Israel Says It's Anti-Semitic To Invoke The Genocide Convention Over Gaza
South Africa has invoked the Genocide Convention, formally launching a case at the UN’s international court of justice accusing Israel of genocide for its mass atrocities in the Gaza Strip. Israel immediately responded by (deep sigh) accusing South Africa of “blood libel”.
Blood libel, for those who don’t know, refers to the way medieval Europeans would falsely accuse Jews of murdering Christians in blood sacrifices in order to justify persecuting them. Which is to say, Israel has responded to South Africa’s accusations by accusing South Africa of anti-semitism.
False accusations of anti-semitism are all Israel and its defenders have left. It’s the only tool left in their toolbox. Once you’ve exhausted the “But Hamas!” and “But October 7!” excuses they make for Israel’s deliberate butchery of civilians via airstrikes and siege warfare, false accusations of hating Jews is all that remains.
And it’s so sick, because it exploits a healthy impulse in those of us who oppose racism and genocide, and does so in order to defend racist acts of genocide. It causes people who care deeply about human rights to take a step back and say “Hold on, am I guilty of embodying the same hateful prejudices which led to the Holocaust?” and shuts us down and shuts us up, even as Israel rolls out its own holocaust against Palestinians.
It exploits a noble, healthy inclination we cultivate in ourselves in good faith in order to support the horrific genocidal nightmare in Gaza in entirely bad faith. It exploits our good nature to advance a profoundly evil cause. It’s despicable. It’s depraved.
Israel apologists always speak as though all critics of Israel are constantly obsessing over Jews, when nothing remotely like that is happening. It’s a fantasy. The only reason people like me ever make any mention of Jewishness is because 90 percent of the arguments made by Israel’s defenders rely on babbling about Jews and antisemitism, and those arguments need to be addressed.
If Israel’s defenders weren’t constantly babbling about Jews and antisemitism, it would never even occur to me to think about those things in relation to what’s happening in Gaza, and I’m quite sure the vast majority of people on my side of this issue are the same. When you see mass atrocities of unfathomable horror unfolding in real time in a nonstop deluge of video and photo evidence, the very last thing on your mind is what religious faith the perpetrators espouse. It’s not something normal people think about.
Throughout my life I’ve had a positive view of Jews and Jewish culture because so many of the people I’ve admired and been influenced by have been Jewish, but other than that it’s not something that I’ve really thought about much. This notion that opposition to the criminality of the Israeli government is driven by a demented hatred of Jewish people is a complete work of fiction. People in our society simply do not feel that way about Jews. Real antisemitism does exist, but it’s a small fringe view. Normal people just want the mass slaughter of children and the ethnic cleansing to stop.
If I saw someone murdering a child, there are many things I might say and do, but the very last thing that would ever occur to me would be to wonder what religion he is. It’s the silliest, most nonsensical narrative in mainstream politics and media today.
And that’s why fewer and fewer people are buying it. There’s only so many times the boy can falsely cry wolf before the villagers stop running to his defense. Hopefully this desensitization that Israel and its apologists have created doesn’t have dark consequences in the future. It’s just one more ugly thing they have birthed into the world that the rest of us will have to bring consciousness to.
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