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The curious case of Israeli ‘genocide’ The performance at the Hague bodes ill for international law

Hamas has failed Gaza. Yasser Qudih/AFP/Getty Images

Hamas has failed Gaza. Yasser Qudih/AFP/Getty Images


January 17, 2024   9 mins

Since the early 1600s, the Bavarian town of Oberammergau has, once a decade, mounted a massive Passion Play, dramatically re-enacting Jesus’s trial and crucifixion. Spread over five hours and with a cast of thousands, it has for centuries attracted audiences from far and wide. Central to the production, and to the Play’s notoriety, was the Jews’ thoroughgoingly demonic role in Jesus’s murder, well beyond the plain sense of the Gospels. Modern antisemites loved it, Henry Ford and Josef Goebbels included.

In recent years, however, the people of Oberammergau have significantly reworked the play; Jesus and the Apostles are now clearly Jewish themselves, the Judaism of Jesus’s time is presented with nuance and understanding, and crucially, Roman imperial power is depicted as pervasively as it was. Yet though Oberammergau has changed, the Passion Play endures — most recently on stage last week at the International Court of Justice, northwest of Bavaria, in the Hague. There, South Africa initiated proceedings against the State of Israel, alleging that it is actively committing genocide in its war in Gaza.

The texts being invoked are no longer the Gospels but treatises of international law; the figure in the dock is not the traditional Jew living by centuries-old laws, but a sovereign, in many ways, secular state, with considerable military and political power. Yet again, the Jews are charged with being the criminal outliers of global society; whether they are, in a devilishly complicated situation, acting wisely or unwisely, proportionally or disproportionately, is beside the point. Their guilt is total and collective.

The magisterial historian Gershom Scholem remarked that one of Zionism’s consequences is that the Jews will no longer have to play the symbol in other people’s myths. Great a scholar as he was, he was wrong.

That Israel’s allegedly genocidal war is a response to a religious terror movement’s gleeful, forthrightly genocidal marauding was largely unmentioned by Israel’s accusers at the Hague. That the terrorists retreated, hostages in hand, to a painstakingly prepared and boobytrapped subterranean city below mosques, hospitals and schools, mentioned even less. Amid these gaping omissions, one can’t but wearily conclude that Israel was bound to be accused of genocide, no matter what it did following October 7, short of bowing its head in surrender.

Hypocrisy is at work here, of course, but that is almost trivially beside the point. Genocide is more than a justifiably hideous characterisation: as a legal category, as rhetoric and policy framing, it is a doomsday weapon of epic proportions. It is, in its heightening ignominy to the nth degree, almost uniquely totalising.

Under the terms of the Genocide Convention, passed by the United Nations in 1948, states can be called upon “to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide”. In other words, designating something as genocide brings with it a duty to act — and it is the fear of that duty that paradoxically encourages responsible states to desist from using the term and thus draw on its moral and mobilising force.  That is why the US took 40 years to ratify the Genocide Convention and has been so hesitant to invoke it long after it did. When I served in the US State Department we deployed an ensemble of verbal acrobatics — “acts tantamount to genocide”, “acts constituting genocide”, “acts of a genocidal nature” — rather than plain old “genocide”, since we knew what it entailed.

None of this is to say that Israel is immune to criticism. So much of what makes this war so very miserable is its happening on the watch of the worst government in Israel’s history. Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners, each for their own reasons, spent most of 2023 trying to replace the country’s flawed but vibrant democracy with an ultra-Right, mercenary dictatorship. They, like Hamas, badly misjudged the ranks of Israel’s civil society, who mounted massive efforts to preserve judicial independence and the rule of law, and then, come October 7, pivoted to military service, and to offering as much as they could of the social services that their hollowed-out state was unable to provide.

Netanyahu deliberately kept Hamas in power, on a low flame, rather than deal with the Palestinian Authority, whose own fecklessness made his life easier. And for years, many Israelis, myself included, went along with Netanyahu here, at least as regards not militarily confronting Hamas, because we knew that doing so would necessarily entail the nightmarish urban warfare and civilian suffering unfolding now. This was a trade-off, and one that ended very badly. But my very mentioning of the term “trade-off” reminds us that we live in a complicated world, one in which moral clarity is a hard, unending challenge, with myriad decision points along the way.

Fortunately, we have a branch of international law to help guide us in wartime: International Humanitarian Law, including the Laws of Armed Conflict. Here, Israel has laid out its understandings of that body of law as it pertains to this conflict, and its interpretations. Those interpretations are of course open to criticism, particularly around the issue of “proportionality”, as any warfighting might be. But that requires attending to the actual facts on the ground; and that is precisely what South Africa’s presentation last week at the Hague deliberately did not do.

As Itamar Mann, a well-respected Israeli scholar, himself strongly critical of the present war, has carefully pointed out, precisely because South Africa itself is not a party to the conflict, it was perfectly positioned to lay out a more complex picture of the facts than it did. By acknowledging, for instance, Hamas’s deliberate shelling of Israeli civilians since October 7, and subsequent warfighting from its tunnels, it could have presented a much stronger case.

South Africa, of course, had reasons of its own for presenting the case as it did. It is, after all, attempting to position itself as a leader of the blocs of countries increasingly challenging the already-tottering US-led world order. But even so, pressing a case of genocide still requires proving two elements of the crime: genocidal intent and genocidal actions.

South Africa was able to present evidence of genocidal-sounding intent from any number of political actors in the Netanyahu government. None of them, though, have direct decision-making authority over the conduct of the war, leading to open hostility between some of them (Itamar Ben-Gvir above all) with the IDF high command. That direct authority is reserved not just to the military professionals, but to the war cabinet, convened by Netanyahu to insulate him from his own coalition partners, and in which the political opposition to Netanyahu is well-represented; given Israeli public fury at Netanyahu, he would no longer be in power if they weren’t in the room. Moreover, if genocide were Israel’s aim, issuing warnings before bombings, creating humanitarian corridors (however limited), and allowing in food and other necessities would be a pretty poor way of going about it.

And if this is genocide, its meaning has been far removed from its usage following the Second World War, when the term, along with “human rights”, entered the global lexicon. The two designations are far from identical, and in some respects push in different directions. But both resulted from well-meaning efforts to wrest from the teeth of unimaginable horror some new, bedrock principles on which there could hopefully rise a better world.

People from a range of countries, religions and cultures worked to establish these new ideas, Jews and Zionists among them. For Jews, human rights’ grant of individual rights separate from citizenship was a welcome solution to the trauma of statelessness that doomed so many in the years before the war; “genocide”, meanwhile, reflected the understandings that groups, national and ethnic groups, have a personality all their own.

The crucial figure here was the Polish-Jewish jurist Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term “genocide” and is widely regarded as the Godfather of the Genocide Convention. Well before the Second World War, he had been thinking and working, along with a number of other jurists, on a central question vexing modern nation-states: the rights of national minorities.

He recognised that national groups, like individuals, exist prior to the state — and sought to reconcile their group-belonging with the individualised nature of citizenship. In 1919, this idea found hopeful expression in the national minority treaty system of the nascent League of Nations, under which member states pledged to honour the collective rights of national minorities within their borders.

We know how well that all worked out. The point, though, is that while the League was a disastrous political and moral failure, it was a legal failure too — and it was those treaties for minority protection that failed, for Jews above all.

After this collapse, Jewish jurists sought alternatives — the framework of human rights, the nation-state of Israel — and sometimes both at once, as James Loeffler’s magnificent scholarship has shown. Lemkin (though himself a Zionist in his early years, as Loeffler has shown), took a different tack. To him, the idea of human rights was amorphous and unenforceable. As for Zionism, while it had indeed contributed to his own thinking on minorities’ group rights, he chose to downplay its role — largely to avoid genocide’s politicisation in a solely Jewish context.

For Lemkin, if Human Rights was a way of granting individuals rights prior to the state and even if they had no citizenship at all, the Genocide Convention was a way of preserving collective groups from the modern state’s uniquely centralised, industrialised and murderous power. Implicit in the Genocide Convention is the notion that the extermination of the Jews was paradigmatic but sui generis. The Holocaust, in other words, was not to be seen as utterly and unreservedly unique, not least because then we would be left with nothing to learn from it. Vicious regimes have savaged innocent groups of people throughout history. Rather, what is so striking about the Holocaust is the way nearly every form of degradation and slaughter known to history, compounded by such modern creatures as industrialised mass murder and racial ideology, made for an apotheosis of physical cruelty and cultural extermination.

