On 18 December, the low-key headline on the website of Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper noted: "Herzliya conference sees verbal attacks on Israeli Arabs." What this concealed was that Israel's top military, political and business leaders, gathered for an annual get-together in the town of Herzliya under the auspices of the Israeli Institute for Policy and Strategy, were hearing implicit calls for genocide from some colleagues.
According to Ha'aretz, Dr. Yitzhak Ravid, a senior researcher at the Israeli government's Armaments Development Authority, called for Israel to "implement a stringent policy of family planning in relation to its Muslim population." In case his meaning wasn't clear, Ravid added: "the delivery rooms in Soroka Hospital in Be'ersheba have turned into a factory for the production of a backward population."
Ravid's comments almost certainly violated the 1951 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, whose definition of genocide includes "imposing measures intended to prevent births" within a specific "national, ethnical, racial or religious group." Not only is committing such acts considered genocide under international law, so too is "direct and public incitement to commit genocide."
The day before Ravid spoke, the former Israeli prime minister and current finance minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, set the tone. He told those gathered that the 1.3 million Israeli citizens of Palestinian origin (rather than the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories who can simply be fenced in) represented the true "demographic threat" to the Jewish state, and that if this population grew from its current 20 percent to 35-40 percent, Israel would become a "binational country."
Such declarations represent an ideological racism that has its roots in the late 19th- and early 20th-century European setting in which Zionism was born. How ironic that the kinds of statements made against Jews in Europe in the 1930s can now be freely uttered in a supposedly "modern" and "liberal" Israel, without a peep from those fretting loudest about what they consider is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe.
The increasing frequency of calls from some Israelis for measures legally defined as genocide, including "population transfer," also reflect the sudden realization that the foundations of the Zionist project are disintegrating rapidly as Palestinians are once again becoming a majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean…
- Ali Abunimah: Can Israel Escape A Bi-national Future?
Photo: A T-shirt printed for IDF infantry snipers bears the inscription
"Better use Durex," next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with
his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him.
Source: Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009 (Ha'aretz); via Mondoweiss.