Israel’s War on Palestine and the Global Upsurge Against It

Yves here. This Vijay Prashad article looks at the unprecedented show of outrage against Israel’s program of extermination in Palestine. Prashad connects the well-warranted disgust of people around the world to Israel’s lack of conscience and US dogged support to the question of legitimacy. It is becoming a little too obvious that brown lives do not matter to many former colonial powers.

By Vijay Prashad, an Indian historian, editor, and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is an editor of >LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He has written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations and The Poorer Nations. His latest books are Struggle Makes Us Human: Learning from Movements for Socialism and (with Noam Chomsky) The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power Produced by Globetrotter

Hundreds of millions of people across the world have been deeply moved by the atrocity of the Israeli war on Palestine. Millions have attended marches and protests, many of them participating in such demonstrations for the first time in their lives. Social media, in almost all the world’s languages, is saturated with memes and posts about this or that terrible action. Some people focus on the Israeli attack on Palestinian children, others on the illegal targeting of Gaza’s health infrastructure, and yet others point to the annihilation of at least four hundred families (more than ten people in each family killed). The focus of attention does not seem to be diminishing. Holidays in December went by, but the intensity of the protests and the posts remained steady. No attempt by social media companies to turn the algorithm against the Palestinians succeeded, no attempt to ban the protests—even the display of the Palestinian flag—worked. Accusations of antisemitism fell flat and demands for the condemnation of Hamas were dismissed. This is a new mood, a new kind of attitude toward the Palestinian struggle.

Never before in the 75 previous years has there been such sustained attention to the cause of the Palestinians and of Israeli brutality. Israel has launched eight bombing campaigns on  Gaza since 2006. . And Israel has built up an entire illegal structure against the Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank (an apartheid wall, settlements, checkpoints). When Palestinians have tried to resist—whether through civic action or armed struggle—they have faced immense violence from the Israeli military. Ever since social media has been available, images from Palestine have circulated, including of the use of white phosphorus against civilians in Gaza, and including the arrest and murder of Palestinian children across the Occupied Palestine Territory. But none of the previous acts of violence evoked the kind of response from around the world as this violence that began in October 2023.


The Israeli armed violence against Gaza since October has been in a qualitatively different form than any previous violence. The bombardment of Gaza was vicious, with Israeli aircraft hitting residential areas with no concern for civilian life. The number of dead increased day by day at a rate not seen before. Then, when Israeli ground forces entered Gaza, they effected an illegal mass eviction of the Palestinian civilians from their homes and pushed them further and further south toward the border with Egypt. The Israelis violated their own promises of “safe zones,” hitting areas more densely packed than before because of the internal displacement. It was this scale of violence that provoked an early use of the term “genocide” to describe what was happening in Gaza. By early January, more than 1 percent of the entire Palestinian population in Gaza had been killed, while over 95 percent had been displaced. The kind of violence used here was not seen in any contemporary war, neither in Iraq (where the U.S. disregarded most laws of war) nor in Ukraine (where the death toll of civilians is far smaller despite the war now lasting two years).

The momentum of mass protest pushed the government of South Africa to file a dispute in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel for the crime of genocide. Both countries are parties to the 1948 Convention Against Genocide, and the ICJ is the venue for dispute settlements. The 84-page filing by the South African government documents many of the atrocities perpetrated by Israel, and also, crucially, the words of Israeli high officials. Nine pages of this text (pp. 59 to 67) list the Israeli officials in their own words, many of them calling for a “Second Nakba” or a “Gaza Nakba,” a use of the term “Nakba” or Catastrophe that refers to the 1948 Nakba of the Palestinians from their homes that led to the creation of the State of Israel. These words are chilling, and they have been widely circulated since October. Racist language about “monsters,” “animals,” and the “jungle” shape the speeches and statements by these Israeli government officials. Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on October 9, 2023, that his forces are “imposing a complete siege on Gaza. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we are acting accordingly.” This, along with the character of the Israeli military strikes, is sufficient as a benchmark for the accusation of genocide. At the hearing at the ICJ, Israel was unable to respond credibly to the South African complaint.

It is a combination of the images from Gaza and the words of these Israeli high officials—backed fully by the United States government and many of the governments of European states—that provoked the sustained anger and desolation that has driven these mass protests.


Over the course of the past two years—from the start of the war in Ukraine until now—there has been a rapid decline in the legitimacy of the West, notably the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), led by the United States. These wars are not the cause of this drop in legitimacy, but they have accelerated the decline in the legitimacy of the NATO countries, particularly in the Global South.

Since the start of the Third Great Depression in 2007, the Global North has slowly lost its control over the world economy, over technology and science, and over raw materials. Billionaires in the Global North deepened their “tax strike” and withdrew a large share of social wealth into tax havens and into unproductive financial investments. This left the Global North with few instruments to maintain economic power, including by making investments in the Global South. That role was slowly taken up by China, which has been recycling global profits into infrastructural projects across the world. Rather than contest China’s Belt and Road Initiative, for instance, through its own commercial and economic project, the Global North has sought to militarize its response with massive spending (three-quarters of global military spending is by the NATO states). The Global North has used Ukraine and Taiwan as levers to provoke Russia and China into military conflicts so as to ‘weaken’ them rather than contest growing Russian energy power and Chinese industrial and technological power through trade and development.

It is clear to the majority of people in the world that it is the Global North that has failed to address the crises in the world, whether the climate crisis or the consequences of the Third Great Depression. It has tried to substitute a language of euphemism for reality, using terms such as “democracy promotion,” “sustainable development,” “humanitarian pause,” and—from UK Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron and Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock—the ridiculous formulation of a “sustainable ceasefire.” Empty words are no substitute for real actions. To speak of a “sustainable ceasefire” while arming Israel or to speak of “democracy promotion” while backing anti-democratic governments now defines the hypocrisy of the Global North’s political class.

The Israelis say that they will continue this genocidal war for as long as it takes. As each day goes by of this war, the legitimacy of Israel deteriorates. But behind that violence itself is the much deeper end of the legitimacy of the NATO project, whose sanctimonies sound like nails being dragged across a bloodied chalkboard.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Israel is rally going to be isolated on the international stage but they do not see it yet. India’s Modi, trying to reverse decades of Indian foreign policy, aligned himself with Israel right at the start and was ready to stand by them. Then when the consequences hit home he abandoned them as he recognized that they might become like the Ukraine – a drowning man ready to hang on to anybody near them and take them down as well. The article ‘India gets a rude awakening in West Asia’ in today’s Links talks about this total reverse course of Modi. But there are plenty of other countries that see what is going on and how the west is not only giving them diplomatic cover but also giving them the bombs to kill even more Palestinians. Plenty of people in the west – often younger ones – are also disgusted by Israel’s actions. You want to know the worse job that you can have next year? One with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. And western governments may be passing laws to make it illegal to call for a boycott of Israeli goods and services but that does not mean that they can force people to buy them. Israel as a people leapt across a boundary line and which there is no way back again and no amount of spin, pr or legal shenanigans can hide what they are doing.

    1. Susan the other

      Scott Ritter predicted this two months ago in very accurate detail. Israel and the US/UK and perhaps some embarrassing new coalition of the willing stooges will forever be branded. What would be the appropriate symbol to burn into the image of all these geopolitical sociopaths involved in this pathetic climax to the War for Oil? I can think of a few but my comment would be zapped.

      1. Rubicon

        Scott Ritter’s military mentality strongly suggests he knows nothing about who is behind this mess in Israel/Palestine and why.

        How remarkable that in 2022 Gonzalo Lira was interviewed about the motives behind the US Empire. Lira was involved in finance;he knew how it operated and was able to predict how the US Financial Empire would soon veer its power towards taking out Iran. His insights and knowledge recognized that the US Financial Hegemon would need to take out Iran in order to maintain control of the World’s Oil Market.
        It’s highly doubtful that Mr.Ritter is educated in understanding how the US’s aggressions are based on maintaining the DOLLAR system as a World Hegemon.

        1. Arcady Bogdanov

          Well, Ritter has actually connected all of those dots as well, and Ritter seems to have a little bit better grasp on the actual problem, which Lira (RIP), being a conservative, would never willingly utter: Capitalism. Capitalism is what drives all US actions. Capitalism drives all US corruption. Capitalism drives all US belligerence.
          The US will never arrest its collapse or begin a recovery until this society grasps and accepts that.
          Ritter has mentioned several times that the profit driven nature of our system is the reason all of our military equipment is garbage. He may not have made the final leap yet, but he is at least pondering it. I’ve never seen any evidence of any such awareness from Lira, as good as he was on many geopolitical facets. Dollar hegemony supports capitalism and those capitalists in control of the US, who use the US as a tool to maintain their own hegemony. The US was set up to specifically serve those capitalists in 1787 by the capitalist class of the time, while deliberately disempowering everyone else. We have always had a tyranny of a tiny minority, and we were stupid enough to fear the tyranny of our own majority when that tiny minority instructed us to do so. PR and propaganda were not invented by Bernays.
          People have been trying to explain this for 150 years now, but there is this ridiculous belief that we can just tinker with the system a bit and set it aright. All that does is wind the timer back a little bit. The incentives in a capitalist system will always push us to where we are right now: a society that is a pressure cooker fueled by fascism, corruption, violence, and gigantic ever increasing mass of people with less and less to lose with each passing day.
          I sincerely hope I live long enough to witness the reckoning that is the only answer to our problems and that is our only hope for Justice, imo.

        2. Anon

          Interesting you say that, as today I watched a video of him detailing precisely that, you can skip to about 5:46… Ritter may be a hothead, but I have observed his confidence is a result of competence, and your doubts are misplaced. His demeanor also appears the result of his suffering significant persecution as a truth-teller. We all deal with such in different ways; and I doubt Ritter smokes cigarettes.

          Rest In Power Gonzalo.

        3. disillusionized

          The sad fact is; there is no master plan.
          Just a bunch of cliques pushing their “solutions” onto politicians who hasn’t yet cottoned on to the fact that there are limits to US (and western) power.

          As for this mess: it’s Hamas acting in the interest of Hamas. It’s fairly clear there was no co-ordination with Iran/Hezbolla.
          Israels reaction is driven by the large section of it, that would have wanted to do it on the 5th of October and who now have the rest of the country behind them in this genocide.
          The chosen people must have their lebensraum. There you have the master plan; the only restraint is PR, domestic and international.

        4. Don

          Dumping on Ritter seems to have become fashionable — and I seem to have missed the reason behind the trend…

  2. Es s Ce tera

    It’s also the legitimacy of the holocaust itself being called into question. If what Israel is doing isn’t genocide then neither was the holocaust, and nor is there any such thing as genocide. This is a decisive moment for the world, either genocide is a real thing, to be stopped, or the precedent is set that it is not. For anyone outraged by the holocaust, it would be self-contradiction to deny this is a genocide.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It is noteworthy that several countries have made it illegal to question the holocaust and will throw you in prison for doing so if need be. Yes, it was industrial-scale genocide but it wasn’t the first nor the last genocide. Where is the sympathy and recognition for the Cambodian genocide for example? But in Gaza right now, the shades of the SS men must be looking on and nodding their heads knowingly.

    2. Carolinian

      The motto “never again” doesn’t have much legitimacy if it’s happening again by the people who say never again. But the truth is that Zionism was never about the Holocaust anyway although it claimed to be about the Cossack pogroms, Dreyfuss affair, and other pre Nazi instances of Jewish persecution. What’s striking about the above post is how often the word “legitimacy” is used when for the Israeli leaders who so aspire to join the empire club the real concern is the “credibility” of their power. This is not to say they are worse than any other government including our own in Vietnam, Iraq, now Ukraine but rather that their insistence on “exceptionalism” is what really lacks credibility. They pretend to be moral. We pretend to believe them.

      Power is a kind of mind disease that always defeats itself but the question is how many bodies under the bridge before that happens. In a nuclear age neurosis has become quite dangerous for everyone–the planet even.

    3. Kouros

      Israel’s argument is that because there are no gas chambers and furnaces eliminating Palestinians, it is not a genocide…

  3. thoughtfulperson

    I appreciated reading this article. It is good that it is becoming clear that elites in the West have been morally bankrupt for some time. The news blackout in Western media is slowly being overcome

    I would like to start seeing statistics for excess deaths in Gaza. It seems to me that the strategy of the Israeli far right govt is to use starvation and disease, as opposed to bullets and bombs, as the most effective tools of the genocide they are attempting. Thus the banning of shippments of food, the destruction of the healthcare system.

    1. Kouros

      And how would you like the excess deaths reported? Standardized by age and sex? Potential Years of Live Lost?

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        i think that Thoughtful is talking about how israel opted for means other than bullets and bombs as a way of covering their tracks…plausible deniability.
        and excess deaths would be a method for uncovering that…in the same way its shone a bit of light on the covid problem.
        of course, at issue is how to collect that data in such a place and in such conditions.
        does the world have enough forensic archaologists for that task?

      2. Uncle Doug

        “And how would you like the excess deaths reported? Standardized by age and sex? Potential Years of Live Lost?”

        Those and more would be valuable statistics. Perhaps you don’t understand the meaning of and uses for excess death calculations.

        1. Kouros

          Oh, I understand the meaning very well.

          But I find it a bit pedantic, since over 99% of deaths presently happening in Gaza are untimely deaths. Death count should suffice.

        2. Anon

          I think they would prefer it not be necessary to count the living as dead; perhaps by halting the genocide. The original post (and subsequent comments) are a bit academic, considering.

    2. clarky90

      Hunger disease. Studies by the Jewish physicians in the Warsaw Ghetto
      No authors listed
      PMID: 535412
      No abstract available


      “Shortly before the final liquidation of the ghetto in 1943, the manuscript was smuggled out. It was entrusted to a woman who acted as liaison with the “Arian” side. She handed it out together with a letter from the editorial committee to Professor Witold Orlowski, chairman of the department of medicine at a university hospital outside the ghetto in Warsaw. Professor Orlowski said, “I did not ask her name. In those days, knowledge of it might have been dangerous to her or to those who sent her.” The letter asked him to preserve the manuscript and have it published after the war if none of the researchers retrieved it. He did so. After the Germans had been driven out of Warsaw, one of the few surviving researchers, Dr. Emil Apfelbaum, reclaimed the typescript from its hiding place and passed it on in 1945 to the American Joint Distribution Committee. The entire manuscript was published in 1979 by John Wiley and Sons under the title…
      …….. ”

      Hunger Disease: Studies by the Jewish Physicians in the Warsaw Ghetto.”

  4. JW

    The most critical thing that needs to be done at this juncture is to end the global dominance of ‘the west’ lead by the USA and its appalling sibling, the UK.. This is a PRE REQUISITE for peace. Climate Change and world poverty will not be addressed until we have rid our planet of this monstrosity. Supporting Israeli genocide to the hilt exposes just how far they will go to hang on. At the same time its monstrous crimes isolate it. How dare these people accuse Russia of genocide in Ukraine!

    1. Joe Well

      How does supporting the genocide of the Palestinians help US hegemony? It is having the opposite effect.

      As this site has pointed out over and over again, the decline of US hegemony is happening in real time and is mostly self-inflicted. Most elites around the world seemed to have been counting on a more managed decline of US hegemony.

      1. JonnyJames

        Since the oligarchy has Congress bought and paid for: they benefit from Israel policy, they don’t see it that way. In addition to The Lobby, the military/weapons/surveillance industries, BigOil, BigFinance all benefit. There is no incentive to change policy. One could argue that institutional corruption helps to sustain policy that is seen as irrational by others.

        Others might see it like this: The US wants to maintain control of West Asia: US military presence in Syria, Iraq, KSA, etc. and Israel policy is all part of it. The US sends a message to the world: do as we say, or get the Palestinian treatment. (or the Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria treatment). Many in Beltway Bubble see this as maintaining US hegemony by sheer brute violence.

      2. BeliTsari

        Because “US Hegemony” is just another illusory buzzword for WTO/ WEF’s neoliberal consensus (now deemed anti-semetic HATE speech, on social networks?) “Killers of the Flower Moon” explains the entire concept in the opening sequence (as Marty did this with mob protection rackets, in Goodfellas.) Biden’s unlikely to invade Holland under his Hague Invasion Act, but it’s going to be hard to hide their indictments, on Likud’s wholly-owned media during Oscars & Emmys?

      3. Arcady Bogdanov

        I think a huge part of the US strategy is driven by an intuitive awareness of the Export Land Model. This model stipulates that when hydrocarbon producing nations begin production after discovery, they at first export almost all of the hydrocarbons. However, wealth then begins to flow into that nation, and without interference they typically then begin to rapidly industrialize. This industrialization then consumes rapidly increasing amounts of the hydrocarbons the nation produces, removing them from the global market, until eventually the nation flips over and becomes an importer, which then pulls even more oil from the global market, leaving less available than before the nation began its production. If you look at US actions, including its support for Israel, it all seems aimed at preventing, via the spread of chaos, the normal industrial development of hydrocarbon producing nations, in order to maintain the availability of their production volumes for export, rather than domestic use/industrial development. Think of what the price of oil would be if all of the OPEC nations were developed industrially, rather than prevented from doing so via chaos, induced coups/civil wars, etc. -far less oil would be available for sale on the global market compared to the present situation with the chaos that we have seen. That’s the way I see it, but your mileage may vary.

      1. Ron Rutter

        Yes, the response of our politicians is pathetic, particularly Poilievre. They all seem to be puppets of the US. And, how/why, does the Israeli lobby have so much influence? Anti-Semitism? Ba Humbug.

    2. JW

      I would like to politely point out that ‘JW’ is not me.
      That is not by the way a criticism of this posting, but merely a fact.

  5. Mikel

    “Right to self defense”…
    Israel is not able to defend itself. Their location and the countries sourrounding them combined with centuries of religious beef. They drag the rest of the world into it. That is basically my “world court” argument for stopping the war.

  6. Mikel

    “Racist language about “monsters,” “animals,” and the “jungle” shape the speeches and statements by these Israeli government officials…”

    There’s that “jungle” again. All the leaders must have attended the same meeting as Borrell.

    Racism is the elephant in the room with conflicts from Russia/Ukraine to the “pivot to China.” Dog whistles to ultimately serve a monetary agenda.

  7. Aurelien

    No matter how strongly people feel about the underlying issue, the author’s implicit assumption that moral fervour is capable of changing anything is mistaken. Foreign policy doesn’t work like that. I remember trying to explain twenty years ago that the million people who marched against the war in Iraq were not going to have any effect on Blair’s government, because in the great scheme of things what the British public thought was a minor factor in the overall political judgement. And so it proved.

    It’s the same here. For most countries with a significant foreign policy reach, foreign policy is mostly about acquired inertia from the past. It’s like having your fingers in a wringer and being unable to get them out. What you have done in the past builds up a weight of inertia which is often impossible to avoid. Here, there was never any chance that Washington would come out against the Israeli action, let alone try to stop it. That was predetermined, as much as anything, by the current configuration of politics in Washington. Biden’s room for manoeuvre was pretty much non-existent from the start, and Washington is being dragged behind Israel in everything that state does. If stories of US advisers are true, there is probably an attempt going on to persuade the Israelis to at least exercise some restraint over their targeting, but that’s probably foredoomed as well. It’s not necessary to invoke NATO or “the North” in all of this. It’s clear that no western country wanted this conflict to happen, and it’s equally clear that the weight of history is such that they can’t do much about it. It’s perfectly true that the image of the US, not to mention that of Israel, is going to be greatly damaged by all this, but I think in both capitals the view is “we’ll worry about that later.”

    1. Mikel

      “It’s like having your fingers in a wringer and being unable to get them out. What you have done in the past builds up a weight of inertia which is often impossible to avoid.”

      Or it’s like having your fingers stuck in aome type of industrial equipment and it’s slowly sucking you in whole.

    2. Joe Well

      >>That was predetermined, as much as anything, by the current configuration of politics in Washington.

      What’s the current configuration of politics in Washington? The Israel lobby? Mindless Dem supporters who will follow the DNC wherever it may go?

      1. Lysias

        On the issue of Gaza, the Republicans are if anything worse. And so is Robert Kennedy Jr. I intend to vote for Jill Stein (as I did in 2012 and 2016). She and Cornell West are slated to march in the demonstration in DC today.

    3. JonnyJames

      I would agree, public opinion makes little difference in foreign policy (and in the US, any policy). “Foreign policy is not for the plebs” (Prinz Klemenz von Metternich).

      Democracy and Elections Inc. are largely PR stunts, public opinion is routinely ignored in the US and UK.

      The way I see it, your view and Prashad’s are not really different. He is just emphasizing the unprecedented backlash from the global majority (Global South). It seems you agree that the arc of history is not on Israel or the US’s side.

    4. Kouros

      In UK, at the time (2003), the Parliament critters were already in the vice of the MI spooks, so even though the plebs would ask for non participation, their “representatives” would not follow.

      Germany, France, Canada, etc though demurred at the time.

      But then US started to really infiltrate those countries structures and you got Annalena in Germany, Macron in France, Chrystia in Canada (Trudeau only has the brand name, hasn’t been groomed), etc. Paul Keeting, the former Australian PM spelled it out in one of his annual sparing with the media how governments are run by spooks nowadays…

      However, the relative strength of US& co has diminished and its chains weakened, and there are third party political actors that will provide support, overt (Houtis, South Africa) or covert to chipping at the US. Things are not path dependent but context dependent, and while might makes right, those who can will do what they can, while the rest will endure…

      1. vao

        you got Annalena in Germany, Macron in France, Chrystia in Canada

        It started much earlier than that. Thus, French president Nicolas Sarkozy implemented a staunchly Atlantist policy — with a high point in 2009 when he had France join the NATO unified command (which de Gaulle had abandoned in his time).

        In other words, some 15 years ago the “infiltration of European country structures” was already largely accomplished. Since then, it has mainly been a matter of evicting the remaining people or shunting those institutions still refractory to NATO and the USA leadership.

    5. Dissident Dreamer

      The West has inertia but the RoW has momentum. You say there’s no need to invoke NATO or “the North” but that’s all you talk about.

      Russia and China are officially solidly behind a ceasefire and a two state solution, Brazil has joined South Africa’s case against Israel. India is moving away from Israel and the US. That’s BRICS.

      The populations of new members Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Egypt and Ethiopia are all fully pro Palestine. No doubt their governments could keep them down if they wanted but if they don’t have to so much the better. Then there’s Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Turkiye.

      US influence is waning while BRICS is growing. If Washington, Tel Aviv, Brussels etc decide to worry about that later they may well find the RoW has moved on without them.

    6. JW

      As a fellow Brit, I rather object to this comment. Sunak does not ‘need’ to follow like a sheep, nor a day after agreeing to bomb Yemen, fly to Kiev to donate £2.5bn of money the UK does not have to allow more killing.
      Maybe the Washington situation is as you describe, but it needs a compliant partner in crime to ‘justify’ its actions. I am heartily sick of ‘my’ country being that sucker.
      NB I am the real ‘JW’.

    7. Paul Art

      Michael Hudson in one of his shows quotes an American army type tell an Israeli counterpart, “hey Israel is our landed aircraft carrier in the middle east”. Supposedly support for Israel is all about having a foot in the middle east for hegemonic posture. I think this us what Biden means when he says that if Israel did not exist we would have to invent it

    8. Paul Art

      Did Trump not change the GOP from war mongers to isolationists? I thought they way he did it was by pointing to the waste of Defense dollars flowing to NATO. I would also posit that a lot of the MAGA crowd are the Cannon Fodder in these Deep State wars and the moment they saw someone talking against wars they latched onto it no? I like to think while not very literate on economics they have instinctively grasped the BS about the permanent war peddled by the neocons because it was their sons and daughters being killed in far away lands. I also think a lot of the Islamaphobia comes from the stories the PFCs and Sargents and Colonels brought back from Afghanistan ad Iraq. All in all, Trumps GOP will definitely pull the plug on Ukraine ergo public opinion does have an effect on Foreign policy?

  8. CA

    It’s also the legitimacy of the holocaust itself being called into question. If what Israel is doing isn’t genocide then neither was the holocaust, and nor is there any such thing as genocide. This is a decisive moment for the world, either genocide is a real thing, to be stopped, or the precedent is set that it is not. For anyone outraged by the holocaust, it would be self-contradiction to deny this is a genocide.

    [ Perfectly expressed. The 20th century began with the German genocide in what is now Namibia, a definitive terrible genocide that is strikingly like the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. This terrible crime must be ended now and a United Nations judgment and commitment must come that there will be no other. ]

    1. elissa3

      “The 20th century began with the German genocide in what is now Namibia. . . ”

      And add to this Leopold II’s Congo. Credible historians put the number at 5-6 million.

          1. Anonymous 2

            The British handed out some pretty nasty treatment to Indians after 1857. Empires, when threatened, rarely behave well.

            1. CA


              September 30, 2011

              The Great Salt Hedge

              The Great Wall of China stands till today as a historical achievement. There was another in India in the 18th century which was comparable to that. A grand hedge – starting from Maharashtra’s Barhanpur passing via Madhyapradesh, via Uttarpradesh via Punjab, via the Sindh province of Pakistan and ending almost in the Kashmir border.

              It was a living fence. Grown from shrubs and tied together so that nobody can cross it. It was almost 12 feet in height. It was the largest fence in the history of the world. It almost split northern India in half. It ran across 4000 kms of vacant land, agriculture land, villages, cities and deserts. At its height, in 1872, it had 14000 full time British officers guarding and maintaining it. It lasted as a symbol of British-Indian Government’s authority for almost three-fourths of a century….

      1. Dissident Dreamer

        From the Guardian live coverage:

        The first lady of Namibia, Monica Geingos, has spoken out against Germany’s defense of Israel in its case against South Africa’s genocide at the International Court of Justice.

        In a statement on X, Geingos cited the Herero-Nama genocide, which was waged by German forces from 1904 to 1908 and killed between 24,000 and 100,000 Hereros and 10,000 Nama in Namibia (then known colonially as German South West Africa).

        Geingos said:

        The build up to the Herero-Nama genocide in Namibia, perpetrated by Germany started on 12 January 1904.
        The absurdity of Germany, on 12 January 2024, rejecting genocide charges against Israel and warning about the ‘political instrumentalisation of the charge’ is not lost on us.

      2. CA

        September 1, 1998

        ‘King Leopold’s Ghost’: Genocide With Spin Control

        A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa
        By Adam Hochschild

        Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” is frequently read as an allegorical or Freudian parable, while its murderous hero, Kurtz — the renegade white trader, who lives deep in the Congo jungle behind a fence adorned with shrunken heads — is regarded as a Nietzschean madman or avatar of colonial ambition run dangerously amok.

        As Adam Hochschild’s disturbing new book on the Belgian Congo makes clear, however, Kurtz was based on several historical figures, and the horror Conrad described was all too real. In fact, Hochschild suggests, “Heart of Darkness” stands as a remarkably “precise and detailed” portrait of King Leopold’s Congo in 1890, just as one of history’s most heinous acts of mass killing was getting under way.

        Under the reign of terror instituted by King Leopold II of Belgium (who ran the Congo Free State as his personal fief from 1885 to 1908), the population of the Congo was reduced by half — as many as 8 million Africans (perhaps even 10 million, in Hochschild’s opinion) lost their lives….

    2. CA

      December 29, 2016

      Germany Grapples With Its African Genocide

      WATERBERG, Namibia — In this faraway corner of southern Africa, scores of German soldiers lie in a military cemetery, their names, dates and details engraved on separate polished tombstones.

      Easily missed is a single small plaque on the cemetery wall that gives a nod in German to the African “warriors” who died in the fighting as well. Nameless, they are among the tens of thousands of Africans killed in what historians have long considered — and what the German government is now close to recognizing — as the 20th century’s first genocide…

      1. AG

        Funny that one of Germany´s leading scholar´s on Namibia and German colonialism, Jürgen Zimmerer, what a surprise, as of Oct. was “standing with Israel”. On Oct. 9th he compared HAMAS with ISIS.
        Obviously being regarded as an expert on Namibia doesn´t make you one on Palestine.

        The underlying problem of any Israel-connected issue in Germany is, it´s inescapably categorized from the POV of Holocaust studies. Which of course completely hampers discourse and deforms scholarship.

        Since scholarship as such is usually conducted with results NOT preconceived. Not so in the case of anything where Israel is involved. As by design Holocaust towers above every other historical act. It is unique and if you wish to carry on your career in academia you better not question that.

        This was better in the past and has become worse in the recent decade. All the reasons I don´t know. But it does have to do with the idiotic IHRA antisemitism-def. Since adopted by the Bundestag this “item of advice or monitoring” (WTF) turned normative. Which eventually makes it a piece of lawfare in the realm of fighting free-speech.

        Which materializes in following phrase by German counterpart to John Kirby, spokesperson of the chancellory, Steffen Hebestreit, saying on the 12th of Jan at the government´s press conference (a madhouse of its own):

        “(…) In view of Germany’s history and the crime against humanity of the Shoah, the Federal Government is particularly committed to the Convention against Genocide. This convention is a central instrument of international law to implement the “never again” principle. We are firmly opposed to its political instrumentalization.

        We know that different countries have different assessments of Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip. However, the German government firmly and explicitly rejects the accusation of genocide that has now been made against Israel before the International Court of Justice. This accusation has no basis whatsoever.(…)”

        The rest is silence.

  9. Pym of Nantucket

    Unfortunately, the people that need to rise up are the most complacent. In fact, I think there is a deliberate strategy to promote complacency. There are so so many things that have been sliding in the West. It was clearly the intention of a lot of extremely wealthy people to ignore the middle class and try to run the world from behind the scenes using financialization. In fact it would be very difficult to uproot the hidden wealth. Things like revolutions only rip the flower of the weed, leaving the tap root in place.

    Supporting Israel is a symptom of colonial thinking, which is a symptom of the mindset that inherently supports plutocracy.

  10. Zephyrum

    This is an excellent article, however the statement that “three-quarters of global military spending is by the NATO states” seemed high so I did some checking. It’s more like half. Total 2023 global military spending of roughly 2.2 trillion USD, with NATO countries comprising about 1.1 trillion. That’s still enormous and does not detract from the point made.

    Sources: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) April 2023 Fact Sheet (Figure 1). NATO Defence Expenditures of NATO Countries 2014-2023 (Graph 5).

  11. HH

    The Washington neocons are determined to wage war on Iran, and this will be their undoing. Iran can inflict massive damage on the U.S. and Israel, possibly ending the U.S. presence in the region. This will be a debacle that they cannot put into the amnesia machine.

    1. southern appalachian

      Seems so. Out of curiosity I’ve been trying to work out how the warmongers see things playing out. I mean, what’s the point, do they think? What will bombing accomplish? Can’t imagine they are planning a land war; if so, why it would turn out differently from Afghanistan or Iraq? Whatever the perceived benefit, I can’t work out how violence has a lower cost than cooperation. We can spend lots of money sending people to the moon or something like that rather than blowing up buildings. Same industries.

      Anyway, can’t work it out.

    2. Bugs

      Perhaps they want to normalize tactical nuclear weapons? Nothing short of that will reach Iranian nuclear facilities. If I were Iran, I’d build those nukes quickly since that’s the only deterrent the Atlanticist ruling caste seems to respect.

  12. nippersdad

    Apparently, today Germany joined the case at the ICJ on the part of Israel.

    Habeck is trying to make the case that the only group that could be designated as having an interest in committing genocide would be Hamas, but, as they always fail to do, did not find fit to mention that Hamas has no ability to carry one out even if they wanted to. This should have been radioactive for Germany, but as Lambert likes to say, this is the stupidest possible timeline.

    1. JonnyJames

      Germany’s “leaders” have shown time and again that they are sycophantic vassals of the US empire. The US military still occupies Germany. Germany is currently destroying its own economy and society to serve their imperial overlords.

    2. Dwight

      Doug Henwood, on his Behind the News podcast of Dec 14, interviewed an Israeli journalist, Joel Schalit, who has long resided in Germany and Italy. Schalit mainly discussed Israeli views of Gaza, but from 19-24 minutes of the podcast, also had very interesting comments on what is driving Germany’s support of Israel and criminalization of pro-Palestinian protest: fear of rising political influence of its multicultural population. DW didn’t discuss this at all, attributing the reason for Germany’s intervention at ICJ to Germany’s historical responsibility for the Holocaust. Schalit interview highly recommended in entirety.

  13. caucus99percenter

    Even in Germany, whose politicians and media have bent over backwards to portray events in a pro-Israel light, the proportion of survey respondents who say that Israel’s military actions in Gaza cannot be justified / have gone too far has now reached 61%.

    All things considered, a sensational result for the steadfastness of individual judgment in the face of top-down brainwashing.

  14. AG

    Yes, this is turning out into a new battle over post-colonialism.

    However those same state bodies in the West which so fervently pushed the idea after the 2000s suddenly have swichted sides. Or their allies in the arts and academia are silent.

    After all it´s easy to babble about “post-colonialism” when the only thing at stake are vases and ruins.
    It´s suddenly very different when your income is concerned and your career prospects.

    In Dec. in a survey among 1000 US academics 82% expressed fear and spoke of self-censorship in regard of public criticism of Israel. In comparison, the numbers concerning criticism of the US / Palestine were in the single digits.

  15. LAS

    Israeli behavior is not unlike the the Armenian genocide. It may not be behavior on the scope of the Nazis, but the Armenian genocide … is accepted as genocide by virtually all nations except Turkey, the perpetrator of it.

  16. Paul Art

    For those interested in the Israel Lobby in the context of this article I would recommend Walter Hixsons books He picks up from where Mearcheimer and Walt left off in The Israel Lobby. He is on YouTube on his book tours. Brave man. I actually feel frightened hearing him speak so boldly.

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