The Holocaust was thus the model, the catalogue, of all that hatred of groups could bring and all that international law was meant to prevent. Despite his deeply held differences with Jewish architects of human rights such as Hersh Lauterpacht (who was responsible for the idea of “crimes against humanity” at the Nuremberg Trials) and Jacob Robinson (a key drafter of the UN’s Refugee Convention), he shared their fundamental conviction that Jewish suffering yielded powerful new lessons for the world.

Which brings us back to last week’s activities in the Hague. Israel, too, emerged in 1948 in the aftermath of monumental genocide, and the circumstances of its birth are joined to the concept of genocide at the root. If it practises genocide, one might conclude that it therefore forfeits its “right to exist”. Indeed, Israel appears to be the only country regularly talked of in terms of having, or not having, “a right to exist”.

This is a marked shift from Lemkin’s vision, which hoped that extending the idea of personhood from individuals to groups would help those groups survive. The “right to exist” euphemism, by contrast, inverts and weaponises the language of individual rights to facilitate the kind of mass murder we saw on October 7. It contorts the immense, pained complexity of the Jewish State, the cruelties and injustices attending its birth, as well as those it has itself committed, into a vicious contest, in which one side is always on the defensive, just an argumentative slip away from offering itself up for destruction.

What’s worse, the always conditional nature of Israel’s existence in so many precincts is exactly what Netanyahu and his ultranationalist partners count on to keep them from coming to terms with Palestinian national identity. Pile-ons like those we have seen these last months in the end disserve the Palestinians and their genuine needs, and serve the ends of the most malignant actors involved, Hamas not least among them.

Jihadism, the stated ideology of Hamas, doesn’t accept the legitimate personhood of national groups and is in both theory and practice genocidal to the core. Its accusing Israel of genocide, in a fact-free way that undercuts the legitimacy of the idea of genocide as a whole, works to erode the rules-based international legal order that Hamas rejects to begin with. That international legal order and its aspirations to universalism is far from perfect, to say the least. Yet what might take its place? If another universalism, then of what? Not all universalisms are benign — and as universalisms go, Jihadism is singularly unforgiving.

Several nephews of mine serve in the Israeli Army and have been in the thick of fighting in Gaza. I asked one of them, a reservist in a commando unit and a bohemian neuroscientist in civilian life, what he thought of last week’s proceedings at the Hague. He didn’t get defensive, but told me that he and some comrades had been talking about it. He calmly asked: “What is the value of doing this now? I’m not doing genocide. Are others? I didn’t see it. Is the state? I don’t think so. But what’s going on there? What exactly do they want to get out of this?”

The answer, I’d venture, is much — and also nothing at all.

Much — in that some of what motivated the proceedings has to be the result of genuine concern for Palestinian suffering. But so much of it seems to be foisting onto Israel blame for all that colonialism wrought, and all that post-colonialism failed to do; beating up on America via its Israeli client; keeping alive Soviet-style Third Worldism for the sake of Western progressives; blaming the failures of the Gods — of ideologies, of utopian legalism — on the all-too-human Jews; retreating from a confrontation with Jihadism by hoping that one day Israel will simply go away.

And nothing at all — in that there is no attempt in these proceedings to ease the very real suffering of Palestinians on the ground from all that Hamas has brought upon them on its own, and by bringing down upon them the full force of Israel; and no attempt to convey to moderate Israelis that there actually is an international community trying to use international law to end conflicts rather than carry them on by other means.

Few doubt that our world needs International Humanitarian Law now more than ever. But that law needs to be credible — or it will be worse than nothing at all.


Yehudah Mirsky served in the US State Department’s human rights bureau, is a Professor at Brandeis University and lives in Jerusalem. Among his books is Rav Kook: Mystic In A Time Of Revolution (Yale University Press).

YehudahMirsky

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Emre S
Emre S
4 months ago

What exactly do they want to get out of this?

Perhaps stating the obvious here, but I suspect what they want is to pressure Israel to stop its current military operation. Haven’t looked at this in any depth though having said that.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  Emre S

The only thing more useless than your comment is my response.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
4 months ago
Reply to  Emre S

Yes, but how do you make peace with people who think nothing of strapping explosives to their own children in order to kill you?

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

The only peace Hamas is willing to accept from Israel is the peace of the grave.

A D Kent
A D Kent
4 months ago

Amazing that one of Hamas’s negotiators is here telling us what they will and won’t accept. I’m not surprised he goes under a pseudonym here as he’d soon be targeted for an Israeli missile attack were his whereabouts to be known.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Israel could make real concessions to create a genuine Palestinian state, backed by international support from the Arab League and the West.
Massive investments to create a country where most ppl would rather live peacefully and pursue their dreams than kill their enemies.

David Mayes
David Mayes
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Israel has made real concessions. The Palestinians have recieved massive funding. The Palestinians dont have state because they dont want one unless it comes with the elimination of Israel, which remains their highest priority.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
4 months ago
Reply to  David Mayes

I agree that Israel provides funding and material aid to Palestine. However, Israel also receives funding and military aid from the US, and Palestine is a long way away from statehood.
Essentially, anyone interested in a real solution – and not just upvotes in the Unherd comments section – needs to think about how we can create a bigger and more meaningful win-win.

Ruari McCallion
Ruari McCallion
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Gaza especially has received massive funding from the EU and via the UN. It receives more funding per capita from the UN than any other country on Earth.

The problem is less about the amount of funding than what the aid is spent on.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

Exactly.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
4 months ago

There’s a difference between food stamps and giving someone a business loan.
I’ll leave it at that bc I’m not going to convince anyone in this comments section.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

You gravely misjudge the Muslim world. They don’t respect Western wishy-washiness.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Massive investments like the billion dollars that could have transformed Gaza into a Singapore – which Hamas spent on weapons and tunnels? What planet are you on?

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

The Arab League?????????? That’s like getting the World Economic Forum to support LIfesite News

George K
George K
4 months ago

I’m sorry but isn’t the entire idea of International tribunal simply another tool for achieving political goals? Starting from Nuremberg presided by Vyshinski, mass murderer in his own right ?

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
4 months ago

I generally don’t believe in the existence of groups, certainly not in the idea that groups have any sort of personhood at all. That way lies madness, folks. The only exceptions must be, by necessity, extremely rare outliers. I don’t see how a group can meaningfully exist except as the target of hatred. In fact, I find the idea of group identity basically offensive to reason and decency. To me, the only reason to treat Jews, for example, as a group in any way is because of the widespread, consistent, violent, hatred they are subject to. I don’t see the problem with seeing the holocaust as unique. Nothing like the hatred Jews are subjected to is experienced by any other group, ever. I reject the idea of a Palestinian people. There is no Palestinian identity that isn’t a product of the hatred others have directed towards the Jews. As far as I’m concerned the so-called Palestinians should be absorbed by the neighboring countries and granted full citizenship of those nations. Move them out of the area and tell them to grow up and join the modern world. This whole mess is a product of Muslim stupidity. I’m tired of the horseshit. Israel could turn the entire Gaza into glass at any time. The only reason they don’t is… hell, I don’t really know why they haven’t yet.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
4 months ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

My sentiments exactly.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
4 months ago

The Jews have an enviable wealth of talent, but apparently that talent doesn’t extend to genocide, because they are the shittiest genocidaires in history. In less than four years, the Germans almost exterminated the Jews from Europe, yet seventy-five years on and there are more Palestinians than there ever were. If the Israelis are attempting to commit genocide against the Palestinians, then I would contend that their hearts aren’t really in it.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

Gaza population has doubled in 20 years. Maybe it’s all immigration.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The Gazans should build a wall and get Israel to pay for it. MGGA!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

That made me laugh. Damn immigrants. Build that wall Israel!!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Obviously in your ignorance you are unaware such a wall was built decades ago!

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Lighten up Francis.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago

You’ve got a sick mind and you need help.. I suggest you start with an exorcist!

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The increase in population is actually because Palestinians have been displaced from other areas and came into Gaza. Many of the people who are now refugees from Gaza were already refugees from villages where settlers have taken their land and houses.

Paul Smith
Paul Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

However, levels of fertility in Gaza are well above the desired number of about 5 children, suggesting a substantial amount of unwanted fertility, or unmet need for contraception. As documented in this paper, the observed levels of contraceptive prevalence are strikingly low there, with important implications for the health and well-being of women.
https://www.cairn-int.info/article-E_POPU_303_0273–the-fertility-of-palestinian-women.htm#:~:text=It%20has%20been%20shown%2C%20however,force%20(Khawaja%2C%202000).

