How Israel’s war on Gaza exposed Zionism as a genocidal cult

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The question is no longer whether the Israeli government is racist and genocidal but whether the Israeli Jewish majority supporting its crimes against Palestinians also fit this description
Protesters wave Israeli flags during a demonstration against the hearing at the International Court of Justice on a genocide complaint by South Africa against Israel, in The Hague, Netherlands, on 11 January 2024 (Robin Utrecht/AFP)

Ever since the current Israeli cabinet, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, came to power in December 2022, there has been a consensus, even in the western mainstream and among the Israeli political opposition, that it is a Jewish supremacistracist government.

Characterisations of the government, which clearly expressed the preferences of a majority of the Israeli Jewish electorate, as “the most extreme”, “the most fundamentalist”, and “the most racist” in Israel’s history, became common. Other descriptions deemed it Israel’s “first fascist” government.

This is aside from the fact that two years before the rise of the current government, historically pro-Israel mainstream western human rights organisations had adjudged Israel a racist “apartheid” state since its founding. Palestinians and their supporters have also used this label to describe Israel since at least the 1960s.

It is the same government, which was the object of international condemnation, that has launched the ongoing genocidal war against the Palestinian people, which has so far killed and injured upwards of 100,000 Palestinians and displaced more than two million.

Yet this very same racist government and its genocidal war are supported, armed, and financed by the US and its European allies, who, forgetting their earlier criticisms, have not flinched from justifying Israeli crimes, just as they previously defended the Jewish settler colony against accusations of apartheid.

Increasingly, however, the question being debated is no longer whether the Israeli government is racist, fascist, or genocidal, but whether a majority of Israeli Jews also fit those descriptions and that this government is, indeed, no more than a manifestation of Israeli Jewish political culture.

‘No longer fringe’

Middle East Eye editor-in-chief David Hearst recently observed that those expressing genocidal racism among Israeli Jews – including soldiers, singers, artists, and politicians – “are no longer a fringe. They represent what mainstream Israel thinks. They have become genocidal, racist and fascist when talking about Palestinians – unashamedly so. They are proud of and joke about their racism and do little to disguise it.”

Since its inception, the Zionist movement has always set out to ethnically cleanse Palestine of the country’s indigenous Palestinian population

According to the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University’s Peace Index polls taken more than a month after the beginning of the massive Israeli bombing of Gaza, which by then had killed thousands, “57.5 percent of Israeli Jews said that they believed the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) were using too little firepower in Gaza, 36.6 percent said the IDF was using an appropriate amount of firepower, while just 1.8 percent said they believed the IDF was using too much firepower.”

Commenting on the genocidal views of a majority of Israeli Jews and their support of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, Israeli journalist Gideon Levy appears to be at a loss: “Either that’s the real face of Israel, and the attack on the 7th legitimised it to be above the surface, or that the 7th really changed things,” he said, adding: “I don’t know which one is true.”

Follow Middle East Eye’s live coverage of the Israel-Palestine war

Levy’s response is surprising, however, given the documented racism of the Zionist movement since its inception and the well-known fact that it has always set out to ethnically cleanse Palestine of the country’s indigenous Palestinian population.

The Israeli press has published seemingly “reasonable” articles, which frame Israel’s planned ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians of Gaza and their potential expulsion to the Egyptian Sinai as something wonderful, describing it as “one of the most suitable places on Earth to provide the people of Gaza with hope and a peaceful future.”

Yet one could presumably and just as reasonably counter that proposal with one suggesting that Israel’s Jewish colonists voluntarily move to the US and Europe, particularly Germany, where their rights and privileges are safeguarded. Indeed, these are among “the most suitable places on Earth to provide [Israeli Jews] with hope and a peaceful future”.

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This is especially true since Israeli officials and intellectuals often claim that they live in a “bad” or “tough” neighbourhood, or even in the “jungle”. Europe and the US are clearly far superior neighbourhoods with very low security concerns. After all, Europe is a “garden”, while “most of the rest of the world is a jungle”, as European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell infamously declared last year.

The EU’s German President Ursula von der Leyen has also emphasised that “Jewish culture is European culture” and that “Europe must value its own Jewish-ness. So that Jewish life in Europe can thrive again.”

Such a voluntary move on the part of Israeli Jews, more than one million of whom already hold European and US passports, would spare the Palestinian people (and the Middle East more widely) the violence and wars that Zionist colonisation since the 1880s and especially after 1948, has visited on the people of the region.

Perhaps, rather than having Israel and its western sponsors secretly negotiate with “Congo” or Canada to take in expelled Palestinians, as was recently reported, the United Nations and Arab states should most enthusiastically urge western countries to welcome Israeli Jews in their midst.

