Unpacking Zionism

by Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism

Produced by the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism, this podcast features conversations with scholars, activists, and artists about their insights into Zionism. Unpacking Zionism is a process and a long-term commitment that we at the Institute are making to the Palestinian liberation struggle and the struggles of all people affected by Zionism. To resist the current moment of Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinian ... 

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Podcast episodes

  • Season 1

  • Hindutva with Pranay Somayajula

    Hindutva with Pranay Somayajula

    In this episode, Pranay Somayajula helps us unpack the term hindutva as a keyword in Critical Zionism Studies. Hindutva is a strain of ethnic supremacy and Indian nationalism that Pranay will help us unpack in the episode. It is specifically anti-Muslim, and – like Zionism – it has been fueled by British colonialism. In the present, Hindutva is more and more entwined with Zionist politics. In our conversation, Pranay untangles hindutva’s parallels and connections to Nazism and to Zionism. In fact, this episode covers a lot of ground - we discuss the close military, political, and diplomatic relationship between India and Israel, the ideological underpinnings of the two countries’ nationalist regimes, the growing alignment of Hindu American organizations with the Israel lobby groups, and the solidarity and collaborations between anti-Hindutva and anti-Zionist organizers. Pranay Somayajula is an Indian-American writer and organizer, based in Washington, DC, who currently serves as Organizing and Advocacy Director for Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR). Pranay recently completed a MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where his dissertation research focused on preventive detention and the legacies of colonial rule in postcolonial India. Prior to studying at LSE, Pranay worked at HfHR as Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator. He received his B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs in 2022 from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. Today, we are sharing a lot of resources so our listeners can dive into this topic much deeper: Vijay Prashad’s article “How the Hindus became Jews” Pranay Somayajula’s senior thesis at George Washington University “The ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and the ‘Jewish State’: the Ideological Foundations of Ethnic Democracy in India and Israel” Pranay’s more recent essay called “we are all palestinians: notes on solidarity and collective resistance” Aparna Gopalan’sarticle, “THE HINDU NATIONALISTS USING THE PRO-ISRAEL PLAYBOOK” published in the Jewish Currents in 2023 ICSZ Battling the IHRA Definition Podcast

  • Future with Eman Abdelhadi

    Future with Eman Abdelhadi

    This is part 2 of our ongoing mini-series on “future” as a keyword in Critical Zionism Studies. We talk to Eman Abdelhadi who explains that every liberation struggle is ultimately a struggle for a different future, one that rebels against the unjust present and past. Eman Abdelhadi is an academic, activist and writer who thinks at the intersection of gender, sexuality, religion, and politics. She is an assistant professor and sociologist at the University of Chicago, where she researches American Muslim communities. She is co-author of "Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune, 2052-2072," a sci-fi novel published in 2022 with Common Notions Press. Her academic work has been published in numerous sociology journals and covered by press outlets such as the Washington Post, Associated Press, and NPR. Her public writing has appeared in In These Times, Jacobin, Truthout and other outlets. She is based in Chicago, where she is also a community organizer with the Salon Kawakib Collective, Faculty for Justice in Palestine and other formations. Eman and her co-author M. E. O'Brien wrote a speculative novel about a liberated future called Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune, 2052–2072. Eman and M. E. also published a short story that is a continuation of the novel. The story is called “Sharaner Maash, or a haunting from the time before.” And in the episode, we mention a Truthout podcast “Palestine Solidarity Encampments Are a Rehearsal for Liberatory Self-Governance” that Eman was recently on.

  • Future with Nayrouz Abu Hatoum

    Future with Nayrouz Abu Hatoum

    In this episode, we talk with Nayrouz Abu Hatoum about “future” as a keyword in Critical Zionism Studies. This conversation demonstrates that despite the violence that the Israeli state inflicts on Palestinian daily life, violence that affects their ability to imagine and predict the future, Palestinian struggle for liberation is always already future-oriented. Nayrouz Abu Hatoum is associate professor in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Concordia University. She was the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University for 2018/2019, and is a co-founding member of Insaniyyat: Society of Palestinian Anthropologists. Her research explores visual politics in Palestine and focuses on alternative imaginations, peoples' place-making and dwelling practices in contexts of settler colonialism. Currently, she is working on her ethnographic project that examines the politics of visual arts production and its role in expanding Palestinians' imagination. This episode is the first in a short series of conversations about future and how central it is to the Palestinian liberation struggle, to the anti-Zionist struggle, and in fact, to all anti-imperialist, decolonial, abolitionist, liberatory struggles. You can read the transcript of this episode and the article we discuss, "Decolonizing [in the] future: Scenes of Palestinian temporality" by Nayrouz Abu Hatoum, on our website.

  • Refugees with Jennifer Mogannam

    Refugees with Jennifer Mogannam

    In this episode, we talk with Jennifer Mogannam about “refugees” as a keyword for thinking about Zionism. Our conversation considers how Palestinian refugee resistance to the condition of Zionist colonization permeates culture, community, politics, and sense of the future — not only for Palestinians but for everyone — and how that resistance poses a major challenge to the narratives that Zionism relies on. You can read the transcript of this episode and the forum we discuss, "Locating Palestinians at the Intersections: Indigeneity, Critical Refugee Studies, and Decolonization" by Jennifer Mogannam, Eman Ghanayem, and Rana Sharif on our website.

  • The new "terror" bill with Darryl Li & Lara Friedman

    The new "terror" bill with Darryl Li & Lara Friedman

    In this special episode, we share a talk on a new (really!) right-wing attack on Palestine-related organizations: a U.S. federal "anti-terror" bill that would strip progressive organizations of their ability to function, and wouldn't require scrutiny or due process. Legal scholar Darryl Li and policy expert Lara Friedman discuss the new legislation and its relationship to the avalanche of new proposed "anti-antisemitism" bills currently before Congress. This conversation rests on Darryl Li’s recent report “Anti-Palestinian at the Core: The Origins and Growing Dangers of U.S. Antiterrorism Law”, published by Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Lara Friedman’s most recent legislative round-up which she publishes at the Foundation for Middle East Peace website.