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smith

They have to give birth to so many children in the hope that at least one may survive when the Israeli’s finally finish trying to slaughter them all. A Zionist gossamer gown flung over the genocide to mask or disguise its clarity does not mean it’s not genocide. It only gives it a different look. Bleeding a pig out or putting a bolt through its skull still has the same result. The pig ends up dead. Israeli is bleeding out Gaza very slowly.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You seem to have grown up on blood libel legends.

David Yetter
David Yetter
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Or perhaps they have so many children in hope that one at least will not decide to go off and fight jihad against a militarily superior foe, and live to father grandchildren.
The Ottoman Sultans had a way of dealing with too much enthusiasm for jihad: there was a fortified Venetian outpost that was essentially impregnable and could be resupplied by sea. Those desiring to fight jihad were sent, generation after generation, to attempt to take it. It was a useful arrangement that allowed the Ottoman Empire to generally live at peace with its neighbors.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smith

Women are forced to give birth as often as possible to provide new human shields and terrorists

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Shaw

What do all the feminist groups advocating for abortion rights think about the abortion restrictions in Gaza?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

That’s rhetorical, right?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago

Abortion is murder or so say 99% of Gazan women.

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
4 months ago

Now we hear from another colleague of Stuart Seldowitz of the USA state department who screamed at the Halal vendor in NYC “4,000 Palestinian children dead ! Not enough, NOT ENOUGH!” That makes the agenda of the State Department and Israel quite clear. How can you get more explicit?

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
4 months ago

Are the 2,000 lb bombs dropped by Israei on Gaza considered late-term abortions?

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
3 months ago

Not nearly as bad as the Israeli Settlers hatred and repression of women.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Shaw

And more Muslims are born into poverty because Hamas takes the money for weapons and building tunnels instead of using it for health, homes, and education for the Palestinian people.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Shaw

A despicable remark.. you should wash your mouth out with soap.

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smith

Healthcare for women in Gaza and the West Bank is abysmal in general, which includes of course contraceptive care, pregnancy and post-partum, and everything else relating to women’s health. My aunt went to do medical humanitarian work in Palestine, she said the rates of breast cancer among women, especially young women, was astronomically high compared to Israeli women or women elsewhere.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

I’m not sure how relevant that is to the 7,500 women whose bodies have been literally blown to pieces by USUK bombs?

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
4 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

Of course, you can’t get proper medical care when you can’t even get proper nutrition.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
3 months ago
Reply to  Betsy Warrior

Gaza has many hospitals for a population of 2 million odd. Unfortunately they are all funded by non Gazans, and reflect white colonial medical ideas in a way one can only find distressing.

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smith

The birth rate had actually dropped somewhat in recent years. But yes, on the whole, poverty, lack of contraception/abortion and social/cultural/religious values tend to make birth rates (and infant death rates and maternal mortality rates) increase. Even in the midst of appalling conditions, 20,000 babies have been born in Gaza since the conflict started. I really doubt that many of them will survive long term.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

No votes.. I guess no one cares one way or the other..

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yeah, what a surprise. Start discussing hard facts about healthcare in Gaza and suddenly the attention vanishes.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

There certainly seems an amazing number of hospitals in Gaza !

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

Not anymore. There were sixteen, all have been destroyed in airstrikes.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smith

I think you’ll find that blowing Palestinian women to pieces is also not good for their health..

Gordon Beattie
Gordon Beattie
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Try to say something sensible

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smith

That’s not as high a reproductive rate as the Jewish settlers.

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smith

The birthrate of the Israeli Settlers is far higher.

McExpat M
McExpat M
4 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

Even if there is some truth in this statement, there is no version of this that supports the population exploding in the last two decades. There is clearly a strong desire to “outnumber them” and it boggles belief that such can be achieved in an “open air prison”. The Palestinians brought their A game to the propaganda war. Billions of dollars in aid and an army of corrupted NGO’s, and a Jihadist worldview have all conspired to make this conflict the most festering on the planet.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  McExpat M

Exactly.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  McExpat M

..and with no input whatever from the Israeli Zionists! ..but hang on, I may be wrong in that? Did I hear Zionists murder Palestinians at 27 times the rate Palestinians kill Israelis? Maybe that is relevant?

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
4 months ago
Reply to  McExpat M

Is the deaths of about 15,000 Palestinian children considered late-term abortion by 2,000 ton bombs? Well, the number is questionable as the Israeli/USA bombs continue to fall.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
4 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

No, the women of Gaza are compelled to have many sons, so that the boys can be trained as terrorists.

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Shaw

This is seen the world over: women are always coerced into having children who will make good soldiers for the country. Fertility and birth is a woman’s way of being patriotic. Since time immemorial.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

You contradict yourself.. patriotism is voluntary. I have Gazan friends.. believe me the women are far too tough to be coerced by anyone!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Shaw

If that were so, Gaza would now have more than 700,000 Hamas terrorists. I’m not sure of there are quite that many? Accuracy it seems is the enemy of propaganda..

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

Then those people also breed.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Bina Shah is the only one talking sense here. The rest are merely outpouring of zionist hatred against the women of Gaza.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yrye but unpopular!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

Unpopular but true.. also Palestinian women are far more fertile that semi-barren Israeli women..

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

If the arabs had not supported the Husseini Clan in the 1930s who supported Himmler, they may have arrived at peaceful solution. The arab nations promised to exterminate the Jewish people in 1948 and asked the arab peoples to leave in order to achieve their goal: they lost. The one arab to defeat the Israelis was King Abdullah of Jordan and the arabs killed him in 1951.Threatening extermination and losing the war is bad diplomacy.Killing the one person who has defeated your enemy and leads the best trained arab army is bad strategy.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
3 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

Check their birth rate. One of the highest in the world.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Nope it’s childbirth.. just like Nationalists in Northern Ireland outbred sterile, semi-barren Unionists to shift the demographic from 40:60 to 52:48 in 100 years, Palestinians will outnumber Zionists by a big margin in a few decades. Hence the genocide with emphasis on slaughtering children, babies in incubators, childbearing women, hospitals etc.
To give GB credit the British army never quite resorted to that level of depravity, focusing on IRA suspects instead (as Israel claims to be doing to Hamas, but what saner person thinks that’s true?).

A Double
A Double
3 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Careful now Liam, your bigotry is showing.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
4 months ago

If Gaza were in China, the problem would not exist.

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
4 months ago

Neither would Gaza.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

It doesn’t. It’s gone. Blown to smithereens. Now to get rid of the pesky Arabs.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You are a disgusting excuse for a human being!

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago

Very good point. The Jews seem to be good at literally everything except what the world actually accuses them of.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Nope.. it’s just that Palestinians are better.

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
4 months ago

Driving a people foo their lands is genocide too. Ever hear of the faction and rebuilding the Temple? They are genocidal. (Look into them if you do not know them, and they go deep in Israel)

This article is way TLDR – but it is just a load of justifying a horror.

‘what makes this war so very miserable is its happening on the watch of the worst government in Israel’s history. Benjamin Netanyahu”

And happened on the watch of the Worst government in USA’s History too.

It is pretty genocidal what is going on – Now – think of you were there – what would you think when everything you owned was destroyed – and you were driven off into the desert? Sounds pretty genocidal to me as it s so obviously to drive a people off their home land.

If one place gave in – say Egypt said they could come – Israel would have upped the volume to 11 and run every one of them off and out of Gaza for ever – then West Bank too – but no one would take them, so it is a mess for all – but really – I get the South African point.

McExpat M
McExpat M
4 months ago

If it’s too long to read, then please refrain from commenting. Loads of other platforms for opinions but based personal feelings.

J. Hale
J. Hale
4 months ago

And it happened on the watch of the worst government in Gaza’s history.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

Is there a government?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes, it’s led by a gut called Satanyahu..

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

Excellent comment.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
4 months ago

How can something be ‘pretty genocidal’. It is either genocidal or it isn’t, no in-betweens. Genocidal is a term that is now commonly bandied about to mean injuries and deaths caused by war – which is the case in Gaza. It devalues the whole meaning of genocide.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 months ago

“pretty genocidal”? Kind of like “fairly pregnant”?

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
4 months ago

The current genocide began after 7th October 2023 and is progressing pretty well, as far as I can tell.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

You say “current” but it’s just the latest phase and has been ongoing since the Naqba in 1948..

Lewis Lorton
Lewis Lorton
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You really don’t know your history or chose to ignore it.
Arabs have been attacking Jews for at least 100 years before that.
Two quite obvious and irrefutable examples are the expulsion of Jews en masse from the Arab countries after the formation of Israel and the Free Arab Legion ( the collective name of several Nazi German units formed from Arab volunteers from the Middle East, notably Iraq, and North Africa during World War II.)

