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Palestine and Myanmar: genocidal parallels

Sameera Casmod | sameerac@radioislam.co.za
28 November 2023 | 13:17 CAT
2-min read

Picture: Crossed Flag Pins

In an interview on Radio Islam International, Professor Penny Green, a distinguished British-Australian criminologist and professor of law and globalisation at Queen Mary University of London, discussed the ongoing situation in Palestine and drew parallels with the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. Professor Green, recognised for her extensive research on state criminality in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, emphasised the urgent need for global action against the Israeli state’s genocidal intent.

Professor Green, one of over 50 scholars who signed a condemnation of Israel, emphasised the gravity of the recent onslaught on Gaza and the West Bank.

“Genocide is not limited to spectacularised acts of mass killings. It’s a coordinated plan aimed at the destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups,” Professor Green stated, referencing the Genocide Convention and the work of Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer of Jewish descent who coined the term and advocated for establishing the convention.

Addressing the parallels between the Nakba of 1948 in Palestine and the Rohingya crisis in 2017, Professor Green highlighted the striking similarities in the numbers forced to flee and the dehumanisation processes leading to violence. She emphasised that both cases reflect a slow process of erasure that begins with dehumanisation and moves into litmus testing violence.

“Genocide is a slow process of erasure, happening over years and decades. Dehumanisation is the starting point, and genocides always begin with strategies of dehumanisation,” she explained.

Professor Green expressed concern about explicit statements from Israeli leaders indicating genocidal intent. She cited remarks by IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and former Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked as evidence of Israel’s intention to eradicate Gaza.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a genocide where those perpetrating it have been quite so explicit, almost wearing their desire to eradicate Gaza from the face of the earth as a badge of honour,” she noted.

When questioned about the world’s response, Professor Green expressed scepticism about relying on institutions like the United Nations or Western states. Instead, she advocated for the effectiveness of the boycott, sanctions, and divestment (BDS) movement.

“Boycotts, divestment, and sanctions are the best way forward for countering genocide. We can’t rely on the United Nations, Western states, or international law. It’s organised civil society that can address the most heinous of state crimes,” she asserted.

Professor Green stressed the urgency of organised civil society’s role in addressing what she considers the most heinous of state crimes. With a call for global action, she warned against the slow and limited responses of international bodies in the face of ongoing genocidal actions.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat.

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