By The Meridian editor.
The Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies hosted its event “Justice and Impunity in the Aftermath of Genocide” in the Library Atrium on Tuesday.
The event featured two speakers: José Carlos Marroquín, a Guatemalan journalist and publisher of newspaper La Hora who was a consultant at the anti-corruption work for the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, and Uriel Levy, an Israeli activist and director of Combat Genocide Association.
They spoke about the work they have done to educate the public about genocide and how to stop it.
“It is an international crime. There should be an international punishment,” said Marroquín. “International organizations like the UN need to stop being such a bunch bureaucrats always looking for the paycheck.
During his presentation, Levy went over the work of the Combat Genocide Association to raise awareness about the genocides that happened in Burundi, Rwanda, and Sudan.
“Every genocide was denied by the people who did it,” he said. Then, when asked what was his organization’s position on the situation in Palestine, Levy said, “There’s in no genocide going on Palestine. What is going on Palestine is a conflict, not a genocide.”
Later in the talk, Marroquín stood up to address this question. “The point that a conflict is not a genocide was also used in Guatemala,” he told Levy and the audience.
Marroquín admitted that like in Guatemala, where the government organized Maya communities against each other, the situation could be complex. However, he said that the issue should be investigated and addressed, and not simply denied.
Levy, who is also the son of a Holocaust Survivor and who served in the Israeli army for three and a half years, later said that genocide happens between an armed group against an unarmed group.
As a soldier we witnessed the Israeli settlements but said that most of the people that were arrested were the Jewish settlers and that the Israeli army was protecting the Palestinians.
According to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, reports that from September 2000 to the end of 2012 Israeli deaths numbered 1,097. Palestinian deaths numbered 6,633.
The Combat Genocide Association has three guiding principles. The first is to preserve the Israeli state as “both Jewish and democratic country,” the second is to protect refugees fleeing into Israel without violating first principle, and the third is that the Israeli government will take responsibility of the refugees.