Going All-In for Israel May Make Biden Complicit in Genocide

Human rights lawyers warned Biden that his unconditional support for the war on Gaza may implicate the U.S. in Israel’s crimes.

By Alice Speri

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - OCTOBER 18: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY - MANDATORY CREDIT - 'ISRAELI GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE (GPO) / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) US President Joe Biden (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meet in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 18, 2023. (Photo by GPO/ Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 18, 2023.Photo: Anadolu via Getty Images

The U.S. government may be complicit under international law in Israel’s unfolding genocide of the Palestinian people, a group of legal scholars warned the Biden administration and the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the dire warning to President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a 44-page emergency brief on Wednesday, on the heels of Biden’s trip to the Middle East. There, Biden reiterated his administration’s unwavering support for Israel — even as the Israeli government wages an unprecedented bombing campaign on the occupied Gaza Strip in retaliation for a horrific attack by Hamas that killed more than 1,400 Israeli citizens.

“Israel’s mass bombings and denial of food, water, and electricity are calculated to destroy the Palestinian population in Gaza,” Katherine Gallagher, senior attorney with CCR and a legal representative for victims in the pending ICC investigation in Palestine, told The Intercept. “U.S. officials can be held responsible for their failure to prevent Israel’s unfolding genocide, as well as for their complicity, by encouraging it and materially supporting it.”

“We recognize that we make serious charges in this document — but they are not unfounded,” she added. “There is a credible basis for these claims.”

A State Department spokesperson declined to comment, saying, “As a general matter, we don’t offer public evaluations of reports or briefs by outside groups.” The White House and Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Wednesday, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemned all violence against civilians and urged humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. The U.S. opposed the resolution because it did not reference Israel’s right to defend itself.

Israel has invoked that right in its assault on Gaza, which has already killed more than 4,200 Palestinians and displaced more than 1 million. But collective punishment — including measures like Israel’s blockade on fuel, food, and electricity into the occupied territory — and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians constitute war crimes under international law. A number of legal experts have argued the actions may also amount to crimes against humanity and genocide, as defined under the 1948 Genocide Convention. On Thursday, a panel of U.N. experts issued a separate statement that condemned the bombings of schools and hospitals in Gaza as crimes against humanity and warned that there is a risk the crimes might escalate to genocide.

“We are sounding the alarm: There is an ongoing campaign by Israel resulting in crimes against humanity in Gaza,” the experts wrote. “Considering statements made by Israeli political leaders and their allies, accompanied by military action in Gaza and escalation of arrests and killing in the West Bank, there is also a risk of genocide against the [Palestinian] people.”

While warnings about a potential genocide have grown more numerous in recent days, some international law experts cautioned that the war crimes and crimes against humanity — including the crime of apartheid — of which Israel has long been accused are no less serious. As one international law scholar put it: “[T]here is no hierarchy of international crimes.” The problem is that Israel has not been held accountable for any of its past crimes, making accountability for its ongoing offensive unlikely.

Under international law, the crime of genocide implicates not only those carrying out the crime, but also those complicit in it, including by “aiding and abetting.”

According to the CCR brief, Israel is attempting to commit, if not already committing, the crime of genocide, specifically against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. The U.S. government is failing to uphold its obligation to prevent a genocide from happening, the brief adds. Additionally, there is a “plausible and credible case” to be made that ongoing and unconditional U.S. military, diplomatic, and political support for Israel’s military intervention against the people of Gaza may make it complicit in the genocide under international law. (The U.S. has its own version of the law, making it a crime for any U.S. citizen — including the president — to commit, attempt, or incite genocide.)

“Rather than continuing to enable Israeli crimes, the U.S. should pressure Israel to stop its military operations and secure a ceasefire, and to ensure the provision of urgently needed humanitarian assistance and basic necessities for life to Palestinians in Gaza,” Gallagher said.

The CCR briefing also calls on the government to address the root causes behind the recent violence, including Israel’s 16-year siege on Gaza, its 56-year-long illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, “and the apartheid regime across all of historic Palestine.”

As Israel continues to plan for a ground invasion of Gaza, the U.S. sent it a shipment of armored vehicles on Thursday, following shipments of U.S-made advanced weaponry earlier this month. Biden is expected to argue for greater military support for Israel in a Thursday night address.