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 months ago
Reply to  Lewis Lorton

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a friend of Himmler, suppported the Final Solution and raised Bosnian Muslim Troops for the SS but was opposed by Bosnian Mullahs.
The Red Prince was the son of Salama who was trained by the Nazis.
Hasan Salama – Wikipedia
Thousands of ex Nazis served in Egypt and Syria post 1945.

Jerry K
Jerry K
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Or since the early 1920s – when the British Mandate turned over the relatively huge transjordan area to a man from Mecca aka Emir/King Abdullah. Strangely no-one ever complained about that part of the Naqba!

David Mayes
David Mayes
4 months ago

Indeed, and not to forget the Palestinian settlers. Over six million of them have settled in over 30 countries around the world. The only Palestinians who refuse to settle are the four million in the West Bank and Gaza who procreate and dream of eliminating Israel and Israelis.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  David Mayes

Your figures are inaccurate but maybe you are counting on the deaths or expulsions of another million.or so?

David Mayes
David Mayes
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Thanks Liam, my comment should read 5.3 million and not 4 million. Although I suppose it is possible, even likely, that a million or so Gaza/WB Palestinians don’t support Hamas and don’t dream of eliminating Israel.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago

253 likes.. OMG what has become of the human race? This comment is almost worse than the piece itself.. Maybe Israel’s murderous evil child killers, hospital bombers and destroyers of homes are now reading Unheard? Or 253 of them at least?

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
4 months ago

Laws are based on facts, not opinion. Genocide means ‘to destroy or attempt to destroy a group as a unique entity’. Israel, by warning via phone, leaflet, app, and so on, areas where bombing will be carried out (thereby warning Hamas also), by distributing detailed maps of areas marked for safety or military activity, by facilitating fuel, food, and supplies into areas occupied by its deadly foes – is doing everything EXCEPT for ‘genocide’.

Does Hamas hide behind, underneath, and amongst its own people? Yes. Does this cause numerous casualties? Yes. Is it Israel’s fault? No. It is Hamas’ fault.

ï»ż

Let their own people expel them, even at cost of their lives, and they will achieve safety and peace thereby. If they take the coward’s road and do nothing, the death and destruction that comes is of their own making by their inaction.

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Israeli goivernment ministers at all levels used and still use annihilatory, genocidal language, and this translates into IDF actions on the ground. Just listen to the South Africa testimony – which was of course not widely shown in Western media. In scale of deaths, severity, speed, the elements that constitute genocide are all visible to those who care to look. Indeed, Israel is a master of propaganda, which has gone into overdrive to attack South Africa. Listen to the below investigation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0gECjlpXF8

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

Excellent.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
4 months ago

Rubbish. British primary schools are having to close their doors because of threats from Palestinian sympathizers. How many British schools are closing due to violent Jews?
South Africa is a land which, together with Zimbabwe, is engaging in its own form of genocide. Just google what is happening to whites families in those countries.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago

I’ve seen plenty of the SA testimony. SA were made to look like a clown show as usual.

Stewart Cazier
Stewart Cazier
4 months ago

It’s a pity that South Africa and Israel have fallen out so badly after they used to be so tight together during the Apartheid era.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
4 months ago

Well said, now wait for the outraged replies

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago

Totally true and so very unpopular.. only lies, distortions and gross propaganda are welcome on this platform.

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

I agree with you generally of course, but it’s a bit harsh calling any Palestinian a coward for failing to stand up to Hamas militants, given that the price of doing so is probably death for both yourself and your family.

Yes, it looks like not doing so wasn’t a particularly good strategy for avoiding violence given that Israel is now bombing Gaza and killing civilians anyway, but still, the point is that peace for most Palestinians is nothing more than avoiding trouble with their own government, not Israel.

Anna Heyman
Anna Heyman
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yes, it says something when the complete destruction of your town with nowhere else to go is less of a problem than the people claiming to represent you.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  Anna Heyman

Then you retreat and shield, you do not rejoice.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Blame the UN. They are the ones who are feeding them at the nip.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Mostly the UN workers are being murdered, ie deliberately targeted by the IDF..

Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson
4 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

ABSOLUTELY! f#in starve them Bret. The UN is ISIS in disguise .. while Bibi is a righteous man … of vision and integrity. He has to KILL to cure the ILL, simple!

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I understand the difficulty. Sometimes, all that faces you are two bad choices. Then you can only choose the least bad one and hope for a better outcome, relatively speaking.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Alternatively you could perhaps get some insight into the situation, ie learn some facts but you’re probably not bothered are you?

Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Israel has inflicted 75 years non stop violence and humiliation on the Palestinians (a well documented history, read about it please). Or, just admit that all of you genocide apologists are just small parts of the toxic z#onist propaganda machine. The idea that the Palestinains made a concientious choice is so f#in ridiculous I wonder what wavelength you are operating on: Certainly not anyone with a beating heart that’s for sure. How were they to know Bibi the butcher would murder indiscriminately to hold his seat? And quite frankly, the scum bag argument that “its not genocide because we could have killed them all in a week guv” argument is sooooo sick you should please just pack your bags and join the blood thirsty settlers right now, before all the good plots are taken.

Mark 0
Mark 0
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul Wilson

Plenty of emotions in your post but light on facts (and skirting close to anti-Semitism) – did you read the article at all?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

I have to laugh at guys like you. Plenty in the working class areas of Belfast and Derry tried to stand up to the IRA and UDA. That bullet in the back of the head put an end to that. Try living in an environment like that. Acting the tough guy. You haven’t a clue. Simply pathetic.

Burke S.
Burke S.
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The IDF is scared of going into Gaza to fight Hamas and hasn’t for 16 years. Sixteen years of rockets!

And they expect unarmed Palestinian civilians to go ahead?

And for what— Some Israeli to seize their land a build a compound anyways?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Burke S.

The Israelis were holding off attacking Hamas because they were trying to maintain some semblance of peace. It certainly wasn’t out of fear.

Burke S.
Burke S.
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I’m sorry, but that is the most pathetic excuse I’ve heard yet.

If the Jews spend 16 years hiding from their enemies underground, what was the point of Zionism again?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It was out of fear.. same with Hezbullah.. the IDF are only brave inside their armoured vehicles or dropping bombs on homes.. to be fair some of the more courageous of the IDF troops took on children heavily armed with slingshots and managed to break their arms, imprison and torture them but only when they outnumbered to children 5:1.

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Get your facts straight: Netanyahu supported Hamas as a ploy against The PA to encourage a civil war between them. Netanyahu’s government knew about the Hamas planned attack a year before it occurred, but chose to let it happen to stave off his political demise. All this is documented. He sacrificed Israeli lives , not just to keep himself in office, but also to have an excuse to exterminate the Palestinians.

Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

CLARE! PLEASE TAKE YOUR MEDS!

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
4 months ago
Reply to  Burke S.

‘Cloudy with a Chance of Rockets’, huh? 🙂

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  Burke S.

Are you saying that Iraelis should have gone to war year ago, based on rockets fired on Israel?

B Stern
B Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It’s the PA that should have fought back against Hamas and prevented them from taking over Gaza. After Hamas famously threw members of the PA off roof-tops it should have at least tried to maintain its control of what is supposed to be Palestinian territory. The refusal to maintain its control over half of the Palestinian territory has made it impossible to have any realistic peace negotiations since that time. It is what has led us to this war.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

We may soon know what that’s like if Trump gets elected again.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

What the hell does that even mean?

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I understand the difficulty. Obviously, you need to plan, train, arm, seek allies, build logistics, etc. I’m not suggesting running out to wrestle grizzly bears with you bare hands. Some prep is needed.ï»żSometimes, all that faces you are two bad choices. Then you can only choose the least bad one and hope for a better outcome, relatively speaking.

Burke S.
Burke S.
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Hamas took power sixteen years ago and declared its war on the Jews.

The Jews did not have the courage to win then, and I highly doubt they have the courage to win now. The Jews are the ones with the state, and the power to end Hamas. Instead they hid in their holes for sixteen years and acted like the rocket fire was a passing rainstorm!

And unlike Palestinian civilians, they’re given billions in military every year. God, if the USA acted like Israel— Osama bin Laden would be sipping tea on a Qatari beach this evening!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Burke S.

Absolutely not true.

Burke S.
Burke S.
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Hamas has launched rockets at Israel every single year since they’ve seized power in Gaza, with major spates in 2006, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019, and 2021.

Israel has not launched a major incursion into Gaza until Hamas was able to kill hundreds and seize hundreds more in 2023. Only now is Israel actually confronting the monster instead of building more hiding holes as they’ve responded to all previous attacks.

They did manage to take a lot more of the West Bank though. Maybe the PA needs to invest in rockets.

