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  • Ita Segev is an Israeli anti-Zionist transwoman performance artist based in the United States.

    Ita Segev is an Israeli anti-Zionist transwoman performance artist based in the United States. | Photo: Facebook / Ita Segev

Published 29 September 2019

“When you’re from a society that raises boys to be soldiers, trans femininity is inherently a betrayal of the state,” said Ita Segev. 

Anti-Zionist Israeli and transwoman Ita Segev is a performance artist whose new show “Knot In My Name” will open on Oct. 3. She spoke extensively about her identity and politics in an interview to Out Magazine. 

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Segev who was born and raised in Jerusalem was “indoctrinated into being an Israeli man” meaning joining Israeli army at 18 years. 

“When you’re from a society that raises boys to be soldiers, trans femininity is inherently a betrayal of the state,” she said.

Her transition and acceptance of femininity helped her align with the Palestinian struggle. She understood how it is to be the “other” and how the army treats the “other.”

Segev realized that “if I was in combat training like I am right now, those soldiers would treat me — maybe not to the same extent, but with some of the same cruelty that I saw them treat these people they saw as others.”

Her shows have been boycotted due to her solidarity with Palestinians but that would not deter her because “really I’m telling my story with a specific intention, which is to move people here in this country towards this pretty simple realization which is being obscured, which is Palestinians are human beings, they deserve to be free, what’s preventing that freedom inherently is Zionism, because it is a Jewish supremacist system from the get go.”

While talking about the American-Jewish community in the United States, she said the survival of Jewish people “was based on the ability to leave; we had to flee from here and run from here. But now, especially as white Jews, or Jews from European descent, it’s time to confront the fact that we have integrated into society enough, wherever we are, to fight against our oppressors instead of thinking that oppressing other people on the other side of the world is somehow our solution for our safety.”

Segev also spoke about queer American Jews who publicize the intersection of being Jewish and queer but never talk about Israel and Palestine. According to her, Israel-Palestine is their problem. 

“There are very direct ties between queer issues and Israel/Palestine issues. For trans folks, the majority of hormones that we take in the US are produced by a big Israeli company that has accumulated wealth on Palestinian people’s expense,” Segev says. 

For her, hormones that trans people take are part of the colonization while Israel pinkwashes its atrocities against Palestinians by advertising itself as queer-friendly. 

Segev is also a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is inspired by the apartheid movement of South Africa. She called on queer Jews to be on the frontline of BDS. 

“We need to see a mass organization of queer Jews making sure that Palestinian solidarity and Palestinian freedom and antizionist Jewish identiy is on the agenda in our workplace, in our social circles, in our family dinners, everywhere we go,” said the artist.

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