Israel: SA Is Anti-Semitic to Invoke Genocide Convention

False accusations of anti-semitism are all Israel and its defenders have left.  Once the “But Hamas!” and “But Oct. 7!” excuses are spent, false accusations of hating Jews is all that remains, writes Caitlin Johnstone. 

The World Court sitting in The Hague. (U.N. Photo/Flickr)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to Tim Foley reading this article.

South Africa has invoked the Genocide Convention, formally launching a case at the U.N.’s International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide for its mass atrocities in the Gaza Strip. Israel immediately responded by accusing South Africa of “blood libel”.

Blood libel, for those who don’t know, refers to the way medieval Europeans would falsely accuse Jews of murdering Christians in blood sacrifices in order to justify persecuting them. Which is to say, Israel has responded to South Africa’s accusations by accusing South Africa of anti-semitism.

False accusations of anti-semitism are all Israel and its defenders have left. It’s the only tool left in their toolbox. Once you’ve exhausted the “But Hamas!” and “But October 7!” excuses they make for Israel’s deliberate butchery of civilians via airstrikes and siege warfare, false accusations of hating Jews is all that remains.

And it’s so sick, because it exploits a healthy impulse in those who oppose racism and genocide, and does so in order to defend racist acts of genocide. It causes people who care deeply about human rights to take a step back and say “Hold on, am I guilty of embodying the same hateful prejudices which led to the Holocaust?” and shuts them down and shuts them up, even as Israel rolls out its own holocaust against Palestinians.

It exploits a noble, healthy inclination people cultivate in themselves in good faith in order to support the horrific genocidal nightmare in Gaza in entirely bad faith. It exploits people’s good nature to advance a profoundly evil cause. It’s despicable. It’s depraved.

Israel apologists always speak as though all critics of Israel are constantly obsessing over Jews, when nothing remotely like that is happening. It’s a fantasy. The only reason people like me ever make any mention of Jewishness is because 90 percent of the arguments made by Israel’s defenders rely on babbling about Jews and antisemitism, and those arguments need to be addressed.

If Israel’s defenders weren’t constantly babbling about Jews and antisemitism, it would never even occur to me to think about those things in relation to what’s happening in Gaza, and I’m quite sure the vast majority of people on my side of this issue are the same.

When you see mass atrocities of unfathomable horror unfolding in real time in a nonstop deluge of video and photo evidence, the very last thing on your mind is what religious faith the perpetrators espouse. It’s not something normal people think about.

Throughout my life I’ve had a positive view of Jews and Jewish culture because so many of the people I’ve admired and been influenced by have been Jewish, but other than that it’s not something that I’ve really thought about much.

This notion that opposition to the criminality of the Israeli government is driven by a demented hatred of Jewish people is a complete work of fiction. People in our society simply do not feel that way about Jews. Real antisemitism does exist, but it’s a small fringe view. Normal people just want the mass slaughter of children and the ethnic cleansing to stop.

If I saw someone murdering a child, there are many things I might say and do, but the very last thing that would ever occur to me would be to wonder what religion he is. It’s the silliest, most nonsensical narrative in mainstream politics and media today.

And that’s why fewer and fewer people are buying it.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

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28 comments for “Israel: SA Is Anti-Semitic to Invoke Genocide Convention

  1. Vera Gottlieb
    December 31, 2023 at 05:21

    With a grain of salt…IF the story about the Kingdom of Khazars were true…then NONE of Eastern European Jews are Semites. Whether true or not, racism plays a major role in all this.

