Did Israel violate the Genocide Convention by forcing contraceptives on Ethiopian women?

After initial denials, Israel has admitted that medical authorities have been giving Ethiopian women long-term contraceptive drugs and it has been alleged that this was done without the women’s consent.

If the allegations are proven, this practice may fit the legal definition of genocide.

The government has now ordered clinics not to renew prescriptions for the long-acting injectable contraceptive drug Depo-Provera “for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”

Allegations of coercion and threats

In some cases, the drugs were reportedly administered to women waiting in transit camps for permission to emigrate to Israel. The women’s allegations, reported by Haaretz, are shocking:

“We said we won’t have the shot. They told us, if you don’t you won’t go to Israel And also you won’t be allowed into the Joint (American Joint Distribution Committee) office, you won’t get aid or medical care. We were afraid… We didn’t have a choice. Without them and their aid we couldn’t leave there. So we accepted the injection. It was only with their permission that we were allowed to leave,” recounted Emawayish, who immigrated from Ethiopia eight years ago. She was one of 35 women, whose stories were recorded by Sebba Reuven, that relate how they were coaxed and threatened into agreeing to receive the injectable birth control drug.

Dramatic decline in Ethiopian birthrate

The journalistic investigation was prompted by a precipitious decline in the birth rate among Ethiopian women in Israel:

About six weeks ago, on an Educational Television program journalist Gal Gabbay revealed the results of interviews with 35 Ethiopian immigrants. The women’s testimony could help explain the almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community.

The Genocide convention

From The Independent:

Sharona Eliahu Chai, a lawyer for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), said: “Findings from investigations into the use of Depo Provera are extremely worrisome, raising concerns of harmful health policies with racist implications in violation of medical ethics. The Ministry of Health’s director-general was right to act quickly and put forth new guidelines.”

But if indeed the goal of those who administered the program was to target Ethiopian women, and to reduce the number of births they have, then the policy may be a crime under Article II(d) of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(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.

Reasonable suspicion

If the coercive contraception program were administered against women in general, it would be unethical and abhorrent, but it can only be genocidal if it is done “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.”

In this case, there is no allegation that the policy was employed against anyone except Ethiopian women. That would be one indication of targeting.

These Ethiopian women emigrated to Israel under the “Law of Return,” Israel’s racist policy to only allow those it considers Jews into the country, while keeping out indigenous Palestinians.

But remember, Israeli officials and state rabbis long delayed or denied entry to tens of thousands of Ethiopians whose Jewishness did not meet official standards.

In the early 1990s, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir accused thousands of Ethiopians of secretly being Christians.

Ethiopians, even those who came under the Law of Return and are recognized as Jews, have faced a long, documented history of state and societal discrimination including being forced to attend segregated schools.

Anti-African incitement from the top

The forced contraception has also come to light at a time when anti-African incitement and violence, stoked by Israeli leaders, has reached unprecedented proportions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has also served as health minister throughout his term of office, and is therefore personally accountable for the policy, stated last year that African migrants “threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state.”

So the atmosphere in Israel is one in which hatred and incitement targeting Africans in general is rife and encouraged by authorities.

Israel unlikely to discourage Jewish births in general

It would also be illogical that Israel would institute a general birth control policy for women it recognizes as Jewish. Israel has no interest in decreasing childbirths by Jewish women in general, and due its obsession with demography, anxiously hopes that the Jewish birthrate will accelerate and non-Jewish birthrates will slow down.

Israel’s two chief government rabbis also recently endorsed an organization that specifically opposes abortions by Jewish women and whose stated goal is “to increase the Jewish birthrate in Israel.”

But given the racism against Africans as Africans, whether Jewish or not, it is plausible that the policy was meant to target Ethiopian women.

Even if it is proven that the policy targeted Ethiopian women and was intended to prevent births among Ethiopians, Israel could argue that the policy had other goals than “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” That would require knowing the motivations of those who planned and implemented the policy.

To put it mildly, Israel does not have a strong history of investigating itself, and while genocide is a crime that any state can pursue, it is doubtful that signatories to the Convention will challenge Israel’s impunity and investigate this case.




Not surprising really, is it? They don't want any more non-Israeli jews than necessary, do they?


