Thursday, February 08, 2024

The Genocide Charge Against Israel: What Is the Difference Between War and Genocide in the First Place?

In recent decades, as many as three million people perished in a famine in North Korea that was mainly government-induced 

writes in a New York Times column entitled The Genocide Charge Against Israel Is a Moral Obscenity:

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians were gassed, bombed, starved or tortured to death by the Assad regime, and an estimated 14 million were forced to flee their homes. China has put more than a million Uyghurs through gulag-like re-education camps in a thinly veiled attempt to suppress and erase their religious and cultural identity.

But North Korea, Syria and China have never been charged with genocide at the International Court of Justice. Israel has. How curious. And how obscene.

It’s obscene because it politicizes our understanding of genocide, fatally eroding the moral power of the term. The war between Israel and Hamas is terrible — as is every war. But if this is genocide, what word do we have for the killing fields in Cambodia, Stalin’s Holodomor in Ukraine, the Holocaust itself?

Words that come to mean much more than originally intended eventually come to mean almost nothing at all — a victory for future génocidaires who’d like the world to think there’s no moral or legal difference between one kind of killing and another.

It’s obscene because it perverts the definition of genocide, which is precise: “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” 

 … If Israel were trying to commit genocide, it wouldn’t be putting its soldiers at risk or allowing humanitarian relief to arrive from Egypt or withdrawing many of its forces from Gaza. It would simply be killing Palestinians everywhere, in vastly greater numbers, as Germans killed Jews or Hutus killed Tutsis.

It’s obscene because it puts the wrong party in the dock. Hamas is a genocidal organization by conviction and design. Its founding charter calls for Israel to be “obliterated” and for Muslims to kill Jews as they “hide behind stones and trees.” On Oct. 7, Hamas murdered, mutilated, tortured, incinerated, raped or kidnapped everyone it could. Had it not been stopped it would not have stopped. One of its leaders has since vowed to do it “a second, a third, a fourth” time.

It’s Hamas, not Israel, that started the war, keeps it going, and would resume it the moment it has the arsenal and the opportunity.

It’s obscene because it validates Hamas’s illegal and barbaric strategy of hiding between, behind and beneath Palestinian civilians. From the beginning of the war, Hamas has had a double aim: to kill as many Jews as possible, and to incur Palestinian fatalities to gain international sympathy and diplomatic leverage.

 … It’s obscene because it’s historically hypocritical. The United States, Britain and other allied nations killed a staggering number of German and Japanese civilians on the path to defeating the regimes that had started World War II — often known as the Good War. Events such as the bombings of Dresden or Tokyo, to say nothing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were tragic and far more indiscriminate than anything Israel stands accused of doing. But no serious person holds Franklin Roosevelt to be on a moral par with Adolf Hitler. What the Allies did were acts of war in the service of a lasting peace, not genocide in the service of a fanatical aim.

The difference? In war, the killing ends when one side stops fighting. In a genocide, that’s when the killing begins.

Related — To Peacenik Protesters Everywhere (Pro-Palestinian or Other): The People that Hamas Slaughtered Mercilessly at Israel's Rave — They Are YOU! has also penned Abolish the U.N.’s Palestinian Refugee Agency
and, on a more personal note, Why I Can’t Stop Writing About Oct. 7.


MacD said...

20k dead women and children disagree. The most jewish thing I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

Nanjing atrocities = Meetinghouse responses. Don't start a war.