Podcast Ep 31: Israel’s vaccine apartheid

On episode 31 of The Electronic Intifada Podcast, Nora and Asa discuss Israel’s vaccine apartheid and are joined by physicians and writers Dr. Ghada Karmi and Dr. Osama Tanous.

It was recently reported that Israel is giving thousands of “spare” vaccines to foreign countries in exchange for political support, while denying vaccines to 5 million Palestinians under its military rule in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel is failing in its obligations under international law as an occupying power by not offering the vaccine to the Palestinians of occupied territory.

Karmi and Tanous explain how occupation and settler-colonialism impact not just COVID-19 outcomes for Palestinians but public health in Palestine overall.

“We haven’t seen the peak” of the pandemic yet, Tanous warns. “The worst is yet to come.”

In Palestine, “occupation is a pre-existing condition” that can present disastrous health outcomes for Palestinians dealing with COVID-19, he adds.

In denying Palestinians access to vaccines, Karmi says that “We’re dealing with a deeply criminal state.” Israel “has to be punished for the things that it’s done,” she says.

“One would have thought that Israel had reached the bottom in terms of the outrageous things that it’s done to the Palestinians, but every time, Israel takes me by surprise. There is still a new low to get to,” Karmi adds.

The way to deal with Israel’s criminality “has to be through action,” she explains. “It has to be made into a pariah, exactly as happened with South Africa … We have a thriving, successful BDS movement … and I urge everybody who wants to do something to start off, at least, with joining the movement.”

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Articles we discussed

Video production by Tamara Nassar

Theme music 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).