Tag Archives: Raphael Lemkin

America fully complicit in Palestinian oppression by Fawaz Turki

Please TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW and send your letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor.

…genocide is not just action taken by an aggressor to physically annihilate a people. The term, first coined by Raphael Lemkin, an American legal scholar of Polish-Jewish descent, in his landmark 1945 book, Genocide: A modern Crime, has sociological implications as well.

You kill a people’s soul, if not their body, by killing their culture, which leads to the erosion of their will-to-meaning, their fabric of sanity, the symbols they draw on to conceive of their identity and so on. And you wreak all that havoc on their internal psychic economy by taking away their land — land that their families had lived on, tilled and developed an intimately emotional, even teleological nexus with since time immemorial.

That’s what Israel has done in the past, what it is doing today and what it plans on continuing to do in the future. Its enabler? The United States of America.

Continue reading at https://gulfnews.com/opinion/op-eds/america-fully-complicit-in-palestinian-oppression-1.68088198

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Empire, Resistance, and Security: International Law and the Transformative Occupation of Palestine by A. Dirk Moses

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The Israeli colonists trump the Palestinian right of self-determination in the minds of those who identify the Palestinians with “red Indians” and associate the colonists (many of whom are United States citizens) with their forebears who conquered the North American interior. It is no accident that both sides in Israel/Palestine invoke this frontier analogy. “We are not red Indians,” declared Yasser Arafat, implying that Palestinians could not be exterminated or driven off their ancestral land. Others averred the contrary: “Even the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians,” the Israeli historian Benny Morris told an interviewer in 2004. “There are cases in which the overall, final good justifies harsh and cruel acts that are committed in the course of history.” Echoes of the nineteenth-century North American discourse about savage Indians and manifest destiny are not difficult to hear. The Palestinians can indeed be dispossessed and, as before, international law will not stand in the way of occupiers. When Israeli leaders say that their punitive measures are responses to the terroristic resistance of the occupied people, international law largely justifies them and their various transformative occupation regimes—West Bank, Gaza, and Israel itself—in the name of security and self-defense. For this reason, critical observers like Richard Falk propose a new international convention to ensure that occupiers withdraw as soon as possible and do not inhibit the self-determination of the occupied; and, in the case of prolonged occupation, that mechanisms are institutionalized—like a ten-year limit—to ensure such a withdrawal. Even this proposal does not address the security exception.

Lemkin already addressed the relevant lacuna in IHL in 1944. The Hague Regulations covered individuals rather than peoples whose protection, let alone right of self-determination or autonomy, was unaddressed. The regulations did not proscribe the “various ingenious measures for weakening or destroying political, social, and cultural elements in national groups.” He recommended that they be amended in two ways:

“In the first should be included every action infringing upon the life, liberty, health, corporal integrity, economic existence, and the honor of the inhabitants when committed because they belong to a national, religious, or racial group; and in the second, every policy aiming at the destruction or the aggrandizement of one such group to the prejudice or detriment of another.”

Herewith, he hoped to outlaw genocide, which, we recall, he defined broadly as a technique of occupation that destroyed, disintegrated, and weakened an enemy nation. Accordingly, in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, he posited genocide as a colonial formation:

“Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain, or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization of the area by the oppressor’s own nationals.”

Continue reading at https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/59625/moses_empire_resistance_and_security.pdf?sequence=1

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Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies: Special Issue in Memory of Edward W. Said (Introduction by Professor Salim Vally, April 2017)

Please TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW and send your letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor.

John Docker excoriates another field — Genocide Studies. Mainstream Genocide Studies has scored a temporary ideological victory by dismissing those who have compellingly showed why the Nakba, in fact the ongoing Nakba should qualify as an example of genocide. Furthermore, the gatekeeper of Genocide Studies have clearly aligned with Zionist Israel by holding a conference on the Hebrew University’s campus in Occupied Jerusalem despite a Palestinian-led call to desist from going ahead. Docker usefully shows how Damian Short’s Redefining Genocide: Settler Colonialism, Social Death and Ecocide resonates with Said’s The Question of Palestine. Short, as explained by Docker, embraces Raphael Lemkin’s definition of genocide as a two-phase process of destruction and replacement constituted by:

… convergent processes that attempt to destroy the foundations of a society so that it can no longer exist as a society; processes that certainly might involve mass killing including massacres, but can also encompass methods of destruction and replacement that engage many dimensions, including the political, social, cultural, linguistic, religious, and economic.

Continue reading at http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/full/10.3366/hlps.2017.0149

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Sailing for freedom and solidarity by Marilyn Porter

Please TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW and send your letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor.

In 1943 Polish-Jewish legal scholar Raphael Lemkin defined genocide as “not necessarily signify[ing] mass killings,” but more often referring “to a coordinated plan aimed at destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups so that these groups wither and die like plants that have suffered a blight.

“The end may be accomplished by the forced disintegration of political and social institutions, of the culture of the people, of their language, their national feelings and their religion,” he continued. “It may be accomplished by wiping out all basis of personal security, liberty, health and dignity.”

Today the United Nations accepts genocide to mean “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

It is hard not to see the incessant incursions and harassment, the settlements and the enforcement of illegal blockades as anything else but an attempt at the forced disintegration of Gaza.

Continue reading at http://theindependent.ca/2016/09/10/sailing-for-freedom-and-solidarity/

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Jonathan Cook: Israel and the Genocide Word

Lemkin and the UN convention’s drafters understood that genocide did not require death camps; it could also be achieved gradually through intentional and systematic abuse and neglect. Their definition raises troubling questions about Israel’s treatment of Gaza, aside from military attacks. Does, for example, forcing the enclave’s two million inhabitants to depend on aquifers polluted with sea water constitute genocide?..

And what to make of a plan just disclosed by the Israeli media indicating that Netanyahu and his allies have been secretly plotting to force many Palestinians into Sinai, with the US arm-twisting the Egyptians into agreement? If true, the bombing campaigns of the past six years may be better understood as softening-up operations before a mass expulsion from Gaza. Such a policy would certainly satisfy Lemkin’s definition of genocide.

Continue reading at http://www.redressonline.com/2014/10/israel-and-the-genocide-word/

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