At the Hague, Anti-Semites Fulfilled Their Longstanding Fantasy

Signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention (of which Israel is one) pledge that genocide “is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.” Shany Mor draws the logical conclusion:

Israel’s war in Gaza is not a violation of its commitments as a contracting party to the 1948 Genocide Convention. It is, in fact, a fulfillment of its obligations under the treaty. . . . For Israel to do nothing in the face of Hamas’s actions on October 7, or to cut its actions short and somehow acquiesce to a reality where that orgy of murder, rape, torture, and abduction would recur, would be a violation of the first article of the Convention.

The question of why the Jewish state was on trial two weeks ago at the International Court of Justice cannot be answered by examining Israel’s actions, but the thinking of its accusers. Mor continues:

Hanging over any discussion of Israel and any discussion of Jews and violence is the long, unremitting, and unfading shadow of the Shoah. It is impossible to understand just how much Israel bothers Western intellectuals without understanding how much the Holocaust bothers them. Haunts them. Frightens them. And, occasionally, thrills them.

Hauling the Jews in to plead their case before a special tribunal and face the charge that they are the real Nazis has been the fantasy of every anti-Semite since the first gavel hit a sound block in Nuremberg in 1946. It is the dark fantasy behind the insistence over decades on speaking of controversial Israeli actions always in terms of “war crimes.” This, and not a poor grasp of complex legal arguments, is the reason every Israeli military action in the last half-century has been criticized as “collective punishment” or “disproportionate.”

As long as the Shoah looms large in the civilized conscience, there will be those among us who project our fears and our discomfort in the most transparent way. The damage from this obsession is enormous, both to the cause of human rights and to the people this obsession claims to care about, the still-stateless Palestinians.

Read more at State of Tel Aviv

More about: Anti-Semitism, Genocide Convention, Holocaust, International Law


Israel Can’t Stake Its Fate on “Ironclad” Promises from Allies

Israeli tanks reportedly reached the center of the Gazan city of Rafah yesterday, suggesting that the campaign there is progressing swiftly. And despite repeatedly warning Jerusalem not to undertake an operation in Rafah, Washington has not indicated any displeasure, nor is it following through on its threat to withhold arms. Even after an IDF airstrike led to the deaths of Gazan civilians on Sunday night, the White House refrained from outright condemnation.

What caused this apparent American change of heart is unclear. But the temporary suspension of arms shipments, the threat of a complete embargo if Israel continued the war, and comments like the president’s assertion in February that the Israeli military response has been “over the top” all call into question the reliability of Joe Biden’s earlier promises of an “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. Douglas Feith and Ze’ev Jabotinsky write:

There’s a lesson here: the promises of foreign officials are never entirely trustworthy. Moreover, those officials cannot always be counted on to protect even their own country’s interests, let alone those of others.

Israelis, like Americans, often have excessive faith in the trustworthiness of promises from abroad. This applies to arms-control and peacekeeping arrangements, diplomatic accords, mutual-defense agreements, and membership in multilateral organizations. There can be value in such things—and countries do have interests in their reputations for reliability—but one should be realistic. Commitments from foreign powers are never “ironclad.”

Israel should, of course, maintain and cultivate connections with the United States and other powers. But Zionism is, in essence, about the Jewish people taking responsibility for their own fate.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship