The 51-Day Genocide

There’s palpable fear in Official Washington whenever anyone dares suggest holding Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinians. Instead there’s a rush to make excuses and to deny reality, a pattern challenged by a book by Max Blumenthal, reviewed by David Swanson.

By David Swanson

Max Blumenthal’s latest book, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, tells a powerful story powerfully well. I can think of a few other terms that accurately characterize the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza in addition to “war.” Among them are “occupation,” “murder-spree” and “genocide.” Each serves a different valuable purpose. Each is correct.

The images people bring to mind with the term “war,” universally outdated, are grotesquely outdated in a case like this one. There is no pair of armies on a battlefield. There is no battlefield. There is no aim to conquer, dispossess or rob. The people of Gaza are already pre-defeated, conquered, imprisoned, and under siege — permanently overseen by military drones and remote-control machine-guns atop prison-camp walls.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with his generals to discuss the offensive in Gaza in 2014. (Israeli government photo)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with his generals to discuss the offensive in Gaza in 2014. (Israeli government photo)

In dropping bombs on houses, the Israeli government is not trying to defeat another army on a battlefield, is not trying to gain possession of territory, is not trying to steal resources from a foreign power, and is not trying to hold off a foreign army’s attempt to conquer Israel.

Yes, of course, Israel ultimately wants Gaza’s land incorporated into Israel, but not with non-Jewish people living on it. (Eighty percent of Gaza’s residents are refugees from Israel, families ethnically cleansed in 1947-1948.)

Yes, of course, Israel wants the fossil fuels off the Gazan coast. But it already has them. No, the immediate goal of the Israeli war on Gaza last year, like the one two years before, and like the one four years before that, would perfectly fit a name like “The 51 Day Genocide.” The purpose was to kill. The end was nothing other than the means.

In 2014, as in 2012 and 2008, Israel again attacked the people of Gaza, using weapons provided for free by the U.S. government, which could be counted on, even standing completely alone, to defend Israel’s crimes at the United Nations. Practicing what’s been called the Dahiya Doctrine, Israel’s policy was one of collective punishment.

The stories in the U.S. media focused on Israelis’ fears. The deaths of Gazans were explained as intentional sacrifices by a people with a “culture of martyrdom” who sometimes choose to die because it makes good video footage. After all, Israel was phoning people’s houses and giving them five-minute warnings before blowing them up. The fact that it was also blowing up shelters and hospitals they might flee to was glossed over or explained as somehow involving military targets.

But the Israeli media and internet were full of open advocacy by top Israeli officials of genocide. On Aug. 1, 2014, the Deputy Speaker of Israel’s Parliament posted on his Facebook page a plan for the complete elimination of the Gazan people using concentration camps, to take one of dozens of examples.

And the whole thing was kicked off when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lied that three murder victims might be still alive, falsely blamed their kidnapping on Hamas, and began raiding houses and mass-arresting Gazans. Once Israel and the United States had rejected out-of-hand quite reasonable ceasefire demands from Hamas, the war/genocide was on for 51 days — with great popular support in Israel. Some 2,200 Gazan people were killed, over 10,000 injured, and 100,000 made homeless by a very one-sided “war.”

Here’s a taste of how Blumenthal describes what happened:

“The two Red Crescent volunteers told me they later found a man in Khuza’a with rigor mortis, holding both hands over his head in surrender, his body filled with bullets. Deeper in the town, they discovered an entire family so badly decomposed they had to be shoveled with a bulldozer into a mass grave. In a field on the other side of town, Awad and Alkusofi found a shell-shocked woman at least eighty years of age hiding in a chicken coop. She had taken shelter there for nine days during the siege, living off of nothing but chicken feed and rain water.”

While every bombed school and hospital was explained with the assertion that Gazan fighters were hiding among “human shields,” we meet Gazan people in Blumenthal’s book who were literally held up as shields by Israeli soldiers who shot at Gazans from over their shoulders. People also had new nasty weapons tested on them, including Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME).

