UN Experts and more than 800 international law and genocide scholars have characterized Israel’s current military assault on Gaza as giving rise to a risk of, or even amounting to an unfolding, genocide, defined by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and Rome Statute as certain acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” Legal experts have also provided detailed opinions on this question in the context of litigation that has been commenced in the United States, alleging that US officials have breached their duty to act to prevent genocide. That includes an opinion from Canadian academic William Schabas, widely recognized to be one of the world’s leading legal authorities with respect to genocide..
…As stated by Richard Falk, Albert G Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967: “In the end, we are left with the imperative of protecting free speech, especially in calling genocide genocide, and with a challenge to take all responsible action to end this scourge by actions that go beyond words of lament and condemnation, and consider what forms of boycott, divestment, and sanctions can be brought to bear to stop genocide in Gaza.”
The treatment of Palestinian rights advocacy as hateful, racist, discriminatory, defamatory, or otherwise wrongful inverts both fact and law. When such advocacy calls for action to address ongoing gross violations of the international protected rights of Palestinians, including with respect to apartheid and genocide, and draws attention to Canada’s continuing abdication of its international legal obligations, far from being restricted or limited, speech of that nature should be respected and protected.