LAST week more than a dozen Palestinian protesters were killed and thousands were wounded when Israeli troops opened fire on peaceful protesters with live ammunition. To my knowledge, no Israelis were killed or even wounded. If that was the case, it would be par for the course. Every “conflict” between Israel and Palestine involves an overwhelming disparity of force. There is zero equality here.

In Britain today, Palestine is not a fashionable cause. Many liberal commentators have started to use the term “anti-imperialist” in scare quotes dripping with sarcasm, implying that all defence of the Palestinian cause is really codified anti-Semitism.

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Increasingly, I hear that valid criticism of Israeli governments must be separated from the evil of criticising the Israeli state. But I cannot accept the truism. The policies of apartheid and brutal force continue regardless of who is in government, just as Britain continues to invade countries regardless of whether the government is Labour or Tory.

Even the most honourable Israeli politicians end up serving the cause of racial division and occupation, just as the best British leaders end up dragged into wars and defence of the City of London.

Sometimes our analysis must go beyond the particulars of parliament to look at the historical makeup of states. Otherwise genuine analysis is impossible, and we end up with the endless rising of hopes followed by betrayals and no forward movement.

So criticising Israel as a state cannot be anti-Semitic. Not unless you believe that criticising the American state makes you anti-American.

Certainly, some people do believe that. But liberals are wise to that rhetoric manoeuvre, although less so when it comes to the rhetoric of defending Israel.

To even acknowledge that the Palestinian people exist, and have a voice, and have entitlements under international law, you must criticise Israel as a state.

Regardless of governments, it has betrayed its obligations under the Oslo Accords and under the whole of international law since 1948. It doesn’t recognise boundaries. It constantly intimidates neighbours. And all the while it’s funded by America. To acknowledge the basics of international law means to criticise Israel as a state.

This doesn’t mean Israel should not or cannot exist. It doesn’t even mean it cannot exist as a racially codified state. But it does mean that it cannot exist in its current form, as an occupier and apartheid entity that denies basic rights to refugees, that arrests and detains arbitrarily and that shoots down peaceful protesters in cold blood.

The events last week remind me of Bloody Sunday. There is no other word: it was murder. And it was connected to a horrifying legacy of British colonialism and its efforts to divide territories on ethnic lines, an idea developed at a similar time in Ireland and in Balfour-era Palestine.

To say that rock throwing started last week’s slaughter is absurd, as nonsensical as every lie and half-truth Britain told about Derry. These are the poorest people in the world, living under illegal blockade in inhuman conditions. It’s none of our business how they choose to resist. To impose our cheap campus morality on them is absurd.

At least, with Bloody Sunday, some justice prevailed. For the Palestinians, any hope of legitimate reconciliation feels centuries off. The West has forgotten them. We are happy to engage in all sorts of self flagellation when it comes to anti-Semitism.

But when it comes to our complicity in this brutal slaughter, there’s radio silence from the UK Government.

Don’t get me wrong. There were strong words from, among others, Humza Yousaf last week. I have to commend him because, in this context, there’s a tendency to ignore these issues in the interests of party politics.

Imperialism remains a problem. And there should be no shame in opposing it when we see it. We need politicians to show some bravery, the sort of bravery a Palestinian shows every day just by leaving the house.

Let me be clear: there’s anti-Semitism in Britain, largely on the right but also on the left. However, there’s also a white racism against Arabs and others with the “wrong” skin colour. This persistently allows us to dehumanise Palestinians and pretend that their lives are not quite as important as white lives. And that attitude also persists on large parts of the left.

So I, for one, will continue to criticise the Israeli state until it has a potential government that is willing to recognise its basic international obligations. I cannot have the slaughter last week on my conscience. And I will celebrate people in all political parties who speak out against the horror of racial apartheid.