Israel has historically been the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance — to the tune of $158 billion since the country’s establishment in 1948. That funding has increasingly come under scrutiny in the U.S., including following Israeli forces’ killings of several U.S. citizens. On Wednesday, a senior State Department official resigned from his post, citing the U.S. government’s ongoing provision of lethal arms to Israel.

“I cannot work in support of a set of major policy decisions, including rushing more arms to one side of the conflict, that I believe to be shortsighted, destructive, unjust, and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse,” Josh Paul, the former director of congressional and public affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, wrote in a letter. “If we want a world shaped by what we perceive to be our values, it is only by conditioning strategic imperatives by moral ones, by holding our partners, and above all by holding ourselves, to those values, that we will see it.”

Asked about the resignation on Thursday, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said, “We have made very clear that we strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself, we’re going to continue providing the security assistance that they need to defend themselves.”

This week, legal experts also testified before the United Nations Human Rights Committee, specifically calling on members of the international body to urgently address the unfolding crimes and particularly hold the U.S. accountable for its role in them.

“If such a body fails in this particular genocidal moment to reassert its commitment to the right to life our collective humanity will be profoundly diminished,” Ahmad Abuznaid, a human rights lawyer and director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told the committee.

He also warned against the rippling effects of U.S. support for Israel and dehumanization of Palestinians, referring to the killing of a 6-year-old in Chicago last week. “As U.S. politicians and mainstream media beat the war drums for genocide, repeating dehumanizing rhetoric and misinformation about our people, that has not only emboldened Israel’s genocidal acts but also had alarming consequences in the U.S.”

Alice Speri writes about U.S. foreign policy, abuses by military and security forces, and the repression of dissent. She has reported from Ukraine, Palestine, Haiti, El Salvador, Colombia, and across the United iaStates. She is originally from Italy and lives in the Bronx. Via The Intercept

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Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.





5 responses to “Going All-In for Israel May Make Biden Complicit in Genocide”

  1. Woopy Avatar

    Biden is already compliment in genocide many times over. His most recent is the genocide of over 400,000 Ukrainians that wouldn’t have happened without his ok.

    1. scrdmgl Avatar

      There is a most important and key aspect in America’s support for a clear and self admitted Nazi regime in Ukraine, as represented by the architect of the 5 billion U$ cost of the 2014 Maidan regime change operation. The pure Ukrainian/Jewish stock Victoria Nuland, and her movement for A New American Century. Consequently, America can rightly be called a Nazi regime fronting as a so-called Democracy. How else can we describe their actions then, since Wall Street brought the broke Weimar Republic back to life, to allow Hitler’s Nazi regime to take power and continue to support his movement during and most important after the end of the war to this very day. One early supporter of Nazi Germany was Henry Ford, who received the highest medal of honor from Hitler allowable to a foreign person. Check the web for the picture of good old Henry receiving the award.
      These and many other aspects of true American history, are hidden from its citizens in their fabricated education system at all levels. ITT, Ford Motor Company and other US corporations kept their operations going in Germany before, during and after the end of WWII. No problemo, and this is not conspiracy theory, but fact as shown in the book ‘The Sovereign State of ITT’ for those interested in the subject. I am referring of course to the ‘Indispensable and exceptional country, the United States of America’ as correctly described by Barak Obama a true US patriot if ever there was one. The first ‘hiccup’ or indicator that something was horribly wrong in the Union, was clearly shown in the wrongly called American Civil War From then on, it was all downhill until its coming implosion just around the corner. What else could be expected?

  2. Gene Avatar

    Israel’s terror on the Palestinians is terrorism as part of Genocide in broad daylight endorsed by the US-led Western regimes. For decades, the so-called “Nazi barbarism” (“Holohoax”) is carefully manufactured and exaggerated to allow Israel and its US-sponsors to commit whatever crimes against the Palestinians, the ongoing Genocide.

