short and rashed on genocide and settler colonialism in palestine

01Dec12

Haifa Rashed and Damien Short, ‘Genocide and settler colonialism: can a Lemkin-inspired genocide perspective aid our understanding of the Palestinian situation?’, The International Journal of Human Rights 16, 8 (2012).

This article examines the situation of the Palestinians through the sociological lens of the concept of genocide. Following a recent trend in genocide studies, the article engages with the original theorising of Raphael Lemkin – who coined the term ‘genocide’. These studies have highlighted the association Lemkin made between genocide and colonialism and have applied the genocide concept to settler colonial societies such as Australia. It argues that if Israel is conceivably a settler colonial project then by implication its relationship with the Palestinian people can be analysed through the genocide lens. Whilst some academics and journalists are now tentatively applying terms such as ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘genocide’ to describe the events surrounding the creation of the Israeli state, the historical and continuing, cultural and physical, destructive social and political relations involved in the Israel/Palestine conflict is a somewhat neglected potential case study in the field of genocide studies. The objective of this article is to highlight the potential for a Lemkin inspired sociology of genocide in analysing aspects of the Israel/Palestine conflict, through a consideration of the link he made between genocide and colonialism and some of his key ‘techniques of genocide’ as specified in the seminal text Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.



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