If Jews are settlers in Israel, where are they not settlers?

Pro-Palestinian campus protesters hang signs urging Israelis to leave Israel. (Photo by Jake Sherman/Twitter)

It was true before Oct. 7, but especially afterwards: an increasing number of progressive-minded people are viewing Jews as settlers in Israel. “Go back to Europe,” some especially antisemitic ones chant at rallies. But it begs the question: if Jews are settlers in Israel, where aren’t we settlers?

Ben Wexler, a writer and academic who recently graduated from McGill University, has been thinking about this question a lot. He recently published an essay in the French Jewish magazine K. Les Juifs, l’Europe, le XXIe siècle, titled “The Eternal Settler“. In it, Wexler discusses the troubling rise in antisemitic violence, often carried out under the guise of decolonization and conflated with criticism of the Israeli government.

To explore the topic more, Wexler joins to discuss colonization, settler identity and the perception of Jews as settlers. And after that, he joins hosts Avi and Phoebe in talking global political trends: the rightward shift of France, the United States and Canada may be good for Israel… but is it good for the Jews?


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast’s Substack.