I don’t want to bankroll Israel forever. If they’re unwilling to win, they can handle themselves.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
4 months ago
Reply to  Burke S.

What kind of tea, out of curiosity? ;))

Burke S.
Burke S.
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

The same kind that Hamas leadership sips on, without fear of Israel.

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

So wait a minute: if another state was endlessly bombing the country you live in, killing thousands and thousands of civilians, claiming to be defending itself against a brutal attack, very likely a false flag, that happened on one day now several months ago, and it was “warning” you (by the way how do you know that Palestinians are actually receiving this generous information, or indeed whether Israel is really attempting to hand it out?) where it was going to drop its bombs, you would say, “Fair cop – I’ll just get out the way of your just bombs on my people and see if I can find somewhere else to go. It’s definitely my people’s fault that you are dropping these bombs and killing all these civilians, nothing to do with your bombs and your geopolitical strategies – we totally deserve it”? Is that how you would react? Just checking…

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
4 months ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

What is your question? I’m trying to tease it out of that thicket of words, but I’m having some difficulty. Perhaps you can assist. 😉

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
4 months ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

I understand the difficulty. Sometimes, all that faces you are two bad choices. Then you can only choose the least bad one and hope for a better outcome, relatively speaking.

Mark 0
Mark 0
3 months ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

Claiming the Oct 7 attacks were a ‘false flag’ or that it may have not happened it pretty much anti-Semitism right there. There are eyewitness, official footage, citizen footage, tons of evidence everywhere (including mutilated bodies). The terrorosts filmed their wicked acts themselves! Have you ever asked for extra evidence for the London 7/7 bombings, the Norwegian attack, the French attacks, new Zealand? Were they ‘false flag’ operations?

It’s v upsetting to see such blatant bigotry on these forums.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

What garbage.. most of the victims of this genocide were blown to pieces in..
A. Their iwn homes.. hardly military targets.
B. On the roads fleeing the bombing..
C. In refugee camps within Gaza
D. In I near hospitals, schools, churches etc
E. In the SAFE AREAS they were sent to.
While it’s OK to be gullible I suppose you are not obliged to swallow ALL of the propaganda and lies directed at you. I suggest to read a varietyy of news sources including the Jewish news outlet in JERUSALEM, ie Ha’aretz and Israel’s own human rights watch organisation B’tSelem..

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

I don’t know much about Israeli politics, I don’t know much of Benjamin Netanyahu, but I do recognize this language; “
spent most of 2023 trying to replace the country’s flawed but vibrant democracy with an ultra-Right, mercenary dictatorship.”

Ugh. This instantly raises red flags for me. It’s the hysterical language used by technocrats afraid of losing their power and privilege. Maybe the author is right and BN is truly awful, but it sends off alarm bells for me.

What I do know is the Israeli judiciary has way, way too much power. It is unacceptable in a democracy for judges to be appointed by anyone but elected representatives. If judges appoint their own members, they become totally unaccountable to the electorate.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I completely reject your last statement, which seems extraordinary to anyone except an American. I presume you are a US citizen. The US has, until now, just about managed with the politicised appointment of judges. Now we have “good if conservatives are appointed, bad if liberals or progressives”, or vice versa, and results in court proceedings being increasingly contested on fundamentally political, and not judicial grounds.

“Democracy” isn’t simply the rule of a majority to ride roughshod over the (possibly temporary) minority.

Netanyahu is a remarkable politician but of course a divisive one. I don’t know if it makes it better or worse, but unfortunately his moves to reduce the power of the Israeli Supreme Court owe almost everything to his own self interest in protecting himself from prosecution on a number of grounds, and little with any coherent reform position.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I am Canadian. Judges are appointed by provincial premiers. Judges get complete independence, and act as a check on elected politicians, but elected politicians decide who is appointed. This acts as a check on the judiciary. There is no other democratic way to do it. If judges appoint judges, there is no check on their power. This shouldn’t be controversial.

Alexei A
Alexei A
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

If judges are appointed by provincial premiers, how does that imply “complete independence”? If the premier is on the Left, he’ll likely appoint a left-leaning judge and vice versa. In addition, the appointed judge might feel a certain pressure to tailor his sentencing in a particular way.
In recent years, we’ve seen in the US an increasing trend to “partisan” legal decisions…. In some states, such as Washington, superior court judges are elected by the voters to four-year terms. Vacancies between elections are filled by appointment of the Governor, and the newly-appointed judge serves until the next general election. To qualify for the position, a person must be an attorney admitted to practice in Washington. But even this doesn’t prevent impartial objective decision-making/judgements since if the electorate is predominantly left or right wing, they’ll elect judges reflecting their views.

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
4 months ago
Reply to  Alexei A

Chad Meredith.

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

You make some interesting points but your absolute certainty that you know the truth on a very complex matter concerns me.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

He was a ‘policy and strategic’ advisor to Jeremy Corbyn no less, until ‘fired’ for outrageous conduct.

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
4 months ago

I might agree with him, for example the UK’s judicial persecution of Tommy Robinson disgusts me. This stepped up a notch a few years ago when PM May appointed a judge to a very senior role and the judge’s first notable action was to renew charges against TR. This provides evidence against political appointments to the judiciary.
However the US system has benefits because it produces well argued dissenting opinions that contribute to legal wisdom for decades.
What I would never do in a complex debate is assume the 6.8 billion humans who are not US citizens agree with me.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

Unfortunately British Judges leave a lot to be desired. Denning and Hoffman fir example.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

The Canadian Supreme Court is very activist and progressive right now because Trudeau has been in power since for 10 years. It makes decisions I personally can’t stand, but I don’t see any other democratic way to appoint them.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
4 months ago

I knew I had to downvote him but I couldn’t work ut why, except for insulting JV. Thaks for filling in the gap.

P N
P N
4 months ago

Irrelevant ad hominem. Fisher makes valid points. Politicians don’t appoint judges in the UK and that works well as a liberal democracy, as distinct from a pure democracy. My politics could not be more different to Fisher’s but even a stopped clock


Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  P N

Do you have to use the term ‘ad hominem’, it sounds so pretentious? Or are you trying to tell us that you took a double first in Greats?

Why not “call a spade a spade” and say personal attack? It’s so much easier for everyone.

Simon Courage
Simon Courage
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

If Corbyn had been elected, you and he would have come into conflict with the Supreme Court because of your planned moves on the private sector and civil society. Government’s relationship to the court would have come up. Would you have been able to stop yourselves from a power grab such as appointing top judges?

Chipoko
Chipoko
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

As I understand it, Netanyahu sought to assert parliamentary authority over the judiciary, which had been overturning or otherwise undermining the democratic mandate and decisions of elected parliamentarians. The same scenario has impacted on UK’s parliamentary authority, not least in respect of recent judicial rulings that have frustrated the legitimate decisions of HM Government in respect of sending illegal migrants to Rwanda.
I agree with the need to curtail the extent of judicial authority where it usurps and undermines that of the elected government of a parliamentary democracy, as in UK or Israel. Governments in conjunction with parliaments make and enact legislation; the judiciary’s job is to implement the laws enacted by parliament. It is not the job of the judiciary to make laws independent of those parliaments to which they are, or should be, subordinate in democratic systems. Elected politicians can be removed through the electoral process. Judges are appointed indefinitely and cannot be removed thus. That is one compelling reason why judges should not be allowed such powers as they may decide new law and not be held to account for this.
Your argument that Netanyahu’s principal motivation in seeking to curb the expanding power of the Israeli judiciary is self-interest is unconvincing and focuses on the man rather than the wider issue, which is a serious one and not to be dismissed with such a trivial explanation. The weak Tory government in the UK appears incapable of reigning in its judiciary, whereas at least Netanyahu has attempted to do so.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago
Reply to  Chipoko

The role of the judiciary is to act as a check on the power of elected officials. I’m not sure what the best approach is to curb the judiciary when it strays beyond its mandate, becomes activist and starts making decisions that the majority of people oppose. We have the same issue in Canada right now. The judges need to be free from political interference, but they shouldn’t be making policy either.

