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Haaretz: Historians React to “Genocide” Accusations

Haaretz: Historians React to “Genocide” Accusations

November 28, 2023

Current events

Prof. Tuvia Friling, a professor emeritus at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and a former state archivist of Israel

Haaretz — A group of Israeli historians state: “Historians must be guided by the evidence they know, not the ideas they choose to believe.”

In response to The New York Times op-ed titled, “What I Believe as a Historian of Genocide,” co-authors including Tuvia Friling, a professor emeritus at BGU, write, “Israeli military operations have created an untenable humanitarian crisis, which will only worsen over time. But are Israel’s actions – as the nation’s opponents argue – verging on ethnic cleansing or, most explosively, genocide?”

The authors explain that The New York Times piece assigns no agency to Hamas; it defines October 7 as a “war crime” and a “crime against humanity” but, by the same metric, does not note the “genocidal intent” embedded in the Hamas charter, its actions or its most recent pronouncements.

In the Haaretz response, historians note, “One of the first rules we are taught as historians is to construct arguments based on the facts we know, not the ideas we choose to believe. We must assemble all the evidence available to us to construct our argument, not only that which supports our beliefs.

There is no evidence that Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing, war crimes, crimes against humanity or has genocidal intentions. Such charges that it might be sliding towards such acts do nothing to move us towards a resolution of the current conflict. The charges are inflammatory and dangerous.”

Read more on Haaretz >>