A violent cult

With recent polls and analyses revealing the hatred and genocidal attitudes of the vast majority of Israel’s Jewish citizens towards Palestinians, their relocation to Europe and the US should bring them more happiness and peace of mind.

In addition, those who justify the annihilation of Palestinians in order to “save” western civilisation and values with which Israel identifies, would find themselves better off saving western civilisation from the heart of it, far from the colonial frontier and the anti-colonial Palestinian resistance.

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In this vein, the European Commission coordinator on combatting antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, the German Katharina von Schnurbein, recently affirmed that “Europe would not be Europe without its Jewish heritage.” She added: “Jewish heritage is part of Europe’s DNA. And as European institutions, we want to protect Jewish heritage, to safeguard and cherish it. This is a key aspect of fostering Jewish life, which is the ultimate goal of the EU strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life.”

One might expect, as a result of such affirmation, that Europe’s doors this time would open for Jews, unlike in the 1930s and 1940s, or that the US, which refused to admit Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis and sent back a ship filled with them in 1939 to Europe where many of them perished in Hitler’s death camps, would welcome Israeli Jews to their better neighbourhood with open arms.

A large number of Israeli psychiatrists have already left the country for greener pastures in the United Kingdom, citing a high workload that has only increased since 7 October and a mental health system on the brink of collapse.

This is unsurprising, as support for the slaughter of Palestinians in untold massacres and wars since 1948 has evidently become a veritable genocidal cult in Israel across all segments of society and government. Like all members of violent cults, the only way to save them from themselves is to deprogram them. This will undoubtedly be a lengthy and complicated process that, in the case of many Israeli Jews, will require undoing decades of brainwashing.

Perhaps those same psychiatrists who left could help deprogram Israeli Jews in a safe European environment to rid them of their attachment to ethnic cleansing and genocidal wars.

A peaceful future

Meanwhile, the case South Africa has brought to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Israel of genocide is raising alarms in the White House and Western European capitals. This is only the latest case that the ICJ received accusing Israel of crimes.

A year ago, the United Nations General Assembly approved a request for an advisory opinion from the ICJ on Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories with 87 votes in favour and 26 against – the opponents mostly are the same countries that today support Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza.

The ICJ is set to hold public hearings about the case next month. As for the more recent case that South Africa brought, the ICJ is looking into it in an emergency hearing on 11 January.

The ICJ has faced similar requests in the context of settler-colonialism since the Second World War. Most notably, in July 1966, the ICJ dismissed a petition put forth in 1962 by Liberia and Ethiopia concerning the South African settler colony of Namibia, on the basis that neither of them had legal standing to bring the petition. Both countries had been former members of the League of Nations, which had selected South Africa as the mandatory power over Namibia after World War One.

Liberia and Ethiopia’s 1962 petition called on the court to adjudicate the legal status of Namibia. The president of the court, Sir Percy Spender, himself from the settler colony of Australia, cast the deciding vote in the seven-to-seven decision in favour of South Africa. That decision launched the armed struggle by the South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo) against the South African apartheid occupiers. That year, the General Assembly revoked South Africa’s mandate but to no avail.

In 1969, the UN Security Council finally endorsed the General Assembly’s 1966 revocation of South Africa’s mandate. When South Africa defied the UN and refused to withdraw, the matter was referred in July 1970 to the ICJ for an advisory opinion.

It was the 1971 ICJ decision that led to international recognition of the anti-colonial Swapo and the right of the Namibian people to self-determination

Unlike in 1966, this time the ICJ’s opinion, issued on 21 June 1971, completely vindicated the UN position, ruling that the UN was the lawful governing authority in Namibia and that South Africa must withdraw.

In contrast with the 1966 pro-colonial ICJ decision, the 1971 decision removed the last vestige of legitimacy the white supremacist regime still had. Not that South Africa abided by the decision; it did not. South Africa’s western Nato sponsors continued unabashedly to support its delay tactics masquerading as a “peace process” and vetoed UN resolutions that called for sanctions on the white supremacist state.

Nonetheless, it was the 1971 ICJ decision that led to international recognition of Swapo and the right of the Namibian people to self-determination. It would take a war of liberation for Namibia to finally obtain independence in 1990.

This is to say that an ICJ decision that condemns Israel’s war as a genocide will augur well for the Palestinian people’s struggle against their cruel and bloodthirsty colonisers.

While it will not bring about immediate liberation and decolonisation, it will accelerate that process measurably until it dismantles Israel’s regime of Jewish supremacy and saves both Palestinians and Israeli Jews from the genocidal cult of Zionism.

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Disclaimer: How Israel's war on Gaza exposed Zionism as a genocidal cult - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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