On Wednesday, 11 April, the Zionist Federation of New Zealand (ZFNZ) published a vicious attack on Green MP Golriz Ghahraman for accusing Israel of genocide against the Palestinian people. Unable to deny the decades of ideologically-driven oppression practised by Israel against the people of Palestine, the ZFNZ Press Release resorted to the standard Zionist tactic of attempting to divert attention away from Israel and towards human rights violations elsewhere. Although the ZFNZ did assert that accusations against Israel are lies, its Press Release appeared to tacitly admit a degree of Israeli guilt, merely complaining that use of the term genocide was too strong or, as it put it, “disproportionate”.
However, in the wider world, genocide, wherever and however it is practised, is recognised for what it is. The US-based Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has demonstrated solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BKM) movement, and condemned Zionist “delegitimisation of Black and Palestinian struggle, especially by white Ashkenazi Jews that attempt to assert sole claim to the limits and bounds of what constitutes ‘actual’ genocide.” JVP says that, far from shutting down use of the term ‘genocide’, it embraces the expression. The Jewish historian, Ilan Pappe, calls the Zionist persecution of Palestinians since 1947 “incremental genocide”. According to a statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights, “Genocide can be applied to the destruction of a people or a national group as a viable group, and that can be both with their being driven from a land or the rendering of their language no longer legal, or just the destruction of their national identity.”
Referring to the expulsions of Palestinians from hundreds of towns and villages that started in 1947, the late human rights lawyer Michael Ratner, and former president of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), says “It’s been going on for a long time, the killings, the incredibly awful conditions of life.” During Israel’s assault in 2014 on Gaza, Ratner said, “It’s correct and important to label it for what it is.” He asserted that such crimes can be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Golriz Ghahraman should be congratulated for her courageous outspokenness. In spite of myriad UN Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions, the Israel Lobby’s malevolent political influence among Western-allied states continues to contribute massively to Israel’s impunity. The lack of informed reporting by the mainstream news media regarding Palestine is also of great help to Israel. Protest is essential – silence is shameful.