Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel. He has been visiting the region since 2003 and his articles have been widely published in the likes of The Guardian’s Comment is free, Al Jazeera, Electronic Intifada, New Statesman, Salon, Christian Science Monitor, Middle East International, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and others. He currently works as a writer and researcher for Middle East Monitor and Journal of Palestine Studies.
His most recent book, ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy‘, was published by Pluto Press in January 2012, with a foreword by Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi. It received endorsements from Booker Prize-shortlisted author Ahdaf Soueif, Prof Ilan Pappe, Ali Abunimah, and others.
His first book, ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide‘, was published in 2009 by Pluto Press, with a foreword by John Dugard, South African law professor and ex-UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The book received praise from the likes of Desmond Tutu, Nur Masalha and Ghada Karmi.
Ben has given talks on Palestine/Israel in a variety of venues, including at the Houses of Parliament in London, Amnesty International UK HQ, Greenbelt, and student-organised events in LSE, SOAS, UCL, Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds, Cambridge, Leicester, Newcastle and Durham. In the US, he has spoken at Columbia University, UC Irvine, and other campuses and bookstores in Washington DC, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and California. In 2009, Ben conducted a 10-date national tour of Canada, and a further mini-tour in 2012. Ben has spoken at conferences at the University of Alberta (Canada), University of Exeter, and at Bethlehem Bible College’s Christ at the Checkpoint 2012.
Ben has worked with UK-based NGO Amos Trust, and he graduated from Cambridge University in 2005 with a BA in English Literature. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter.
What they say about Ben
Ben White is passionate about justice for all the people in Palestine. Through his books, articles and speaking he has helped to educate and inform people all over the world about realities that Palestinians face every day. White is a careful researcher, whose meticulous attention to detail and sources, means that his work is valuable not only to general readers but to scholars as well. It hurts me to see some of the personal attacks that Ben has endured, but I know that this is only a sign that his critics have been unable to lay a finger on his impressive body of work. Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada and author of ‘One Country’
Ben White is an insightful, judicious, and bold commentator. He delves beyond the glib platitudes of those in power to unveil and analyse systematic patterns of injustice. Surely this is the role of journalism today. Riz Ahmed
Ben White has worked tirelessly to highlight the dire plight of the Palestinian people oppressed under an enduring occupation and those who face systematic discrimination in Israel. Chris Doyle
I gladly wrote a foreword for Ben White’s Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners Guide. He is a writer who is determined to present a fair picture of the troubling situation in Palestine. John Dugard, former UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
The attempt to silence any criticism of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories, like the one voiced by Ben White, by labeling it anti-Semitic is a sign of our times. It is time people begin addressing the issues at hand, rather than delegitimizing the messengers. Neve Gordon, author of Israel’s Occupation
I’ve known Ben White for many years, and he has always struck me as a sincere activist for peace and passionate in his fight against racism of any sort. His journalistic and writing skills are admirable for their forensic insights and meticulous research, presenting the facts in their true colours. That is why his detractors try to smear him with absurd and clueless accusations of ant-semitism. His work has made a remarkable contribution to the fight for justice and peace. Abe Hayeem, Chair, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine.
Ben White is a tireless and trenchant advocate for the human rights of Palestinians. You may not agree with him, you may find his advocacy unforgiving in its relentless focus on achieving justice for the Palestinians. But to see antisemitic motives behind any of Ben’s writing or activism is entirely mischievous and unfounded. In the few years I have been following Ben’s work, I have found nothing to support accusations of antisemitism levelled against him. What he writes, out of deep concern for human rights for all, often makes uncomfortable reading. But people who disagree with him should engage with his analyses and arguments and not smear him with utterly false charges of Jew hatred. Antony Lerman, former Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and founding editor of Antisemitism World Report 1992-98
Ben White is an important writer. He describes in authoritative detail the actions – and crimes – of the state of Israel. False accusations of anti-semitism are the customary response of zionists when they are called to account. When Israel is finally put in the dock it will be thanks to people like Ben White. Ken Loach
As a Jewish Israeli opposed to the state’s policies of occupation and discrimination, I know what it’s like to be smeared with claims I am a ‘traitor’ or ’self-hating Jew’. The accusation of antisemitism is also used to attack those who, like Ben, are opposed to injustice and inequality. We appreciate his work, and his focus on obtaining an inclusive, just solution for all people in this land. Dr. Anat Matar
I have known Ben White for a few years now. His commitment to see justice done to the Palestinian people is remarkable in many ways. It gives hope to Arab people (like myself) who have been so disillusioned by western politics in the Middle-East often characterised by double standards. His sharp criticisms of Israel’s policies are motivated not by hostility towards the Jewish people but by an unbiased and courageous struggle to uphold human rights at a great personal cost. His articles and books are all well documented and reflect a profound and personal allegiance to the Messiah who was sent to ‘proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners and to set the oppressed free’ (Luke 4:18). Chawkat Moucarry, World Vision International, writing in a personal capacity