The people of Israel generally went along with this war (with many admirable exceptions), and later reelected its architects. Protests against the war were banned, and various lies (including those about the three murder victims that kicked it all off) were exposed in a matter of days or weeks. No matter, the point was to kill people, and people were killed. And no matter in Washington, either, which kept the weapons flowing, quite illegally.

Gaza launched some 4,000 rockets into Israel, to little apparent effect — rockets whose total combined payload roughly equaled that of just 12 of the missiles Israel was sending into Gaza from its F-16s courtesy of the Land of the Free.

The “international community” gathered in Cairo on Oct. 12, and diplomats “discussed the destruction of Gaza as though it were the result of a natural disaster — as though the missiles that reduced the strip’s border areas to rubble were meteors that descended from outer space.”

There was no way to discuss damage to both sides in a manner that would make Israel’s actions seem legitimate, even by the standards of the “international community,” so they discussed the one-sided damage as if nobody were responsible.

Is this where the United States is headed culturally and with its own wars? One reason to hope not is that opposing Israel’s wars is one of the few places where U.S. youth are engaged in antiwar activism. Nonetheless, there is reason for concern. The U.S. has followed the Israeli model of domestic policing, of drone use, of assassination, and of propaganda, and the Israeli lead in relation to Iraq, Syria and Iran.

As the U.S. military moves more and more toward treating the world as Israel treats Gaza, the world’s future comes more and more into doubt. And there’s little to suggest that Americans will oppose actions by their own government simply because they’ve previously opposed those same actions by the government of Israel.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.  

31 comments for “The 51-Day Genocide

  1. hammersmith
    July 17, 2015 at 09:46

    Let us not forget: the Gazans were shooting “missiles” at their own land, land the Israelis had driven them out of in the conduct of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

  2. joe
    July 12, 2015 at 05:18

    Joined by the United States, Israel is a terrorist nation. And the fear mongers in the United States who warn of a madman with a nuclear weapon when talking of Iran, support a madman with multiple nuclear weapons– Benjamin Netanyahu. And the fact that Mr. Netanyahu was elected, and re-elected shows the true face of Zionism, and the Israeli public. And America, perhaps even as a diversion, wants to get all worked up by the Confederate Flag, when the true symbol of oppression and genocide is blue the Star of David on a white background. Now another presidential race is here with all the candidates vying to be the Israeli Viceroy to the United States. In short the US is an Isareli colony with its foreign policy made in Tel Aviv and enforced by AIPAC. I’m even skeptical of the Iran talks. I fear that they are a ruse and the so called disagreement with Israel a ploy, so that the US can tell its public it tried to negotiate before bombing. The world might be slipping into WW III, with the madmen in Israel and the US greasing the wheels.

  3. Abe
    July 9, 2015 at 22:00

    There was no ‘war’, only another orchestrated massacre, a campaign of civil terror, in order to maintain Israel’s wicked, illegal siege.

    Doucet’s shameful film: Children of the Gaza war
    By John Hilley

  4. Abe
    July 9, 2015 at 14:34

    Max Blumenthal:

    Israel is reportedly in negotiation with Hamas to at least stave off another conflict. That may be because they don’t want any military activity on their southern border while they’re clashing with Hezbollah on the northern border; it may be because Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus, in which there’s more strategic thinking [than in the civilian government], sees Hamas as a force of stability in Gaza. They actually want Hamas to be there because Hamas is governing. Hamas actually uses its own military units to prevent rocket launches during ceasefires.

    But these wars are inevitable as long as Israel remains a Jewish state. As long as it remains a Jewish state, it has to maintain its artificial demographic majority through violent means; by warehousing people, by occupying and controlling them, or by excluding them as refugees. Avigdor Lieberman, the former Israeli foreign minister, has said that a fourth war in the Gaza Strip is inevitable — just as a third war in Lebanon is inevitable. The question is just when.

    “The question is just when”: Max Blumenthal on war in the Gaza Strip’s past — and its future
    By Elias Isquith

  5. JWalters
    July 8, 2015 at 20:14

    How the Big Money got this insanity started.

