[The following statement was put forth by scholars of genocide, mass violence, and human rights on 20 May 2021 in solidarity with the Palestinian people and in response to the ongoing violence of the state and settlers of Israel.]
We, scholars of genocide, mass violence, and human rights, stand with Palestinian victims of Israeli state violence in Gaza and across Israel-Palestine.
The current violence against Palestinians began with the continued displacement of Palestinians in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah by municipal and state authorities working together with Jewish settlers (this cooperation is demonstrated by one of a number of examples of Jewish settlers talking explicitly about displacing Palestinians in Jerusalem).
The violence of Israeli security forces against Palestinian Muslim worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on 7 May, during the holy month of Ramadan, added to an already very tense situation and escalated the violence across Israel-Palestine, including the Palestinian militant group Hamas firing rockets into Israel on 9 May, the Israeli army launching a deadly attack on Gaza, and interethnic violence erupting across the country between Jews and Palestinians. A very dangerous pattern of Israeli state violence within Israel has also emerged, including organized attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinians in Lod, Haifa, and other cities, aided at times by Jewish security forces. Additionally, dangerous statements by Israeli authorities against Palestinians (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for instance, told Jewish border police forces in Lod to operate without concern for investigations for their actions) only serve to intensify the violence further, as groups of armed Jewish militants, organized openly on social media, have engaged in the last few days in attacks on those they believe to be Palestinian.
Hamas rockets into Israel have killed 12 people, including 2 children. Every innocent person killed is a terrible loss and every traumatized child is heartbreaking. As terrible as these losses are, the scale of Palestinian losses is disproportionately larger. The Israeli attack on Gaza has killed at least 248 people, including at least 66 children, displaced more than 50,000 people, destroyed international media headquarters, and created damage in infrastructure with far-reaching implications.
As scholars of genocide, mass violence, and human rights, it is our moral and intellectual responsibility to center the voices and perspectives of victims and survivors of state violence. We study and teach about a wide range of processes and cases of mass atrocities and state violence. Unfortunately, Israel—like many other modern states—also commits state violence, and we must not remain silent about it. Indeed, we teach students about the dangers of remaining silent and about the importance of speaking up and taking action. This is particularly significant in this case, as Palestinians, their history, and the ongoing Israeli state violence against them since the Nakba in 1948 have been marginalized in our field for far too long.
We thus call on governments, the United Nations, the European Union, and the International Criminal Court to:
- Work to protect Palestinians in Israel, under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and in Gaza now and in the future. Indeed, the violence now has intensified systemic racism and exclusionary and violent nationalism in Israel—a well-known pattern in many cases of state violence—posing a serious risk for continued persecution and violence against Palestinians, exacerbated by the political instability in Israel in the last few months. Update, 26 May: The wave of arrests of hundreds of Palestinians early this week, including minors, demonstrates the urgency of this call.
- End support for Israeli military aggression.
- Hold accountable all those responsible for documented war crimes and human rights violations.
We furthermore express our commitment, as scholars and teachers, to:
- Teach about Israeli state violence against Palestinians, relying also on scholarship by Palestinians.
- Invite Palestinian scholars and activists to speak on campus and in conferences on genocide, mass violence, and human rights.
- Oppose any attempt on campuses to suppress free speech and silence Palestinians or voices in support of the Palestinian struggle for justice and freedom.
