Speechlessness: In search of language to resist the israeli "thing without a name"

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper criticizes the words used to critique Israeli repression of Palestinians as ineffective for political struggle and not critical enough. It argues that there is no single word able to comprehend the phenomenon of constant dispossession, violent repression, and righteous blaming of Palestinian resistance as terror. Unable to suggest one comprehensive concept that can at once describe, analyze, and criticize the phenomenon, scholars use inappropriate existing terms-like occupation, Apartheid, colonialism, and Zionism-or invent new words like ethnocracy, politiciside, Bantustine, spaciocide, sociocide, or symbolic genocide. All the concepts are discussed in the paper; it is argued that they are partially correct, but not totally comprehensive. The paper aims to uncover the sophisticated regime that can co-opt every critical word, and present always Israel as a democratic and enlightened regime, a victim of Palestinian violence. It claims that the incapacity to create a critical language is one of the obstacles to develop effective resistance to the regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2009


  • Israeli occupation
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Palestinian resistance
  • Zionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Speechlessness: In search of language to resist the israeli "thing without a name"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this