If you want to prevent genocide, protest China’s
On Oct 7, Hamas terrorists launched a progrom against Israelis, intentionally killing over 1,200 civilians, mutilating bodies, raping women, and taking over 200 civilians hostage. Hamas’ atrocities represented the most heinous and murderous attack on Jews since the Holocaust. Israel, as any other nation in similar circumstances would and should, has responded with an invasion into Gaza with the goal of rescuing its hostages and destroying Hamas. In recent weeks, anti-Israel activists, politician, and some Brandeis students have claimed that Israel is waging a genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza. Such claims are false, and they demonstrate one of two things: an ignorance about the meaning of genocide or an intentional desire to spread blood libels about the Jewish State. Or perhaps both — of course, it is a profound tragedy that innocent Palestinians in Gaza are being injured and killed as a result of Israel’s just war against Hamas, who controls the Gaza Strip. I say this not as an afterthought but as someone religiously dedicated to the protection, to the best extent possible, of every innocent life. It is my belief, as an Orthodox Jew, that all humans are created in the image of God regardless of their nationality. The first response to any such tragedies ought to be sympathy and pain. However, because Israel’s detractors seek to exploit that pain to level Israel with accusations of genocide, it has become necessary to show how incorrect, backwards, and offensive that accusation is.
The definition of genocide, as defined by the United Nations among other organizations, requires that perpetrators have the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” Israel, thankfully, has no such intent. Israel’s indirect, untargeted, and unintentional killing of civilians is a part of just and defensive war, and it does not constitute a genocide nor a violation of international law. While Israel takes painstaking measures to avoid civilian casualties, Hamas cynically and illegally positions itself in civilian areas, terror tunnels built under residential roads and buildings, and in hospitals and religious sites. It is not Israel but Hamas who is ultimately to blame for civilian casualties in Gaza. Hamas, meanwhile, does have the genocidal aspirations and the intent to destroy the Jewish people, as they state in their charter and as they demonstrated on Oct 7. Adding insult to injury, anti-Israel protestors falsely accuse Israel of genocide and, often without taking a breath breath, participate in protests chants with antisemitic, genocidal implications. This irony might have been humorous if it wasn’t so dangerous. It is thus my view that to accuse Israel of genocide ignores the facts on the ground, provides Hamas with blanket immunity to continue their crimes against humanity, and serves as a pernicious and offensive blood libel against the Jewish people.
Because I am a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I am committed to the cause of genocide prevention. When an actual genocide occurs it is our duty to speak out and fulfill the collective promise made after the Holocaust that never again would we allow it to repeat. Unfortunately, today, while the world is distracted by false accusations levied against Israel, leaders and activists sit idly by as the Chinese Communist Party perpetrates one of the largest and most brutal sets of systematic crimes against humanity since the Holocaust. In China’s Xinjiang province, millions of Uyghurs sit in de facto concentration camps, having been sent there by the CCP. There, they are “re-educated” in the form of forced renunciation of their faith, forced sterilization, slave labor, torture, rape, and murder, for the sole “crime” of their ethnicity and Islamic faith. Uyghurs outside of the CCP’s concentration camps are prohibited from praying, adhering to Muslim dietary restrictions, or even speaking their native tongue. The CCP claims that they are acting in response to terrorist incidents in recent decades, but history shows that the Party is using this as a mere excuse for their long standing genocidal intent.
In fact, the CCP’s oppression of the Uyghurs dates back at least as far as Mao’s brutal Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. This oppression, unlike Israel’s defensive war against Hamas, constitutes a genocide and it is incumbent upon all people of good conscience, elected leaders, and citizens alike to condemn it and do all they can to fight it. In January 2021, as one of his last acts as secretary of state, Mike Pompeo officially recognized the CCP’s persecution for what it is — a genocide. This was not a partisan recognition. Secretary Antony Blinken made the same determination soon after President Biden’s inauguration, as have several other democratic countries.
In recent weeks, there has been an outpouring of marches, rallies, social media posts, violence, and vandalism ostensibly in support of the Palestinian people. These demonstrations suggest that the Western Left has no dearth of voices, no hesitation to speak up when they desire to be heard. Peculiarly, however, I have not seen anywhere near the level of protest against China’s genocide as I have in response to the false accusation of the same against Israel. One would expect that Western progressive movements — the same ones which mobilize daily in opposition to Israel — would be tirelessly and endlessly marching in the streets for the Uyghurs. But while activists from one such group, CODEPINK, interrupted a Senate hearing recently to urge a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza (ceasefire being a euphemism for allowing Hamas to get away with and continue murdering Jews), the organization has not only remained silent about China’s genocide but have actually defended it. Make no mistake, when the Chinese Communist Party forces millions of Muslims into concentration camps to be tortured, raped, and killed. When mosques are intentionally destroyed, when China attempts to wipe out the entire Uyghur ethnicity, these activists say nothing because they want to say nothing.
What is the source of this selective outrage? Why do the aforementioned protestors remain silent when the CCP perpetrates an actual genocide but activate their anger only when the world’s sole Jewish nation seeks to rescue its hostages and prevent further murder, kidnapping, rape, and torture of Jews? The reason, in my view, is clear. Those that accuse Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing are not speaking out for anything or anyone. Their ultimate aim is not to protect or save civilians, nor to actually prevent genocide, but instead to tarnish the reputation of Israel. Israel was founded in large part to give the Jewish people the power to ensure their own security and survival after their near destruction in the Holocaust. Evidently, the survival of the Jewish people makes certain students, academics, elected leaders, and protestors very uncomfortable. Some people, as author Dara Horn wrote , seem to love dead Jews. Those who do not must reject attempts to hijack the word “genocide” as it is being used in an ongoing quest to demonize the State of Israel, demand the unconditional release of the hostages held by Hamas, and must stand boldly and forcefully against China’s genocide of the Uyghurs. Anything less would be a failure to uphold the promise of “Never Again.”