Ethnic Cleansing and Israel’s Racist Discourse
Palestine Chronicle - Ramzy Baroud: Ethnic Cleansing and Israel’s Racist Discourse:
“The term ethnic cleansing refers to various policies of forcibly removing people of another ethnic group. At one end of the spectrum, it is virtually indistinguishable from forced emigration and population transfer, while at the other it merges with deportation and genocide.”
According to this definition, and others including those emerging in the 1990s, following the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, Palestinians have been and remain victims of a determined and unwavering ethnic cleansing policy that began in 1947-48 and continues until today.
However, it is important that when we examine the subject of ethnic cleansing in Palestine, we take into account its various dimensions, one of which is the accompanying racist discourse, which has become part and parcel of Israel’s ethnic cleansing policies.
Any act of collective punishment — whether ethnic cleansing or genocide or any other — is often preceded and or adjoined by a racist discourse that dehumanizes the victim and justifies the crime on baseless grounds, a concoction of lies and fibs that may appeal to national or religious psyches, but fails the test of law, morality or basic human norms and expectations.
Without such discourse, which depicted the original inhabitants of Palestine as cancerous, subhuman and a nuisance in the face of civilization and progress — as defined by the founders of the Zionist movement — it would not have been possible to carry out a systematic campaign of murder and ethnic cleansing in 1947-48, which saw the killing of an estimated 13,000 Palestinians, the forcible eviction of 850,000 and the depopulation and subsequent destruction of nearly 500 villages and localities. Without such a racist discourse it would have been difficult, to say the least, to carry out scores of preempted massacres, including Deir Yassin, Tantoura, Abbasiyya, Beit Daras, Bir Al-Saba’, Haifa and so forth.