Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Definition of Genocide

The Definition of Genocide

Photos by C.A. Matthews

gen•o•cide jĕn′ə-sīd″

  • n.
    The systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of a national, racial, religious, or ethnic group.
  • n.
    The systematic killing of a racial or cultural group.
  • n.
    The systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, or other particularity.
    The New American Dictionary, 5th Edition 

    What is Genocide?

    1. Killing members of the group
    2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
    3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
    4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
    5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

    There are a number of other serious, violent crimes that do not fall under the specific definition of genocide. They include crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and mass killing.

    --United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The United Nations (UN) Definition of Genocide

The definition of the crime of genocide as contained in Article II of the Genocide Convention was the result of a negotiating process and reflects the compromise reached among United Nations Member States in 1948 at the time of drafting the Convention. Genocide is defined in the same terms as in the Genocide Convention in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Article 6), as well as in the statutes of other international and hybrid jurisdictions. Many States have also criminalized genocide in their domestic law; others have yet to do so.

The United Nations (UN) Defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • Killing members of the group;
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The word “genocide” was first coined by Polish lawyer Raphäel Lemkin in 1944 in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. It consists of the Greek prefix genos, meaning race or tribe, and the Latin suffix cide, meaning killing. Lemkin developed the term partly in response to the Nazi policies of systematic murder of Jewish people during the Holocaust, but also in response to previous instances in history of targeted actions aimed at the destruction of particular groups of people. Later on, Raphäel Lemkin led the campaign to have genocide recognised and codified as an international crime.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Homes bombed, skyscrapers crumbled, schools targeted, children killed... Even the Covid-19 response has been disabled in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes. Do these violent actions not meet the definition of genocide?

How do you respond to those who commit genocide? Do you continue to sell them weaponry and turn a blind eye? The US does. We give Israel almost $4 billion a year, and this is what they do with that money--they buy more weapons to kill their neighbors.

It needs to stop. NOW. 

Do what these brave protesters did recently--take it to the streets. Get your signs and get loud. Flood your Congressmember's email and mail box with correspondence stating in no uncertain terms that the US must end its support of  Israeli terrorism targeted at the Palestinian people. Killing civilians based on their ethnicity and/or religion is genocide.

Don't ignore what is happening. It could happen to you and yours someday. And then who will be left to speak up for you?




Related Articles:

Israeli Predawn Bombing Kill Another 42 in Gaza as Rescuers Dig For Survivors https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/69406-israeli-predawn-bombing-kill-another-42-in-gaza-as-rescuers-dig-for-survivors

Israeli Airstrike on Gaza Claims Eight Young Cousins https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/15/israeli-airstrike-on-gaza-claims-eight-young-cousins

Palestinians Flee Their Homes as Israel Launches Hundreds of Strikes Into Gaza https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/69362-palestinians-flee-their-homes-as-israel-launches-hundreds-of-strikes-into-gaza 

Palestinians in Gaza Recount Ruthless Horror of Israeli Raids https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/69381-palestinians-in-gaza-recount-ruthless-horrors-of-israeli-raids

How Biden Enabled Israel's Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians https://scheerpost.com/2021/05/12/how-biden-enabled-israels-ethnic-cleansing-of-palestinians/

On Palestine, the Media is Allergic to the Truth https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/69347-on-palestine-the-media-is-allergic-to-the-truth

Digital Apartheid: Palestinians Being Silenced on Social Media https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/69366-digital-apartheid-palestinians-being-silenced-on-social-media

Israeli Propagandists Launch Global PR Offensive https://www.mintpressnews.com/human-rights-watch-apartheid-report-act-il-israel-propoganda/277026/ 

Israel Military Draws Up Plan for Ground Invasion of Gaza https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/69350-focus-israel-military-draws-up-plan-for-ground-invasion-of-gaza 

Without US Aid Israel Wouldn't Be Killing Palestinians En Masse https://truthout.org/articles/chomsky-without-us-aid-israel-wouldnt-be-killing-palestinians-en-masse/

 Israeli Real Estate Agent (political cartoon) https://scheerpost.com/2021/05/12/israeli-real-estate-agent/



From Roots Action:

Congresswoman Betty McCollum from Minnesota has introduced a bill (H.R.2590) "to promote and protect the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and to ensure that United States taxpayer funds are not used by the Government of Israel to support the military detention of Palestinian children, the unlawful seizure, appropriation, and destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the West Bank, or further annexation of Palestinian land in violation of international law."