Stephen Barnard
Stephen Barnard
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Surely the role of the judges is to apply the law…

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

What happens is the legislature approves some kind of policy and the judiciary rules that it violates X person’s human rights. X might represent less than 1% of the population so you have judges overturning legislation based on some incredibly narrow segment of society. I hdve no idea how you curb that activism.

philip kern
philip kern
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I am in general agreement but don’t like the use of ‘human rights’ in this context. Far too nebulous. Having a written constitution works wonders at this point, yielding ‘…the judiciary rules that it violates the constitution…’ The point isn’t so much that a written constitution is required, simply that jurisprudence needs definable criteria.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The law can be based on interpretation by whoever is doing it, that’s why they have arguments, and may the best man win. Kind of like a boxing match.

marianna chambless
marianna chambless
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

He is more than “a remarkable politician,” he is a cynical one, and I would go so far as to say evil, in the support he has given to Hamas in order to get rid of the PLO, encourage settlements and violence in the West Bank, and eliminate any chance for a 2-state solution. While Noam Chomsky had argued years ago against the 2-state solution, believing that it would be better for Israel, and the world, were Israel to be a nonreligious state, where both Jews and Arabs could live together, Netanyahu and cronies, and perhaps a majority of Israelis now, have a different motivation – to get rid of the Palestinians, not so much because of the physical harm they cause, but because they are there, in land the Israelis BELIEVE to be theirs by divine right, worrisome, and a constant reminder of what the state of Israel has become. You cannot harm others without denigrating yourself in the process. And, if the Palestinians “willingly emigrate” to countries that the US and Israel have paid off, why then the Israelis can become good again.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

I think it’s valid to critique Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but it withdrew from Gaza in 2005. This contradicts the argument that Israel thinks the land is theirs by divine right.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

I like the bit about “you can’t harm others without denigrating yourself”. But perhaps that only works if one has a moral compass.

Mark Carpenter
Mark Carpenter
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Well, here in US we have Culture War set off by Obergefell, All 9 judges at time were from the Ivy League. 3 out of 4 leftie judges were Jewish and all 3 signed Obergefell, along with 2 Catholics, including a republican. No protestants went along. This caused a revolt amongst the evangelical Christians and they voted in Trump because they knew he was hated by the NYC progressives.
Ivy League SCOTUS redefined marriage. Should have been done through elected legislatures. Now we are spiralled off into Culture and have liars like Rachel Levine imposing gender affirming care and telling the country that boys can be girls and vice versa. And Trump is going to win again.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

My understanding is that the Israeli supreme court appoints its own members and is therefore a sort of judicial aristocracy. No other democracy, to my knowledge, gives its judiciary such power.

I don’t believe the government was, per se, threatening the independence of the judiciary. Perhaps someone will enlighten me.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

I’m not sure of the details either so I won’t give BN a free pass, but judges appointing judges is a fundamental violation of democratic values. It should never ever happen.

Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
4 months ago

“Judges appoint their own members” is a canard. Here is how it works in Israel: the Judges Appointment Committee consists of three supreme court judges, plus the minister of justice and another minister, two Knesset members – traditionally, one of the coalition and one of the opposition, and two members of the Israeli bar association, i.e. nine in total. Appointment of a supreme court judge requires 7 votes. This means that no single faction can appoint a judge by itself, and thus compromises must be made. However, the ruling coalition (3 votes at least) and the judges (3 votes) can each veto any candidate. The former makes sense because they were voted in power. The latter makes sense because a judge is, among others, a professional appointment – and the profession should be able to block unqualified candidates. Overall, this system – in its current form, the brainchild of former Likkud justice minster Gideon Saar – is widely considered as one of the better ones worldwide. Unless you are opposed to an independent judiciary, that is.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago
Reply to  Danny Kaye

You don’t think this is a problem? There are nine people on this board, three of them are judges and two from the bar association. That makes five of the nine. This is completely unacceptable IMO. There should be zero. Every single person appointing a judge should be elected by voters. The court is charged with passing judgement on elected representatives. Its composition should be mandated by those elected officials. These are the checks and balances needed in democracy.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
4 months ago

The Supreme Court of India is similar. Parliament passed a Judicial Reform bill to make the process transparent, but the Court, with the help of a Woke media and ” activist” civil society managed to keep its opaque old system going.

Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“Judges appoint their own members” is a canard. Here is how it works in Israel: the Judges Appointment Committee consists of three supreme court judges, plus the minister of justice and another minister, two Knesset members – traditionally, one of the coalition and one of the opposition, and two members of the Israeli bar association, i.e. nine in total. Appointment of a supreme court judge requires 7 votes. This means that no single faction can appoint a judge by itself, and thus compromises must be made. However, the ruling coalition (3 votes at least) and the judges (3 votes) can each veto any candidate. The former makes sense because they were voted in power. The latter makes sense because a judge is, among others, a professional appointment – and the profession should be able to block unqualified candidates. Overall, this system – in its current form, the brainchild of former Likkud justice minster Gideon Saar – is widely considered as one of the better ones worldwide. Unless you are opposed to an independent judiciary, that is.

T Bone
T Bone
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You are correct, Jim. You’re not missing anything. I’ve yet to see anybody explain why the Judiciary needs “Super-Legal status.”

CBS did a segment with Anti-Netanyahu protesters back in September. Even the CBS lady was confused why allowing elected officials the authority to make laws was so “dangerous.”

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

how can you call an apartheid state as Israel is, a “vibrant democracy’ ? Israel is an apartheid state, practicing segregation, discrimination, oppression against one part of the population, based on religion ( Jews in Israel have more rights than Arab citizens). Israel maintains an oppressive occupation of the West Bank and Gaza – occupation corrupts Israeli society, where Israelis systematically treat Palestinians as sub-human.
The Likud party manifesto claims the “right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel….between the sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty” , and denies the possibility of the existence of a Palestinian state. Yet media blames Palestinians for this phrase

Ron Kean
Ron Kean
4 months ago

If you have ever seen Israel you’d see Jew and Muslim working together, riding the same buses and light rail, working and being treated in the same hospitals, using the same bathrooms, Muslim MDs, entrepreneurs, workers in every trade using the same electricity, gas, water, free to travel, free to make money to raise families and more. You’ve been misled by jihadi ideology and it’s all wrong. Do they all make as much money as so many Jews who were educated in the US and Europe? No but they have opportunity if they want it.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I completely agree with you and like you said it’s the hysterical language used by technocrats afraid of losing their power and privilege.
There is another circumstance that the author does not want to see, creating a picture that is completely inconsistent with reality.
Today I saw the following story on the news.
After October 7th, the headless body of an IDF soldier was found. It turned out that the Hamas man who cut off the head expected to sell it for $10,000.
The fighters of the IDF elite unit, with the tank’s support, received an order to get to the building, which is located in one of the central squares of the enclave. There, in the refrigerator of an ice cream parlor, they found a bag with tennis balls, documents of the terrorist and soldier’s head.
“Few doubt that our world needs International Humanitarian Law now more than ever. But that law needs to be credible — or it will be worse than nothing at all”
I’m wondering what kind of international humanitarian law can exist in a world where a lot of human beings are not human? People like the author are living in the world which doesn’t exist. Israelis are living in the real world:
When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true (© Harry Truman)

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Is the problem related to law making? In a developed democracy law making is for democratically elected politicians and the role of judges is to uphold the law so made. Problems seem to arise when judges ( appointed by whomsoever) start making new law. Could the sweet spot be a system in which the laws are made by elected representatives and upheld by an independent judiciary appointed (at every level) under a process, free from political control, focussed solely on the proven legal and personal qualities and experience of the individual ( ie competence to do the job properly)?

T Bone
T Bone
4 months ago

What exactly was Undemocratic about Netanyahu’s judicial reform? It seems the “judicial reform” just allowed elected officials to implement laws without an unelected panel nullifying those it deems “unreasonable.”

As I understand it, Israel has no constitution where separation of powers are clearly laid out. Is the argument that the judiciary needs to be more powerful than the lawmakers?

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
4 months ago

There have been other genocide referrals at the ICJ, e.g. against Myanmar or Serbia, so the claim that the Jews have been singled out for something uniquely sinister is not true. So pathetic: you are genocidal! No, you are more genocidal! I’ll tell on you! I tell on your more!
Besides, why do you care? Win the war and be done with it, nothing speaks as clearly as like victory.
Of course the question is this: Can Israel really win a peace? Where it is, the way it was created – is Israel in a winnable place?

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
4 months ago
Reply to  Fafa Fafa

Huh? One of your questions answers the others. Israel cares about these charges because it needs to win the peace – and to do that requires the support of its international partners, particularly the US.
And (shamefully) a significant number of Americans believe this genocide lined because they believe Zionism is wrong, because they believe the export of Western civilizations into ‘brown’ countries is wrong.

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Fafa Fafa

Israel does not want peace, but is putting itself in a position for eternal war.If the war stops, netanyahu will likely end up in prison, certainly out of power, so in his interest to have forever war. IThere will be no security for Israel without a Palestinian state
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0gECjlpXF8

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
4 months ago

I stopped reading after to opener, in which the author did his best to shoe-horn in an allusion to historic antisemitism into the current issue in Palestine.
The case is being taken by South Africa. Attempts to play on Europe’s guilt for past pogroms are shallow and misplaced.

