Blind Spots of Genocide: Problems in Dirk Moses's The Problems of Genocide

Discussion Omer Bartov and Dirk Moses

Monday, Oct 4, 2021, 4:15 PM

Omer Bartov


Blind Spots of Genocide: Problems in Dirk Moses’s The Problems of Genocide

This paper examines some of the main arguments presented in Dirk Moses’s recent book, The Problems of Genocide. While applauding the author’s impressive erudition and novel interpretation, this paper raises questions about Moses’s interpretation of the origins and intentions of the Genocide Convention, not least his suggestion that it was motivated by Zionist sentiments; wonders what better alternatives the author might wish to offer; expresses skepticism about the utility of the term “permanent security,” and asks why one of the founders of the field of comparative genocide has decided to come out against this important subdiscipline.

Omer Bartov
is the John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History at Brown University. Born in Israel and educated at Tel Aviv University and Ox-ford, he is the author of eight books. His recent publications include Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine (2007), and Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz (2018), which received the National Jewish Book Award and the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research, and has been translated into several languages. Bartov’s new book, Tales from the Borderlands: Making and Unmaking the Galician Past, is forthcoming in 2022. His many edited volumes include Shatterzone of Empires: Coexistence and Violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman Borderlands (2013), Voices on War and Genocide: Three Accounts of the World Wars in a Galician Town (2020), and Israel-Palestine: Lands and Peoples (2021).