Following the Holocaust leading up to and during World War II, in which approximately six million Jews were exterminated, a number of things occurred to try and stop further genocides (the word genocide was created in 1941). The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were presented at the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Despite the recognition of human rights and the crime of genocide, we continue to witness violations and crimes against humanity across the world.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
In the second article of this document, the crime of genocide is defined 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: a) Killing members of the group; b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c)Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
While I could easily list a dozen genocides that have occurred since the ratification of this document on the crime of genocide over seventy years ago, some of which are occurring at this time, I am going to talk about the genocide being perpetrated by the State of Israel.
Past injustices do not justify current injustices
The land of Israel was never a land to be ‘given away’ by the Allies following World War II. Since then, the Palestinians have been fighting an ongoing invasion and the loss of their homes, businesses, friends and family. The Jews suffered terribly during World War II, along with the hundreds of years of anti-Semitism prior to that, but that is not justification for the overt and covert annihilation of the Palestinian people. There is never justification for the murder of innocent people.
The argument that the Palestinians started the violence is untrue. They have been in a fight for their lives for decades. Look at the definition of genocide, let’s see what Israel is doing:
- Killing Palestinians of all ages
- Taking Palestinian homes, businesses, property and land
- Threatening and beating Palestinians
- Bombing Palestinian areas
- Enforcing curfews and checkpoints on Palestinian movements
Honestly, that list looks very similar to the actions of Nazi Germany towards Jews during the 1930s and 1940s…
“The following acts shall be punishable:… complicity in genocide”
We need to reflect on this; we are complicit in the act of genocide when we do nothing. Our inaction allows for the crime to go on unnoticed. The allies of the State of Israel are the most guilty. A country with a great amount of power who claims that justice is integral to their society, the United States, needs to take a stand. It has gone into other countries in the cause of ‘justice’ but it won’t stand up and remove a thug like Benjamin Netanyahu who endorses this violence against the Palestinians (as well as Lebanon and some of its other neighbours). “Friends” are supposed to tell their friends when they are doing something wrong, dangerous or stupid. Stand up and stop the slaughter! The majority of countries in the world (as shown in the map above) have said they are against the crime of genocide — why is nothing happening? Help the Palestinian people (and the other groups persecuted around the world).
The continued loss of life because of all this shows that we have learnt nothing about justice, the value of human life or the crime of genocide.