If a Genocide Falls in the Forest

Chilling words of ethnic hatred and even genocide – uttered by prominent Israelis – were the political backdrop for Israel’s military offensive against Gaza, which killed more than 1,800 people including many children, writes David Swanson.

By David Swanson

There’s a wide and mysterious chasm between the stated intentions of the Israeli government as depicted by the U.S. media and what the Israeli government has been doing in Gaza, even as recounted in the U.S. media.

With the morgues full, Gazans are packing freezers with their dead children. Meanwhile, the worst images to be found in Israel depict fear, not death and suffering. Why the contrast?

Israel justified its bombardment of civilian targets in Gaza by claiming that Hamas militants operated near schools, mosques and other civilian structures, as cited in this Israeli graphic supposedly showing a "terror tunnel" running near a school. (Israeli government photo)

Israel justified its bombardment of civilian targets in Gaza by claiming that Hamas militants operated near schools, mosques and other civilian structures, as cited in this Israeli graphic supposedly showing a “terror tunnel” running near a school. (Israeli government photo)

If the Israeli intent is defensive, why are 97 percent of the deaths Gazan, not Israeli? If the targets are fighters, why are whole families being slaughtered and their houses leveled? Why are schools and hospitals and children playing on the beach targeted? Why target water and electricity if the goal is not to attack an entire population?

The mystery melts away if you look at the stated intentions of the Israeli government as not depicted by the U.S. media but readily available in Israeli media and online.

On Aug. 1, Deputy Speaker of Israel’s Parliament Moshe Feiglin posted on his FaceBook page a plan for the complete destruction of the people of Gaza using concentration camps. He had laid out a somewhat similar plan in a July 15th column.

Another member of the Israeli Parliament, Ayelet Shaked, called for genocide in Gaza at the start of the current war, writing: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Taking a slightly different approach, Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University has been widely quoted in Israeli media saying, “The only thing that can deter [Gazans] is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped.”

The Times of Israel published a column on Aug. 1, and later unpublished it, with the headline “When Genocide Is Permissible.” The answer turned out to be: now.

On Aug. 5, Giora Eiland, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, published a column with the headline “In Gaza, There Is No Such Thing as ‘Innocent Civilians’.” Eiland wrote: “We should have declared war against the state of Gaza (rather than against the Hamas organization). . . . [T]he right thing to do is to shut down the crossings, prevent the entry of any goods, including food, and definitely prevent the supply of gas and electricity.”

It’s all part of putting Gaza “on a diet,” in the grotesque wording of an advisor to a former Israeli Prime Minister.

If it were common among members of the Iranian or Russian government to speak in favor of genocide, you’d better believe the U.S. media would notice. Why does this phenomenon go unremarked in the case of Israel? Noticing it is bound to get you called an anti-Semite, but that’s hardly a concern worthy of notice while children are being killed by the hundreds.

Another explanation is U.S. complicity. The weapons Israel is using are given to it, free-of-charge, by the U.S. government, which also leads efforts to provide Israel immunity for its crimes.  Check out this revealing map of which nations recognize the nation of Palestine.

A third explanation is that looking too closely at what Israel’s doing could lead to someone looking closely at what the U.S. has done and is doing. Roughly 97 percent of the deaths in the 2003-2011 war on Iraq were Iraqi. Things U.S. soldiers and military leaders said about Iraqis were shameful and genocidal.

War is the biggest U.S. investment, and contemporary war is almost always a one-sided slaughter of civilians. If seeing the horror of it in Israeli actions allows us to begin seeing the same in U.S. actions, an important step will have been taken toward war’s elimination.

Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
/Pretending he just doesn’t see?/
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind/
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

David Swanson is an anti-war activist who writes at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition. He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.  

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14 comments on “If a Genocide Falls in the Forest

  1. Goeran Vesterlund on said:

    Thank you for this revealing article, breaking the wall of silence in the media.
    Not even the hated Gideon Levy in the Haaretz has reported these absolutely criminal statements from Israeli politicians and military people.

    For sure, the Jewish people suffered and died in Auschwitz and elsewhere, but they also learned how to create another holocaust.

    • Masud Awan on said:

      I strongly disagree with the second paragraph of your comment. It’s not the Jewish people who learned to creat an other holocaust; its the Zionists who Highjacked Jewish people’s suffering and used it to create an apartheid state to practice holocaust on Palestinians.

  2. Julian on said:

    Isn’t it “odd” to think that the leader of the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS), Heinrich Himmler, the one in charge of the extermination of the Jews in Europe, said something eerily similar to what Zionists like Shaked or Feiglin are currently saying and demanding?

    On the 4th and 6th of October 1943 Himmler spoke in the city hall of Poznan about the course of the war and, most importantly, about the extermination of the European Jews with such blunt “honesty” that was unheard of until then. Sure they knew what was going on in the conquered territories in the east but they usually didn’t speak about it.
    Not only did Himmler call for the murder of the men, but also of the women and children. His fear was that the survivors would one day haunt his/the Germans children and grandchildren als avengers. Ergo the entire “race” had to go, just to make sure that no one would be able to rise against them.

