Yves here. While Varoufakis’ sentiment is commendable, and expressed forcefully and cogently…what can ordinary citizens do? Protesting in major cities around the world does tell politicians around the world they will be held accountable at voting time. But Israel has been targeting journalists and UN workers in Gaza, with no apparent consequences.
The reality is that Israel will be stopped in Gaza only by force or perhaps by its campaign against Hamas becoming so costly that it has to back off….but how much civilian slaughter might happen before then?The Muslim countries nearby have the ability to defeat Israel in a conventional war, but are leery of setting off a regional conflagration, and have good reason to believe Israel would launch a nuclear attack if it were losing too badly. Admittedly, Scott Ritter argues that the war is already going badly for Isreal Hezbollah and other Resistance elements are engaging in a slow and not well covered program of escalation that is already cost the Israel economy bigly. So perhaps things are not as dire as they appear now. But even so, a lot of Gaza citizens look set to die.
By Yanis Varoufakis. Originally published on his website
A genocide of Palestinians is happening in Gaza now, in tandem with Israel’s methodically opportunistic ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. We are here because our humanity is being tested – because future generations will censure us for letting the death count exceed 10 thousand, mostly children and women. We are here because, when our grandchildren ask us “Where were you during the mass murder of Palestinians in 2023?” there will be no hiding behind excuses such as “we did not know”.
We do know! Our governments know. Everyone knows because the official representatives of the State of Israel proclaim proudly and openly their genocidal intent. Was it not Israel’s Prime Minister who quoted biblical scripture to justify the wiping out of Gazan Palestinians? Are key ministries of the state of Israel not being run by fundamentalist extremists peddling what can only be described as Messianic visions of a land from the river to the sea delivered fully into the hands of settlers, emptied of Palestinians? No. No one can feign ignorance anymore.
This is why we are here. To tell our rulers:
Enough! Put an end to the slaughter or the slaughtered will haunt you in your sleep till the end of your days.
Enough! We shall never let you forget that you are aiding and abetting Crimes-Against-Humanity, even if the International Criminal Court disgraces itself by staying quiet.
But, friends, to be on the right side of humanism, we need to be clear on who humanity’s enemy here is: It is not the people of Israel, for they suffer too. It is not the Jews outside of Israel – in the same way that the British Empire’s atrocities in Kenya and in India were not the doing of the majority of Britons who also suffered violence and expropriation under the same British authorities – and in the same way that our Israeli friends and comrades are suffocating today under Israel’s apartheid apparatus.
To drive this point home, allow me a personal note. Back in 2015, while fighting the financial oligarchy during my brief tenure as my Greece’s finance minister, an oligarchic newspaper thought they diminished me with a cartoon that depicted me as a Shylock-like figure. What these idiots did not realise was that trying to tarnish my image by likening me to a Jew was, and remains, a badge of honour.
Whenever an antisemite bundles me together with a people who have suffered racism for so long so very bravely, I feel deeply flattered. As long as a single Jew feels threatened by antisemitism, I shall carry the Star of David, eager and ready to be counted as a Jew.
At the same time, as long as a single Palestinian is terrorised, deprived of water, bombed, maimed or killed, I shall wear the Palestinian flag as a symbol of solidarity with a people living in an Apartheid state built by reactionary Israelis damaging my Jewish and Arab brothers and sisters, and stoking the fires of racism – which, ironically, always forge a steelier variety of antisemitism.
Here is a question for well-meaning people who think that centuries of pogroms against Jews, culminating into the uniquely evil Holocaust, make it incumbent upon us to defend Israel come what may:
How far must Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians proceed before our utterly justified collective guilt over the Holocaust no longer prevents us from confronting Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians?
- Until the last Palestinian is killed or exiled?
- Is this the legacy we want to leave behind those of us genuinely opposing antisemitism in all its forms?
- Does ANYONE think that our guilt over the Holocaust can be washed clean with Palestinian blood? I don’t believe so.
And now a message to those for whom Hamas’ atrocities justify all atrocities Israel, supported by the West, inflict on the Palestinian people.
Have we not learned the lessons of recent history? The undisputed fact that Saddam, Qaddafi and the Taliban were bloodthirsty tyrants was a terrible reason to invade, and to bomb to smithereens, the people of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.
Consider also this: What if Hamas had never existed? What is the Palestinians’ representatives recognised Israel and laid down their arms? What would be happening now? No need to speculate. Just look at the West Bank where there is no Hamas and where the Palestinian Authority cooperates with Israel: Mass murders, evictions, collective humiliation, Apartheid methods, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the West Bank. Clearly, focusing on Hamas’ atrocities is a cheap trick for ignoring the true cause of this endless, one-sided crime against the Palestinian people.
Meanwhile our established parties of government, if pressed, will tell you that their idea of a peaceful future is the Two State Solution. They are lying! They know that Netanyahu’s life aim was always to make the Two State Solution impossible & ethnic cleansing permanent – an aim that Europe, Britain and the United States allowed him to fulfil – a great gift to Hamas who use the Palestinians’ ongoing suffering as an excuse for their inexcusable atrocities. At that point our Western rulers condemn Hamas and back Netanyahu to kill off the leftovers of the Two State Solution with far worse atrocities whose ultimate victim is the West’s Two State Solution. And that’s how Netanyahu’s and the Israeli racist fundamentalists’ plan to destroy the Two State Solution is implemented. With our Western leaders’ consent!
That’s why we are here. Because our Western rulers are a clear and present danger for World Peace. What should be done now? Four things to begin with.
- An immediate ceasefire.
- The release of all hostages, Hamas’ and the thousands held by Israel.
- An arms embargo and commercial sanctions on Israel.
- The immediate recognition, symbolic but crucial, of a Palestinian State across all the lands Israel occupies since 1967.
- And, of course, a Peace Process, under the United Nations, supported by a commitment by the International Community to end Apartheid and to safeguard Equal Civil Liberties for All – whether as part of two multi-ethnic states or one common secular one.
Our rulers will not push for any of this. This is why we are here. This is why you are here.
When the rulers fail History, it is the People who must make History.
I salute you all. Carpe DiEM!