Following Kramer’s comments the other day, an interesting conversation has arisen that compares Kramer’s proposal to end pre-natal subsidies with China’s one child policy. The reason for this debate originates in the UN’s definition of genocide, as found in Article 2 of the Convention on the Preventment and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:
“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
- a) Killing members of the group;
- b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” (my emphasis)
With this mind, let’s compare Kramer with China. First, yes, China’s one-child policy is indeed “imposing measures intended to prevent births.” However, it is applied at a national level, and is not directed at a particular group, as is the case with Kramer’s proposal (detail: the one-child policy does not apply to Chinese ethnic minorities, but this has to do with speeding development in minority regions). Second, there is a difference between population control in Gaza, a sanctioned/isolated territory with little to no resources, and population control in a country like China. Third, whereas in China, the one-child policy is a law enforced at the provincial level through fines, ending pre-natal subsidies equates to forcing Gazans to starve. Fines and starvation are different. Third, and most importantly, the one-child policy has no “intent to destroy.” The policy emerged out of socioeconomic and environmental necessity. I find it ambiguous as to whether or not Kramer’s words have “an intent to destroy,” and would welcome comments to this regard.
In any case, whether or not Kramer’s comments amount to genocide misses the point. What’s matters is that Kramer deliberately called for aid to be cut from Gaza. Genocide or not, it is a an appalling ignorance and violation of human dignity and rights.