    • Kendall Hallett
      January 1, 2024 at 21:53

      Wikipedia, which I take with a grain of salt, says this about Semites:
      “Semitic people or Semites is an obsolete term for an ethnic, cultural or racial group associated with people of the Middle East, including Arabs, Jews, Akkadians, and Phoenicians. The terminology is now largely unused outside the grouping “Semitic languages” in linguistics.”
      Well, Wikipedians, it’s not quite obsolete, but it should be. The ‘terminology’ is still used in the ever-overused anti-semitic retort, ‘YOU’RE ANTI-SEMITIC!’ whenever anybody criticizes Israel. (Yes, I said it’s anti-Semitic to shout ‘anti-Semite’ at those who criticize Israel for genociding Palestinian Gazans, whom are by definition … Semites.)
      Anti-Semite should have outlived this misuse at least since it became evocative of the holocaust. Israel has been playing the holocaust card long enough. Indigenous Palestinians didn’t do it. Yes, the holocaust was ultimate evil. Yes, Hamas’ behavior Oct. 7th was disgusting evil, wanton terrorism. Yet I kind of understand they have no other way to fight the slow-burning Israeli genocide that’s been going on longer than I’ve walked this earth, with periodic flares like we see today. Israel has slowly over the decades been nibbling away, annexing Palestine little by little, slowly ending the ability for Palestinian culture and identity to exist. That’s genocide.
      The horrifying irony of it all … Hamas is a political movement more than an army. Israel can’t ever kill Hamas. In fact, they’re growing Hamas with every new pissed off, orphaned, young Gazan who has no home, nowhere to turn and not much to live for. Iran is superfluous. Hamas is sustained by Israeli government policy. Did I say anything against Jews? If anybody thinks I did they misread what I wrote.

  2. firstpersoninfinite
    December 31, 2023 at 01:25

    “If I saw someone murdering a child, there are many things I might say and do, but the very last thing that would ever occur to me would be to wonder what religion he is. It’s the silliest, most nonsensical narrative in mainstream politics and media today.”
    And yes, that’s the money quote. Caitlin Johnstone hit the nail on the head: you are supposed to fall for the narrative of religious/ethnic/gender/economic differences without question. It facilitates the apartheid/murder/genocide action of the perpetrators by changing the narrative to a questioning of reality. When the act of murder is not allowed to have any meaning, then the words describing the actions of murderers themselves can have no meaning. The only thing left then is to take over the actual lexicon of reality, or else put everyone not yet murdered into a prison cell. Of course, both actions are one and the same. And of course, “free speech,” a constitutional right, can only exist if “free speech purists” have been rounded up and their mouths stitched shut for the safety of the public..

  3. TDillon
    December 30, 2023 at 19:58

    Bottom line according to Bibi, his 3 thousand year old legend gives Jews the right to mass murder the Palestinians and steal their land.

    It’ll be interesting to see how much weight the International Court gives that claim.

    • LarcoMarco
      January 1, 2024 at 15:09

      “Of course, we say it’s our land, the Torah says it, but they {Palestinians} don’t believe in the Torah,” he continued. “So that’s the reason there is not peace.” —Sen. Chuck Schumer

  4. Gypsy33
    December 30, 2023 at 18:58

    I’m a regular on Caitlin’s comment section.
    The MSM is going booga-wooga over the Ukrainian cities bombed by Russia. “War crimes! War crimes!” Though acknowledging the bombings in Gaza, though, not a peep over war crimes where Israel is concerned.
    Also conspicuously missing was any mention of South Africa filing charges of genocide.
    It’s a funny ol’ world, ain’t it?

    • Hank Jones
      December 31, 2023 at 20:50

      Ukraine attacked a Russian border town with cluster bombs, and they retaliated. I believe 20 people were reported dead. For a war that Russia all but has in the bag, this is definitely a no-no! The difference between Russian attacks and Israeli ones is like the difference between a fine surgeon’s cuttings and a meat grinder!

  5. JonnyJames
    December 30, 2023 at 16:07

    Also, it is well documented that Israel supported the Apartheid SA regime to the hilt. It is beyond ironic that white racists accuse the victims (indigenous Africans) of “blood libel” is Orwellian, or even beyond.