    Frightening how little certain people in Israel have learned from their own history of being made social outcasts, exiled and slaughtered in millions.

  3. Thank you for pulling this all together in this well-written powerful piece.

  4. rosemerry on said:

    The sad and terrible thing that COULD be changed to make a difference is the unflinching support for the Zionist state from the USA. It is understandable since the USA has similar values-attacks, murders, takeovers, terrorising, making enemies and ensuring no negotiations take place-but this is hardly a good excuse.
    Noam Chomsky’s latest interview on Democracy Now shows historically how the situation has continued and worsened, but the blatant lies of Netanyahu, POTUS Obama, all the socalled “US lawmakers” and most if not all US MSM still manage to blame Hamas and ignore every violation of any law or human feeling made by the “Jewish and democratic State”.

  5. “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

    A short while ago I posted a comment that went something like this: Arafat said the most powerful Arab weapon was the Arab womb. That would make women and children (the next generation of warriors) a justifiable military target (in the Zionist mind). One commenter said mine was an offensive comment. Another suggested I needed psychological help. Little did I know when I posted it that a member of the Israeli Parliament, Ayelet Shaked, would say just that.

    • Joe Tedesky on said:

      bobzz I remember reading some of the heat you took for the Arafat quote. All I can say is, screw them. All you were doing was making a point with the quote…what’s the big deal? I enjoy reading your comments, keep posting. J.T.

      • bobzz on said:

        Thanks Joe. John just totally misunderstood. Maybe he can get the explanation this time.

  6. John J on said:

    Excuse me Bobzz and Joe. The land wasn’t yours for the taking. It was terrorist groups who killed British soldiers, the near one hundred people including the UN representative for partition at the King David Hotel, and letter bombs to politicians around the world including the US President, fortunately not many found their target, and several massacres in Palestinian villages which brought on their Nakba. By international law they have the right to fight the occupying forces, but how do you fight the most sophisticated army in the region from an overcrowded prison with home made rockets. All for a racist program that defies true Jewish religion, and is maintained by its promoters constantly trying to generate fear in Jews. Fortunately many don’t swallow the bad medicine and the younger Jews doing just fine, aren’t buying the obnoxious product as they once did.
    And as reported by Jonathan Cook, another young lad watching his goats on his land along the Jordan in the West bank was killed by Israeli fire. His land like others in the area was taken by Israel to use as a military practice area. A deceitful way of saying ethnic cleansing.
    In 1967, Israel tried to sink the Liberty intelligence ship because they didn’t want the US or the UN to know they were ready to attack Syria, a no no at the time.
    In 1995 in Hebron we had the American JDL member Baruch Goldstein who killed 29 Palestinians and wounded 125. As could be anticipated, he upset a lot of Palestinians, a few who sadly resorted to the first suicide bombings in the area. And the JDL due to activities in the US and elsewhere, became a recognized terrorist gang in time.
    And for your information Arafat and Hamas had both offered peace. Arafat’s deal was quashed by a Jewish settler who shot Rabin, Arafat’s Israeli partner. How could the peace offer continue when right wing Zionists won the soon to come election and illegal settlement proceeded a frantic pace.
    Why don’t you just come out and tell the truth, you want all the land, and then let the rest us can make the judgement.

  7. bobzz on said:

    John, John. I agree with all you have said, but you have completely misread/misunderstood what I said—twice now. One more time: the ISRAELIS consider women and children legitimate targets, not me. Your first sentence, ” The land wasn’t yours for the taking” leads me to believe you think Joe and I are Zionist apologists. Nothing could be further from the truth. Go back and read—carefully this time.

    • Joe Tedesky on said:

      John J yeah, I would unravel the Zionist all the way back to before the Balfour Declaration. I am not sure how all of what has been said got interpreted to what your thinking. In any case I am going to reread these comments to see how we all arrived at this place…peace brother. J.T.

  8. John J on said:

    Sorry Bobzz, I know a very nice Palestinian family and what they all went through. One boy escaped the tent refugee camp and made it to Egypt. In time he called the rest of his family who then made it to the US and Canada. Of the two boys, one got a PhD in the States and became a teacher, the other became a doctor,(pathologist). And for their kin, life wasn’t easy here either and a nephew in college had a hell of a time with a racist Zionist lecturer. After he moved to another college, he did well.
    I’m finding all that’s going on deeply upsetting. I’ve just returned from the David Duke web site which is worth a visit but very disturbing.
    Sorry to misunderstand, John

  9. Norman on said:

    Nice propaganda! You really did well on your research on extremist Israeli views. But what about the views of other Israeli intellectuals regarding this matter? You choose only those that put Israel in bad light while ignoring the rest that put Israel in good standing. If indeed Israel is bent on destroying the Palestinians, they could have done it a long time ago and we could have witnessed massive destruction throughout Gaza. Instead what we saw was a targeted destruction, those areas where Hamas operate their weapons – that include UN schools, hospitals, evacuation sites where Hamas used as storage areas and hideouts.