CURTHOYS, Ned. ANU Research Fellow renounces racist Israeli "right of return" that violates Indigenous Palestinian rights

Dr Ned Curthoys is an anti-racist, humanitarian Jewish Australian scholar who is a Research Fellow in the Research School of Humanities & the Arts, College of Arts and Social Sciences. According to the ANU website: “Ned Curthoys completed his PhD in the English Department at the University of Sydney in 2002. His doctorate focused on the dissemination of the humanist tradition of classical rhetoric into twentieth century literary theory, philosophy, and political theory. Post-PhD he has researched and published on the political theorist Hannah Arendt’s cross-cutting interests in literary narrative and biography. More recently he has published on various aspects of the German Jewish experience from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, returned to a long standing interest in Albert Camus and the Algerian war, and entered debates about the cross-cultural validity of secularism(see:  ). Ned Curthoys, according to the University of WA (2014): “joined the English and Cultural Studies program at The University of Western Australia in January 2014. He is the author of The Legacy of Liberal Judaism: Ernst Cassirer and Hannah Arendt’s Hidden Conversation (Berghahn Books, 2013) and has contributed work on Arendt to journals such as Theory and Event, New Formations, Comparative Literature Studies, and Intellectual History Review. His current research project investigates the banality of evil as a spur to representing perpetrators and their cultural matrix in contemporary literature and film (see: ).

In March 2010, Professor Dennis Altman and  a large number of other decent, anti-racist Australian Jews signed a petition against the racist and genocidal Israeli "law of return" that gives all Jews (as defined by the racist Zionists running Apartheid Israel) the "right" to live in Palestine with Israeli citizenship to the exclusion of 7 million Palestinians forbidden to live in the land inhabited continuously by their Palestinian forebears since the literal dawn of history. According to outstanding Jewish Australian writer Antony Loewenstein "Some of the key signatories include world-renowned ethicist Peter Singer, actor Miriam Margolyes, legendary feminist campaigner Eva Cox, La Trobe University’s Dennis Altman, Monash University’s Andrew Benjamin, Sydney University’s David Goodman and John Docker, legal scholar GJ Lindell, best-selling author and journalist Antony Loewenstein, writers Susan Varga and Sara Dowse, ANU’s Ned Curthoys and many others" (see:


The petition is reproduced below.

"Petition Against the Right of Return to Israel on Behalf of Australian Jews

March 2010

We are Jews from Australia, who, like Jewish people throughout the world, have an automatic right to Israeli citizenship under Israel’s “law of return.” While this law may seem intended to enable a Jewish homeland, we submit that it is in fact a form of racist privilege that abets the colonial oppression of the Palestinians.

Today there are more than seven million Palestinian refugees around the world. Israel denies their right to return to their homes and land—a right recognized and undisputed by UN Resolution 194, the Geneva Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Meanwhile, we are invited to live on that same land simply because we are Jewish, thereby potentially taking the place of Palestinians who would dearly love to return to their ancestral lands.

We renounce this “right” to “return” offered to us by Israeli law. It is not right that we may “return” to a state that is not ours while Palestinians are excluded and continuously dispossessed.


Professor Peter Singer – Princeton University
Miriam Margolyes (OBE) – renowned actor
Eva Cox (AO) – National Chair of the Women’s Electoral Lobby.
Professor Dennis Altman – Professor of Politics, La Trobe University
Professor Andrew Benjamin – Monash University
Sara Dowse – writer
GJ Lindell – Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Adelaide
Susan Varga – writer
Antony Loewenstein – writer, journalist, author of My Israel Question
Professor David SG Goodman – Professor of Chinese Politics, University of Sydney
Professor John Docker – Sydney University
Jean McClean – advisor to Vice-Chancellor at Victoria University on East-Timor
Dr Peter Slezak – University of New South Wales
Dr Tony Balint – Blue Horizon Clinic
Dr Ron Witton – University of Wollongong
Dr Ned Curthoys – Australian National University
Dr Rick Kuhn – Australian National University
Dr. Tamas Pataki
Russell Bancroft – Manager Industrial Relations, Government Branch
Alice Beauchamp
Toni Beauchamp
Wendy Crew
Bronwyn Dahlstrom
Nicole Erlich – PhD candidate, University of Queensland
Marshall Harris
David Hermolin
Sylvie Leber
Jeffrey Loewenstein
Stefan Moore
Martin Munz
Vivienne Porzsolt
Joe Rich
Margot Salom
Rene Tsukasov
Nic Witton." [1].

John Docker and Ned Curthoys on the Israeli Palestinian Genocide (2010):  We are part of an increasing number of people around the world of Jewish descent who are sickened by the coldly calculated massacre of the Palestinians of Gaza and who utterly repudiate Israel's claim that it acts in the name of Jews the world over.

Like Antony Loewenstein, co-founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices, we deplore the 'myth of Israel' as perpetual victim and rational peace seeker, and its stranglehold over media reportage of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The massacre in Gaza cries out not only for immediate condemnation but for historical explanation. As scholars working in the fields of genocide studies and research into the long history of European colonization, it seems clear to us that Israel - as in the history of white Australia since 1788 - is a genocidal settler colonial society that since its founding in 1948 continually seeks to destroy the foundations of life of the indigenous Palestinians, their health, dignity, livelihood, personal security, access to education, and political organisation, so that the Palestinians can be replaced by colonizing Zionist settlers.

Recent genocide scholarship has highlighted how much the original definition of genocide (by Raphael Lemkin in chapter nine of his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe) linked genocide and colonization as a two stage process of destruction of the home society (not necessarily by physical annihilation qua Nazism) and replacement by the incoming colonizers.

Such has been the continuing historical pattern of Israel in relation to the indigenous people of the land. In 1948 the Zionist forces violently drove out over 700,000 Palestinians by deploying 'admonitory massacres', as the Israeli historian Ilan Pappé has evoked in horrific detail in his recent The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006)…

The December 2008 Gaza massacre by Zionist Israel poses an intense dilemma for Israel's organized Jewish supporters and much of the Jewish diaspora, who have for decades cooperated with and been complicit in the ongoing, incremental Israeli genocide of the Palestinians.

Israel is guilty under article II, part C of the United Nations Genocide Convention, in that it intends to destroy, in whole or in part, an ethnic group by 'deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part'.

By physical destruction we do not mean physical annihilation but what the Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling described as the 'politicide' of the Palestinians, the destruction of their political leadership and civic institutions and the attempt to prevent them reproducing themselves through the generations as a sovereign people”. [1].

[1]. Antony Loewenstein, "Prominent Australian Jews reject the Israeli "right of return", Media release, 3 March 2010:

[2]. John Docker and Ned Curthoys, “The Gaza Massacre”, The Drum, ABC, 1 October 2010: .