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Leading genocide scholar Israel Charny on Gaza war

Prof. Israel Charny, Ph.D.

Gaza Fight is Humanly and Legally Just but Deserves Ceasefire If Hostages Freed

The Times of Israel

February 2, 2024

By Dr. Israel Charny


A British sociologist-political scientist has just published a scathing article in the Journal of Genocide Research (JGR) accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza. The article, entitled “Inevitably Genocidal,” is even pointed in the direction of accusing Israel for instigating and welcoming Hamas’s brutal opening of the war by genocide of Israelis!


This remarkable “scholarship” appears in an established journal in which the same author years ago identified Zionism from its original establishment as based on “an incipiently genocidal mentality towards Arab society.” At the same time, the author also evaded completely recognizing the inherent intent of Zionism to rescue Jews from repeated murder, abuse, and expulsions such as from Britain and Spain over the centuries which in later years culminated in the ultimate genocide of the Holocaust.

Now the same author blames Israel for the whole war! He writes that Israel planned and wanted the mass killing of the Gazans that is currently taking place: He says: “Israel intended this destruction.”

In his convoluted thinking, he posits that Israel in effect is responsible for goading Hamas into the dramatically cruel genocide it executed against Israel!

He says it is “an irony that escaped most critics and reflected the field’s preoccupation with the one-sidedness of genocide. Gaza’s rulers not only launched their own genocidal assault; they also knowingly provoked Israel’s greater one. Hamas understood that its atrocities would incite Israel to its own campaign, which they must have calculated would cause global outrage that would ultimately constrain Israel.”

The sociologist goes on to recognize Hamas’ basic apathy to the losses of its own people. He then reaches for a crazy inference that Israel sacrificed its own people as hostages to Hamas. For Hamas, thousands of Gazans were necessary sacrifices, just as loss of the hostages was for Israel.

Some years ago, a study of articles in JGR showed that 59% of bona fide genocide scholars surveyed –along with a smaller number of students in a Holocaust genocide course in a university in the US who gave equivalent results– evaluated the JGR journal as purposely intent on minimizing the significance of the Holocaust, a known technique of genocide denial.


A huge wave of protest followed against my research that demonstrated JGR’s Holocaust minimization. The protest criticized the study’s purported scientific inadequacy. But the results of the study had been collected and tabulated by an independent research organization. The results were plain and simple.


In the months that followed, too late for inclusion in the study, JGR published a new article which claimed that the infamous Wannsee Conference of the Nazis on the Final Solution did not plan the extermination of the Jews!!


What follows is a rejoinder to the current article, “Inescapably Genocidal.” The author of this rejoinder is a well-known genocide scholar who is a committed Jew and Zionist with an overriding commitment to peace and safety for ALL the people on our Earth. The author has requested that the British author not be named in order to avoid a focus on a personality or professional conflict with him which is entirely irrelevant to the seriousness of the issues.

 The following are FACTS that are not mentioned by the author of “Inescapably Genocidal.”


  1. FACT: Israel has never initiated bombings or missile attacks on Gaza except in response to bombings and missile attacks on Israel by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorists.

  2. FACT: The present war was initiated by a genocidal attack on October 7, 2023 that killed every Israeli in sight including babies, women, the elderly and infirm along with many unarmed non-combatant party-going teenagers and young people. That attack included mass rape and frightful torture and mutilation, as well as kidnapping of hundreds of Israeli hostages. Yet Israeli popular culture did NOT call for extermination of the Palestinians.

  3. FACT: The official charter of Hamas seeks to exterminate Jews and destroy the nation of Israel. This is declared intent to commit genocide.

  4. FACT: Hamas has placed weapon systems in the homes of civilians and in civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals in total disregard of the consequences for its people.

  5. FACT: Zionism was and is a response to stop the endless suffering of Jews from genocide. Zionism has never called for the eradication of Palestinians.

The following are also my OPINIONS:

1. OPINION: I agree completely that every word by Israelis of intention to destroy the Palestinians in Gaza, in whole or in part, is deeply wrong and a profound insult to true Jewish and Zionist values. Such words may be understandable as emotional responses to the depraved slaughter of Israelis by Hamas on October 7. But I believe that Israel erred seriously long before the October 7 massacre in allowing extreme right-wing violence against Palestinian farmers without any legal consequences.

  1. OPINION: There is no question that the extent of bombing of Palestinians in Gaza is excessive. Such killing should not be tolerated by Israel both for its own sake and out of humanity towards the many Palestinian civilians who want to live non-violently. However, there is also no question that Israel’s fighting back against mass murder has also resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinian civilians. It has destroyed life-promoting institutions such as hospitals and schools that were turned into bases for attacks by Hamas. Given the tragic extent of killing, I believe that Israel should stop the war at the earliest possible time. But I would insist on prior release of the Israeli hostages whose kidnappings constitute crimes against humanity.

  2. OPINION: I propose a new legal conception of self-defense. Israel is fighting back legitimately in Self-Defense in Response and in Self-Defense against Future Genocidal Attacks that Employ Citizens as Human Shields. The Geneva Conventions specifically outlaw use of human shields and justify fighting back in response. Self-Defense does not include genocidal intent.

A striking example of the application of this concept can be found following the Armenian Genocide. An Armenian, Soghomon Tehlirian, assassinated the key Turkish leader of the genocide, the Minister of the Interior, Talaat Pasha. Tehlirian was arrested and tried in Berlin. The facts of the murder were clear. Yet the court concluded that he was legally innocent.

The extent of killings of civilians brought on by Hamas’s policies leads me to propose that Israel offer to cease all fighting following return of all Israeli hostages. At the same time, Israel should underscore its readiness to return to massive destruction of Gaza in response to any further bombings or invasions by Hamas.

In conclusion, I pray for the earliest possible end to this war. I know that my opinions are uncomfortable for people who think in more clear-cut polarities of good and bad and black and white. My intention is to protect Israel and to also protect the lives of all human beings.


Prof. Israel Charny, Director, Institute on Holocaust & Genocide Jerusalem, was the co-founder of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and editor in chief of the first Encyclopedia of Genocide.

Prof. Charny, who lives in Moshav Shoresh outside of Jerusalem, is the author of the just published "Israel’s Failed Response to the Armenian Genocide: Denial, State Deception, Truth versus Politicization of History," available from the publisher, Academic Studies Press (Boston) or Eurospan Bookstore in London.


Copyright 2024 The Times of Israel


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