In 1915, Vladimir Lenin remarked that The Economist was nothing more than “a journal that speaks on behalf of the British billionaires.” This observation is still true today as was proved when, after the British parliament voted in mid-November against Israel’s immediate ceasefire against the Palestinian people (with 293 votes against and 125 in favor), this media of imperialist millionaires published an article justifying the death of tens of thousands of people in Gaza.
For this imperialist media, the concept of “genocide” is being “misused” by the critics of the State of Israel, pointing first of all to the accusations launched by the latter’s political enemies (such as Jordan or Iraq). The article’s only “defense” and “counter-argument” is that “Israel, by contrast, does not meet the test of genocide. There is little evidence that Israel, like Hamas, ‘intends’ to destroy an ethnic group—the Palestinians. Israel does want to destroy Hamas, a militant group, and is prepared to kill civilians in doing so. And while some Israeli extremists might want to eradicate the Palestinians, that is not a government policy. Neither do the Israelis display any obvious intent to prevent Palestinian births.”
In addition to having pathetic reasoning, it cannot but provoke rage to read these words that seek to dehumanize the Palestinian people and minimize Israel’s war crimes.
What Is Genocide?
According to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention of Genocide, genocide is a “crime committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” The Economist rightly points out that this definition, somewhat abstract, is not enough to know whether genocide is actually taking place or not. It adds that the conditions are: “‘Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction,’ as does inflicting ‘serious bodily or mental harm,’ ‘measures intended to prevent births,’ and ‘forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.’”
So far so “good” (in theory). These are parameters that help us specify what the definition includes. But something that the UN does not mention, although various human rights organizations do add, is that a genocide includes the destruction of social and cultural infrastructure such as attacking houses, museums, hospitals, markets, schools, places of worship, zoos, monuments, parks, beaches, etc.
All of the above has already been done by the Zionist State. Israel wants to destroy the Palestinians, as demonstrated by the bombings that have eliminated, according to recent estimates, close to 20 thousand people, most of them women and children. The Palestinians are a national group because, although the majority are Muslims, there are Christian Palestinians as well.
Israel – by cutting off internet access, attacking power generators, wheat mills, cutting off water supplies, imposing a blockade on Gaza by sky, sea and land since 2005, etc. – creates living conditions calculated to carry out “the physical destruction” of thousands more Palestinians who will have to face hunger after the Zionist attacks stop (whenever that happens). With constant bombing, Israel causes serious emotional and physical damage to a population in which half of them are minors. With the attacks on Palestinian hospitals, under the accusation of being bases of operations for Hamas (something that even the BBC has come to doubt), Israel creates conditions to prevent births. In recent days images circulated on networks detailing the deaths, one by one, of the Palestinian infants who were still in incubators and had to be disconnected.
In the attacks on the social and cultural infrastructure, the intention of the Zionist regime is undeniable. With hospitals, schools (including those run by the UN), places of worship such as the Church of St. Porphyryos (where an Islamist group like Hamas would have little to do there), as well as the Gaza Zoo, where several on networks have denounced that nearly 90 percent of the animals in the zoo have died, is there any doubt as to whether or not there is genocide in Palestine?
On the contrary, as a reference to the conduct of the UN when qualifying a massacre we have for example the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, in which the army of the Serpska Republic (Bosnian Serbs) attacked with missiles a market in the city of Srebrenica, causing 8,000 deaths between July 13 and 22. The International Court of Justice, a UN judicial body, had no qualms about describing it as genocide.
False Equivalence Fallacy: Hamas or the Palestinian People?
We underline the question: is there genocide or not in Palestine? Yes, in Palestine (not only Gaza). Because in all this conflict the Zionist regime has pointed out that its fight is allegedly against Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. But all Netanyahu’s actions suggest that he intends to go after more than a militant group within a city.
Likewise, The Economist makes a fallacy of false equivalence. That is, presenting two different things as if they were the same. The first thing the imperialist media does is to point out that “By the UN definition, Hamas is a genocidal organization. Its founding charter, published in 1988, explicitly commits it to obliterating Israel. Article 7 states that: “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them.” Article 13 rejects any compromise, or peace, until Israel is destroyed.
Certainly we in Left Voice do not intend to defend Hamas, a reactionary organization whose program and methods we strongly reject. But on the other hand, Hamas is also an organization with a presence in the Palestinian parliament and not only a group with armed militias (as the bourgeois press emphasizes). In its apologetic article, The Economist compares a state government (Israel) against a political party’s programme.
A political party that, by the way, has no presence in the rest of the Palestinian territories, such as the West Bank where violence against Palestinians has reached a fever pitch over the last weeks. A few weeks ago a video was released showing the death of a 9-year-old Palestinian boy at the hands of the Israeli army in the Jenin refugee camp. Also in Jenin, just this week the Israeli forces launched an assault that left 12 Palestinians dead. If the war is against Hamas, why then is Israel attacking places where Hamas does not exist?
Something that is not mentioned by the bourgeois press is the foundations of the Zionist State that today are being carried out by the Likud, Netanyahu’s party. Following the The Economist’s “logic,” the Likud is a genocidal organization, since in its founding charter it talks about “The right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is eternal and indisputable and is linked with the right to security and peace; therefore, Judea and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank] will not be handed to any foreign administration; between the [Mediterranean] Sea and the Jordan [river] there will only be Israeli sovereignty.” Why is it then that when Hamas claims to eliminate Israel it is immediately labeled genocidal, but when the Likud calls to effectively eliminate all Palestinian sovereignty, nobody points out that it considers the mere existence of a Palestinian state as a risk to Israeli security?
The Likud, furthermore, was founded by Zeev Jabotinski, whom Mussolini called “an exemplary fascist citizen.” In his writings, Jabotinski declared that “There can be no voluntary agreement between ourselves and the Palestine Arabs. Not now, nor in the prospective future. I say this with such conviction, not because I want to hurt the moderate Zionists. […] it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting ‘Palestine’ from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority. My readers have a general idea of the history of colonisation in other countries. I suggest that they consider all the precedents with which they are acquainted, and see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonisation being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent.”
Zionism has always intended to eliminate the Arab population; an operation that has now taken a qualitative leap, displacing hundreds of thousands, and one in which the British imperialist press enthusiastically supports its treatment of Palestinians even in its rhetoric. As an example, the bourgeois press speaks of Hamas “hostages” being exchanged for Palestinian “prisoners” in the hands of Israel (several of whom are minors).
What Israel is overseeing in Palestine is plain and simply a genocide, but The Economist, in its pathetic attempt to make the death of nearly 20,000 people more presentable, has no qualms about comparing a political party (Hamas) with a government (Israel), even if the latter is headed by a far-right organization, founded by an “exemplary fascist” and whose program denies the right of the Palestinians to have their own state. Nor in how unequal it is for a national government to invade a foreign territory in pursuit of the members or sympathizers of a political organization (whatever differences we may have with it).
This is one of the many examples of the imperialist press that, in a desperate attempt, try to whitewash their regional beachhead in the face of the massive response in the streets around the world against the occupation and the war. Despite the best efforts of the imperialist press, in a world interconnected by social networks, their defense is not enough to cover up Israel’s war crimes.
In the face of the lies of these large media and their well-financed apparatuses, there are independent media such as our international network of digital socialist newspapers of which Left Voice is proudly part of, and where we report with our humble forces to make known the truth of the working class and the most oppressed and exploited sectors by this system.
Originally Published in Spanish on November 30 in La Izquierda Diario.