  6. Zachary Smith
    July 8, 2015 at 16:18

    Despite its horrifying content, Mr. Swanson has written a useful essay. My comments may appear to be quibbling in nature, but they are more an opinion than disagreement.

    It’s my view that Israel really doesn’t care how many Palestinians it murders, but is a bit constrained for now because of world opinion. After all, BDS hasn’t yet been made illegal everywhere, and the murderers have to show some restraint.

    Only recently did I learn that Judaism has a “fundamentalist” side. For those types, killing non-Jews is no more a sin than stepping on a cockroach.


    A civilian who encourages the war gives the king and his soldiers the strength to continue. Therefore, any citizen of the state that opposes us who encourages the combat soldiers or expresses satisfaction over their actions is considered a pursuer and may be killed. Also, anyone who weakens our own state by word or similar action is considered a pursuer…Hindrances—babies are found many times in this situation. They block the way to rescue by their presence and do so completely by force. Nevertheless, they may be killed because their presence aids murder. There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”

    It was difficult for me to understand that this fellow justifies his beliefs by referring to the Torah, but after a while I realized that document is bound to have crazy stuff at least as bad as the Bible.

    The Palestinians are occupying ground claimed by the invading Jewish Zionists. They must go. Killing them in retail doses is done for two reasons: it makes life for the remaining people increasingly unbearable because of the associated infrastructure destruction, and ‘moderate murder’ is well tolerated by “Good Christians” of the US. Even the fundie Christians here might gag at a 50,000+ body count.

    But wholesale mass murder is and always has been on the table. Like with the Nazis, the Zionists have sought “efficiency”.

    Israel Planning ’Ethnic’ Bomb (1998)

    ISRAEL is working on a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews, according to Israeli military and western intelligence sources. The weapon, targeting victims by ethnic origin, is seen as Israel’s response to Iraq’s threat of chemical and biological attacks..

    References to this weren’t easy to track down – Israel has a real knack for making stuff it doesn’t like disappear down the memory hole. And the story was instantly attacked by a host of nay-sayers.


    But ethnic weapons are real enough. The first reference I ever saw was in the 1970 Military Review.


    As the first link said, the problem for Israel was that the local Jews and Arabs have more similarities than usual, making the “ethnic weapon” option quite risky. But a mass murder by targeted diseases could still be arranged by inoculating only the Jewish citizens of the shitty little apartheid state.

    No matter how it’s arranged, the non-Jews of Israel have to go. Go to Jordan, go to the Sinai, or go straight to hell. Just so long as they’re gone.

    After all, like all other non-Jews of the world, the Palestinians aren’t really ‘people’ for the Jewish fundamentalists. And that’s about all you’ll find in Israel these days. Fewer and fewer decent folk live there. I’d imagine that almost every American Jew would be as horrified by events in Israel as I am.

    • Mark
      July 8, 2015 at 18:40

      Any religion can be perverted to serve human wickedness. Zionism is thought by many to have hijacked Judaism and Christian Zionists.

      Either way, Zionism is as extreme as religion gets considering their successful efforts to propagandize foreign countries by controlling modern media and coercing foreign politicians to do their pernicious bidding for ethnic cleansing and what is technically genocide (of culture) by some definitions.

    • Gordon Pratt
      July 8, 2015 at 21:37

      I quoted chapter and verse from the Atlmud (rearrange letters) which encourages genocide against Egntiles (rearrange. My post was censored.

      Farewell Consortium news. The truth is not in you.

    • Gordon Pratt
      July 8, 2015 at 21:40

      My apolgie to consortium news. The post is there “awaiting moderation.”

      • Zachary Smith
        July 8, 2015 at 22:04

        The ‘moderation’ is surely annoying, but this is a topic likely to draw all kinds of crazy folks in. The state-funded West Bank “settlers” and the neo-Nazis are both nuts, and each would dearly love to get their licks in.

        Even in generic threads, I avoid using two complete links because that seems to always cause the ‘moderation’.