  6. John Manning
    December 30, 2023 at 15:21

    I grew up with Jews around me. I did not know it at the time, they were just my school friends. I worked with Jews around me but I did not know it at the time they were just my work friends. I married a woman who’s family history is Jewish. I did not know it at the time she was just the girl I fell in love with.

    When I look at Israel today, I would say what could be wrong with hating people who behave like that. I do not hate them yet, but I think the time is coming. Jews across the whole world WAKE UP. Netanyahu is butchering the innocent in your name.

  7. Susan Siens
    December 30, 2023 at 14:25

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot after reading Asa Winstanley’s Weaponising Anti-Semitism, which is about a lot more than the takedown of Jeremy Corbyn. Raised in a radical leftist household, I have never responded to anyone on the basis of their sex, race, ethnicity, or religion, but judged them by their actions. Consequently, if one has looked deeply into oneself, accusations of sexism, racism, anti-semitism, whatever, strike one as simply absurd and not something to kowtow to.

    So I end up wondering about people who do fall prey to such accusations: Are they as unprejudiced as they think they are? People have said all sorts of things to me — mostly about African-Americans — thinking I will agree with them, and often these are people who believe themselves to be quite “liberal.” Reading about Corbyn’s collapse in the face of accusations and his consequent throwing of his supporters and close allies under the bus to appease the Israel Lobby made me suspect that he had not done the work of soul-searching that we all need to do.

    Winstanley makes the same point that Jonny James makes in his comment. Nothing is more anti-semitic than suggesting that all Jews the world over are supporters of genocide. The settlers who left Germany for Palestine — with the assistance of the Nazi government who supported their emigration — possessed the same evil mentality that Europeans have spread all over the world: It is their right to murder and uproot indigenous peoples and steal their land, their homes, their cultures. And these same people have no problem with attacking — both literally and figuratively — fellow Jews who do not agree with them.

    And the specter of non-Jews attacking Jewish people for being anti-semitic! What could be more grotesque? (Thinking of you, Stefanik. And I’d still like to know what your grandparents were doing in the 1930s and 1940s.)

  8. Francis Lee
    December 30, 2023 at 13:54

    Heart of Darkness

    The present holocaust being carried out at a global level has always included those unfortunate peoples of the global south; ranging from Africa, Latin America to China, India and beyond – and carried on by their imperial tormentors in chief. Of this inclusive club of the imperial north – little Belgium – was a brutal racist account of the treatment meted out to their captive slaves. One such episode below – a paid-up member of the imperialist club.

    ”In one, a man sits on a low platform looking at a dismembered small foot and small hand. They belonged to his five-year-old daughter, who was later killed when her village did not produce sufficient rubber. She was not unique – chopping off the limbs of enslaved Congolese was a routine form of retribution when Leopold II’s quotas were not met.”

    ”Colonial administrators also kidnapped orphaned children from communities and transported them to “child colonies” to work or train as soldiers. Estimates suggest more than 50% died there.

    Killings, famine and disease combined to cause the deaths of perhaps 10 million people, though historians dispute the true number.

    King Leopold II may never have set foot there, but he poured the profits into Belgium and into his pockets.

    He built the Africa Museum in the grounds of his palace at Tervuren, with a “human zoo” in the grounds featuring 267 Congolese people as exhibits.”

    .And that was just Belgium! Will this colonial culmination of mass murder ever end?

  9. Robert
    December 30, 2023 at 13:05

    Thanks Caitlin. Another article that should be read worldwide. As a super senior in age I have to say that I have witnessed some troubled times in my country but I never reached a point where I was just simply embarrassed and ashamed at what is going on in my Federal capital of Washington D.C. The incompetence at the southern border, the mind boggling stupidity and avarice involved in our proxy war against Russia, and everything you described occurring in Gaza with

    It must be more emotionally draining to write what we only read. Please keep the articles coming. Contributed today.

