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Politicide has three related but distinct meanings. It can mean a gradual but systematic attempt to cause the annihilation of an independent political and social entity, such as the destruction of the apartheid system in South Africa. Others have used the term to mean the deliberate physical destruction of a group whose members share the main characteristic of belonging to a political movement; this definition has been used because the systematic destruction of such groups is not covered as genocide under the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). The CPPCG only covers the deliberate physical destruction of national, ethnic, racial and religious groups. A third use as noted by the Oxford English Dictionary is that which describes an action which irreparably damages a person's own political career (political suicide).
Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling uses the term in his book Politicide: Sharon’s War Against the Palestinians and in various articles. He defines "the politicide of the Palestinian people, a gradual but systematic attempt to cause their annihilation as an independent political and social entity." This he believed has been present throughout Israel's confrontations with the Palestinians, but was epitomised by the thoughts and actions of Ariel Sharon.
The social scientists Barbara Harff and Ted R. Gurr use the term politicide to describe the killing of groups of people who are targeted not because of shared ethnic or communal traits (the types of groups covered by the CPPCG), but because of "their hierarchical position or political opposition to the regime and dominant groups".
An example of the use of politicide as an action which results in political suicide was given in The Kansas City Star on 23 February, 1996: "James didn't even finish his inaugural address before committing politicide."
- Crimes against humanity
- Anti-communist mass killings
- Mass killings under Communist regimes
- Hundred Flowers Campaign
References and notes
- Oxford English Dictionary in its entry for politicide notes the first usage as: 1968 Y. HARKABI Fedayeen Action & Arab Strategy 11/2 The Arabs' objective of destroying the state of Israel (what may be called a 'politicide') drives them to genocide.
- Grant Barrett politicide in the Double-Tongued Dictionary cites the following sources:
- 1972 S. Abdullah Schleifer Journal of Palestine Studies (Winter) "Fedayeen Through Israeli Eyes" p. vol. 1, no. 2, p. 99: The insistence by the guerrillas that they are struggling to destroy the Zionist state and the Zionist-structured society that generates such as state is turned by Harkabi into a concept of "politicide" (an impressive-sounding concept applicable to the aims of any valid liberation movement, e.g. against Rhodesia and South Africa).
- 1975 Irving Spiegel New York Times (Oct. 20) "Criticism in U.S." p. 6: Rabbi Alexand M. Schindler…said that the Arab and third-world nations voting for the resolution "made a fateful and ominous decision to take the road of rhetoric, politicide and bigotry rather than the road of needed economic and social change which can come only through consensus, cooperation and decency."
- 2004 Lindsay Talmud openDemocracy (Apr. 27) "From the sublime to the ridiculous": The overall plan—now the most fundamental element in Israeli government policy and viewed by many Israelis as a legitimate attempt by their government to reconcile the irreconcilable demands of security, the settlers and democracy—is perceived by the Palestinians as "politicide"—a term Baruch Kimmerling coined to describe "a gradual but systematic attempt to cause their annihilation as an independent political and social entity." It is bound to be resisted, fiercely.
- Origins and Evolution of the Concept in the Science Encyclopedia by Net Industries states "Politicide, as [Barbara] Harff and [Ted R.] Gurr define it, refers to the killing of groups of people who are targeted not because of shared ethnic or communal traits, but because of 'their hierarchical position or political opposition to the regime and dominant groups' (p. 360)". This reference does not give the book title to go with the page number.
- Oxford English Dictionary politicide
- Baruch Kimmerling Politicide: Ariel Sharon's War Against the Palestinians defines politicide as "the dissolution of the Palestinian people's existence as a legitimate social, political and economic entity." reviewed in the Journal of Third World Studies, Spring 2006 by Abraham, A J, whence the quote is sourced.
- The Kansas City Star quote is the second example of the use politicide as political suicide by the Oxford English Dictionary