Ruari McCallion
Ruari McCallion
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

You really should have read the entire article. Your comment would have been much better informed. Probably not made at all, which would not have been a bad thing.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
4 months ago

No. I went back and read the whole thing. My first instincts were right.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

‘historic’ – meaning the ethnic cleansing of Jews (and Christians) from every country in the Middle East and North Africa?
It’s only the Jews…only the tiny sliver of land where Jews are welcome…..to which these absolutist standards are applied. The reason is because people like you are Jew hating fascist ‘anti-fascists’
how about giving all the land back to 13 million German refugees kicked out of Eastern Europe and Russia after the war;
How about looking at Pakistan ejection of millions of Afghan refugees right now?
How about forcing Uganda to give back land and property to Indians kicked out by Idi Amin?
How about restitution for the Armenians?
How about Bantu South Africans giving land and territory back to the !Kung San – dispossessed just as much by blacks and as BOers……and more so post apartheid?
Why is it just the Jews?
How far back do we go? At what point do realities on the ground become the de facto baseline?
Are you going to give all the Jewish land and property back across the Middle East?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
4 months ago

‘International law’ is now utterly debased. The UN is a cesspit. What a fall from the great hopes of 1945. Yet both are praised by our corrupt progressive elites as we see in the Rwanda showdown The West must urgently reform both the institution and its rogue laws – especially the outdated Asylum & Refugee laws which threaten every nation state.

max redgers
max redgers
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I just passed house, well 10 minutes ago on way back from shop, where Raphael Lemkin lived here in L’viv (Ukraine)…..history of here reflects and influenced his formulation of “genocide”.

The other figure that was influenced by history here and formulated international law used at Nuremberg trials was Hersch Lauterpach. He lived several streets from where I am sat.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

“What a fall from the great hopes of 1945” – But how ridiculous it ever was to think ‘international law’ could achieve what was hoped for. Law depends on enforcement, and enforcement depends on either (a) an overarching military-judicial force with the authority and ability to enforce it, or (b) a commonality of culture and outlook to make self-enforcement a realistic possibility. Neither is possible in the UN. It is a great talking shop, nothing more or less. We don’t need to dismantle it, but we do need to stop thinking it stands for something.

Stephen Barnard
Stephen Barnard
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

And I am afraid that South Africa deserves the deepest contempt for its role in this farce…

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Its just another thing that needs to go away.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

International law can only exist when all groups of humans have the same ability to create and maintain civilisation. However there is no agreement on what constitutes a civilisation. In 1400 AD Aztecs undertook human sacrifice; in 2500 BC The Minoans had a peaceful civilisatin.

Ciaran Murphy
Ciaran Murphy
4 months ago

I’d posit your article is cynical, Israel put these people in an open air prison. Another article from a comfortable position. You took their land. So what do you expect. Disgusting.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  Ciaran Murphy

How biased is the media in Ireland? It seems the Irish aren’t getting the full story. Apologies if you aren’t Irish.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Ciaran Murphy

Open air prison? With hotels, beaches, large villas, a wonderful coast, a massive long border with Egypt. The problems of Gaza were 100% generated by Hamas.
‘Their land’ – literally 100s of millions of people have been uprooted in the 20th century; 13 million German speakers from Russia and Eastern Europe after the war; Armenians……dozens of examples. Jews have been in Israel for thousands of years (read the Torah). They have also been ethnically cleansed from every single Arab and North African Muslim country. There is a tiny sliver of land occupied by Jews…. The Palestinians are Jordanians and Egyptians. It was rough for refugees – all refugees everywhere….but people like you ONLY apply this zero sum absolutist math to the Jews…..only the Jews…
Why is that? Ireland has always been antisemtitic….in your case that is why. You’re a Jew hating Nazi sympathizer….

Mark 0
Mark 0
3 months ago

I think your last paragraph is a bit strong (agree Ireland has antisemitism problems but huge assumption that this guy is Irish or even lives in Ireland. Mentioning Nazis not helpful).

rest of it was spot on

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

Did COVID bypass Gaza for some extraordinary reason?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

Interesting observation.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

Pile-ons like those we have seen these last months in the end disserve the Palestinians and their genuine needs, and serve the ends of the most malignant actors involved, Hamas not least among them.
This attack was planned by Hamas at least 2 years.
It seems that the author is most concerned with proving that Netanyahu and the government elected in the last elections, bad guys and the true democracy arises only when judges elect themselves, the people are only a hindrance to them.

Ruari McCallion
Ruari McCallion
4 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

Is that genuinely what you took from the article?

Strange.

Marianne Kornbluh
Marianne Kornbluh
4 months ago

Well, he probably knows more about Israeli politics than most here. The left in Israel forced Bibi to look for coalition partners on the right because the entire left refused to work with him. N got most of the votes in the last election and had to form a government. The author of this article is very obviously biased.

Stephen Barnard
Stephen Barnard
4 months ago

Bears comparison with recent developments in Poland…

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
4 months ago

If by ”most of the votes” you mean a majority, then it is a truism. But Netanyahus Likud did not win a majority on its own. If you mean a plurality, then it doesn’t followed at all. The government that preceded the current one was led by a prime minister from a smaller party.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago

The ANC party (leader of the government in South Africa) has suddenly and mysteriously been the beneficiary of millions which has taken them out of bankruptcy. ANC = always, always follow the money.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
4 months ago

Unfortunately nobody I’ve seen in the pro-Hamas camp accepts or even acknowledges that Israel is “issuing warnings before bombings, creating humanitarian corridors (however limited), and allowing in food and other necessities”
A friendly music jam I used to attend has recently been turned into a “benefit to stop the genocide in Gaza”. No amount of facts will penetrate this deeply-held belief.

René Descartes
René Descartes
4 months ago

The only people in the area who have embarked upon genocide – the murder of Jews simply for being Jewish – are Hamas. So why is it Israel that is in the dock?

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

BS wilfully ignoring the facts. Hamas actions on Oct 7 were related to the brutal, vicious occupation of Gaza by Israel for the past 16 years, the failure of Israel and the international community to do anything to uphold the rights of Palestinians to their land, to live in peace and dignity. And the ongoing armed settle violence in the West Bank, attacking and stealing Palestinians land.In the midst of war, the Israeli govt has allocated at least $20 m to buiold more illegal settlements. Does this look like the action of a lawful country?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago

That Israel’s allegedly genocidal war is a response to a religious terror movement’s gleeful, forthrightly genocidal marauding was largely unmentioned by Israel’s accusers at the Hague. 
Well, of course, it wasn’t. Did you expect this proceeding to mirror that of an impartial hearing? This expectation is not possible whenever Israel is concerned. The UN puts some of the world’s most toxic govts on its human rights panels and expects the decision to be taken seriously. Pro-Hamas rioters have worked to erase October 7 from memory. One can question if the Israeli response has gone too far, but its genesis is not a mystery. None of which matters in today’s environment.
Genocide, apartheid, oppression. That’s the holy trinity of the pro-Hamas wing. It mirrors what we see in identity politics as a whole. Only through this prism can the people who commit acts of barbarism be seen as the oppressed in the equation.

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

You appear not to have noticed that the majority of the world wants a ceasefire, wants international law to be respected, and the UK, US, Israel stand isolated in this respect. Israeli brutal murderous assault is pure vengence as well as genocidal. It will not achieve security for Israel and it is clear that Israel is doing nothing to bring back the hostages.

Suggest you listen to the following as a voice which would never be heard in British media.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0gECjlpXF8

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
4 months ago

Too right. The ‘journalists’ in this video are nothing more than agenda-driven activists. It is concerning that you consider this investigative journalism.

Marzia Briel
Marzia Briel
4 months ago

Please search ‘kill the boer, eff, genocide,’ and you will see how confusing this action is for South Africans.

Dick Barrett
Dick Barrett
4 months ago

This Zionist is, in effect, defending an appalling slaughter of men, women and children. Zionism and Islamism are twin cancers in the Middle East.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Dick Barrett

Any “Ism” is a belief system which becomes problematic.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
4 months ago

That clown from South Africa was used in the same way Democrats in DC use their black colleagues: have them make incoherent, outlandish public denunciations so the flying monkey media can keep the phony outrage going and top of the google search. The shrewder politicians know they’d be mercilessly mocked for saying the same things, but everyone knows the protected racial classes must be listened to and reported on with stentorian vigor, because they are truly wise in “other ways of knowing”.

