4 February 2023:
We, scholars of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and related fields, strongly condemn the Israeli army forces’ raid in the Palestinian city of Jenin on 26 January 2023. Israeli soldiers killed 10 people, wounded more than 20, and destroyed buildings and cars. According to eyewitness reports, Israeli forces furthermore fired tear gas canisters at the children’s ward of the Jenin Government Hospital and prevented ambulances and medical staff from reaching wounded people for some time.
For news reports, see articles by the New York Times, The Guardian, and CNN.
This deadly attack is a culmination of a marked escalation of Israeli military and settler violence against Palestinians in the last year. Israeli forces and settlers killed at least 220 Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in 2022—the largest annual figure since the Second Intifada (2000-2005). And in less than one month in 2023, Israeli forces have already killed 30 Palestinians, leaving dozens of others injured, and wreaking havoc on cultural and religious sites, crops, water sources, buildings, and streets.
Israeli military and settler violence against Palestinians is a structural element of Israeli society and politics, rooted in the killings and expulsions of more than 750,000 Palestinians and the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages in the 1948 War and the Nakba; the imposition of a military regime over Palestinians who remained as citizens in Israel that lasted from 1948 to 1966; and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem since the 1967 War.
This history has now reached a particularly violent threshold with the new Israeli government, which presents an explicit and unabashed agenda of Jewish supremacy over all of Palestine/Israel. It has already begun translating this agenda into anti-Palestinian policies and actions, continuing and intensifying further an already violent history. As Holocaust and Genocide Studies scholars, we oppose all targeting of civilians and recognize, based on many cases past and present, the acute danger of disproportionate state violence in the name of counter-terrorism, where state authorities come to identify a group as a whole as an enemy. This is particularly important in view of the shooting attack the following day, 27 January, where a Palestinian from East Jerusalem killed 7 Jews leaving a synagogue in the Neve Yaakov settlement and injured others. We condemn this violence as well, and we call on the Israeli government not to escalate the situation further and stop immediately the attacks of settlers against Palestinians, which have intensified markedly in the last few days.
The red lights are flashing for all of us to see. As scholars devoted to the study of mass atrocities, rooted in our commitment to Holocaust scholarship and remembrance; to the struggle against state violence; to the voices of victims and survivors—we cannot stay silent regarding the ongoing Israeli assault against Palestinians and Palestinian society and culture.
We condemn this strongly, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian victims and survivors and with Israeli citizens who take an active part in the struggle against Israel’s destructive assault on Palestinians, and we call on scholars and students in Holocaust and Genocide Studies to join us in:
Putting pressure in all ways on the Israeli government;
Discussing, teaching, and writing about this ongoing case of mass atrocities for decades—the only military occupation and settler colonial regime of its kind in the world—in the frame of Holocaust and Genocide Studies;
Providing support for scholars and students, including Palestinians, to conduct research, write, and lecture about the experiences and histories of Palestinians in programs, conferences, and workshops in Holocaust and Genocide Studies; and
Demanding truth, freedom, and justice for Palestinians, an end to Israeli military occupation and settler colonialism, and a future of equality for all the people living between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
SignaturesDr. Mohamed Adhikari, Emeritus Associate Professor, Department of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town
Dr. Steven Alan Carr, Professor of Communication and Director of the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Purdue University Fort Wayne (for identification purposes only)
Dr. Jordan Corson, Assistant Professor of Education, Stockton University
Dr. Martin Crook, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Department of Health and Social Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol
Dr. Anna Hájková, Associate Professor of Modern European Continental History, University of Warwick
Dr. Michael Hayse, Associate Professor of History and Wally and Lutz Hammerschlag Professor of Holocaust Studies, Stockton University
Dr. Marianne Hirschberg, Professor, Chair of Disability, Inclusion and Social Participation, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of Kassel
Robin Kirk, Professor of the Practice of Cultural Anthropology and Faculty Co-Chair, Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University
Dr. Jeffrey Koerber, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Chapman University
Dr. Ümit Kurt, Assistant Professor, University of Newcastle, Australia
Dr. Mark Levene, Emeritus Fellow, The University of Southampton, UK
Dr. Anat Matar, Senior Lecturer at The Department of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Christina Morus, Associate Professor of Communication & Dr. Marsha Ratikoff Grossman Professor in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Stockton University Dr. Victoria Sanford, Lehman Professor of Excellence, Lehman College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Dr. Steven Seegel, Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, The University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Raz Segal, Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Endowed Professor in the Study of Modern Genocide, Stockton University
Dr. Damien Short, Professor of Human Rights and Environmental Justice, Director of the Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London
Dr. Mira Sucharov, Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Political Science, Carleton University
Dr. Henry Theriault, Worcester State University and Co-Editor, Genocide Studies International
Dr. Barry Trachtenberg, Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History, Wake Forest University
Dr. Brenda Vellino, Associate Professor of Literature, Human Rights, and the Environmental Humanities, Carleton University
Dr. Ramya Vijaya, Professor of Economics, Stockton University
Dr. Johanna Ray Vollhardt, Associate Professor of Psychology, Clark University
Dr. Mahmoud Yazbak, University of Haifa
Dr. Laura Zucconi, Professor of History, Stockton University
Dr. Ran Zwigenberg, Associate Professor of Asian Studies, History, and Jewish Studies, Pennsylvania State University