William Shakespeare once wrote “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” The suggestion of Juliet’s comment to Romeo was that the name given to a person or a thing is less significant than the essence of what that person or item is. The famous phrase is often repeated; it is a widely-held belief in the western world: essence trumps labels.
It is therefore surprising that so many concentrate efforts to precisely label things. Consider the term “genocide,” which the United States government just used for only the fourth time.
ISIS Committing Genocide
On March 17, 2016, US Secretary of State John Kerry defined the actions of the Islamic State/ ISIS as “genocide.” He stated that “in my judgment, (ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims.” Kerry made such declaration after the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution stating that ISIS was committing a genocide against Christians in Syria and Iraq, just days before. Their action followed the European Union designating the killings as a genocide in February.
Does labelling the actions of ISIS a “genocide” change anything? Will the United States be forced to take action to stop the brutal slaughter of Christians and other minorities by these jihadists? No.
Will ISIS be so upset by the declaration that it will stop killing people? No.
Senator Marco Rubio noted as such when he said “That it took so long for the administration to arrive at this conclusion, in the face of unspeakable human suffering, defies explanation. At long last the United States is no longer silent in the face of this evil, but it would be travesty if we were to mistakenly take solace in this designation, if the designation did not then yield some sort of action.”
Possible actions could include: pushing for the restoration of property and lands taken; offering aid and asylum to those being persecuted. It may also mean that the US must take action according to the Genocide Convention which was adopted after World War II. Article I of that Resolution specifically states that genocide is a crime “to prevent and to punish.”
The Definition and Roadmap to Genocide
The Genocide Convention enumerates what constitutes a genocide in Article II.
“[G]enocide means 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 with the group;
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
These actions are clearly being taken by the Islamic State against the Yazidis.
A group called “Genocide Watch” described a multistep pathway in which many genocides unfold. The pathway includes:
In addition to labelling the pathway to genocide, the authors of this list enumerated actions that society could implement to prevent a genocide from happening during each phase. For example, in the case of “Organization,” they suggest that “membership in these militias should be outlawed. Their leaders should be denied visas for foreign travel. The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of countries involved in genocidal massacres.”
While people may agree or disagree with the pathway to genocide enumerated by Genocide Watch, it is a useful tool to examine evil intent as it unfolds in some societies, and some potential remedies.
Palestinian Intifada or Genocide
The Palestinian Arabs have launched numerous wars, riots and “intifadas” since the world approved the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in the holy land in 1920. The Arab activities over these almost 100 years can be benchmarked against the definition and roadmap of genocide described above.
- Classification, is the deliberate use of ethnic and racial divisions in a society to promote intolerance. Muslim-majority countries often rule with unique systems of laws, where ethnic and religious minorities are given a “dhmmitude” status. These dhimmis have secondary status in society. When Islam invaded the holy land in the seventh century, they gave the indigenous people the option of converting to Islam, dying, or living in dhimmitude.
The Arabs of EGL (east of the Green Line) extended the pariah classification of Jews when they evicted all of them from the region including the Old City of Jerusalem in 1949. The Jordanians granted all people in the area citizenship, but explicitly excluded any Jews. To this day, Palestinian Arab leadership has called for a country to be devoid of any Jews, and has official laws that call for the death sentence for any Arab caught selling land to a Jew.
- Symbolization, is the use of special symbols like the yellow star that Nazis forced Jews to wear. The Palestinian Arabs have no authority over any Jews so such comparison is not apropos, at this time.
- Dehumanization of Jews is a something that Palestinian Arab media and leadership does repeatedly. Actions include calling Jews the “sons of apes and pigs“.
- Organization is the assembly of special groups and militias to carry out the killings. This is a Palestinian Arab specialty, as they have more terrorist entities than any other group in the world. They include: Abu Nidal; Hamas; Palestine Liberation Front; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; PFLP- General Command; and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, to name a few.
- Polarization includes broadcasting hate propaganda and the targeting of moderates. MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch have hundreds of examples of Palestinian hate propaganda. The Hamas Charter calls against any negotiation with Israel. Palestinian leadership assassinates anyone considered collaborating with Israel.
- Preparation includes limiting where people can live and identifying them for death. As noted above, the “moderate” Palestinians call for removing all Jews from EGL/Judea and Samaria, while the more popular and extreme Palestinians openly call for targeting Jews for death and wiping out Israel in its entirety.
- Extermination has been an ongoing Arab effort since the riots of the 1920s and 1930s, to the war to destroy Israel in the 1940s, and the wars and “intifadas” of the past two decades.
