Group analyst Farhad Dalal has written of the way that manners, and social gossip, is generated by hegemonic groups to rationalise and police social relations of domination and subordination. His interest was primarily in the subtle devaluing of black people in white societies, but his insights are applicable in this context. While within Israel/Palestine, the protection and extension of Jewish privilege is ugly in the extreme, in the West it has been made impolite to say so. Acting in accordance with the universalist values that Western societies claim to champion, in relation to Israel/Palestine, has been rendered grounds for social exclusion. Etiquette is breached when someone steps out of line. Passively standing by in the face of an Apartheid social structure shorn up by an increasingly fascistic political culture appears more dignified than actions taken to challenge militarism or promote ethnic equality. It becomes offensive to point out how many of the components of a truly genocidal situation are active in the profoundly asymmetrical relationship between the Israeli State and the Palestinian people.
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