Podcast Ep 17: COVID-19 worsens Israel’s racism

The fact that Israel is a racist state leads to the Palestinians infected with COVID-19 being denied equal health care, lawyer and analyst Diana Buttu tells The Electronic Intifada Podcast.

“The coronavirus has exacerbated, in fact highlighted, the racist system that exists in the country,” she adds, under quarantine from her home in Haifa.

Israel initially only provided COVID-19 testing to cities and towns where most of the inhabitants are Jewish. Towns inside Israel with a large Palestinian population have been ignored, Buttu explains.

Now, she says, “the numbers of cases of Palestinians who have tested positive is on the rise, mostly because there has been such a push by Palestinians to have testing in these areas.”

At the same time, Israel has continued to carry out its violent colonial policies. “There’s been no pause button, or stop button, to the occupation … During a period where we’ve been told to stay home and self-isolate, Israel has carried out home demolitions, leaving at least 26 people homeless,” she says.

Buttu notes that communities across historic Palestine are coming together to protect one another. “We’ve seen a number of Palestinian grocers come forward and allow people to take whatever food that they want to take – this is in very stark contrast to the images that we see in the United States.”

Nora and Asa also discuss how they are coping on coronavirus lockdown in the US and UK, and Asa gets into a recent leaked report about Britain’s Labour Party.

Articles we discussed

Image: Palestinians distribute cleaning supplies amid fears of the spread of COVID-19, near Hebron. Mosab Shawer/APA Images

Theme music and production assistance by Sharif Zakout

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Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).