It's terrific for Congress Members and special envoys to speak out against brutal ethnic cleansing by the rightwing Israeli government. But ceasing to fund the killing would carry more weight. If the U.S. State Department had a secret "off" switch for all U.S.-manufactured weapons, there would be very few places on earth it would ever have to send anyone to plead for peace. In the absence of such a fantasy solution, we have the commonsensical steps taken in H.R.2590.

This bill would prohibit Israel from using U.S. taxpayer dollars in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem for:

  • the military detention, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention;
  • the seizure and destruction of Palestinian property and homes in violation of international humanitarian law; or,
  • Israel’s unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory in violation of international humanitarian law.

Click here to quickly ask your Representative to cosponsor this bill, and to ask your Senators to introduce and pass the same legislation.

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If H.R.2590 becomes law, here are things the Israeli government will be forbidden to do to children with U.S. dollars: torture, physical violence, restraint in stress positions, hooding, sensory deprivation, death threats, solitary confinement, imprisonment without charge or trial, denial of access to parents or legal counsel, the use of force to coerce confessions.

The Israeli government imprisons around 700 Palestinian children a year, with the support of U.S. tax dollars, which flow in at a rate of nearly $4 billion a year. Armed soldiers barge into homes in the middle of the night, taking children away from their parents. Israel subjects children to torture and abuse, deprives them of food and water, and denies them their right to an attorney. U.S. tax dollars should not fund this immoral and illegal activity! (See documentation in background links at bottom.)
Israel routinely destroys Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, leaving thousands of Palestinians homeless. Israel has demolished more than 48,000 Palestinian structures since 1967, 24,000 of which are estimated to be homes. These numbers have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, Israel demolished or seized 851 Palestinian structures, displacing over 1,000 Palestinians, including over 524 children. Families are often given just minutes to gather their belongings before bulldozers destroy their homes. In some cases, Palestinians are forced to even pay for the demolition of their own homes. (See documentation in background links at bottom.)

This week the residents of an apartment building in Gaza were given one hour to get out before it was destroyed with a missile.

A poll of 53 countries released last week found 44% of people see the U.S. government as a threat to democracy, while 38% see the Chinese government, and 28% see the Russian government as threat to democracy. A likely factor in the U.S. lead in this polling is its endless support for an apartheid state that gives basic rights to only one kind of people. If President Biden is serious about "winning the 21st century" on behalf of "democracy," it is in his immediate interest to change this shameful policy. 
Most of the world's oppressive governments receive funding for their militaries from the U.S. government, but Israel's receives the most. If you think putting some basic limits on what can be done with that money is the very least the U.S. Congress could do, click here to send an email. We've drafted it for you but encourage you to edit and add your own words!

GRAPHIC: Sign here button


A call to strike! Launched from Jerusalem and extending out to every village, city, and refugee camp across Palestine and beyond its borders to Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, this call to strike is extended to all of us in the diaspora and supporters the world over to take action in maintaining this moment of unprecedented popular resistance. 

Israel's settler-colonial project and military occupation has suffocated us for seventy-three years and counting. They have systematically tried to erase us, but still we rise and resist—for the lives taken from us, for the countless injured, for those whose homes have been destroyed, and for the thousands arbitrarily imprisoned for daring to speak truth. 

In Gaza, over 40,000 Palestinians have lost their homes in the last week because of Israel's carpet bombings. Just this morning, Israel announced it would be targeting two elementary schools in Gaza. The death toll is rising so fast, the updates are in constant need of updating. 

In the US, our actions need to be more than just solidarity, they must build toward ending US complicity. The bombs falling in Gaza are paid for by US tax dollars. $3.8 billion a year to be exact. 

We call on °you° to contribute to our general strike tomorrow, Tuesday May 18. How?  By organizing and participating in actions in your cities, communities, unions, and campuses. Hold protests, strikes, rallies. We invite you to participate in any way you can, whether that be a small gesture of solidarity in your workplace, home, or neighborhood, or a large city-wide event. Every act, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, is part of this global wave of resistance. 

Keep up to date on the latest happenings unfolding on the ground in Palestine by following us on Instagram and Twitter. Share or send us photos/videos of your participation and use the hashtags: #PalestineOnStrike #Gaza #GazaUnderAttack. 
Your support is part of this tidal wave of freedom. Don't stay back out of fear or hesitation. 



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