Common Grounds

Our Wednesday News Analysis | Israel’s right to tyranny

Our Wednesday News Analysis | Israel’s right to tyranny

Israeli soldiers from the 8717 Battalion of the Givati Brigade operating in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, during a military operation in the Gaza Strip, December 28, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)



"… it seemed Washington would rather escalate a regional war
than ask Israel to agree to a ceasefire."



It’s hard to overstate the symbolic power of the Jan. 11 hearing at the International Court of Justice. In a moving display of solidarity, a diverse lineup of South African, Irish, and British lawyers meticulously laid out their evidence for charging Israel with the crime of genocide in the Gaza Strip. The malicious statements of Israeli officials, including cabinet ministers and generals, were recited as declarations of murderous intent. Videos of mass destruction, often recorded gleefully by Israeli soldiers, and which have dominated our social media feeds for months were brought before the world’s highest court for judgment. Palestinians have long been bitterly disappointed with international law, but watching the courtroom that day, even the most cynical observers could not help but feel seen, supported, even hopeful.


Notwithstanding South Africa’s performance, the fate of the ICJ case is far from a foregone conclusion. In the second hearing on Jan. 12, Israel’s attorneys gave a tough rebuttal to try and dismiss the claims of genocide as ludicrous. They presented examples of Israel’s coordination of humanitarian aid; the army’s methods of instructing civilians to evacuate targeted areas; images showing Hamas militants’ assimilation into the urban environment; and of course, the repeated invocation of Israel’s right to defend itself under international law.


The Israeli arguments were predictable, and many were easy to debunk, but they still carry significant weight. Along with the court’s proclivity for conservative interpretations of the law, the judges are acutely aware that they are presiding over what may be the most politically divisive case ever brought to The Hague, and thus may opt for a more cautioned approach...


Read more: Israel’s right to tyranny





Source: Al Jazeera


By Mimi Kirk
Published January 19, 2024


The American cowboys flocking to Israel amid its war on Gaza expose the many parallels between the two settler societies.


[Amir Cohen/Reuters]



"This conflation of America and Israel as God-instructed colonialism – one that depends on the replacement of savage natives with righteous settlers – is revealed in the Christian Zionist cowboys’ rhetoric.


Even though American settlers murdered and terrorized Indigenous women, children, and other unarmed Native civilians and took the land for themselves, the narrative of good white cowboys versus bad Indians has appeared time and again in US popular culture.


Though Zionists and Christian Zionists may declare
that Jews are Indigenous to the land,
it is Palestinians – made Indigenous through Israel’s process
of settler colonialism – who are often depicted as barbaric and backward, as 'beasts walking on two legs,' 'little snakes,' and 'human animals.’"



In early November, a photograph of four white men in cowboy hats at JFK airport was uploaded to social media with the caption, “These cowboys from Arkansas and Montana were at JFK today on their way to help out at the farms in Israel. They are not Jewish.” By the time the cowboys landed in Tel Aviv, a Jerusalem Post commentator declared, “they were already a social media sensation”.


Indeed, since then they have netted thousands of likes and comments such as “God bless Israel! I will always stand with her” and “The Jewish people are so grateful to have friends.” Israeli and American media outlets have also celebrated the cowboys through interviews and updates about their work and time in Har Bracha, a Jewish settlement in “Judea and Samaria” – the term for the West Bank used by those who believe the land belongs to the Jewish people.


Yet the cowboys are also a conduit to understanding a fundamental likeness between white American and Jewish Israeli society, namely their settler projects intent on the erasure of dehumanised “natives”.


The men volunteer through the Christian Zionist organisation HaYovel, or “The Jubilee”; according to the organisation’s website, this biblical term “looks forward to a day of worldwide redemption and a fully restored land of Israel.” As Christian Zionists, the cowboys and their sponsors believe that four millennia ago, God promised the land to the Jewish people, who will rule it until the rapture and, ultimately, the second coming of Christ. In this scenario, Christians will be saved and ascend to heaven while those adhering to other religions will be sent to hell.


While not all evangelical Christians in the United States (approximately a quarter of the population) hold these Christian Zionist convictions, polls show that a large majority believe that the modern state of Israel and the gathering of millions of Jewish people there are “fulfillments of Bible prophecy that show we are getting closer to the return of Jesus Christ”. Many Christian Zionists also believe in the “prosperity gospel,” which contends that blessing Israel results in personal and financial gain. These tenets compel Christian Zionists to support Israel’s settlements and other expansionist policies through donations, lobbying, and, as in the case of the cowboys, labour...


Read more: Christian Zionist cowboys: American and Israeli affinities laid bare





Source: The Guardian


By Owen Jones
Published January 21, 2024


Our political and media elites are complicit in Gaza’s nightmare. Any vestige of moral authority has been lost for ever


‘Life is cheap, they say: it is apparently meaningless if you are Palestinian.’ Palestinians search the rubble after airstrikes on Khan Younis, October 2023. Photograph: Mohammed Dahman/AP



Irish lawyer Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh, while laying out South Africa’s case against Israel in the International Court of Justice, described this as “the first genocide in history where its victims are broadcasting their destruction in real-time in the desperate,
so far vain hope
that the world might do something.” For younger generations exposed to numerous video clips of screaming mothers clutching the lifeless corpses of their newborns, this whole episode has proven instructive.



What is the value of a Palestinian life? For those retaining delusions not already buried in the rubble of Gaza alongside entire families – like the Zorobs, the Kashtans, the Attalahs – Joe Biden offered a definitive answer last week. In a statement marking 100 days since the current horror began, he rightly showed empathy for the plight of hostages – whose abduction by Hamas represents a grave war crime – and their traumatised families. Yet there was not a single mention of Palestinians.


That politicians and media outlets alike have not bothered to disguise their contempt for Palestinian life will prove consequential. Indeed, this phenomenon is not new, and those repercussions are now violently felt. If the world’s powerful nations had not so brazenly shrugged off three-quarters of a million Palestinians being driven from their homes 76 years ago, accompanied by an estimated 15,000 suffering violent deaths, the seeds of today’s bitter harvest would not have been planted. Political and media elites started as they meant to go on. How many know that last year, before the indefensible atrocities committed by Hamas on 7 October, 234 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank alone, more than three dozen of them children? Life is cheap, they say. It is apparently meaningless if you are Palestinian.


If even some worth had been attached to Palestinian life then decades of occupation, siege, illegal colonisation, apartheid, violent repression and mass slaughter might never have happened. Oppressing others becomes difficult to sustain when their humanity is accepted...


Read more: The west’s complete contempt for the lives of Palestinians will not be forgotten


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