    • Gordon Pratt
      July 8, 2015 at 23:56

      I take back my apology.

      They did censor me. I quoted chapter and verse to show the altmud (rearrange letters) encourages genocide against non-Jews. My post has been deleted.

      Good Jew (Judaists) and bad Jew (Zionists) is the official position of Consortiumnews.

      Farewell. The truth is not in you.

      • July 9, 2015 at 22:05

        Encouraging genocide and other atrocities, or at least defending or condoning them, is not unique to Judaism.

        Many atrocities are attributed to God in the Old Testament, which is considered by Christians as part of their Bible. The theologian William Lane Craig, respected in conservative and evangelical Christian circles, has defended what we normally regard as atrocities, such as the slaughter of the Canaanites, as being OK as long as they are commanded by God, which is the case according to the Bible, the so-called and so-regarded “Word of God”.

        And of course Christians have traditionally believed, and conservative and evangelical and especially fundamentalist Christians believe today, that all those who, for whatever reason, do not come to “accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior” during this lifetime, including those who happen to guess wrong by adhering to religions other than Christianity, are condemned to hell for all eternity.

        Personal disclosure: I would consider myself to be a Deist. Deists consider that reason leads them to conclude that there is very likely a Creator, who might be considered as God, but reject any alleged revelation from God, such as the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah, as actually being such. And I fully agree with them. I have problems accepting some of the conclusions to which atheism leads, but I also have problems with accepting any of the alleged revelations of God as actually being such.

        One problem I have is that, for instance, the Bible and the Koran cannot both be true revelations from God. If one is “the true” revelation from God, the other is not. And thus a person’s destiny or bliss in a future life (if there is one) would seem to depend on a person correctly identifying, or guessing, which of more than one alleged revelation from God is “the one true” revelation from God. And if that is the case then God is really an arbitrary tyrant.

        Another personal disclosure: I used to be a Christian but am no longer. I knew and know many good people who are Christians; many have been of personal help to me. However I found that my supposedly having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” had been of no help to me in enabling me to deal with some of my very painful personal issues. While I respect many people who are Christians, I definitely feel it is the right thing for me to not be a Christian. And if there are good people who are Christians, then there are certainly good people who are Jews or Muslims. Even though I have definite reasons for not wanting to adhere to any of those religions, I do not want to say that someone else is necessarily wrong for adhering to one of those religions.

        • Masud
          July 11, 2015 at 11:47

          The concept I have is that God created man as the best form of his creation with a brain to think. Man is given the freedom to use his brain for good or for evil. God then told the man through His Messengers that He would reward those who would do the good deeds, and will punish the evil doers on the Day of Judgement. All messengers brought the same message. It is their followers who corrupted the message for their own vested interests. For example Muslims believe that the original Bible and original Torah were true revelations of God but certain followers of those books over the period of time modified them and included a considerable material to accommodate their own needs.
          There is another concept that God as a creator knows best about His creature. He knows where to destroy and where to regenerate to keep balance in His universe. God is unwilling to deligate this function to man knowing that he will not use it properly. It is because man has brain and that brain is programmed in a certain way that man feels bad at destruction and good at regeneration. Otherwise both are natural phenomena.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 9, 2015 at 00:45

      Zachary thanks for the link above showing the list of Israeli/US Dual Citizens. I came across a list like that one evening, and then a couple of evenings later I could not for the life of me find that list again. So thanks, for now I may confirm I wasn’t just seeing things. It is a disgrace how people like Abe Fortas have been able to corrupt our government body. In this country it has always been one thing trying to compromise with another states politician, but a whole other country! Really! Yet, this is the arrangement the U.S. Politicos have made with our sovereignty when it comes to supporting Israel. Reliable polls show that Americans are not supportive of what the U.S. does in the Middle Eat, yet still our government leaders muddle on in our name. For who’s sake are we doing this for, Israel’s or the United States of America?

