Gaza as Twilight of Israel Exceptionalism: Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Unprecedented Crisis to Unprecedented Change by Raz Segal and Luigi Daniele

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The very different ways in which Holocaust scholars, on the one hand, and those working in Genocide Studies, on the other, have responded to the unfolding mass violence in Israel and Palestine after 7 October point to an unprecedented crisis in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. We argue that the crisis stems from the significant evidence for genocide in Israel’s attack on Gaza, which has exposed the exceptional status accorded to Israel as a foundational element in the field, that is, the idea that Israel, the state of Holocaust survivors, can never perpetrate genocide.

…It is, of course, true that many cases of mass violence – past and present, genocide or not – have been and are marginalized and disavowed within Holocaust and Genocide Studies. But this moment of reckoning with a foundational case of marginalization and disavowal – and justification – of mass violence in our field holds potential for the kind of systemic change that goes well beyond calls for balance in the way we study and teach about mass violence. 

…The voices of Palestinians in the CCR case thus point, together with the voices of dozens of Holocaust and Genocide Studies scholars such as Trachtenberg, to a new era of Holocaust and Genocide Studies in conjunction with a new era of international law, past the denial of the Nakba and the silencing of Palestinians, perhaps even to the emergence of a new global focus on the Nakba as well as on the atrocities unfolding in front of our eyes in Gaza since October. In this way, if Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza exposed the futility of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, as political scientist Abdelwahab El-Affendi has argued in this forum, it has also prompted a process of unprecedented change in the field that may prove anything but futile.

Continue reading at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14623528.2024.2325804

A Textbook Case of Genocide by Raz Segal

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Israel’s campaign to displace Gazans—and potentially expel them altogether into Egypt—is yet another chapter in the Nakba, in which an estimated 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes during the 1948 war that led to the creation of the State of Israel. But the assault on Gaza can also be understood in other terms: as a textbook case of genocide unfolding in front of our eyes. I say this as a scholar of genocide, who has spent many years writing about Israeli mass violence against Palestinians.

Continue reading at https://jewishcurrents.org/a-textbook-case-of-genocide

Beyond the Settler State: Anticolonial Pasts and Futures in Palestine/Israel on The Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity

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Sarah Ihmoud: My question is my first question, why has holocaust and genocide studies been so reluctant to call what is happening in Palestine a genocide? And what do you see as the intellectual and ethical task of scholars of mass violence in this moment?

Raz Segal: Actually, I think that I see significant change in the treatment of Israeli state violence. Apartheid policies and settler colonialism within Holocaust and Genocide Studies. This change has taken a long time and many- I think- will continue to push back, but our conversation today, for instance, organized by a center in this field of study, seems to me a part of this shift.

There’s also clear indications of this shift in scholarly journals and Holocaust and Genocide Studies. I can mention here two book forms published in recent years in the Journal of Genocide Research; one on the co-edited volume by Dr. Amos Goldberg and Dr. Bashir Bashir on the intertwined histories and memories of the Holocaust and the Nakaba, and another one- Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s last book on the Structural Everyday Brutalities of Israeli authorities against Palestinian children and youth, which she calls dechilding.

I think it was very significant that in both forms, in the Journal of Genocide Research, we saw multiple perspectives that demonstrate the great extent to which discussions about Israel, about Palestine, offer opportunities to delve into key issues in questions in holocaust and genocide studies. 

… And with Palestinians- as a group that has faced and is facing the longest ever experience of forced displacement, the refusal of return to their villages, their towns, their cities, their homeland- Palestinian history is indeed central, I think, in holocaust and genocide studies, and becoming more and more so.

Finally, I want to mention that the fact that some institutes of global holocaust memory- and I’m thinking particularly here about the International Holocaust Rememberence Alliance, the IHRA- that these institutes have weaponized the discourse around antisemitism to shift the focus of the struggle against antisemitism away from Jews around the world, and only on to Israel. This effort, I think, has backfired and actually contributed to the centering of Israel and Palestine in holocaust and genocide studies.

Continue watching at https://youtu.be/i3jMflPI5Dw

Israel Charny’s Attack on the Journal of Genocide Research and its Authors: A Response by Amos Goldberg, Thomas J. Kehoe, A. Dirk Moses, Raz Segal, Martin Shaw, and Gerhard Wolf

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Obviously, Charny’s main concern, reflecting his commitment to the State of Israel, is with Shaw’s application of the idea of genocide to Palestine. Shaw pointed out that “none of the ‘revisionist’ historians who now dominate the field doubts that deliberate Israeli policies made a substantial contribution to the destruction of the larger part of historical Arab society in Palestine.”
Shaw argued that this was true whether the 1948 removal was the result of Israel’s taking advantage of the “opportunity” to remove it, as Morris continues to argue, or also of extensive “pre-planning,” as Ilan Pappe’s more recent research suggests.41 In this light, Shaw proposed that, within the framework of a broad Lemkinian concept (in terms of which “ethnic cleansing” can be considered genocide), there is “prima facie a strong case for considering the [1948] events partially within a genocide framework.”

Continue reading at https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1436&context=gsp