I am an Israeli Jewish citizen. I have been active in the campaign against my government’s apartheid policies for many years. I am also the descendant of Holocaust survivors from Europe. My activism is based, to a large extent, on the universal lessons which should be drawn from this dark episode of history. I have been following Ben White’s work, and have been in touch with him for quite some time. When apologists for Israel’s shameful, racist and criminal policies attempt to smear Ben as an anti-Semite, I regard their attempt as an action which is aimed at me as well. Such allegations are preposterous and mean. They also amount to cynical abuse of Jewish history. I regard Ben as a friend, a decent man and an excellent activist driven by concern for universal principles of human rights. I am thankful for having people like him abroad, joining hands with Israeli peace and human rights activists. I will continue to stand by him and his important work. Ofer Neiman, West Jerusalem
My name is Diana Neslen. I am a Jew, originally from South Africa. I have known Ben White for some considerable time and respect him as an ardent campaigner for justice, for equality and against racism wherever he finds it, including in the State of Israel. I might not always agree with Ben’s political views, but will respectfully argue the toss. It is now clear that Israel is unwilling to countenance criticism that holds the state to the democratic ideals it purports to follow and as such will use any means to silence those who presume to challenge it, including false accusations of anti-Semitism. It is not anti-Semitic to challenge Israel’s policies and behaviour, rather it is a sign of hope that perhaps the criticism will enable the country to change its ways. There are people who use the time honoured anti Semitic tropes of ‘Jewish power’ to denigrate Israel, but Ben is certainly not among them. His anti-racist credentials are too deeply embedded for him to descend to that level. Diana Neslen, exec member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, writing in a personal capacity
Ben White is a very fine, professional journalist deeply concerned, as all should be, with human rights regardless of fear or favour. John Pilger, film maker, journalist, author
Ben White is a serious journalist with a deep commitment to human rights and justice for the Palestinians. He is also a well-informed and uncompromising critic of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians. Avi Shlaim
As a journalist, I have often relied on Ben White’s meticulous journalistic work. His analysis of the Israeli segregation system in his remarkable books about West Bank apartheid and Israel’s internal rights striations are an essential tool for anyone who strives to understand the situation on the ground. As an Israeli, I wish his works penetrated the mainstream here in Israel, and helped challenge and change our status quo, as they have abroad. Lia Tarachansky, Middle East correspondent at The Real News, Director of Seven Deadly Myths
I have greatly appreciated Ben’s work, and his commitment to finding a just peace for Jews and Palestinians. It is sad that someone with a clear vision of equality and freedom for both peoples has to deal with these kinds of false accusations of antisemitism. Rebecca Vilkomerson, National Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, writing in a personal capacity
It is my privilege and pleasure to provide this endorsement of Ben White as a principled, anti-racist writer and activist. Over the last few years, Ben has worked closely with me and other Jewish campaigners as part of the broad, multi-ethnic, multi-faith movement for Palestinian freedom, equality and justice. That movement is rooted in an understanding of Zionism as a racist, ethnocentric ideology which must be challenged if there is ever to be a just peace in the Middle East. The movement has opposition to any form of racism, and specifically anti-Jewish racism and Islamophobia, at its heart. In the course of Ben’s work as an intelligent and well-informed champion of human rights for the Palestinian people, he has been effective in defending the movement against unwarranted charges of “anti-semitism”, which is no doubt why he is under attack from Israel’s apologists. Ben White has actively worked to protect the solidarity movement from infiltration by a few individuals whose ideas conflict with its anti-racist principles. Any suggestion that he shares such ideas are totally without foundation and possibly actionable. Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Secretary, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG)
Praise for Ben’s books
‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation Discrimination and Democracy’ (2012)
Ben White offers a ‘wholistic’ view of the Palestine/Israel problem – then goes beyond it to point towards its only just and hopeful solution. A significant and timely contribution to the political discourse so necessary today. Ahdaf Soueif, author of Booker Prize-shortlisted The Map of Love
Ben White’s analysis of Israel’s discriminatory policies is as clear and illuminating as his vision of equality between Jews and Palestinians is inspiring and courageous. Sami Awad, Executive Director, Holy Land Trust
With an issue so suffocated by political conflict, rarely does one find an author so fearless and honest in his approach. Ben’s work is essential reading for those looking to understand the source of Palestinian suffering and its continuation to this day. Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith
‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ (2009)
This book deals rationally and cogently with a topic that almost always generates considerable heat even just with book titles. The reader may not agree with everything that White asserts but it is a highly commendable effort to throw light on a fraught subject. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
This book provides one of the best introductions to the Israel/Palestine conflict.. It also makes by far the most compelling case for ‘peace with justice-not apartheid’. Nur Masalha, Reader in Religion and Politics, St Mary’s University College (UK)
Never compromising on the facts, its narrative both enlightens and inspires. If you want to learn about Palestine, start here. Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University academic