Tragedy in Israel/Palestine In putting together this month's newsletter, we have been struck by the immensity of the human tragedy in Israel/Palestine over the past month, a tragedy that will have ramifications on the international order for decades to come. Our team has shared with the rest of the world the shock and horror of Hamas' October 7 attack and Israel's response against the Gaza Strip. Like everyone at this moment in history, we have struggled to continue our work in the midst of the ever-worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza. Our hearts are with the people in Israel and Palestine who are suffering. From the point of view of a genocide prevention organization, the Israel/Palestine conflict is evidence both of the profound failure of our genocide prevention mechanisms, despite the decades of hard work that has been put into them by NGOs, international bodies, and individual governments around the world, and of the desperate need for new forms of institution building and awareness raising around genocide prevention. At the Lemkin Institute we view this crisis as a clarion call that we must all work harder and smarter to avoid the constant repeat of mass atrocities across time and space. It is imperative that we not give in to despair and that we accept the moral challenge posed by the terrible suffering of Palestinians at the moment. As demonstrated by our statements, Active Genocide Alerts, and SOS alerts, the Lemkin Institute has taken the position that there is evidence of genocidal intent on the part of Hamas in its treatment of Israeli civilians on October 7 and that Israel has chosen to commit genocide against the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, in response to Hamas' attack. In previous years we have warned of the very high potential for the "slow genocide" against Palestinians -- the pattern of human rights abuses, forced displacement, ritual humiliation, and murderous settler violence -- to quicken in the event of a trigger, such as the October 7 attack, and therefore we view the current genocide within the context of an implicitly genocidal logic of settler colonialism that dates back to Israel's founding and, before that, to the era of Western imperialism in the Middle East. The genocidal patterns of Israel's founding, referred to by Palestinians as the Nakba ("catastrophe"), have elicited a potentially genocidal response from the Hamas terrorist organization, which in turn has amplified Israel's genocidal arsenal. This escalatory dynamic must be stopped. As a genocide prevention institution, we believe it is imperative that Israel and its allies be held accountable for this terrible crime, which shows no end in sight, despite the loud and growing calls for a ceasefire from many peoples of the world. Efforts to silence voices who are calling this violence genocide -- based on the clearly genocidal language of Israeli leaders and some US politicians -- are also efforts to silence and criminalize genocide prevention work. These efforts weaken democratic institutions around the world and further liberate state leaders from any sense they may have had that the post-1945 rules-based order applies to them. Genocide thrives in the world of impunity that the current crisis has effectively globalized. Of further concern are efforts to de-historicize and de-contextualize the conflict, which we believe will have the dual effect of increasing antisemitism and anti-Muslim extremism around the world. Without understanding the global context of the history of Israel/Palestine, it is far too easy to demonize entire groups of people because of the situation they find themselves in. The historical burdens faced by divided societies in the context of settler colonial patterns are immense, making it very difficult to avoid violence and escalation and to build a lasting, equitable, just peace without conscious society-wide restorative justice work. Like other states that are founded on forced displacement and ideologies of settler domination, such as the United States, the institutions of the current State of Israel will need to be transformed in order to meet the challenges necessary to elevate it beyond its genocidal patterns. In fact, the genocide in Gaza, which unfortunately has been blindly supported by other settler colonial societies, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, as well as by former European settler colonial empires, should demonstrate to everyone that it is high time that settler colonial ideologies, which rely on the erasure of the Other in order to maintain a justification for land alienation, become a core agenda of genocide prevention. Israel, though it is committing a horrific genocide in Gaza right now, is not alone in the challenges it faces as a state that requires violence against the Other to maintain the status quo. Other settler colonial societies share this inheritance and are also vulnerable to rapid escalation into the mass killing pattern of genocide. They have in fact done quite little to redress the wrongs of their pasts, transform their institutions into ones that treasure and uplift all life, and deconstruct the abiding genocidal patterns in their current cultural and social systems. It is time for sober analysis and big changes, all within a genocide prevention framework, if our human species is to grow beyond its terrible present and survive. The Lemkin Institute is as committed as always to working in solidarity with threatened communities around the world to create lasting peace through genocide prevention work. In Israel/Palestine this means honoring all life and supporting ordinary people to forge a better, more just, and more harmonious future for everyone on that beautiful land. The work of peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine has become harder for the brave voices who have been working for decades to forge an ethical future, but there are no other options. The current state of Israel is committing a grievous, immoral, and illegal wrong in response to Hamas' attack. Genocide is never justified, perpetrators must be held accountable, victims and survivors must be mourned and honored, and a future of peace must prevail. September/October Focus Areas The Lemkin Institute strives to address ongoing genocide and threats of genocide in all places in the world. We have focused on several regions of the world over the past two months. Among them are:
South Caucasus Israel & Palestine Ethiopia Ukraine
