Duke University Press has come under fire regarding a book to be published which claims Israel shoots Palestinians to injure them, as part of a state mission to overpower them.
Written by Rutgers professor Jasbir Puar, the book The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability accuses the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) of “rehabilitation through the spatial, affective, and corporeal debilitation of Palestine” and “the sovereign right to maim wielded by Israel in relation to the right to kill.”
The book's preface, which shows that the “intensification” for writing it started in 2014, applies the false narrative of “hands up, don’t shoot” to another false perception related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“This was the summer police shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the summer of Operation Protective Edge, the fifty-one-day Israeli siege of Gaza,” Puar wrote in the 30-page introduction. “Organizers protesting these seemingly disparate events began drawing connections, tracing the material relationships between the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the militarization of police in Ferguson, from the training of U.S. law enforcement by the Israeli state to the tweeting of advice from Palestinians on how to alleviate tear gas exposure.”
Middle East historian Asaf Romirowsky has hounded Duke for associating what she labeled as “pseudo-scholarship.”
“On the other side, there is so much data to counter Puar's claims about Israeli policies,” Romirowsky, who is also executive director of the anti-academic boycott organization Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, said. “It's a compliment to call the book academic garbage—and now it gets the imprimatur of a university press, making it a legitimate secondary source that will be taught and cited."
"These are lies built on anti-Semitic tropes. The peer review process is set up so that a work with this many problems is not published. How does Duke University Press endorse this? I can't figure out what their end goal is here," she added.
Puar did not immediately respond to a Red Alert Politics request for comment. However, IDF reserve soldier Moshe Schwartz spoke to Red Alert Politics about the Israeli army’s protocol over maiming.
“There are operational situations where you are, for example, allowed to take out a kneecap, but you’re not allowed to aim for the head or the chest area because they’re doing something that is illegal and needs to be stopped…but it’s not something that deserves for them to be killed.”
Former IDF soldier Yael Magid told Red Alert that her personal experience is antithetical to Puar’s claims.
“Israeli soldiers have strict policies of when to fire,” she said. “If a suspected terrorist came to the fence of a base first he/she would have to be verbally warned.”
She continued, “Then if they continued coming shots are allowed to be fired in the air, and only after that if they still continued coming with intent to harm shots at legs to maim them.”
Referring to a quote in the book, Magid rhetorically asked, “Could an army with these strict policies and morals be one that is ‘collecting Palestinian organs for scientific studies?’"
Puar went on a cross-country speaking tour to promote her book, stopping at Stanford, Columbia, Dartmouth, Vassar College, NYU, and Rutgers University.
Jackson Richman (@JacksonRichman) is a political science graduate of George Washington University.