Less Palestinians on our land is the aim of modern Zionism. Ilan Pappé uses words like “incremental genocide’ and “memoricide.”
Let’s deal with his term memoricide. This is the failed attempt to attempt to destroy any vestiges of a Palestinian past before Russian Jews(Zionists) came and took the land in the early 20th century.
First you get rid of Palestinians, 750,000 cleansed in 1948. You bulldoze the remains of village life, change the name of those same villages, plant forests over them as Israel has done as in Canada Park. Next , get rid of indigenous plant life, native to Middle Eastern soil and plant pine trees etc. to make it seem that this part of the world is like the eastern Europe Zionists hailed from.
You rename the streets after Jewish heroes, then you Judaize your Russian names—ideally giving yourself names from the bible which suggests you were always in the land not recent occupiers who replaced Muslims. The latter had lived on the land named Palestine since the 8th century. Take Netanyahu a Jewish sounding name–real handle Milikovsky, father a Lithuanian Jew; Shamir, real name Yezimitsky, Sharon real name Scheinerman, Moshe Dayan real name Kitaygorodsky,Menachem (very biblical,(king of Israel 722 BCE) real name Mieczysław (very Polish) Biegun;
Orwell phrased this “memoricide” well “Who controls the past, controls the future.” Memoricide attempted to change any memory that indigenous people lived here. Cide is a Latin -based root meaning to cut down or slaughter. It is a murder of a memory.
There is a brave Israeli project called Zochrot (remembering) which attempts to deal with this. They go around as Jews of Conscience to rename the 531 villages which were depopulated. a burr in the ass of Zionist leadership.
Now, genocide is a loaded word. Recently Ben Ehrenreich dealt with this. The latter is a writer who was sent by the NYT to document life in a Palestinian town.
The question about genocide– yes, it’s an incremental genocide. And I think that’s a word that gives a lot of people pause and it certainly should. We don’t see the absolutely mass slaughters, although in Gaza I think we’ve seen something very much like it that we usually associate with genocide. But– the attempts to erase a people, to just erase them, to erase their history, I think follow a logic that can only be called genocidal. I mean, every time someone says– and people say it all the time, I get it on twitter all the time– “There’s no such thing as a Palestinian,” or “There was nobody there when the Zionists arrived”– these are genocidal statements, these are attempts to erase a culture, erase a history, decimate a people and I think they should be recognized as that.
You should be and we all should be. It’s an especially painful thing to talk about, given the history of the Holocaust, and as someone with a Jewish background, it’s extremely painful for me to use that word. It’s more painful to see those realities, and those historical ironies are brutal. I mentioned the Balfour Declaration because I think this always has to be put into a colonialist context. Israel is a settler colonialist society, and the one things that settler colonialist societies have in common is that they follow a genocidal logic. The one we’re living in right now. Every single one of them– South Africa, Canada, the United States, Australia, and Israel: places where settlers came in and declared the land theirs and did everything they could to either remove the people who were already there or so erase their history that they could pretend that they weren’t there.