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Book on Israel’s deliberate maiming of Palestinians wins top academic prize

US scholar, Jasbir Puar [Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS)/Facebook]
US scholar, Jasbir Puar [Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS)/Facebook]

A US scholar has won a prestigious prize for a book which argues that Israel intentionally maims Palestinians under its control.

Rutgers University Professor Jasbir Puar was awarded the National Women’s Studies Association’s Alison Piepmeier Book Prize for “The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability”.

Puar, a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, is a supporter of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

According to Puar, writing in the book, “a complementary logic long present in Israeli tactical calculations of settler colonial rule” is “that of creating injury and maintaining Palestinian populations as perpetually debilitated, and yet alive, in order to control them”.

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Duke University Press, the book’s publisher, says Puar presents “an interrogation of Israel’s policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical being by designating them available for injury”.

“Supplementing its right to kill with what Puar calls the right to maim, the Israeli state relies on liberal frameworks of disability to obscure and enable the mass debilitation of Palestinian bodies.”

The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers congratulated Puar on the prize, and quoted the award committee’s praise for the book as “a major milestone…across multiple disciplines, with much to teach us about contemporary disability politics”.

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