  7. momus
    July 8, 2015 at 14:53

    JVP released a video today, narrated by Wallace Shawn (what a mensch that guy is!) commemorating the one year anniversary of the war in Gaza. Have tissue paper handy while watching:

  8. momus
    July 8, 2015 at 14:31

    See Glenn Greenwald’s interview with Blumenthal today at The Intercept. It’s v. interesting when Blumenthal discusses his personal evolution into activism:

    Buy your copy/copies of Blumenthal’s book today!

  9. momus
    July 8, 2015 at 14:19

    Glenn Greenwald has a good interview with Blumenthal at The Intercept today. It’s interesting to hear Blumenthal describe the process of his evolution. He is a very brave man.

  10. Mark
    July 8, 2015 at 13:44

    It’s been nearly seven decades, (70 years) since Zionists commenced the actual physical genocidal program against the Palestinians — And they had spent decades prior to 1947-48 plotting and planning to massacre and expel the Arabs once the Zionist terrorist numbers and military equipment was sufficient.

    They are the most extreme of all the modern organized religious extremists and terrorist hate groups — operating under the right of self-proclaimed religious and racial supremacy.

  11. David Mason
    July 8, 2015 at 13:20

    It only takes a little bit of time and research to understand that there is NO race, creed or nationality incapable of atrocity. Yet what seems impossible to eradicate is the idea that one (or more) atrocities somehow excuses or justifies the next round of atrocities. Whether it’s directly reciprocal (“Yes, but look at what they did to us!”) or part of a more general pattern of oppression, those living on the inflamed outer edge of the bell curve can ALWAYS find a reason to justify the worst behaviors imaginable. Without reaching a consensus among an entire group of people that ATROCITY IS WRONG – no excuses – it can’t leave us! Anger destroys reason, logic heads for the hills… vengeance runs deep, coiled around the base of the lizard brain where conciliation and disarmament are mere weakness. ATROCITY IS A FUCKING ATROCITY, THEY DON’T COME IN MODERATE LOW-CAL VARIETIES. Civilization is a tricky business.

    • Gordon Pratt
      July 8, 2015 at 20:03

      Well said.

      People who only condemn the actions of others without offering a better way are only telling us we are powerless in the face of evil.

      Personally I find my answer in Christ.

      But I respect your analysis. It is a necessary beginning.

  12. dahoit
    July 8, 2015 at 12:23

    Yes,all of our outside the pale acts were invented or perfected in Israel,from drones,collective punishment,brutal war on civilians,torture assassinations etc.

  13. Joe Tedesky
    July 8, 2015 at 11:12

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why a people who had been persecuted so badly by the Nazis could commit such savage acts on another people. As for the United States, who loves to portray itself as a savior of the world, we should ask ourselves where is our humanity? Until the Israeli government decides to treat the Palestinians as human beings we should bar anyone who has dual citizenship with the U.S. and Israel from serving in office. The United States also should quit supporting Israel all together. This Zionist experiment has lost it’s ‘shelf life’ to say the least. Until, Israel accepts their Arab (along with other religions, and cultures) citizens, the U.S. should step down as Israel’s big brother. No more ‘aid’. This whole thing is obscene.

    • Mark
      July 8, 2015 at 13:56

      US politicians have sold their humanity to the Zionist AIPAC lobby in exchange for not having their US political opponent(s) funded by Zionists and their supporters in the US elections.

      There are only a handful of US politicians that have not gone along with Israel’s demands since Israel attacked the USS liberty in 1967, and those few Americans that stood up were soon outed from political office by various branches of the Zionist entity organizing against them.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 8, 2015 at 16:58

        Mark I am providing a link to a great article by Allison Weir. In her article she talks about Abe Fortas being a US Supreme Court Associate Justice, and how the honorable Mr. Fortas changed the citizenship requirement to accept ‘Dual Citizens’. The article is about Donald Neff who insisted on reporting the truth about Israel, and paid the price within his profession. Neff was blackballed for telling the truth. I also have a problem of why when reporting objectively anything on Israel one becomes an anti-Semite. Does that mean if one were to report something critical of Canada, England, or any nation for that matter, you become anti-(insert country name here)? This bunch who runs Israel has played the U.S. very well, and we should finally say, enough is enough.