  3. Marie-France Germain Avatar
    Marie-France Germain

    According to Human Rights and the Geneva convention, an occupied people have the right to self defense and to use whatever means available – words used by these institutions. Israel would have the right to self defense in any other global situation, but unfortunately for all supporting “Israel’s right to self defense” in the present case in Gaza, it no longer applies because Israel is the occupying force restricting the movements, food and medical necessities as well as many other forms of collective punishment. As the occupiers, Israel does not have the right to self defense against a captive peoples – remember “huge open air prison” as descriptor for Gaza. It would be like someone breaking into your home, keeping you hostage in the basement and when you find a chance, you manage to stab him so that the hostage taker is unable to fend your strike off and is severely harmed. Does the hostage taker have the right to claim he should have the right to kill you and your whole family because you fought back? No well qualified judge would say your imprisoner had that right and it would be he, not you in jail. It is the same – you cannot kill indiscriminately and illegally because your hostages are rebelling and wanting to live a normal life. Maybe even taste ketchup which is one of the multi-page list of forbidden foods! The brain is a great tool to use to think logically – one does not need media to tell you that mass killings are morally repugnant and should not be supported by any stretch of logic.

  4. Michael Orlowski Avatar
    Michael Orlowski

    The head of the Biden Crime Family likes to thump his chest and praise himself for supporting Israel as a life-long “Zionist” to fool the electorate into believing that he has principles founded in high ideals, reason, compassion and justice. He pretends that his actions are carefully chosen to offer succor to the weak and downtrodden, and are based entirely in law, order and egalitarian Western tradition, but this con game simply cannot fly in the minds of anyone who applies reason, logic, personal research and study of the actual history and facts.

    “Big Guy” Joe Biden has never in his life looked beyond what he could personally extract in the way of power, influence and riches from his ham-handed machinations in the political arena. And so, his public remarks and political decisions are always based on what will bring him the most votes in an election and the largest haul in personal monetary gain–admittedly not just for himself as he’s got his whole family engaged in his influence peddling, money laundering, solicitation and acceptance of bribes and all manner of other felonious chicanery. What is so egregiously evil about Joe’s almost casual lawbreaking tied to his personal avarice are the hundreds of thousands of human lives that have been (quite predictably and needlessly) lost through simple and clearly discernable cause and effect.

    If Joe and his allies within the Democratic Party truly stand for mitigating harm and uplifting the human condition via their policies and truly are the much ballyhooed “lesser of evils” rather than just greedy opportunists, Israel’s routine knee-jerk genocidal culling of the Palestinian population it keeps in bondage would be brought to an end through American power and influence, not encouraged and praised so all the pigs at the trough in Washington can continue to get rich at taxpayers expense.

    The same principle would largely hold in Ukraine. Sadly the Ukrainian leadership are as corrupt as Joe himself, so they also need to learn some lessons in life. Nevertheless, the simple fact is, is that Washington is NOT doing Ukraine any favors by purportedly protecting that country from alleged “Russian aggression” by arming it to the teeth and lavishing several hundred billion dollars in loans so it can pursue unlimited modern warfare deliberately and solely to damage Russia–NOT to benefit Ukraine in the least (unless you consider the huge debt and loss of an entire generation some kind of benefit that the rest of the world fails to see!).

    The truth of the matter is that the stupid hate-filled Ukrainians, long resentful of their more successful neighboring Slavic relatives, were bribed by Washington to perpetrate genocide against the ethnic Russian population within its borders, after Washington fomented the coup of 2014 which made all the succeeding provocations against Russia possible. Clearly America is doing NO favors for the ever jealous, petulant and conniving Ukies. America is beating them like some combination of the proverbial “rented mule” and the proverbial “dead horse.” You can sense the anguish with which Putin reluctantly carries out the war against those dupes. Neither Washington nor Kiev seems to take the point when the rest of the world underscores the depravity of “fighting this war to the last Ukrainian.” Everyone else (except for all the Nato vassals–shame on all of you!) KNOW how wrong this is. If Joe were truly the good practicing Catholic that he pretends to be, he would have stopped the fight like a good referee long ago and started negotiations with Russia, which ALSO has a right not to be bullied, threatened or manipulated by a self-serving American Military Industrial Complex. Nuclear tipped missiles 5 minutes flight time from Moscow and St. Petersburg? C’mon, man! Might as well schedule WWIII for next Wednesday and get it over with! Joe, your damned Neocons are guaranteed to be the end of all civilisation unless you rein them in and boot them out. But, being such a pig-headed fool as you now are with only half a functional brain, you’ll never do that. You doom us all, you demented old fool.