DOCKER, John. Australian genocide studies professor calls for boycott of Israeli academics & condemns the ethnic cleansing of Palestine

John Docker is an Honorary Professor in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry at the University of Sydney. In 2002, he was part of a group calling for a boycott of visiting Israeli academics. According to the University of Sydney he “researches and writes in the fields of genocide and massacre studies, cultural theory, the Enlightenment, monotheism and polytheism, intellectual history, historiography, diaspora, ethnic and cultural identity, and the history of Zionism and Israel-Palestine” (see: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/history/staff/profiles/docker.shtml and http://hist-phil.arts.unsw.edu.au/staff/peter-slezak-160.html and http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/encounter/voices-of-dissent/3135248 ).

John Docker on the anger of anti-racist and anti-apartheid Jews towards the genocidal crimes of racist Zionist-run Israel (2009): “Many a morning I've woken up - say during the 2002 boycott call, or more recently - feeling palpitations and fear, even paranoia about, will I be physically attacked? Gaza has changed everything, it's changed the world utterly. International civil society and including Jewish groups - a surprise for me - in New York, across the US, certainly in Britain, ex-South African Jews who fought against apartheid who now live in Britain, completely appalled and enraged against Zionist Israel. I think increasingly Jews around the world, despite the Zionist organisations who wish to exercise an almost totalitarian control over the Jewish community, so they can have no ideas and no thoughts except what the Jewish leaders in Australia say they should have, are beginning to think that Zionism in Israel is a terrible mistake… But the other monstrosity involved in this, is that in 1948 according to a deliberate military plan worked out by the highest levels of the Zionist leadership - they say with David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, and an inner circle called 'The Consultancy'- this inner group worked out 'Plan Dalet' which was based on detailed files of every village and town, neighbourhood, over many years, made in mandated Palestine, and carried into effect. So that the majority indigenous population in the cities, in towns, in villages, all across Palestine, were driven out, 800,000 refugees were made and they were often massacred, the scores of massacres that have been detailed by Ilan Pappe, in his recent book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Or they were making forced marches in extremely hot conditions, old people, young people, children. Or they were pushed into the sea, and many were drowned. The horror of 1948 which has been concealed by Zionism and the rest of the world, or the rest of the world governments, Western governments, have accepted this. The horror of 1948 as supposedly the moment of independence of Israel, is now turning out to be the moment when the true character of Zionism in Israel was revealed... Well what one would hope is that it becomes a society like Australia, a society which is secular, democratic, composed of many different groups, but they're all brought together in the one polity, and everyone's a citizen, whatever their religion, or their ethnicity.” [1].

Professor John Docker  as a signatory on the  "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.’ [2].

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].  Professor John Docker  interviewed by Gary Bryson in “Voices of Dissent” , ABC Radio National, “Encounter”, 22 March 2009: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/encounter/voices-of-dissent/3135248 .

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

http://antonyloewenstein.com/2010/03/03/prominent-australian-jews-including-peter-singer-reject-the-israeli-right-of-return/.


[3]. John Docker and Ned Curthoys, “The Gaza Massacre”, The Drum, ABC, 1 October 2010: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-01-09/37828 .

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