Went to a birthday party for B. She's someone I have discussions with about Israel-Palestine and she often uses v emotive language, which I rarely challenge. I always get nervous when people talk about Israel and I have to try very hard to be rational - to use the same judgement I normally use in other situations. Even when Jewish people (and B isn't Jewish) speak or write things I get nervous (like Susan Sontag's recent article) because I know perfectly well that Jews and non-Jews alike can be anti-Semitic. And yet I know I must also learn about what atrocities Jewish people are commiting in the name of a Jewish State.... not all Jewish people of course, and not even all Israelis.... but it's really hard. And it means that I often don't discuss things as deeply as I would otherwise.

B has been to Palestine - the Occupied Territories - I don't know but she might also use the term for Israel. She used the word the 'genocide'. I said no - you could use the word 'murderous', you could use the word 'racist', you could even compare the situation to South African Apartheid, but genocide? It was not like the Nazis and their death camps. She agreed it isn't but it is still genocide, she said. I felt sick.
What can you call it when refugee camps are bulldozed and women and children, civillians, are murdered?

Coincidentally, that day I had been to the Imperial War Museum to see the contemporary art show there. But I also decided to look at the Genocide display - but not the separate Holocaust one which is additional and on another floor - I believed I already knew what it might tell me. The Genocide display is about all genocidal acts of the 20th century up until the 1990s. Of course the Nazi Holocaust is a focus but it includes genocidal acts like the Nazi-like death camps as in the former Yugoslavia and Nazi-like uses of propaganda eg in the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. It also has the more ad hoc state-sponsored death like against the Kurds or Armenians, (etc etc). The dictionary definition of genocide is the deliberate extermination of a racial, ethnic, national or religious group. I guess like hate-crime but on a larger scale - but it doesn't define how large a scale or how coordinated. I guess by defintion you could call the Israeli government and Israeli military genocidal towards Palestinians.

I feel I have to distance some Israelis and some Jews from the Palestinian massacres. I feel sick.

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