Ukraine project Second Addendum to ICC communication On October 25, 2022, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention and the Regional Center for Human Rights jointly submitted a communication to the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting an investigation of the Russian Federation for the crime of genocide pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute of the ICC. The communication pertained to the responsibility of the Russian Federation officials for genocide in Ukraine for forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. On October 7, 2023, the two organizations submitted a second addendum to this communication to ask the Court to investigate the unreasonable delay by the Russian Federation in the repatriation of Ukrainian children who have been forcibly displaced to Russian families. Read the addendum SOS Alerts The Lemkin Institute has initiated the release of SOS Alerts when genocide is underway, we have already issued an Active Genocide Alert, and we believe the international community urgently needs to respond. We decided to issue SOS Alerts after the September 19, 2023 attack by Azerbaijan on the Republic of Artsakh, which led to the genocide of Armenians there, an indigenous community with a continuous ancient civilization that is over 3000 years old. SOS Alert - Gaza - 3The Lemkin Institute is alarmed by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society's urgent appeal to the international community issued early on Friday, October 20. In this appeal, the organization stated that it received an order from the Israeli Authorities to evacuate Al-Quds hospital, which is currently accommodating 12,000 displaced people and caring for over 400 patients. SOS Alert - Gaza - 2The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention is absolutely disgusted by the response of Western nations to the crisis in Israel/Palestine. Western nations have given Israel a greenlight to commit genocide, have offered direct military support to Israel in its war on Gaza, and have clamped down on freedom of expression in their own countries. SOS Alert - GazaThe Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention is issuing a SOS alert for Palestinians in Gaza following Israel's demands that over 1 million Palestinians evacuate northern Gaza within 24 hours. International peacekeeping organizations, including the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, have already warned Israel that their retaliatory attacks against Palestinian civilians are inhumane and illegal, and are worsening an ongoing humanitarian crisis. SOS Alert - Artsakh - 2The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention is issuing a second SOS alert for the Armenians of Artsakh, who are currently under the yoke of the armed forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan and are in critical danger of genocide. SOS Alert - ArtsakhAt this moment in time, it is imperative that powerful leaders and states stand up to Azerbaijan and demonstrate clearly that any further aggression against Armenians will not be tolerated and will be met with all available options within the genocide prevention toolbox. Active Genocide Alerts The Lemkin Institute has inaugurated Active Genocide Alerts to call attention to situations where we firmly believe the violent phase of a genocidal process is underway. Active Genocide Alert - Israel-Palestine: There is No Justification for Genocide13 October 2023 Active Genocide Alert - Ethiopia in Tigray12 October 2023 Active Genocide Alert - Ethiopia in Amhara Region23 September 2023 Red Flag Alerts for Genocide The Lemkin Institute issues Red Flag Alerts to call attention to situations where we specific red flags of a possible future or emerging genocidal process. Red Flag Alert for Genocide - Azerbaijan in ArmeniaThe Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention is issuing a Red Flag Alert for the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Republic of Armenia, due to the alarming potential for an invasion of Armenia by Azerbaijan in the coming days and weeks.
Statements The Lemkin Institute regularly issues Statements on topics and events that are of relevance to the wider work of genocide prevention and sustainable peacebuilding. Statement on the October 1 UN Mission to Artsakh/Nagorno-KarabakhOctober 28, 2023 The Lemkin Institue of Genocide Prevention is disappointed with the outcome of the UN mission's visit to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) on October 1, which took place after the entire Armenian population of Artsakh had already fled due to forcible displacement following the recent Azerbaijani invasion. Statement of Mourning for the Gazans and the WorldOctober 27, 2023 The Lemkin Institute mourns with immense sorrow and despair for the Palestinian people of Gaza. In complete darkness, without access to one another or the outside world, Gazan families are facing intensified bombing tonight and what appears to be a partial ground invasion from Israel after three weeks of incessant bombardment and dwindling supplies of food, water, medicines, and fuel. Statement on the Ongoing Imprisonment of Armenian Officials of the Republic of Artsakh by the Republic of AzerbaijanOctober 27, 2023 The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention energetically condemns the ongoing and illegal imprisonment of eight high-ranking Armenian officials of the Republic of Artsakh by the Republic of Azerbaijan, which took place after the latter's military aggression against the Nagorno-Karabakh region on 19 September 2023, and during the ensuing genocide against its civilian population. Statement on the Murder of Six-Year-Old Wadea Al-Fayoume in Illinois and the Role of Genocidal Language in His DeathOctober 21, 2023 The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention mourns the murder of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume and the grievous injury of his mother Hanaan Shahin in an act motivated by anti-Muslim hatred. It also condems US officials and the media for their reckless embrace of genocidal language against Palestinians, which inflames pre-existing anti-Muslim sentiment and inspires fresh violence. Statement on the Sentencing of former Artsakh State Minister Ruben Vardanyan in AzerbaijanSeptember 28,2023 The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention protests the sentencing of Ruben Vardanyan to four months of "preventive detention" in Azerbaijan, after which he is apparently scheduled to stand trial for a host of invented charges carrying a possible sentence of 14 years in prison. Statement on Rohingya Refugee RepatriationSeptember 10, 2023 As the current crisis between the Myanmar junta and its political opposition continues, the state of Bangladesh, which neighbors Myanmar, has plans to repatriate refugees on its territory, especially members of Myanmar's Rohingya minority. Statement in Response to the Open Letter sent by the Rabbinical Center of Europe to the President and Prime Minister of ArmeniaSeptember 9, 2023 The Lemkin Institute's response to the Open Letter sent by the Rabbinical Center of Europe to the President and Prime Minister of Armenia, signed by 50 leading European rabbis, which states that "[e]xpressions such as 'ghetto', 'genocide', 'holocaust' and others are (...)