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

What a racist comment. If you took the trouble to listen to the South Africa testimony without a racist lense you would see they made a compelling, damning, disturbing case; israel response could not refute thre facts of evidence of genocidal intentions as expressed by all levels of the israeli government and their genocidal actions

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago

Rubbish

Ron Kean
Ron Kean
4 months ago

This article says much that is true but bringing up politics by calling a good many Israelis ultra-nationalists and deriding Netanyahu was unnecessary. The issue of the supreme court was a divide that Israel needs to avoid right now. Also, saying the present government was in some way inattentive to the needs of the Palestinians implied an opposing political party has an answer to that which it does not.
We’ve heard ‘genocide’ leveled against Israelis for too long a time. As Israel has been called genocidal for decades, the irony is that there’s a question about the growth of the Arab population that Israel might lose its status as a democracy because the Arabs might get too numerous. To that I’ve answered on social media tongue in cheek, “Who’s torpedoing the genocide?”
Now anti-semitic people are really believing it. Speaking about a divide, there’s a new one. The upper level politicians and upper level generals are wavering in the pursuit of total, undeniable and unquestionable victory. The soldiers on the ground are willing to sacrifice for that goal but international considerations, public relations, social media and pressure from the United States stands in the way more each day. Derision of Netanyahu aside, he promised it. He should fulfill his promise.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
4 months ago

I was interested in this article until I got to this laughable sentence: “Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners, each for their own reasons, spent most of 2023 trying to replace the country’s flawed but vibrant democracy with an ultra-Right, mercenary dictatorship.”
This author complains about the misuse for political purposes of words like “genocide,” but then he does the same thing, engaging in misleading political rhetoric designed to make his political opponents look much worse than they are.
Here he is presumably referring to the Supreme Court reforms which Netanyahu tried to implement. To be clear, these reforms would have made the unelected Supreme Court a *more* democratic institution, ie, more accountable to the electorate. But they would have reduced the power of Israel’s secular, liberal elite, and hence members of that constituency attack it not with substantive critique, but with misleading rhetoric.
Hey, at least he didn’t say that Netanyahu was committing genocide against the Supreme Court. That’s a plus.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
4 months ago

Over the last few years the ANC has been close to insolvency several times, frequently unable to pay staff or bills and also in heavy debt to the revenue for employee taxes deducted but not paid over to SARS. As recently as last November a recovery order against its property was served against a debt of SAR100m for election banners and posters. The bailiff even went so far as conducting a survey of ANC offices to value what could be seized. Yet from this state of near penury the ANC is suddenly flush with cash, its debts settled out of court and boasting that it is ready to fight the 2024 election.

How did this phoenix-like rebirth occur? The ANC will not say of course, so people are coming to their own conclusions: a visit from Hamas representatives in December; a meeting in Tehran with Iranian officials; and all before the announcement of the law suit against Israel. Purely co-incidental of course.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

Exackle

Noraz
Noraz
4 months ago

This, to my mind, is a very long winded argument to explain a very simple idea namely that blaming Israel of genocide is preposterous. Overlooking morality, for the simplicity of the argument only, Israelis ( those in charge, I mean) know perfectly well they couldn’t achieve this and thus, they should be aware that it is simply counter-productive for Israel to behave in a way that would remotely allude to such a charge.
On a different note: who’s supposed to have the ultimate word in a democracy? Is it Parliament or the Judiciary? My, admittedly naive answer, it is that the it is the Parliament provided (and this is where I see a role for Judiciary) it acts within the law.

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

In the interests of balance, can Unherd publish an article from someone that believes Israel’s actions are genocidal? International institutions are undermined by political considerations eg US veto to unconditionally support Israel as in the case of the US veto on the many ceasefire resolutions, when the majority of the world wants a ceasefire; The US, Israel and the UK are isolated over the Israel war on Gaza, and have undermined international law and institutions by granting impunity to isrrael
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0gECjlpXF8

Keith Hartrick
Keith Hartrick
4 months ago

What puzzles me is the lack of action from other Arab countries. If every Arab country with land and finance took 50 or 100,00 of the residents of Gaza, the problem could be solved overnight. It seems they have no intention of helping their fellow Arabs, no desire to ease their suffering by re-settling them where they have a chance to build a decent life for their families.War is awful but Hamas provoked it. But why do the Arab nations refuse to help in this way?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Keith Hartrick

Exactly. But one assumes it’s because they don’t know what they’d be getting. If there was a guarantee it would be “innocent” families it’s one thing, but who knows how many terrorists lurk among them. And since it’s all about ideology males are already problematic.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
4 months ago
Reply to  Keith Hartrick

Kuwait mid 1950s, Jordan 1970, Lebanon mid 1970s and Arafat support for Hussein/Iraq invasion of Kuwait in 1990 probably answers your question.

P Branagan
P Branagan
4 months ago

It’s the racist, Apartheid imposing genocidal Zionists that are the illegal immigrants in Palestine. All Jewish people who accept Palestinians as equal human beings are welcome to stay in Palestine. The Zionists need to shipped off to upstate New York.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

‘Are welcome to stay’… Like gays are welcome to stay in Yemen….you pillock.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
4 months ago

Much to and fro about Netenyahu versus the Courts. All for nothing.The Israelis have made it plain that they’re not going to deal with Netenyahu until they’re ready to.
Meanwhile, I have a question:
If the UN obliges it’s members to act to stop genocides, and Hamas is intent on genocide (it’s in their Charter, their missile barrages and their wildly immoral rampage of Oct. 7); then isn’t Israel obliged to protect its own populace? If so, must they sit and wait for the next attack, or may they instead reach out to prevent it?

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago

Am I the only one who is struggling to work out what exactly is being said in the penultimate paragraph?

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

the whole article was incomprehensible to me. Long though, but really – he could have said his point in 2 paragraphs – and I would have still disagreed.

J. Hale
J. Hale
4 months ago

I have to think the diplomats and lawyers who made proportionality a requirement of the rules of land warfare were either cynical or naive. If the rule of proportionality had existed in WWII then economic sanctions would have been a proportionate response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939. War with Germany would have been a totally dipropionate response, especially after the USSR also invaded Poland in mid-September. If proportionality had been the rule after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. and Japan would have signed a peace treaty after the Battle of Midway when the U.S. evened the score by sinking a proportionate number of Japanese ships. Basically no thinking stateman or general takes proportionality seriously.
I doubt the South Africans take proportionality seriously either. They probably know they will lose the trial in the courtroom. Unfortunately they also know they’ll probably win in the court of public opinion.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
4 months ago

Quite a dense article for the chattering class which is ourselves. If I was from Mars it would not have given hardly a clue about the daily brutality (I include Oct 7th) that is on going. Whether it is genocide or not doesn’t really interest me; however, the slaughter is a damnation on all of us and will not end well.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
4 months ago

>Moreover, if genocide were Israel’s aim
Funny. If that word can be made to stick, then that’s a propaganda coup for the anti-zionists, if it can’t be made to stick, then absolutely nothing on the ground will change, yet it will be taken as a propaganda coup by the Zionists. Me, I think you have to murder more than 1% of a population before genocide can be considered. But how about collective punishment? That fits better. One way or another we have about 25,000 dead and 70% of them are women and kids — barbaric *whatever* label you attach to it.

mike otter
mike otter
4 months ago

Remember the possibly schizophrenic cop in the Thatcher era who believed he’d been talking to Jesus all his life? One of his tropes was to cast his opponents as “swimming in a cesspool of their own making”. A great description of present day South Africa.

McExpat M
McExpat M
4 months ago

Yet again, Progressives have co-opted the language to the point where the word has lost its meaning. Genocide is bandied about in such a casual and idiotic way now, that its redefinition means literally anyone who is coming out of the other side of a conflict having not achieved their original aims. It’s so egregious. Hamas (also the Houthis) mandate is to wipe Israel and all Jews off the map. Standing in the way of their barbaric tactics and aims is now genocidal? The watering down of concepts is rife and the goal to twist the meaning to suit the utterly illogical, chaotic, and complete inability to debate a coherent position on the progressive side is all they have. South Africa is the last place on earth that should be arguing this point but they are betting that the generation that only vaguely understands Hitler as a historical boogeyman believes that throwing “apartheid” into the mix will stick because, again, let’s twist the words around to suit us and South Africa must really know because, you know, apartheid.

michael harris
michael harris
4 months ago

Whatever the ‘court’s’ decision it has no means of enforcing it…no army, no police force. The ‘court’ is not grounded on any real political entity or rooted in any group of people or fortified by a long history or by steadily developed precedents.
It is no court at all. Rather it is a vaudeville stage on which political drag acts appear…presently the South African gvernment.