These accusations of ‘genocide’ bring shame on humanity

South Africa’s case against Israel is the most absurd and sinister spectacle of the 21st century so far.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Politics World

The more you think about the genocide case against Israel, the more horrendous it becomes. First there’s the hypocrisy. It is an orgy of cant. Turkey has noisily joined the ranks of shameless governments pointing a collective finger at Israel. This is the same Turkish government that denies that its nation carried out the Armenian Genocide of 1915, when a million people were wiped from the face of the Earth. As part of a programme of tyrannical Islamisation, Armenian Christians were forced on to death marches in the desert during which unimaginable numbers perished. Now the genocide deniers are genocide judges. It would be funny if it were not so repulsive.

Turkey is providing ‘documents’ for South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice this week. ‘I believe that Israel will be convicted’, says Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This is the same Erdoğan who locks people up for speaking of the Armenian Genocide. Article 301 of Turkey’s penal code, which forbids ‘insulting Turkishness’, has been used to prosecute people who mention 1915. Writers and publishers have been banged up for the sin of saying ‘Armenia’ and ‘genocide’ in the same breath. Now this tyrant who ruthlessly punishes discussion of his own nation’s genocide loudly accuses Israel of genocide. These are Kafkaesque levels of moral fraud.

The Organisation of Islamic Countries has likewise joined the genocide chorus against Israel. This includes Saudi Arabia. Fresh from its slaughter of thousands in Yemen. Surely it will be a cold day in hell before any nation takes lectures on violence from these fanatics who whip and kill their own citizens for such crimes as apostasy, homosexuality and being a woman who wants rights.

Iran has lined up with South Africa, too. It’s getting ridiculous now. Vastly more people have perished in Iran’s wars of the past 40 years than in the wars Israel has been involved in since 1948. Just last year Iran slaughtered hundreds of its own citizens for the crime of believing women are human beings. Kurds in particular got it in the neck. Masses were murdered. ‘They tried to wipe us out’, said one Kurd. For Iran to sit in judgment on any nation is a nauseating spectacle, an inversion of morality of Orwellian proportions.

Then there’s South Africa, the nation that brought the case against Israel. Its imperious judges reeled off charge after charge against the Jewish State at the ICJ this week. You’ll forgive my gagging. ANC-run South Africa is one of the most corrupt regimes in the world. The heirs to Mandela have catastrophically failed to make good his promise of a new, fair nation. South Africa under their rule has some of the highest rates of murder and rape in the world. Poverty is rampant. The ANC has massacred black workers who were merely campaigning for better pay. It failed to counter murderous pogroms against Zimbabwean immigrants. It presides over a country where, for millions, life is brutish and short. Perhaps it should save some of the fashionable sympathy it feels for the people of Gaza for its own long-suffering citizens.

Who will be called up next to give evidence? An old Hutu commander, perhaps? Maybe they’ll dig up Pol Pot and let him rage against the Jews. The ICJ trial of Israel is one of the most absurd and sinister events of the 21st century so far. Israel is being accused of unconscionable violence by the practitioners of unconscionable violence. It is being charged with reckless disregard for civilian life by the self-enriched rulers of nations in which thousands of civilians die every year from preventable disease, political violence and execution. It is being charged with war crimes by nations that beat to death young women who want to show their hair. It is being called criminal by criminals.

And still the West’s woke left laps it up. They’re glued to the ICJ proceedings. They appear to derive a perverse relish from seeing the Jewish State in the dock. They ask not one critical question about the moral credentials of Israel’s accusers, for to do so would muddy the moralistic waters they swim in; it would add irritating complexity to the infantile narrative they have fashioned in which Israel is evil incarnate, and thus anyone who opposes Israel is good.

Any mention of Turkey’s suppression of its genocidal history, Iran’s theocratic barbarism or the South African regime’s supercilious disregard for the economic and spiritual wellbeing of its own citizens would do something unforgivable: distract attention from what they consider to be the unique wickedness of the Jewish State. And so they just nod along, cheer along in fact, as the corrupt and despotic accuse Israel of sin.

These Western activists are as hypocritical as the nation states pointing a blood-stained finger at Israel. In Britain, radical members of Labour are giddily cheering the showtrial at The Hague. These are people who pay dues to a party which, last time it was in power, killed vastly more people in the Middle East than Israel has. They quaff wine with Labour MPs who will have voted in favour of Britain’s calamitous intervention in Libya, which plunged much of northern Africa into a violent, vacuous hell that makes Gaza seem relatively stable in comparison. Try to explain this double standard, this perfidious situation where the bourgeois left is happy to sup with British warmongers while ostentatiously vomiting over Israeli warmongers, without using the word ‘anti-Semitism’. It can’t be done. I’ve tried.