Mohamed Adhikari, Emeritus Associate Professor, History Department, University of Cape Town
Taner Akçam, Professor of History; Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University
Omer Bartov, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History, Brown University
Daniel Blatman, The Max and Rita Haber Chair in Contemporary Jewry and Holocaust Studies, Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Alon Confino, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Director, Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Daniele Conversi, Professor, Departamento de Historia Contemporánea, University of the Basque Country
Sultan Doughan, Postdoctoral Associate, Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies, Boston University
Debórah Dwork, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity, The Graduate Center – City University of New York
Anita H. Fábos, Professor, Clark University
Sheer Ganor, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Snait Gissis, Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University
Amos Goldberg, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Adam Jones, Professor, Political Science, University of British Columbia Okanagan
Nazia Kazi, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Stockton University
Tony Kushner, University of Southampton
Jacob Ari Labendz, Clayman Assistant Professor of Judaic and Holocaust Studies, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Youngstown State University
Mark Levene, Emeritus Fellow, University of Southampton
Anat Matar, The Department of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University
A. Dirk Moses, Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Global Human Rights History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Senior Editor, Journal of Genocide Research
Ilan Pappé, Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter
Michael Rothberg, 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
Victoria Sanford, Professor of Anthropology, Lehman College; Doctoral Faculty, the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Raz Segal, Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Stockton University
Damien Short, Professor of Human Rights and Environmental Justice, Co-Director - Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London; Editor in Chief, International Journal of Human Rights
Lyndsey Stonebridge, Professor of Humanities and Human Rights, Department of English Literature/IRiS, University of Birmingham
Ora Szekely, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Clark University
Frances Tanzer, Rose Professor of Holocaust Studies and Modern Jewish History and Culture, Assistant Professor of History, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University
Barry Trachtenberg, Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History, Wake Forest University
Johanna Ray Vollhardt, Associate Professor, Psychology, Clark University
Ran Zwigenberg, Associate Professor of Asian Studies, History, and Jewish Studies, Pennsylvania State University
Additional signatories after 20 May:
Avner Ben-Amos, Professor (emeritus), School of Education, Tel-Aviv University
Anne Berg, Assistant Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
Marie E. Berry, Associate Professor & Director, Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
Anat Biletzki, Albert Schweitzer Professor of Philosophy, Quinnipiac University
Donald Bloxham, Richard Pares Professor of History, University of Edinburgh
Hagit Borer, Head, Department of Linguistics, SLLF, Queen Mary, University of London
Stevan Bozanich, Ph.D. Candidate, History and Hellenic Studies, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia
Haim Bresheeth, Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London
Steven Alan Carr, Professor of Communication and Director of the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Purdue University Fort Wayne
Martin Crook, Lecturer in Sociology and International Relations, University of Roehampton
John Cox, Director of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights, University of North Carolina in Charlotte; Associate Professor of History and Global Studies
Nicholas De Genova, Professor, Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Houston
Ayu Diasti Rahmawati, Department of International Relations, Universitas Gadjah Mada
Ofer Gal, School of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney
Ophira Gamliel, Lecturer in South Asian Religions, University of Glasgow
John Bart Gerald, author
Nina Glick Schiller, Emeritus Professor, Social Anthropology, University of Manchester UK; University of New Hampshire, USA; Co-Editor, Anthropological Theory
Sudeshna Guha, Associate Professor, Department of History, Shiv Nadar University
Thomas P. Gumpel, Seymour Fox School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Atina Grossmann, Professor of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Cooper Union, New York
Galit Hasan-Rokem, Max and Margarethe Grunwald Professor of Folklore and Professor of Hebrew Literature (emerita), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Marianne Hirschberg, Professor, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of Kassel, Germany
Yvonne Kyriakides, Early Career Research Associate, School of Advanced Study, University of London
Yosefa Loshitzky, Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London
Rhys Machold, Lecturer in International Relations, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow
Moshé Machover, Professor (emeritus), Department of Philosophy, King’s College, London
Harold Marcuse, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara
Samson Munn, Fulbright Specialist in Peace and Reconciliation Studies; Founder, The Austrian Encounter; Professor, University of California, Los Angeles; Adjunct Associate Professor, Tufts University
Donald Nonini, Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Kwame Phillips, Associate Professor, Communications and Media Studies, John Cabot University
Kapil Raj, Directeur d’études (Research Professor), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris
Henry Theriault, President, International Association of Genocide Scholars; Co-Editor, Genocide Studies International
Deborah A. Thomas, R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology, Director, Center for Experimental Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania
Dania Thomas, Lecturer in Business Law, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow
Kim A. Wagner, Professor of Global and Imperial History, Queen Mary, University of London
Charles Wolfe, Professor of Philosophy, Université de Toulouse Jean-Jaurès
Noga Wolff, Faculty of Education, College of Management Academic Studies, Rishon LeZion, Israel
Andrew Woolford, Professor, Sociology & Criminology, University of Manitoba