‘Not genocide’: Biden rejects anti-Israel claims
U.S. President Joe Biden signs the guestbook at the Israeli president’s residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.

“Contrary to allegations against Israel made by the International Court of Justice, what’s happening is not genocide,” the president said at the White House celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month.

By Andrew Bernard
May 20, 2024

(JNS) In his remarks at the White House celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month, U.S. President Joe Biden rejected claims made at The Hague that Israel is committing “genocide.”

“Contrary to allegations against Israel made by the International Court of Justice, what’s happening is not genocide,” Biden said on Monday, speaking from the White House Rose Garden. “We reject that.”

In December, South Africa filed an application to the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza. In January, the court ruled that it was “plausible” that Palestinians had rights under the Genocide Convention. 

It made no ruling, as South Africa had charged, on whether the Jewish state had committed genocide, though many anti-Israel activists have falsely claimed otherwise.

Biden administration officials have previously said that the administration does not have any evidence that Israel is committing genocide, but Biden’s statement on Monday is one of the most full-throated rejections of those claims yet from Washington.

Biden also slammed the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court who announced on Monday that he was seeking arrest warrants for both Israeli and Hamas leaders.

“We reject the ICC’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders,” Biden said. “Whatever these warrants may imply, there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas. It’s clear Israel wants to do all it can to ensure civilian protection.”

“We will always stand with Israel in threats against its security,” he added.

Despite the administration’s opposition to a large-scale military operation in the south Gaza city of Rafah, where Hamas leaders like Yahya Sinwar are thought to be hiding, Biden said that Washington remains committed to defeating Hamas.

“We stand with Israel to take out Sinwar and the rest of the butchers of Hamas,” Biden said. “We want Hamas defeated. We’ll work with Israel to make that happen.”

“Consistent with Jewish values and compassion, kindness and dignity of human life, my team also is providing critical humanitarian assistance to help innocent Palestinian civilians who are suffering greatly because of the war Hamas has unleashed,” he said.

Biden also welcomed Rachel Goldberg and Jon Polin, whose son Hersh Goldberg-Polin Hamas terrorists took hostage on Oct. 7 at the Nova music festival.

“I pledge to both of you, and I mean it, and I know you know, Mom, but I mean it, that I will not rest until we bring your loved one home,” Biden said. “We gotta bring him home.”

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