Citizen Action Monitor

Israel committing “genocide” against Palestinian people — allegation affirmed by legal analysis and scholarship

Moreover, Movement for Black Lives policy platform cites US complicity in Israel’s “genocide” and “apartheid”.

No 1770 Posted by fw, September 9, 2016

Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman

“Despite the outrage of many pro-Israel groups, there is a long history of human rights scholarship and legal analysis that supports the assertion Israel is committing genocide, according to a statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights. ‘Genocide can be applied to the destruction of a people or a national group as a viable group, and that can be both with their being driven from a land or the rendering of their language no longer legal, or just the destruction of their national identity,’ Katherine Franke, board chair at CCR.”Nora Barrows-Friedman, The Electronic Intifada

Here we go again: Israel lobby groups play their anti-Semitism card. Katherine Franke, a professor at Columbia University Law School, brushed aside the claims by Israel lobby groups that using the term ‘genocide’ to describe Israel’s policies against Palestinians is a form of anti-Jewish bigotry: “Even the suggestion that the state of Israel may be committing a human rights violation is almost always taken in a somewhat reactionary way as a form of anti-Semitism,” she remarked.

Below is a repost of the Barrows-Friedman’s article, including an embedded audio file of her related 12:30-minute report on Israel’s genocide and her interview of professor Katherine Franke. Alternatively, to read the article and listen to the audio report online, click on the following linked title.

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Why Israel’s actions can be called genocide by Nora Barrows-Friedman, The Electronic Intifada, September 6, 2016

Israel lobby groups recently reacted with outrage against the Movement for Black Lives policy platform which refers to US complicity in Israel’s “genocide” and “apartheid” against the Palestinian people.

The president of the liberal Zionist organization J Street condemned the use of the term genocide as “outrageously incorrect and deeply offensive.”

Other pro-Israel Jewish organizations claimed that using the term to describe Israel’s policies is “anti-Semitic” and libelous.

By contrast, Jewish Voice for Peace offered an unqualified endorsement of the Movement for Black Lives platform.

Despite the outrage of many pro-Israel groups, there is a long history of human rights scholarship and legal analysis that supports the assertion Israel is committing genocide, according to a statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Katherine Franke

Katherine Franke

“Genocide can be applied to the destruction of a people or a national group as a viable group, and that can be both with their being driven from a land or the rendering of their language no longer legal, or just the destruction of their national identity,” Katherine Franke, board chair at CCR, told The Electronic Intifada.

Palestinians have claimed “that what the state of Israel has done is try to deny the very existence or presence of Palestinians in the area that was mandate Palestine before 1947,” she added.

“Nothing new”

Franke, a professor at Columbia University Law School, authored the statement in response to the “enormous, ugly backlash” against the Movement for Black Lives, which represents more than 50 Black organizations.

“As human rights lawyers, [we felt] it might be appropriate to just clarify the record that this was nothing new – that the term genocide had been applied by human rights activists, lawyers, scholars both inside law and inside other disciplines for many, many years,” she said.

Franke dismissed the claims by Israel lobby groups that using such terms to describe Israel’s policies against Palestinians is a form of anti-Jewish bigotry.

“Even the suggestion that the state of Israel may be committing a human rights violation is almost always taken in a somewhat reactionary way as a form of anti-Semitism,” she remarked.

“And of course, a criticism of a state is not the same thing as a criticism of an ethnic or religious group.”

Israel’s systematic targeting of Palestinians since 1947 has been referred to as “incremental genocide” – a term used by historian Ilan Pappe and echoed by Michael Ratner, a human rights lawyer and CCR’s former president, who died earlier this year.

“It’s been going on for a long time, the killings, the incredibly awful conditions of life,” Ratner said during Israel’s assault on Gaza in July 2014, referring to the expulsions of Palestinians from hundreds of towns and villages starting in 1947.

“It’s correct and important to label it for what it is,” he added. Ratner asserted that such crimes can be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Franke told The Electronic Intifada that Palestinians “are pursuing a number of avenues” through the ICC to raise international legal violations that Israel has committed against them.

For example, the ICC has been conducting preliminary examinations of possible war crimes Israel committed during the summer of 2014 in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

However, charges of genocide have not been brought to the court yet, Franke said.

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).

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