Gazacaust: Placing the Blame Where It Belongs

“Israel has Absolutely No Legitimate Case Whatsoever for Its Attacks on Gaza”

Question 1: The ICJ Genocide Ruling

In your opinion, is the ICJ’s ‘genocide’ ruling convincing or overstated?

Ron Unz—From the beginning I’ve been extremely reluctant to characterize the Israeli attack on Gaza as being a “genocide” because use of that term has become so wildly inflated and distorted in recent years, converted by dishonest Western governments and their mainstream media lackeys into a propaganda-weapon used to vilify countries whose governments they seek to undermine. Jews, Nazis, and Israe... Unz, Ron Buy New $18.00 (as of 11:31 UTC - Details)

Most people understand “genocide” to mean killing a large fraction of a given population group as part of an effort aimed at total extermination. But in early 2021, the outgoing Trump Administration and incoming Biden officials both publicly declared that the Chinese government was committing a “genocide” against the Uighur people of Xinjiang Province despite failing to provide any evidence that any significant number of Uighurs had actually been killed, and the media heavily promoted those accusations. If the bipartisan political leaders of America and our complicit mainstream media can declare a “genocide” without any apparent killings, the word has become so totally corrupted that I’m loath to consider using it.

However, in a strictly technical sense this ridiculous situation is actually possible. The term “genocide” was originally invented around 1944 by a Jewish propagandist named Raphael Lemkin, who used it as a means of stigmatizing and vilifying Nazi Germany. The beginning of the lengthy Wikipedia article on Genocide explains how the definition soon officially adopted by the UN included situations involving few if any actual killings:

In 1948, the United Nations Genocide Convention defined genocide as any of five “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. These five acts were: killing members of the group, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, imposing living conditions intended to destroy the group, preventing births, and forcibly transferring children out of the group. Victims are targeted because of their real or perceived membership of a group, not randomly.

Given the nebulous definition of causing “serious bodily or mental harm,” leftist academics over the decades have often denounced “cultural genocide,” in which a government uses its power to assimilate a minority group into the language and cultural practices of the majority. For example, a century ago Canada established a system of residential public schools to teach English and modern lifestyles to Amerindian children from deprived tribal backgrounds. At the time, the policy was considered a benign, enlightened effort to help integrate them into mainstream Canadian society, but in recent years, that educational project has been denounced as “cultural genocide.”

Confronting Russia and... Unz, Ron Buy New $15.99 (as of 09:32 UTC - Details) One obvious problem with this very expansive definition of “genocide” is that it includes far too many historical cases. Used in such a broad fashion, there may have been many dozens or even hundreds of different “genocides” around the world over the last decade or two, and if everything is a “genocide” then nothing is a “genocide,” with the powerful political term drained of any impact.

However, despite all those serious concerns, I do think that the Israeli military actions in Gaza have been so extreme, so indiscriminate, and so massive that they fall into an entirely different category. Nearly 70% of the Gazans killed have been women or children, a demographic profile very close to that of the general Gaza population. Since Hamas consists entirely of adult males, this indicates that nearly all the deaths have been those of unarmed civilians, which is almost unprecedented in military conflicts over the last few decades.

However, such carnage is hardly surprising given Israel’s enormously heavy bombardment of that very densely populated urban center with the largest unguided bombs in its arsenal. After less than one month, the Israelis had already dropped more explosives than the tonnage corresponding to the nuclear weapons used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and they have accelerated their attacks since then, destroying 100,000 local buildings and rendering nearly two million Gazans homeless.

By early December, the Financial Times reported that the destruction inflicted upon defenseless northern Gaza after just seven weeks of Israeli attacks was similar to that suffered by the worst-hit German cities after years of Allied carpet-bombing during World War II, an astonishing comparison.

The obvious Israeli intent has been to render Gaza totally uninhabitable and kill enough Gazans to drive them out into the Sinai desert, thereby allowing the Israelis to annex the land as many of their political leaders have proposed. The South African legal case filed before the ICJ included 90-odd pages quoting numerous top Israeli political and military leaders who publicly declared their explicitly genocidal plans towards the Palestinians of Gaza, and their attacks over the last four months have certainly amounted to the greatest televised slaughter of helpless civilians in the history of the world.

Under such a combination of facts, I think it was very reasonable for the near-unanimous ICJ ruling that there was strong evidence that the Gazans were at serious risk of suffering a potential genocide at the hands of the Israelis. The Israeli government itself appointed one of the ICJ judges hearing the case, selecting a former chief justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, but he voted along with the other justices that the Israeli government must take all measures to prevent and punish incitement to genocide against the Palestinians of Gaza.

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