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term "ethnic cleansing" is an implied accusation of racism

Reader comment on item: "Transfer" the Palestinians? Reasons Against

Submitted by James Garner (United States), Mar 20, 2009 at 16:12

I reject the loaded term "ethnic cleansing" in this context because it presumes the attitude that the other is less than human, filth that needs to be cleansed. The term was coined to discredit population transfer by linking it with the Nazi, or some other, racial ideology. But the international community was not engaged in ethnic cleansing when it endorsed population transfers in India and Pakistan and Turkey and Greece, Rather, it was an acknowledgement that these peoples had conflicting national aspirations that made it impossible for them to live together in peace, an acknowledgement that even civilians would be drawn into the conflict.

The transfer argument can be a bland, objective assertion of that fact, and does not rely on any judgment on the superiority or inferiority of either party. Of course, conflict breeds hatred, and along with hatred go attributions of hateful characteristics. But one does not have to accept these attributions to conclude that belligerent parties need to be separated. Modern divorce law offers non-judgmental models in making the procedure no-fault or using grounds of irreconcilable differences.


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