Zero Tolerance for Incitement to Genocide: a message to Susan Rice

As Susan Rice arrives in Israel, I suggest that those meeting with her make the case for using the tools of international law to stop Iranian and Palestinian Incitement. Zero tolerance for incitement should be a central issue of the meeting agenda, and with equal force, support for terror.

Rice knows first hand, from her being a staffer at the State Department during the Rwandan Genocide, about the horrific effects of intense incitement in triggering the Hutu’s mass murder–all with machetes–of 800,000 Tutsis –and Hutus who were seen as identifying with Tutsis–during a 3 month period in 1995. According to an account by Samantha Power in her book America and the Age of Genocide, Rice advised against calling the mass murder of the Tutsis a genocide, because using the g-word would obligate President Bill Clinton to act to stop the genocide.

The shadow of what happens when outsiders fail to stop state sponsored hate language and incitement hangs over Rice’s visit to Israel. It is not a good portent if we do not heed the lessons of the Rwandan genocide on the relationship between mass hate education and incitement to mass murder.

I use the term Workfare to characterize the use of incitement or what I call Word Pollution. In the case of Iranians, it is their continued use of the 5 D’s: dehumanization, demonization, delegitimization, disinformation and denial – all prosecutable as crimes against humanity or hate crimes. Propagation of 5 D’s, though less frequent and shrill than under Ahmadinejad, have continued in Iran, and are of concern. All initiate, provoke, promote and predict mass atrocity crimes, terror and hate crimes.

In the case of the Palestinians, Hamas who is now “in” the PA, promotes all of the 5 D’s. Palestinian Authority texts, while no longer containing dehumanizing motifs still contain too many examples of the other 4 D’s. Delegitimization is particularly insidious because it is invisible It simply means that A ignores B’s history, culture and existence. 

The Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention has worked with government researchers to apply a metric for measuring ‘word pollution’ from Palestinian political leaders, places of worship, media and schools that show that that the messages of hate and incitement have increased somewhat in recent months, as have episodes of what I call ‘rock fare’: using cold weapons of violence to injure and kill.

In the case of Palestinian word pollution, glorification of terrorists killing civilians simply because they are Jewish-is an ominous forewarning of impending outbreaks of violence.

During the Kerry-led negotiations, there was no publicity as to whether the US proposed or Israel demanded zero tolerance for incitement. It is time to make this demand concerning Iranian and Palestinian hate education in all forms.

About the Author
Dr. Elihu D Richter is a founder of the Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention