After Gaza: Ethnic cleansing in the name of the Holocaust?
Paper for presentation to
Sociology and Anthropology Seminar Series
University of Newcastle
13th May 2010
Held in the Cultural Collections (near the Information Common)
Level 2, Auchmuty Library, Callaghan Campus
3pm – 4.30pm
Entry is Free – All Welcome
There is a cruel historical irony in Israel’s ferocious 2008-09 attack on the besieged Palestinians in Gaza: the brutal suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto by the Nazis in 1943 was one of the most tragic episodes in the genocide perpetrated against European Jewry in the Second World War. Yet the Jewish state invokes the Holocaust, the most morally powerful trope of modern times, to legitimate its formation and thereby its violent dispossession of the Palestinian people, which the revisionist Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has deemed ‘ethnic cleansing’. Characterising Israel as a European colonial settler state, this paper traces Israel’s invocation of the Holocaust as state legitimation and considers the ways in which this impedes criticism of Israel’s relentless dispossession of the indigenous inhabitants of historical Palestine.