No signs of logic. Figuratively.

Tim Wessel believes he's cleverly posed a gotcha-question when he asks, "Can it be 'genocide' when the population of Gaza has essentially tripled in the last 25 years?"

Yes. Yes, it can.

Would Wessel argue that the Holocaust wasn't a genocide if it was found that the Jewish population in Germany increased prior to the Holocaust? Of course he wouldn't. Population growth has nothing to do with the crimes against humanity inflicted on a people.

The U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

The Convention identifies the intention and actions of the perpetrators as the criteria for determining whether a genocide is occurring - regardless of population growth in the decades preceding a genocide.

Similar arguments about Palestinian population growth have been used to justify Israel's continuous, decades-long slaughter of Palestinians - what some Israeli officials have euphemistically referred to as "mowing the grass."

Wessel's commentary is a grim reminder that dehumanizing and racist thinking is alive and well. Accusations of genocide are a serious matter - as should be apparent from the meticulous arguments brought before the International Court of Justice and the Court's careful deliberations.

So when people like Wessel trot out farcical arguments, it cheapens the conversation.

Aidan Smith

Washington, D.C.

This letter to the editor was submitted to The Commons.

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