          • Mark
            July 8, 2015 at 18:44

            I think it was George Washington who voiced or penned his disdain for the very idea of dual citizenship.

          • Zachary Smith
            July 8, 2015 at 20:29

            Thanks for the interesting link. I didn’t recognize the name ‘Donald Neff’, but the article caused me to reaize his book about the Suez war was in my collection.

            The tidbit about the dual citizenship was fascinating. So even back in 1967 the Zionists were getting well entrenched in our government. With genuine Israeli citizens now able to become American citizens, they gained much easier access to the reins of power.


            I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the list, but if it’s even half true, it’s scary.

        • Mark
          July 8, 2015 at 18:25

          The anti-Semite lable has been used as a weapon to punish anyone who would tell the truth about Israel AND the undue influence they have through US entertainment and “news” (propaganda), as well as our politicians being coerced by their AIPAC lobby.

          Many Americans have kept quiet out of fear from what are the various tentacles of Zionism. Others have made the conscious decision for reasons of personal gain to aid the Zionists outright.

          Responsibility for our politicians being weak falls entirely on their own shoulders and they need to be held accountable, but the fact remains Israel is a negative influence on our political reality, and that understanding has grown considerably since the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq for the sake of Israel’s pre-planned wars.

          The anti-Semitism card has been so overplayed at this point it is becoming a badge of honor.

          Thanks to this and other websites Americans are becoming informed — and these discussions and arguments that take place on these message boards are making a difference in educating people.

          Thanks for the link and all!!!

          • Joe Tedesky
            July 9, 2015 at 00:22

            Your welcome, Mark.

            Labels are more often than not, not a good thing. I too believe the Zionist have over wore the ‘anti-Semite’ labeling to the point of it becoming a worn out rag. What does concern me is how well meaning people by defending race or reacting to homophobic rants by default maybe going down a slippery road by installing a new ‘PC Police’. I thought it telling that actor George Takei apologized for his funny remark about Chief Justice Clarence Thomas. It isn’t as though I thought Mr. Takei should apologize, but his gesture was polite. If people were even just more polite, then what a wonderful world this would be. I won’t go into people’s love of greed, but you get my point…right? Yeah, the Zionist have used the accusations of anti-Semite one to many times. We could all learn from ‘the Donald’ and just drill down when we make their jaws drop. Tell me I didn’t say that!

            Oh yeah, Mark I hope your right about people finally getting the truth through the Internet. Keep posting, you make sense.

          • alexander
            July 9, 2015 at 06:14

            there is an analogy to all the brave reporters, intellectuals, and witnesses who have been so mercilessly defrauded and demeaned when trying to expose the plight of the Palestinians to the West.

            Imagine a riverbank of which one begins with the facts one has borne witness to…..
            On the other side of the Rubicon lies the” full” awareness of the American people…
            in between is “the river of hasbara”, a rushing torrent of Israeli fraud,denial, defamation. and propaganda……

            The witnesses and journalists, armed with the truth they have seen with their own eyes, like army ants….attempt the crossing…many are slain into obscurity, yet the truth they hold acts as a mortar of strength binding the drowned together….forming a bridge…

            as the truth unfolds over time…the bridge grows longer and stronger….

            .Their “bravery ” becomes contagious and the truth of their courage an inspiration…..
            cementing the bridge into Iron !

            The pelting torrents of fraud and Israeli Hasbara , having drowned so many who first began the longer able to impactfully crest over the bridge….as substantiation of the facts overwhelms Israeli denial…so too .more journalists are reaching our shores…..

            Will enough cross in time…..

            to prevent the holocaust of Palestine?

            GOD SPEED TO ALL !
            GOD SPEED !

    • Gregory Kruse
      July 9, 2015 at 08:17

      Anyone with dual US/Israeli citizenship should have their US citizenship revoked.

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