Maurizio – Omnologos

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Palestinian Politicide – aka Israeli Suicide

with 7 comments

(a previous version of this blog “Sad Word of the Day: ‘Politicide’” was published first on Sep 4, 2003)

It was almost five years ago when cruising through a Books etc bookshop I finally found a word I had been looking to invent myself for quite some time.

In fact, on the one hand I know from several first-hand sources, plus plenty of newspaper reports and analyses, of the systematic destruction of the Palestinian identity by Israeli policies. On the other hand, I do not think this can be described as a “Palestinian Genocide“.

Unless there is a massive media cover-up including, the situation in Palestine simply does not reflect the common definition of Genocide. For example, there is no killing of Palestinian people for the mere fact of them being Palestinians. The risk is that to talk about a “Palestinian Genocide” means to demean both the victims of genocide (a word that would be watered down), and the Palestinians (whose situation would be completely misunderstood, with the cause fought not even theirs)

Politicide” is the right word instead: that is, the destruction of the political identity of a group of people .

The word “politicide” of course comes from what looks like a long tirade against Ariel Sharon, published by Baruck Kimmerling as a book. It is originally defined

[…] a process that has, as its ultimate goal, the dissolution—or, at the very least, a great weakening—of the Palestinian people’s existence as a legitimate social, political, and economic entity […]

Kimmerling, who has died in 2007, was by the way a complex figure if there ever was any: a self-proclaimed Zionist with leftist views, critical of Israeli policies and outspoken in considering Jewish settlements in the West Bank as colonialism).

Kimmerling’s book has been reviewed and criticized a lot, of course. But in the case of the Palestinians, “politicide” does explain many an action by current and past Israeli governments, including the cancellation from history of Palestinian villages, the delegitimisation of Palestinian institutions, the demeaning treatment of migrant workers, and so on (I understand the dividing wall has been painted in places to make Palestinians literally disappear from view).

Importantly, the concept of “politicide” as defined above is not limited to a war, or even a crisis situation. It has nothing to do with Israel’s right to exist, or its internal political system. And it harms both the victim and the perpetrator.

In fact, as commented by Jonathan Freedland on The New York Review of Books on Dec 21, 2006 (my emphasis):

[…] [Sharon] saw desperately late the threat that his pursuit of the settlement project posed to the very Jewish state he had devoted his life to protecting. Even putting aside the morally corrosive effect of occupation on the occupier, Sharon understood only at the end the problem represented by Israel ruling over a territory that would eventually contain equal numbers of Jews and Arabs. Either the state would be democratic and no longer Jewish or it would have to become what Kimmerling calls a Herrenvolk democracy, an apartheid term used to describe a regime in which citizens enjoy full rights while noncitizens enjoy none. Sharon apparently did not see the simple demographic realities until his final years in office […]

As he prepared to tell the Likud central committee in September 2005, before his opponents cut off his microphone and prevented him from speaking: “We cannot maintain a Jewish and democratic state while holding on to all the land of Israel. If we demand the whole dream, we may end up with nothing at all. That is where the extreme path leads.” […] 

As things stand at the moment, Israel does not look sustainable at all: even if there were a complete military victory tomorrow, with Hamas and Hizbullah routed out into the Arabian desert and Fatah reduced to the rank of a puppet government, there would be a painful choice to be made between transforming Jewishness into apartheid, or embracing full democracy by losing its identity to include hundreds of thousands of people with no social, political and economical identity.

And a non-Jewish or a non-democratic Israel would be no Israel any longer.

(for the record, I do believe in the continuous existence to this day of a clear-and-present-danger of Genocide (and I mean it!) against the Israeli population)

Written by omnologos

2008/Jun/05 at 22:48:08

7 Responses

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  1. The term “genocide” has become a little abused of late. For “Free Tibet” activists, it seems to include opening karaoke bars and even building railways from Beijing to Lhasa…

    Enzo Michelangeli

    2008/Jun/06 at 00:52:19

  2. Jews for Justice in the Middle East publishes a booklet, now in its third edition, called The Origin of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict It is a corroboration of the statement by the Latin Patriarch, told by Jews, explaining what the root is of the terrible situation in the Middle East. In its conclusion, it states:

