Naomi Klein spoke about climate justice, white supremacy and Palestinian rights in an online conversation hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace and co-sponsored by +972 Magazine last Thursday. The conversation was facilitated by Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace, and focused in large part on ideas Klein introduces in her latest book, “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal.”
“The kind of green colonialism that we see in Israel, with the JNF and the planting of trees as a means of seizing Palestinian land, is part of a historical and ongoing process where forests get used as weapons of land theft. We have to be aware of that, while we understand that we have put so much carbon in the atmosphere that we absolutely need to plant trees and protect trees and rehabilitate wetland and do it in a way that doesn’t repeat these colonial patterns,” she says.
“Climate change is no longer the issue that you care about after every single other issue,” she says. Now, polls ahead of the 2020 U.S. election show that Democratic voters are ranking climate change as high as healthcare and jobs in terms of issues they care about, according to Klein.
“We are in a moment where it’s not just the earth that is flammable — our politics are intensely flammable,” says Klein. Some of that is a result of decades of neoliberal policies and attacks on labor standards, she explains. With rising ecological uncertainty, “our home is in crisis, and so we now have this wave of strongmen political figures around the world who are all trading strategies, tactics and technologies for how to come to power by pitting populations against each other.”
“What is clear is that the space for humanity to live well is contracting on this planet. The extent to which it contracts is what we’re debating over, but that it will contract and that it is already contracting is indisputable” explains Klein.
“The core question is: what kind of people are we going to be as we live in greater density? If we look to Israel-Palestine, we see a really terrifying example of how to lose your humanity, and how to fail to share land, and what it requires, the monstrousness it requires to fail to share.”