…

Let’s make it clear, when the holocaust came to an end here
While people could finally shed tears
My people had just started living in fear
My people of all religions…
and for 76 years It’s been continuing as western governments
like this one knew and cheered
Everyone here knows what it’s like to have your identity smeared
Cuz since 1948, Israel is a terrorist state
Founded on hate…
Claiming to love the land that they desecrate
And it’s people, with force they subjugate…
My people who were executed, persecuted
For the crimes of antisemitic Europeans, prosecuted…
Their olive trees de-rooted
Their water polluted
Their lands looted
Their rich history diluted
Expelled and substituted
Their massacres till today disputed
And their voices muted…
As their colonizers concluded
That from their own land they ought to be excluded
All so that the “supreme”
Can facilitate this scheme
When they should instead redeem…
Themselves to humanity…
They come to cut a ribbon in vanity
As history repeats itself with their support of criminality
What kind of irrationality
To invite today’s perpetrators that’s causing mass fatality
In such brutality
While they still talk about proportionality ….
Heh. For over 5 months and almost 76 years
They ignored our chants and screams
About the Israeli genocidal regime
As they continue to support their blood thirsty machines
But it seems…

They want us to stay quiet
While they whitewash and spread lies
About what we see with our own eyes
5 months we’ve been demanding sanction and to cut ties
As the Netherlands supplies
And with its allies
They devise
A plan to call us… antisemites
Silencing our voices that rise, ignoring our cries
About the bombs dropping from the skies
And then to our surprise
They invite
The criminal that has no privilege and no right
To taint the memory of over 6 million and over 35.000 killed and the rest who survive
I lived and saw the day a European accuses me of antisemitism
For rejecting and resisting western colonialism
After condemning nazism but hailing zionism?
As they feed their machine of western imperialism
In the name of fighting terrorism…
But who here is defining terrorism?

Is it not the zionist entity
That is eradicating my identity
Is it not the intensity
In which they bomb a strip with 2.3 million civilians in density
Is it not the extremity
That creates apartheid and disparity?
Hey Mr. Khan here’s your chance, Amsterdam to the Hague is not a long distance
Prove to us your international laws’ existence
I cannot fathom this mentally
You invite the abuser of the holocaust to honor this tragedy
While he’s committing a new atrocity
What hypocrisy has this “democracy”
To simultaneously distort both the present day reality and history

The same people who dehumazied like they did 80 years ago, who were complicit
The same ones that ask another criminal to visit
To be reminiscent
Once a year to take a minute
While they have made it explicit
That to them Palestinians are nothing more than a digit
And on zionists they impose no limit
Never again was utter bullshit
It’s been happening all along
How ironic
They think we’re moronic
Their racism is exposed as chronic
And their gestures merely symbolic
Three generations under a brutal occupation
And you uphold the zionists’ narration manipulation,
in this war of information
Calling ethnic cleansing “voluntary migration”
Genocide by bombs, snipers, lack of medication…
By dehydration and starvation
According to zionist declaration
Empty promises of ceasefire and phrases of mediation
While Palestinians face their ongoing annihilation
They want to break our determination, but we’re here to tell you,
Rutte, Herzog… Not in your wildest fucking imagination

To this government, criminals are immune
To us they dangle a ceasefire, “soon”
To silence us, to make us content
Allowing zionists to think they’re impune
By inviting them to such an event
The “president” with clear genocidal intent
As we speak, they bomb refugees in tents
The same reality they try to augment
When we can SEE their torment!
We see the bodies of children under cement!
Do they never repent?….
No, they just circumvent
But we will not relent
We will not yield
Your lies cannot be concealed
The propoganda veil has been revealed
You can no longer hide behind your shield

Let’s be clear…
in you we do not trust
With your airdrops that kill even more people for your pr stunts
We will fight together Palestinians and Jews for a world that’s just
Zionists will never divide us
Till Palestine is free from the river to the sea…
A free Palestine for all is an indisputable must

Let me end by saying this
You do not get to pretend to reminisce
Living in your ignorant bliss, till vilifying those who resist
The ruthless oppression you create while our calls, you dismiss
We’ll say it loud, say it clear: zionists are NOT welcome here
We will take our countries back
You can deny it – But I’ll remind you of this one fact…

I am human, I am Palestinian,
You do not get to use their Jewish name
To justify my pain
While I live on foreign terrain BOTH peoples forever bloodstain again…
by your race supremacy campaign
Condemned to explain
Our anger we can no longer contain
When our cries go blantly in vain
Silent we shall not remain
Your empire will not sustain
Our land we’ve come to claim
Liberation is our aim
We are human, we are ALL Palestinian
We are not pawns in your game
We are human, we are Palestinians,
we hear of human rights, but we see nothing humane.

Eman Khasawneh

(A note from the editors on 22 March, because we received questions about this: we wouldn’t have used the word “Semite” (in line 12), for it refers to eighteenth century racist, colonial ‘science’. A Semitic language group, to which both Arabic and Hebrew belong, does exist, but there is no Semitic race or people. Those are racist fictions. Semites do not exist. The word anti-Semitic originates a couple of decades later. Badly chosen by the same colonial racists, in time it came to mean anti-Jewish racism, a sort of ‘modern’ update to the old anti-Judaism. Fortunately, the word “Semite” is almost never heard anymore. But now and again someone argues that Arabs cannot be anti-Semitic because they supposedly are “Semites” themselves. Which is, as we saw, nonsense because “Semites” do not exist. Or they reason the other way around: that since “Semites” don’t exist, anti-Semitism also doesn’t exist. Similar to some people trying to argue that since races do not exist – which is true – racism also cannot exist – but it does! These arguments try to make debates about the cruel reality of racism into a word game. And, of course, if “Semites” had existed, they still could be anti-Semitic: because self-hatred is of course not unheard of. For instance, we know for sure anti-Semitic Jews exist: just listen to some of the remarks of the current Israeli leadership about anti-zionist Jews, containing well known anti-Semitic tropes. And look at some of the people they’re working together with, like the hardcore anti-Semitic Hungarian leader Orbán.)