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"Genocide" has never meant "a crime comparable in magnitude to the murder of the European Jews" and I hope it never does. It is true that when Raphael Lemkin coined the term, he was motivated by the Armenian and Jewish cases. But the standard he lobbied for was largely the same as the one actually adopted in the Genocide Convention - except for "political killing" and "cultural destruction; the USSR objected to the 1st and the erstwhile colonial powers of Europe to the 2nd.

The Genocide Convention's definition of genocide has two parts, a condition on *intent* to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, and a definition of the *actions* motivated by that intent*, any *one* of which constitutes genocide (copied from Wikipedia, but I know they are correct):

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

— Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article 2

* note that the standard of proof for "intent" is not telepathy; you don't have to look into the perpetrators' innermost souls to divine what they "really" thought. Public statements suggesting a wish that the targeted group should not exist are enough.

This definition is narrower than Lemkin had conceived; in fact, he was particulary exercised by psychological acts of genocide.

Anyway, it is self-evident that scale is not part of the test. For instance, Russia's current actions in Ukraine are indisputably genocidal: intent is broadcast nightly on state TV and we have firm evidence that they are guilty of all five genocidal actions, never mind just one. Yet I am fairly confident that many fewer Ukrainians have been killed than Armenians, so far.

So what about Israel? To the best of my curren knowledge, this an unproven claim, but it is not facially absurd, as you and Noah seem to think. It is what the lawyers call "a colourable case". The intent is not so well established here, but it isn't completely absent either. Timothy Snyder has promised to write on the issue once he is done with the 14th amendment stuff, and I am interested to learn what he has to say.

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