Declaration of Genocide Scholars and Professionals on Israel and Palestine

Dated: 24 February 2009

In its recent attack on the Gaza Strip, and in its wider policies toward the Palestinian people since Israel's inception in 1948 and again after 1967, Israel has regularly committed crimes against humanity as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, including the large-scale killing of Palestinian civilians, their forced displacement by the hundreds of thousands, their torture and arbitrary imprisonment without charge, and the imposition on the Palestinian population of the West Bank of a system akin to apartheid.

Scholarly and legal opinion is divided as to whether Israeli policies have been formally genocidal. Regardless, it is our conviction that they have been, and continue to be, too alarmingly close to ignore. With its responsibility for the continued diminishment of Palestinian quality of life, and periodic intensification of violence, the Government of Israel may be moving closer to a policy of genocide, as defined in the United Nations Genocide Convention and by Raphael Lemkin, who invented the concept. We, the undersigned members of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS), together with other genocide scholars and professionals, call for an end to the silence that has surrounded this subject.

While we condemn acts of violence by Palestinian militants against Israeli civilians, we call for a clear distinction between the oppressors and the oppressed. Israeli plans for the most recent episode of violence, which killed over 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza, had begun during the negotiations for a ceasefire with Hamas in June 2008, and were implemented after the Israel Defense Forces breached that ceasefire on November 4, 2008. As such, we raise concerns about premeditated and disproportionate killing.

We call for the international community, including the United States, to demand of Israel a complete freezing of settlement activity and removal of all illegal Israeli settlers; an immediate lifting of the blockade of Gaza, and the turning over of checkpoints to UN supervision to guarantee a free flow of humanitarian supplies; a lifting of restrictions on travel for the population of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem; an end to all Israeli military attacks on the Palestinian population; the release of the hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons without charge; the prompt commencement of negotiations without preconditions, including with the duly elected government of the Palestinian people, aimed at ending the Israeli occupation; and a lasting solution that recognizes the rights of all parties. If Israel defies these demands, we call for far-reaching sanctions to be imposed upon it until it complies.


Anna J. Brown, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Political Science
Saint Peter's College

Shivon Byamukama, Ph.D.*
Glasgow Caledonian University

Thea Halo*
Independent Researcher, Author

Helen Jarvis, Ph.D.*
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Adam Jones, Ph.D.*^
Associate Professor, Political Science
University of British Columbia Okanagan

Dr. Ani Kalayjian*^
Professor of Psychology
Fordham University

Rene Lemarchand
Professor Emeritus, Political Science
University of Florida

Mark Levene*^
Reader in Comparative History
University of Southampton, UK

Dr. JoAnn DiGeorgio-Lutz
Associate Professor, Political Science
Texas A&M University-Commerce

James L. Marsh, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Philosophy
Fordham University

Edward S. Majian*

Dr. Ilan Pappé
Chair of the History Department
University of Exeter, UK

Christopher Powell
Assistant Professor, Sociology
University of Manitoba

Hazel Robertson*
Ph.D. Candidate
University of Liverpool

Hasmig Tatiossian*
Master’s Candidate, Global Affairs
New York University

Dr. David Whyte
Reader in Sociology
University of Liverpool

*A member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS)
^A member of the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS)