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When genocide is permissible?

2jdjj1tNever. Well, sometimes. Or at least thinking aloud about it is okay. Why else would The Times of Israel publish such a thing? They may have removed it in short order, but as we know once things get on the internet….

Yochanan Gordon’s execrable screed shits on the memory of his ancestors. I am loathe to bring up history, but someone else once justified the extermination of Europe’s Jews in terms of securing the national well-being of his people. Yet Gordon has done the world a service. By putting his thoughts down on paper, as it were, he has distilled the barbarism consuming Israel. The “facts” are crap, but the facts do not matter. The 800 or so words articulate a feeling, an impulse. 

As Paul notes, Israel is founded on existential crisis, has fought three life-or-death wars, and is incapable of reconciling itself to the responsibility it has for the present state of affairs. That crisis runs through the Israeli body politic like gangrene. Sometimes quiet, very occasionally dormant, at other times the infection surges. The moments of apparent health increasingly fleeting, the periods of high fever ever more lengthy and tending toward permanency.

See how Gordon invokes the idea Israel is under siege, that the West – who, as we know, offer muted criticism at best and munitions at worst – doesn’t “understand” and doesn’t care, that Gaza incubates anti-semitism and genocide of Jewish people, and how the home-made mortars and rockets of Hamas are statements of eradication.

The kind of language, the hysteria, the poisoned collective consciousness of the Israeli Jewish majority is only a shade less bloodcurdling than North Korea’s. The difference being North Korea faces a blockade by the world’s most powerful nation. Israel, however, enforces a blockade with America’s blessing. The Stalinist kingdom arguably faces a siege. Israel is carrying one out.

The poison of Israeli politics reflects its institutional set up as an occupying power. The capacity of the likes of Netanyahu – and worse – to talk up, to exaggerate threat and have it accepted is founded on this basic fact of Israel’s existence. Just as racism elsewhere doesn’t drop from the sky, so it is here too.

If a descendent of holocaust survivors arguing for genocide isn’t irony enough, the further awful twist is the destruction of Gaza and the murder of its people is creating future enemies of Israel, some of whom – by its actions today – could pose it an existential threat tomorrow. History tends to show bloodshed does little to stymie bloodshed.

This article was first published at All that is Solid


  1. David Pavett says:

    One nutcase (Yochanan Gordon in this instance) may or may not express what others really want to say. A bit more disturbing is when such crazy views clearly have significant support as in this video of the President of the New York Board of Rabbis telling an enthusiastic crowd “If you voted for Hamas then Israel has the right to kill you”.

  2. swatantra says:

    Its taken a 100 years to re-evaluate the Great War, and have a reasonable debate on it. Lets hope it doesn’t take another 100 years to take an objective view on the Palestinian Question and Israel’s role in it.

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