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As Israel Raids Rafah, Lemkin Institute Says Biden Is “Complicit in Genocide”

The group said Biden officials may be “remembered as the principal enablers of one of the worst genocides” this century.

A woman inspects the destroyed building of Palestinian journalist Adel Zorob, who was killed overnight in an Israeli bombardment, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 19, 2023.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows to fight until the Israeli military achieves “complete victory” over Gaza, an anti-genocide advocacy group is warning that President Joe Biden and top administration officials are complicit in Israel’s attacks on the besieged territory and the deprivation of humanitarian aid for Palestinians.

The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention released a searing statement on Wednesday as Israel continued to assault Rafah, a city along the southern border of Gaza where about 1.4 million Palestinians are taking shelter. The military is preparing for a ground assault in Rafah after spending the past months forcibly evacuating the majority of Palestinians in Gaza to the southernmost parts of the region, and its air raids in the so-called safe zone have already killed roughly 100 people as of Tuesday, including 42 children.

The institute called out the Biden administration for defunding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a move which the group says “risks placing the administration in the position of being an active perpetrator of genocide,” and criticized Biden’s “unflagging” support of Israel as it bulldozes Gaza. The group praised high-level State Department officials who have resigned in protest over the administration’s pro-Israel policies.

The group noted that administration officials are potentially breaking US laws in continually sending arms to Israel and attempting to cover up for Israel’s atrocities in public comments by dismissing findings by the International Court of Justice and repeating propagandist lines from Israel without qualification.

“None of the Biden Administration’s tactics to deny genocide and avoid accountability will withstand the test of time,” the Lemkin Institute said in its statement. “President Biden and key administration officials are on a path to be remembered as the principal enablers of one of the worst genocides in the 21st century.”

The group went on to say that Biden and the administration are legitimizing genocide in its sponsorship of Israel.

“In normalizing genocide, and indeed, in attempting to hide genocide in plain view, Biden is jettisoning international law and laying the groundwork for a world in which genocide and other forms of mass atrocity become a legitimized form of foreign and domestic policy, including in the U.S.,” the statement says. “Without an immediate shift in direction, the long-term consequences of Biden’s foreign policy decision-making since October 7 will be disastrous for all humanity.”

The Biden administration has made tepid statements lightly criticizing Israel, and has said that Israel should not carry out attacks in Rafah, which was once deemed a “safe” area by Israeli forces. But many advocates have said Biden’s statements are totally meaningless without action like stopping the flow of weapons to Israel or placing conditions on what the weapons can be used for.

Israel has been the top recipient of U.S. foreign aid since World War II, and reports have found that a huge proportion of the munitions that Israel has used on Gaza were from the U.S. At the same time, the White House has helped Israel to access a “free-flowing pipeline” of weapons while planning to send yet more arms without oversight from Congress or the public.

Numerous policy experts, human rights advocates and even a federal judge have warned that U.S. officials are risking complicity in genocide and are breaking a number of U.S. laws aimed at preventing U.S. aid from being used to commit human rights abuses. In a letter this week, Veterans for Peace highlighted six laws that the group believes the administration is in violation of with its arms transfers to Israel.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) said that Biden and his administration are putting themselves “at serious risk of prosecution by the International Criminal Court” with their backing of Israel.

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