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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

American Professor Charges Israel with Genocide -- Publisher Censors Title!

William A. Cook, professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California, has charged the state of Israel with genocide -- but his publisher won't let him use the G word in the title of his new book!

Discussing the brand-new The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction on the Kevin Barrett show yesterday, Dr. Cook said that the publishers, Palgrave-McMillan, told him: "'We can't use the original title As the World Watches: Genocide in Palestine.'" Dr. Cook added that the book's contents, which provide ample proof that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians, were not censored.

I asked Dr. Cook: "There does seem to be a taboo against calling what is being done to the Palestinians genocide. And yet, according to the internationally-accepted definition of genocide...as I recall, there is a strong argument that it does fit what's happening in Palestine."

Dr Cook responded:

"The book deals with that point quite extensively in at least three different places (including my article). The Christisons' article deals with it as well. In the article that I wrote, 'The Rape of Palestine'...I refer to the 1944 genocide term, which was a neologism created by Raphael Lemkin in The Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn summarized Lemkin's meaning. And let me read that paragraph because I think it's essential to grasp the fulness of the intent the UN grappled with and passed in its accepted definition of genocide. Under Lemkin's definition genocide was 'the coordinated and planned annihilation of a national, religious, or racial group by a variety of actions aimed at undermining the foundations essential to the survival of the group as a group.' That's group, it is not state. Lemkin conceived of genocide as 'a composite of different acts of persecution or destruction.' That's a quote. His definition included 'attacks on political and social institutions, culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of the group.' Even non-lethal acts that undermined the liberty, dignity, and personal security of members of the group constituted genocide, if they contributed to weakening the viability of the group. Under Lemkin's definition, acts of ethnocide, a term coined by the French after the war to cover the destruction of a culture without the killing of its bearers, also qualified as genocide. You take that composite understanding, and everything looking back from today -- the siege on Gaza, going back to the various intentional destructions and massacres in Janin or Rafa, Ramallah, you realize that what's taking place, including the building of the wall, which makes the independent economic condition of the Palestinian people impossible -- that is genocide."

Listen to my interview with Dr. William Cook.

The quoted segment begins about 14:40.

10 comments:

  1. Americans are coughing up trillions to pay for the genocide. http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1209/p16s01-wmgn.html

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  2. Why would a Professor of English konow what genocede is? After all, it is not a kind of poetry.

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  3. Unlike certain people (ahem), professors of English know how to spell words as well as establish their meanings.

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  4. The term 'genocide' was invented by a Zionist partisan and Zionists prefer to be the sole judges of what qualifies.

    That way acknowledgement of 'genocides' can be given/withdrawn as a behavioural reward/punishment.

    It turns out, for example, that the Turks may actually have committed the 'Armenian Genocide' after all - ever since the flotilla atrocity and the Turkish Government's subsequent refusal to grovel to Israel.

    Personally I think the term 'genocide' is not very useful. It's akin to 'anti-Semitism', 'ethnic cleansing', 'holocaust denial' and other misleading memes systematically introduced into public discourse in the last century or so.

    Murder is murder. Theft is theft. We don't need to waste time defining and redefining, debating and redebating, terms that were never intended to achieve anything other than a partisan result.

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  5. Excellent points, Syd. But I think we need to fight back against those who are wielding these words as partisan weapons for evil. William Cook's argument -- that the Zionist destruction of Palestine qualifies under accepted definitions of genocide -- offers a powerful way to fight back. Let's take back this "misleading meme," define it honestly, and do some good with it.

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  6. Well maybe Kevin. I've got an open mind about that, but I'm not too enthusiastic about trying to take over Zionist terminology. I'd rather not use it at all.

    I've long been fascinated by what I understand to be the fact that Zionism and anti-Semitism are both terms that originated around the same time. Correct me if I'wrong, but both came into wide currency via Theodor Herzl, his 1890s coverage of the Dreyfus trial and subsequent work as the first public-face 'convener' of the Zionist movement.

    I suspect they're like siamese twins; the one cannot live without the other.

    If, therefore, we can defeat the idea that there is any such thing as anti-Semitism, we may be well on the way to defeating Zionism.

    Like 'genocide', 'anti-Semitism' is inherently without meaning - until it's defined. The trick here is the one-sided empowerment of the definer/accuser.

    Try arguing you're way out of the accusation you're an anti-Semite (I bet you have, more than once over the years :-)). I've learnt it's intrinsically impossible. That's because the accuser has all power. No absolute refutation is possible. You can only TRY to claim your not an anti-Semite. You can't prove it; the accuser can always refute your claim.

    This is a clever tactic which helps Zionists steer debates away from things they don't want to discuss, towards their favourite terrain. They can also accredit views that make sufficient concessions to their opinions, by withdrawing the accusation of 'anti-Semitism'.

    Anti-semitism came so widely into usage that, for example, by the time he wrote his epic 'History of Western Philosphy' in the mid-20th century, Betrand Russell referred within it to 'anti-Semitism' over the millenia... but that wasn't really accurate. He was using a modern term to describe old phenomena.

    The belief that there's been a single irrational, creepy, bigoted and mean-spirited phenomenon throughout history called 'anti-Semitism' forms the perfect substrate for Zionism to thrive. It's a meme custom-designed for a paranoid sectarian movement. As we are seeing, it can even be used a rationale for the most ugly segregationalism in the modern world.

    FWIW, I no longer 'believe' in 'anti-Semitism' (it's a meaningless term and we're better using more specific and less emotion-laden language to describe anti-Jewish sentiment). Nor do I 'believe' in 'ethnic cleansing' (what a revolting term that is!). I also reject the term 'Holocaust denial', which I believe was introduced into the language by tricksters c. 1970 to miscontrue the motives of their intellectual opponents.

    I think I no longer 'believe' in 'genocides' either.

    I'm unable to see what use of the term adds to our consideration of historical events - other than to sidetrack people into not very constructive debates about definitions and thresholds that can easily be dominated the 'Masters of Discourse' (to borrow Israel Shamir's expression).

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  7. I agree that the terms anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial have become meaningless and should be withdrawn from use. Ethnic cleansing and genocide, however, seem to me to be objectively-definable crimes against humanity, like aggression, and we would be better off if these acts were prevented and, failing that, punished.

    In case you haven't heard my interview with Israel Shamir, who made a persuasive argument against the existence of anti-Semitism, you can listen at: http://noliesradio.org/archives/20636

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  8. My point is not that the terms 'anti-Semitism' and 'Holocaust denial' "have become meaningless and should be withdrawn from use" but rather that they were deliberately invented and seeded into our discourse to obfuscate and mislead.

    I also believe the samer is likely to be true of the terms 'genocide' and 'ethnic cleansing'. I don't think they are "objectively-definable crimes against humanity". On the contrary, they have in practice been used in a highly subjective and biased way.

    'Genocide' was an important term for Zionist Lemkin and his friends, because it gave a new name and unique identity to the set of events that would eventually (c. 1970) be re-branded as 'The Holocaust'.

    'Ethnic Cleansing' seems to have been invented during the Balkans War in the 1990s. I have written a little about it myself but would welcome more information on how precisely it came into use.

    IMO, 'Ethnic Cleansing' is a revolting oxymoron, like 'decent murder'.

    I realise this is a somehwat unorthodox view even within anti-Zionist circles, but I'm convinced we'd be much better off learning to use language without needing to make use of these contorted and unhelpful memes.

    Here's my article about Ethnic Cleansing:

    http://tiny.cc/nil96

    Incidentally, thanks for the Israel Shamir interview link. I'm enjoying it now. He has been a major influence on my thought in recent years. You both do amazing work.

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  9. @ Kevin

    No interview, just MUSIC... :(

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  10. At NoLiesRadio.org you have to turn off the live broadcast.

    Easiest way to listen: cut and paste this link into your browser.

    http://www.radiodujour.com/mp3/20100817-kevin-barrett-william-cook.mp3

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