Is it a genocide only if it happens to my people?

Jews around the world often claim that they understand the meaning of genocide because the Jews of Europe were subjected to one—the Holocaust. One would think that for a people who identify with a tragedy that marked the desire of a supremacist regime to eliminate all those who are not “true Germans”, such people would sympathize with all peoples who were or are subjected to genocide. However, very few Jewish people today show a true commitment to preventing genocide; which raises the more important question: is genocide bad only when it happens to "my" people?

The question is crucial in the light of the overwhelming support among Jews in the US and Jews in Israel to acts that that have been characterized by human rights organizations, UN rapporteurs, rights scholars, and courts as a “Gaza Genocide”.   

Here are some of the results of polls conducted in the US and in Israel.

American Jewish Committee (AJC), the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people, released the results from its 2024 Survey of American Jewish Opinion. A Key Finding: 85% of American Jews, believe it is important for the U.S. to support Israel in its war in Gaza.

In Israel, polls show that Jews overwhelmingly support the war on Gaza and favor control over Gaza. Israel’s Channel 12 conducted a survey and found that “Israeli Arabs are much more likely than Jews to say the country’s military response has gone too far (non-Jews, 74% -- Jews, 4%).” More shocking, the poll results show that 72% of Israeli Jews said “the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip must be stopped until the Israeli prisoners are released.” with only 21% saying aid should continue to enter Gaza.

Although Biden suggested that an attack on Rafah would be a "red line" because of the impact such an attack would have on civilians, a polling conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute showed that 74% of "Jewish Israelis and 64.5% overall—including 88% of right-wing Jews and 63% of centrist Jews" favored expanding the war into Rafah.

A racialized system of rights where abuses cannot be inflicted on certain social groups only, or where the rights of certain social groups supersede the rights of other social groups is not justice; it is supremacism. It is racialized justice systems that allow acts of genocide to happen; when people speak against it only when it impacts them directly; or when they unleash genocide in order to preserve the dominance of their social group. For a people to claim moral standing, such people must stand against genocide whenever and wherever it happens and not allow anyone to use genocide in their name.




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