Here’s what I say to the ICJ trial of Israel and its morally blind cheerleaders: ‘J’accuse.’ That is what Emile Zola famously said in response to the Dreyfus Affair in France in the 1890s. This was the case of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an army officer of Jewish descent, who was charged with treason for sending French military secrets to the Germans. It wasn’t true. The accusations, and the storm they stirred up, were driven by anti-Semitism. The affair became a scandal that rocked the Third Republic to its core. The great Zola risked it all when he wrote an open letter about the affair that appeared on the front page of a newspaper. ‘J’Accuse…!’ was the headline. You accuse Dreyfus of treason, I accuse you of lurid lies, anti-republican behaviour and anti-Semitism, he roared. We need a similar cry today.

Dreyfus is the victim of your ‘lurid imagination’, Zola thundered at the rulers of late 19th-century France. He is the victim of ‘the “dirty Jew” obsession that is the scourge of our time’, he said. You made Dreyfus a scapegoat for your own sins, he continued, leading to this ‘infamous spectacle’ where we have ‘men lost in debts and crime whose innocence is proclaimed’ while ‘the very honour is struck [from] a man with a spotless life!’.

Now, not even Israel’s most fervent defenders would describe it as ‘spotless’. Like every state, it makes mistakes, it does wrong. But the showtrial of the Jewish State eerily echoes the showtrial of the Jew Dreyfus. Again we see the deployment of ‘lurid imagination’, where every single thing Israel does is pored over and judged nefarious. Again we see men – or in this case, nations – that are ‘lost in debts and crime’ projecting their own sense of guilt on to a Jewish scapegoat. And again we see not one nation this time, but many nations seeking to distract attention from their own inner turmoil through the creation of a spectacle of accusation – only now it’s not a Jew in the dock; it’s the entire Jewish nation.

We have heard quite enough of your lurid accusations against Israel. Now it’s time you heard ours against you. I accuse South Africa of joining the holy war against Israel in order to cynically curry favour with the woke elites of the West. In order to try to repair its global image as a just, radical nation despite its cataclysmic failing of its own population who still await the enrichment and equality they were promised following the fall of Apartheid 30 years ago. I accuse Iran of backing the legal crusade against Israel as a furtherance of its violent anti-Semitism. As yet another opportunity to defame and isolate the Jewish State in order that the Jews there might feel compelled to leave.

I accuse Turkey of backing the showtrial in order to disguise its own past genocidal crimes. In order to pool its genocidal guilt, and project it on to others, in particular the supposedly evil ‘Zionist entity’. I accuse Turkey of spying in these kangaroo proceedings an opportunity to rearrange power relations in the Middle East to its own tyrannical advantage. To strengthen the Turkey-Iran alliance on the back of what they hope will be the international court’s reprimand of the Jewish State. I accuse Turkey of sacrificing the safety of Jews in Israel at the altar of its own demented regional ambitions.

And I accuse the Western left of being the running dogs of all this global Israelophobia. Of forfeiting their right to be treated as serious moral actors by aligning with the demagogues, Islamists and outright racists who have dragged the world’s only Jewish nation to court on the most trumped-up charge imaginable. Of flagrantly abandoning their supposed commitment to anti-racism by whitewashing Hamas’s orgy of racist violence that gave rise to the current war. And of emboldening the fascists of Hamas by promoting the libel that says Israel is a genocidal state. After all, if Israel is guilty of the worst crime known to man, why should Hamas not attack it again, and again, and again, until the Nazi-like threat it poses to the Palestinian people has been eradicated? I accuse you of giving moral succour to fascists.

Let’s be clear: to accuse the Jews of genocide is the gravest calumny. To drag the historical victims of genocidal mania to court in order to bark the accusation of genocide in their faces is, to me, unconscionable. To liken these survivors of the Nazi derangement to the Nazis – as so many leftists and Islamists are doing – is an unforgivable inversion of morality, history and truth. To use the Genocide Convention that was brought in following the Nazis’ extermination of six million Jews against the nation in which many of the descendants of those Jews now reside is nothing more than act of cruelty. It reorders history itself. It whitewashes the sins of the Western world by putting those sins on to their historic targets. It is self-serving absolution dressed up as radical critique. The Final Absolution, we might say.

The public shaming of Dreyfus was driven by a lust for ‘hunting down “dirty Jews”’, a lust that ‘dishonours our times’, said Zola. Few would even dream of saying ‘dirty Jews’ these days. But they do say ‘evil Israelis’, ‘blood-lusting Israelis’, ‘uniquely murderous Israelis’. And they do dishonour our times. That’s it: I accuse you of dishonoring the values of Enlightenment, truth and reason by falsely accusing the survivors of genocide of being genocidal.

Brendan O’Neill is spiked’s chief political writer and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. His new book – A Heretic’s Manifesto: Essays on the Unsayable – is available to order on Amazon UK and Amazon US now. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Politics World


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