- Denial only exists after the genocide is complete, which fortunately has not happened to the Jewish State. An example of genocide denial can be best captured by the “moderate” acting-Prime Minster of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial, and the champion of Hamas, the Turkish leader Recep Erdogan who continues to deny the genocide of Armenians to this day.
The Palestinian war against Israel fits the UN’s definition of genocide as well. Can the Palestinians claim they are simply “resisting” Israel and “resorting” to violence?
- Killing Jews has been going on since 1920. Today the actions are with knives and cars. In 2014 it was with missiles. In 2002 it was with bombings. The focus on killing a subset of Israelis – the Jews – is made clear in Palestinian founding documents which include such statements as:
- “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious….”
- “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews“
- “In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised…”
- “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people…”
- “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.“
- Causing serious bodily and mental harm is also part-and-parcel of the attacks. The dehumanization (mentioned above), denying Jewish history in the holy land and the rights to live in their holy land are also forms of inflicting mental harm.
- As noted above, Palestinians have repeatedly tried to destroy Israel. The wars of 1948 and 1967 were intended to destroy Israel completely. Terrorism has targeted Jewish schools, synagogues and everywhere that people live.
- The Palestinian Arabs have not been able to enforce items 4 and 5 under the UN definition of Genocide as they have not have sufficient control over Jews.
Whether by the United Nations own definition, or the pathway described by Genocide Watch, it is clear that the Palestinians are actively trying to engage in a genocide of the Jews in the Middle East. According to an ADL poll, Palestinian Arabs are almost 100% anti-Semitic.
Murder in Synagogue in Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem
November 2014 (photo: Israel Government Press Office)
Actions to be Taken
Genocide Watch recommends embargoes and denying visas to genocidal groups like Hamas. The United Nations is mandated by the Genocide Convention to “to prevent [massacres] and to punish [those committing and inciting such actions].” And what has the United Nations done with the Palestinian Arabs? The opposite.
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has pushed for a Palestinian reconciliation government that includes the terrorist group Hamas
- The UN promises Palestinian Arabs that they will all get to move into Israel
- The UN emphasizes Palestinian victims while it ignores Israeli victims
- The UN pushes for this anti-Semitic group to get their own country and become a member of the UN
- The UN Secretary General pushes to end the blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza
- The UN gave the podium and recognition to Mahmoud Abbas, who blamed Jews for the Holocaust in his doctoral thesis, and then added to the insult, claiming from that UN platform that Jews were committing a genocide against Palestinians
The UN is supposed to fight to prevent genocide. However, when it comes to Palestinian Arabs, the organization either chooses to not recognize the vileness of Palestinian actions, or it simply forgives their activities, in the belief that Arab self-determination will pacify their blood lust beyond their new borders.
If one chose to be more “generous” about the UN’s actions and statements regarding Palestinian Arabs, it is that the world wants to prevent an inevitable genocide by Palestinian Arabs against the Jews, so it supports enforcing anti-Semitic edicts and evicting Jews from their homes and businesses in Judea and Samaria. Give the Palestinian Arabs their Jew-free state, and prevent a large scale genocide.
What’s in a Name?
ISIS has been slaughtering minorities for a long time, and only in March 2016 did the United States opt to call the brutality a “genocide.” Will the new designation of “genocide” make people and governments take a stand against the racist jihadist slaughter?
The world has used Palestinian terminology of their war against the existence of a Jewish State, calling it an “intifada,” or an uprising. In a similar vein, the UN refers to Arabs “resisting” Israel and the New York Times says that Hamas “resorts” to violence. Arab violence and incitement get a pass.
The labels and terms do not conceal the murders or bold statements that Hamas declares in its charter and its leaders call out today. They seek a genocide of the Jews and Jewish State. Yet their genocidal movement is labeled in soft reactionary language.
Do names and labels matter?
If people called the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria an “intifada,” would they consider that their goal of a Sunni state is legitimate? Would the world embrace the eviction of Christians from their homes in Iraq, so the Islamic State can be self-governing in a new caliphate?
If the world acknowledged the evil of the anti-Semitism of the Palestinian Arab mission to ban Jews from living in their homes, and their mission to drive Jews from the holy land, and called their attacks a “genocide,” would they demand an end to Hamas instead of including it in a reconciliation government?
Will a label produce an action? Or is a designation simply a conclusion? A statement of opinion of right versus wrong; good versus evil.
Perhaps the United States will take new actions against the Islamic State, and actively protect the persecuted, now that they have taken to calling the actions of ISIS a “genocide.”
Maybe the pro-Israel community can stop calling the Palestinian Arab attacks an “intifada,” and clearly call out the “genocide” and put an end to the war on the Jewish State.
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