    “Like all other colonial enterprises … Zionism was based on the total disregard of the rights of indigenous inhabitants. As such, it is morally indefensible. And, as previously stated, all subsequent crimes – and there have been many on both sides – inevitably follow from this original injustice to the Palestinians…In the long run, only by admitting their culpability and making amends can Israelis live with their neighbors in peace. Only then can the centuries-old Jewish tradition of being a people of high moral character be restored. And only in this way can real security, peace and justice come to this ancient land.
    “As the periodic bloodshed continues in the Middle East, the search for an equitable solution must come to grips with the root cause of the conflict. The conventional wisdom is that, even if both sides are at fault, the Palestinians are “terrorists” who have no point of view worth listening to. Our position, however, is that the Palestinians have a real grievance: Their homeland for over a thousand years was taken, without their consent and mostly by force, during the creation of the state of Israel. And all subsequent crimes, on both sides – inevitably follow from this original injustice.”


    2008/Jun/06 at 02:30:14

  3. More and more Jewish people, especially in Israel, decry the situation and try to help turn the tide away from the horrendous treatment of Palestinians. A few of these are:
    *The Israeli Committee against house demolitions
    *Jews for Justice in the Middle East
    represented by

    *Zochrot’s Learning Center


    2008/Jun/06 at 02:34:18

  4. […] Palestinian Politicide – aka Israeli Suicide …of the Day: ‘Politicide’“ was published first on Sep 4, 2003) … situation would be completely misunderstood, with the cause fought not… […]

  5. To many, the background of the Middle East is muddled. Dr. John Quigley, Law professor at The Ohio State University, tells it succinctly in his article published in the Hastings International and Comparative Law Review of 2005. He tells about how, after World War I, British colonial powers promoted Jewish migration to the area “even though this migration threatened the exercise of self-determination by the predominantly-Arab population of Palestine. Then, after World War II, the United Nations placed the imperative of relocating Jewish people displaced by the Holocaust above the international legal rights of the Palestinian people. …The 1967 hostilities represented aggression on Israel’s part.”


    2008/Jun/07 at 02:04:00

  6. (

    In the mission statement of If Americans Knew, they state that, “Israel is the largest recipient of US aid in the entire world. It receives more aid than that given to all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, put together. Israel receives over $10 million dollars per day from the United States.”
    In his book The Struggle against Terrorism, Dr. Mazin B. Qumsiyeh tells that, “In Palestine, the enduring illegal Israeli occupation and violence against the natives would have collapsed long ago were it not for US backing. We give Israel, which represents about 0.1% of the world population, 33% of our foreign aid (100 billion dollars in direct aid transferred over the past 30 years and much more indirectly).”
    So the figures vary a bit from different sources, but the bottom line is that it is a super tremendous amount, and that it supports Israeli terrorist acts against the indigenous peoples of Palestine/Israel, as well as so many other innocents. The fact remains that our aid to Israel is enormous and our aid to the suffering Palestinians is nil. This – because the US government claims that Palestinians are “terrorists.”
    Professor Steven Zunes, teacher of politics at the University of San Francisco, said in a recent article:
    “Total U.S. aid to Israel is approximately one-third of the American foreign-aid budget, even though Israel comprises just .001 percent of the world’s population and already has one of the world’s higher per capita incomes. Indeed, Israel’s GNP is higher than the combined GNP of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. With a per capita income of about $14,000, Israel ranks as the sixteenth wealthiest country in the world; Israelis enjoy a higher per capita income than oil-rich Saudi Arabia.”
    So why the aid and what are the Israelis doing with all of that money? The “why” is the hard part. The “What?” is that they use it in their “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians from the land they took from them.


    2008/Jun/07 at 02:28:19

  7. Believe me and others, there -is- a massive cover-up of what is happening but you -can- find the truth. There -is- massive killing of Palestinian people because they are Palestinians. Read Pappe for just one of many:

    Author Ilan Pappe, Israeli Jew and academic, tells in his The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, with firm sources, of the original plan laid out on March 10, 1948 when 11 men, Zionist leaders mostly, met in Tel Aviv. Code named Plan D (Dalat in Hebrew), it planned for the “systematic expulsion of Palestinians” including “large scale intimidation; laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centers; setting fire to homes, properties and goods; expulsion; demolition. And, finally, planting mines among the rubble to prevent any of the expelled inhabitants from returning.” This, in order to make a “clean” Jewish state.


    2008/Jun/07 at 02:34:00

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