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The Politicization of Genocide

William Hanna in “Hypocrisy, Double Standards, and the Politicisation of Genocide” explains that in 1998 120 states of the international community adopted the Rome Statute which established a legal basis for establishing an International Criminal Court (ICC).

The U.S. and Israel signed the ICC accord in 2000. They have since withdrawn and opposed the ICC because the political leaders of both do not wish to be judged according to a “global standard of justice.”

The “mandate” of the Court was to hold individuals rather than states accountable for such offenses to human beings as “genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggressions.”

Hanna asserts that for 60 years Israeli leaders have been qualified for those criminal categories and have avoided prosecution, have enjoyed impunity.

There is long-standing double-standardism.

Apparently the US and its allies decide the application of the label of "genocide." If any of them commit genocide it will not be branded as "genocide." The application of international law has been crippled by such politicizing double-standardism.

Hanna points out that all current preliminary investigations by the ICC concern ONLY Third World countries.

The US wars against Iraq along with the sanctions against it by the US have caused the deaths according to Hanna of at least 1,800,000. In the First Gulf War “soft civilian targets” were attacked, targets such as water treatment and sanitation, electricity infrastructures; roads and railways; hospitals, etc. The sanctions against Iraq after The First Gulf War prevented substantial repair on many of these devastated soft targets.

The following killings have easily been labeled as genocides by the western media and its governments: in Kosovo when 4000 were killed, Bosnia when 33,000 were killed, Darfur when 300,0000 were killed, when 800,000 in Rwanada were killed.

No country, Hanna insists, has matched the war-murder death toll of the US and its allies in Iraq except the Democratic Republic of the Congo which has killed 5.4 million civilians. In 2010 Nicholas Kristoff of the NYT insisted the DRC death toll was closer to 7 million.


As with Iraq, the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] is also hardly ever stigmatised with the “genocide” label because the U.S. and its allies — in their rapacious quest for the rare minerals in the DRC — are responsible for the bulk of those killings. But due to the fact that the Western Alliance controls the political discourse, such killings will never be afforded the “genocide” label.

On April 4, 2012, the prosecutor of the ICC rejected a request by the Palestinian Authority to have the ICC war crimes tribunal investigate the 2008-2009 “Operation Cast Lead” attack of Gaza by Israel. The ICC refused to assume jurisdiction since Palestine did not qualify as a “state” by “relevant bodies” within the UN and among ICC member countries.

Hanna calls out the US as Israel’s “lap-dog” and stresses that the US will never allow Palestine to be recognized as a state and potential UN member. It will always exercise its veto power against Palestine on Israel’s behalf in the UN.

Hanna declares:

In other words because of Israel’s barbaric ethnic cleansing policy designed to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state — that would end Israel’s ravenous theft of more Palestinian land on which more illegal Jewish settlements would be built — the “stateless” Palestinian people have no recourse to justice from the UN.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman welcomed the decision while noting that Israel did not recognise the ICC’s jurisdiction.

One of the dimensions of war crimes in the ICC founding charter includes:

“The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Israel continues to perpetrate this war crime.

Hanna sums up the grotesque injustice of Israel’s impunity from prosecution in the recent past and its latest colossally outrageous perpetration:

Having just caused Gaza’s biggest humanitarian crisis in many years;

having savagely killed over 2,200 Palestinians;

having caused hundreds of thousands to be left homeless;

and having destroyed virtually all essential infrastructure,

Israel with its supremacist, “God-chosen” impunity

— and knowing full well that the rest of the cowardly world will do nothing —

has added insult to injury by announcing plans to expropriate four square kilometres of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. This outrageous expropriation of land in the area of Gush Etzion south of Bethlehem, including many centuries-old Palestinian olive groves, is believed to be the largest illegal seizure by Israel in 30 years and will facilitate the expansion of a settlement named Gevaot.

In January 2009 the Palestinian Authority’s justice minister lodged a declaration with the ICC recognizing ICC jurisdiction for “acts committed on the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002.” The ICC cited Article 12 of the Rome Statute that since “only a ‘state’” could do that, it would NOT assume jurisdiction to explore Israeli war crimes.

Apparently the ICC follows the directives of the General Assembly of the UN as to “statehood” status of a population.

“Palestine”, Hanna reveals, has been recognized as a “state” by more than 130 governments and certain international organizations, including bodies within the UN, but the current status granted by the General Assembly is that the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) is that of “observer” and NOT a “member state.”


Amnesty International said the decision by the ICC prosecutor meant Palestinian and Israeli victims of crimes allegedly committed during the Gaza war were unlikely to get justice. Marek Marczynski, head of Amnesty’s International Justice campaign, said, “This dangerous decision opens the ICC to accusations of political bias and is inconsistent with the independence of the ICC. It also breached the Rome Statute which clearly stated that such matters should be considered by the institution’s judges.” In September of that same year [2009], the Palestinians submitted an application for admission to the UN as a member state, but the Security Council made no recommendation with Israel’s lapdog, the U.S., promising to veto any vote on the matter.

There is no serious code of international law if an AIPAC-obedient US with its western allies forever supports such double-standardism and get away with it and continue to POLITICIZE GENOCIDE and enjoy “might makes right” impunity.

The UN, World Bank, OECD, ICC, contends Hanna, were established for the supposed enforcement of human rights and “the betterment of conditions for all humanity.”


Honest, self-respecting human beings — yes, including Jews — cannot on any grounds deny that Israel’s barbaric treatment of the Palestinian people warrants unconditional universal condemnation; Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions; and an unencumbered opening of investigations into Israel’s Gaza war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Anything less would constitute yet more contemptible criminal complicity.

So as of now, we have “contemptible criminal complicity.”

Hard to stomach knee-jerk comments from so-called progressive apologists for Israel -- some even finally making a few qualified noises of criticism of Israel -- for Israel’s continuing slaughter wars and other inhumane acts against Palestinians. Of course they will stop far, far short of ever using the -- God-forbid -- label of “genocide” that apparently we hyperbolic radicals are so off-puttingly and unfairly applying to exceptional Israel, as well as at times to exceptional US and its direct atrocities.

Genocides by Israel and the US will continue to be enabled. Genocide will continue to be politicized. Real international law will be "finessed" and "ignored."

Why again do they hate us?

[cross-posted on open salon]

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