I don't know what you mean by non-Israeli Jewsh. Most of these people came from the former Soviet Union Europe and the US. There are some Ethiopian Jewsh also in the mix. As far as native Israelis who lived in Palestine before Israel created out of thin air, their numbers are not exactly tallied.


Wikipedia's entry on the (American Jewish) Joint Distribution Committee says:
"By 1914, approximately 59,000 Jews were living in Palestine, then under Ottoman rule. The settlement—the Yishuv—was largely made up of Jews that had emigrated from Europe"

If this is true, Palestine in 1914 had no more than 30,000 Jews who were born there.


Lest we not forget the statement published by Ma'ariv on June 1, 2012 attributed to Minister of the Interior, Eli Yishai:

"רוב האנשים שבאים הנה הם מוסלמים שחושבים שהארץ בכלל לא שייכת לנו, לאדם הלבן"

'Most of the people who come here are Muslims who think that the land doesn't even belong to us, to the white person.' (This has been mistranslated virtually all over the mainstream and social media as 'the white man.')


While Mr. Yishai was referring here to what he calls "infeltrators," i.e., mostly undocumented migrant workers, it is crucial to note that he stresses that for him, it is obvious that Israel is a country for white people. This is, of course, quite ironic, given that Jews of Yemeni and North African descent such as himself have often been ridiculed as being "blacks," especially before Israel knew immigration of even darker-skinned communities such as the Ethiopian Jews. But regardless of this, Yishai leaves no room for doubt: if you're not white, Israel is not your home.


The artificially created "state of israel" has no right to exist as a racist jewish state on many levels, not the least of which is racism against African jews!


"They told us, if you don’t [have the shot] you won’t go to Israel And also you won’t be allowed into the Joint (American Joint Distribution Committee) office, you won’t get aid or medical care."

It seems the full name is American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, headquartered in New York. It's a 501(c) nonprofit organization, i.e., it has tax-exempt and charitable status, very likely allowing it to enable tax deductions to donors. Effectively, this means it benefits from U.S. tax dollars.

So the United States will fund birth control abroad, as long as it limits births among Africans.


An "almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate" is an unprecedented decline for such a short period.

Although global birth rates (particularly in developed countries) have been falling steadily over decades, to approach anywhere near a 50% decline requires radical social engineering like population control or eugenics policies. Even major catastrophic events like wars, natural disasters, famines, disease may only cause a temporary impact on the birth rate of an affected population.

To put this into perspective, the following statistics* for crude birth rates (births per 1,000 total population) are provided for comparison:

World: 21.16 in 2002 to 19.14 in 2012 = a decline of 9.5%
Ethiopia: 44.31 in 2002 to 42.59 in 2012 = a decline of 3.9%
Israel: 18.91 in 2002 to 18.97 in 2012 = an increase of 0.3%
[*] Source: indexmundi.com (based on data from CIA World Factbook)

So in a period when the overall birth rate of Israel increased marginally by 0.3%, the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community declined by a massive ~50%. In comparison, it took China# 31 years to reduce its birth rate by 33.2% from 17.82 in 1979 (start of one-child policy) to 11.90 in 2010 (its lowest birth rate).
[#] Source: wikipedia (Demographics of China)

Some thoughts that come to mind:
- Is a precipitious ~50% decline in the birth rate of Ethiopian-Israelis considered a successful demographic outcome, or is it just another eugenics crime?

- Will the same eugenics solution be used to resolve the so-called Palestinian "demographic threat" that Israeli officials claim is a threat to Israel's "Jewish and Democratic" character?

- If it took just one inquisitive journalist to uncover this decade-long crime, what did the thousands of Israeli officials and doctors -- who should have known -- do about it? (apart from help implement it)


"- Will the same eugenics solution be used to resolve the so-called Palestinian "demographic threat" that Israeli officials claim is a threat to Israel's "Jewish and Democratic" character?"
Perhaps it's not a case of "will....be", but rather, have long-term contraceptive drugs already been used on Palestinians or Israeli-Palestinians? We know that Israelis are alarmed by the Palestinian birth rate. Or are Ethiopian women used as test cases for future birth control? Nothing would surprise me.