“We live under a cultural elite that sees genocidal intent where it doesn’t exist, and ignores it where it does.”
So let me get this right. If Israel bombs Hamas targets in Gaza, it is recklessly endangering civilian life. But if it gives civilians fair warning to move away from certain areas, it is engaging in ethnic cleansing. If it drops bombs in built-up suburbs, it is committing a war crime. But if it advises civilians to leave those built-up suburbs before the bombs come, it is also committing a war crime. If it attacks northern Gaza, that’s genocide. Yet when it tells the civilians of northern Gaza to leave first, that’s ‘forced transfer’, which is to say: genocide.
Everything Israel does is a war crime. Everything. Killing civilians – war crime. Trying not to kill civilians – war crime. Bombing populated areas – war crime. Giving a population time to leave before dropping bombs – war crime. The surrealism of these screams of ‘genocide!’ every time an Israeli soldier so much as picks up his gun was brought home by two headlines in the Independent last week, published just 10 hours apart. Israel is engaged in ‘collective punishment in Gaza’, claimed the first. ‘Israel accused of “trying to ethnically cleanse Gaza Strip” as one million ordered to evacuate’, said the second.
Got that, Israel? ‘Punish’ Palestinians and you’re a criminal. Do everything in your power to avoid ‘punishing’ Palestinians and you’re still a criminal. I’m starting to Wish the Israel-haters would just say what they mean with their entire chest: ‘Let yourselves be killed, Jews. Don’t fight back. Don’t do anything at all.’
The twists in the public discussion of Israel’s military response to Hamas’s recent act of unspeakable barbarism have been extraordinary. It was predictable, given the Israelophobic myopia of the West’s cultural elites, that Israel would be damned the minute it took action against the neo-fascists who had just executed the worst act of anti-Semitic savagery since the Holocaust. All the usual accusations were made. Israel’s missile strikes add up to ‘collective punishment’. Israel is using ‘genocidal language’. It is committing ‘war crimes’. It is ‘breaking international law’. Etc etc. One is forced to wonder what kind of messed-up law prevents the victims of racist slaughter from pursuing their killers.