  10. JonnyJames
    December 30, 2023 at 13:03

    Pathetic excuses and gross hypocrisy.

    Israel is the most anti-Semitic entity in the world: they falsely claim that a bunch of far-right, racist, mass murderers represent world Judaism. If you don’t support genocide, you are anti-Semitic? and/or a Self-Hating Jew. That’s both irrational and immoral, IMO.
    Equating Judaism and all Jews with genocide, ethnic cleansing and other heinous crimes is the ultimate antisemitism.

    • Xpat Paula
      December 30, 2023 at 17:33

      Well said, Jonny.

  11. Sigh
    December 30, 2023 at 12:59

    Americans learned all the wrong lessons from WW2. Since America is obsessed with ‘race’, and was at the time, and still is today, Americans decided that the lessons were racial. So, Americans made Germans the ‘bad’ race, and the Jewish victims into the ‘good’ race. And then they decided they had learned enough at went to go kill ‘gooks’ in Korea and Vietnam.

    America did not learn the dangers of the Hate that was in Germany at the time. Hate is the key identifier of the Nazi movement. Not race. Where you find the Politics of Hate, you find the Nazis. Its their calling card. Its how they gain power. They don’t care who they hate, but they use hate as a tool for organizing. They admire and utilize the power of Hate.

    Hmmm, what are some recent American political slogans …

    Hate Trump! , Hate Biden!, Hate Socialists!, Hate Fascists!, Hate Mexicans!, Hate Whites!, Hate Men!, Hate the Rich!, Hate the Homeless!, Hate! Anybody sense a theme here?

    By the way, there was a portion of one American generation which was not racist, and did not obsess over race or ‘whose your daddy?’ We call them Dirty Hippies and we hate them for not hating.

  12. Sigh
    December 30, 2023 at 11:55

    When will millions of people gather outside the White House to make it stop?

    They can make it stop, with enough people. Maybe it is one million? Maybe it is 10 million? But, with enough people, it can be stopped.

    If there were 10 million people there, and the reports to the ‘security’ said 10 million more were on the way, then the ‘security’ at some point has to go to The Big Guy and tell him that it is time to board the helicopter. If that number of people is not enough to make The Big Guy board the helicopter (or stop the Genocide), then just add more people. With enough people, it can be stopped.

  13. Sigh
    December 30, 2023 at 11:50

    Genocide Joe just a cluster bomb at the civilians in the center of Belgograd, Russia.

    Cluster bombs are anti-personnel weapons. They do little damage to any armored targets or infrastructural. These missiles, which Genocide Joe is proud to give away, are essentially a shotgun shell of smaller bombs that explode and release shrapnel. So, they’d scratch the paint on a building, and burned some passenger cars, and are very deadly to people.

    Genocide Joe fired this at the center of the city, aiming only at civilians, and scored a hit killing 14 people.
    The American Genocide media is bragging about how they struck back after Russia’s ‘massive’ attack. (The ‘massive attack’ that is of course smaller and more targeted that what Israel does to Gaza every day.)

    Genocide Joe at work, even on a holiday weekend.
    (BTW, I don’t buy the ‘plausible deniability’ BS)
    The connecting dots are that the Genocidal regard both Russians and Arabs as sub-humans whose lives do not matter.
    Don’t forget, these are the same people who say that “All Lives Matter” is a racist slogan, and of course that opposing Genocide is ‘antisemitism’.

  14. Arch Stanton
    December 30, 2023 at 11:26

    We’re about to find out if the Palestinians last hope of justice, namely the ICJ is all that’s it cracked up to be be, or, has it also been hijacked by the global Zionist network.

    I’m not holding my breath

  15. floyd gardner
    December 30, 2023 at 11:06

    Good comments!

  16. Share
    December 30, 2023 at 11:04

    this is the same crap as when Obomber was in office….can’t criticize him cuz then you’re racist
    this is the same crap when Killary was…anything – sec of state/running for prez/etc…can’t criticize her cuz then you’re sexist
    It’s BS and I am a woman and I was raised in the ghetto of Detroit so guess what skintone my oldest friends have, anyone calling me a racist or sexist isn’t opining in good faith and that’s exactly how I feel about anyone saying I’m anti-semitic for wanting everyone to have peace, and you know, not get killed for merely existing.

  17. J Anthony
    December 30, 2023 at 09:22

    Those of us able to see all of this for what it is are becoming emotionally and psychologically spent. For the last 2 1/2 months, waking up everyday to worse atrocities and horror happening over there, to the defenders of Israel’s Zionist bs, makes it almost impossible to not be affected. Plus the feelings of helplessness to do anything about it. Blowing up the phones and mailboxes with constant calls for ceasefire and an end to all warring isn’t enough. I don’t know what it will take but how can this go on for months more?

  18. Boston
    December 30, 2023 at 09:04

    To paraphase Patrick Henry: if this be anti-semitism, make the most of it!

  19. Sam F
    December 30, 2023 at 06:35

    Thank you, Caitlin for a bold plain statement against the fake Zionist equivocation of anti-Zionism with non-existent anti-Jewish prejudice: “Give us special privileges or we’ll accuse you of racism!” They got away with that before their latest genocide of Palestinians, largely because the most selfish and corrupt opportunists and bribe-takers in the U.S. pretended to believe them in hope of financial gains. At last they are exposed as scoundrels.

    • Sigh
      December 30, 2023 at 12:06

      That is one of the interesting parts of this. The Israelis are publicly burning their “Get Out of Jail Free” cards.

      If nothing else, committing Genocide cancels all special privileges granted for being the previous victims of another Genocide.

      Americans don’t have that protection. For the Americans, they committed Genocide, then they said they were sorry, and said they’d never do it again. But, now they are doing it again. They don’t get to say ‘we are even’. For Americans, with a Slave Economy, and Manifest Destiny already on their permanent record, they just better hope that God doesn’t have a “three strikes and you’re out’ rule.

  20. Re-Minder
    December 30, 2023 at 05:29

    Palestinians are SEMITES.

    Let that FACT sink: Palestinians are SEMITES.
    Palestinians are SEMITES.
    Palestinians are SEMITES.

    The worst anti-Semite is the genocidal apartheid regime of israel. It has murdered upwards of 20,000 civilians in les than 90-days.
    What is worse is that the genocidal apartheid regime of israel is clamouring for more. Blood libel? get the hell out of our face!

    • Sigh
      December 30, 2023 at 12:24

      I agree …. but, rather than arguing about classifications and who’s on which list, it is better to simply state, once again, that nobody is a ‘subhuman’ who’s life means less than the ‘exceptional’ or ‘chosen’ people. All people are equal, and all people have rights, including the right not to have somebody who thinks they are ‘superior’ come along and kill them and their children.

      All lives matter.
      Its the only sane rule to organize a society around. Its the only place where ‘Peace’ can be found, because as soon as you say some lives matter more than others, then everyone is fighting to get on the ‘matters’ list, or just to defend themselves. Anyone who is arguing against that basic principle of equality is at least on the road to Genocide, even if it can be debated how far down that slippery slope they have slid.

      The Democrats have almost reached the Adolf Hitler Memorial Ski Lodge at the bottom of the slope. The Republicans are mad that they might finish second. The world cries, again.

    • Rafael
      December 30, 2023 at 14:32

      Not only are Palestinians Semites, but it’s likely that they are mostly themselves Jews who over the centuries adopted Islam.

    • Daedalus
      December 30, 2023 at 20:20


      In fact, Palestinians are far more ‘Semitic’ than the European Zionist invaders. It’s all a propaganda war which (on the part of the Israeli rulers) requires the destruction of human (particularly English) language. We use language to reason, and logic must be destroyed in order to support such a ghastly genocide.

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