The Worst Genocide

By: Jonathan Feldstein

This week, South Africa will bring charges in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel for genocide.

Despite the reality of the Hamas charter and its own genocidal acts, Hamas is not on trial at the ICJ.  Nobody has thought that would be appropriate, or to hold them accountable in any way. Not doing so embodies two of the biggest evils in today’s Middle East: that calling for the slaughter of Jews (and doing it) is passable, acceptable, and within the range of the norm, and that holding Palestinian Arabs (or Arabs in general) to a sane human standard where calls for genocide, and acting on these calls to slaughter Jews, is also acceptable. After all, the watered-down hypocritical standards go, they are just Arabs.  Nobody should expect better. Oh, and God forbid we challenge their theology, we might be accused of Islamophobia.

Since Hamas defines by its very existence what calls for genocide are actually about, the deliberate and attempted slaughter of a specific people, a term coined after the Holocaust (a genocide against the Jewish people), it’s important to look at why the allegations of genocide by Israel are baseless. According to the Geneva Convention genocide is “a crime committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, in whole or in part”.

First, the Palestinian Arab population has grown by hundreds of percent.  In Gaza alone there are more than 2 million residents, more than the total number of “Palestinians” who existed in the Land of Israel in 1948 when Israel was born. Not including some two-million Israeli Arabs, the estimated Palestinian Arab population is between 5-6 million. One would think that for a country which made the desert bloom, has innovated and contributed countless medical, technological, civil and cultural innovations to the world with such an unparalleled rate of success, if Israel had set out to conduct a genocide, it would be much more “successful.”  The numbers alone prove how allegations of Israeli committing genocide would be considered the worst genocide ever, an abysmal failure.

While Hamas is not on trial, let’s look at the original Hamas charter to see the actual contemporary definition of what genocide means. The Hamas charter interweaves quotes from the Koran and examples of their prophet Mohammed, overlayed with the vile antisemites of Hamas. The Hamas charter is not just rhetoric but an actual playbook.

  • “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
  • “Nothing in nationalism is more significant or deeper than in the case when an enemy should tread Moslem land.” 
  • What’s their goal then? Liberty and justice for all?  No. Rather, “to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” and “to liberate Palestine and confront the Zionist project.” 
  • Hamas is clearly not only against Zionism, but the Jews. All the Jews. “With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others.”
  • “There is no war going on anywhere…without (Jews) having their finger in it…to enable them to rule the world.”
  • “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’”

The revised (kinder and gentler) 2017 Hamas charter, calls to establish “Palestine.. a land that was seized by a racist, anti-human and colonial Zionist project that was founded on a false promise” using the genocidal mantra “from the river to the sea,” free of Jews. “..the Zionists who constantly identify Judaism and the Jews with their own colonial project and illegal entity” mandating that Zionism “must disappear from Palestine.”

As a playbook, its means are violence, not coexistence, instructing that “armed resistance” is not only a way to achieve their goals, but THE way. “Resisting the occupation with all means and methods is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and by international norms and laws…At the heart of these lies armed resistance, which is regarded as the strategic choice for protecting the principles and the rights of the Palestinian people.”

By comparison, it’s worth looking at Israel’s founding document to see where any hints of genocide might be hidden. South Africa’s allegation is not that Israel is specifically committing genocide now, but throughout its 75-year history. Israel’s Declaration of Independence, calls for peaceful coexistence, Arabs and Jews together, in prosperity. In fairness.   it doesn’t mean that Israel cannot have pivoted from these enlightened ideas 76 years ago. It doesn’t make Israel perfect.  But in a fair analysis, and as will be seen at the ICJ, there is no resemblance of genocide taking place by Israel against Palestinian Arabs.

Read the genocidal threats of Israel’s founders: “It will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”

“We appeal – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.”

“We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.”

If Israel were committed to genocide, why would it have ever entered peace negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs, offering them a state multiple times and celebrated by world leaders including the United Nations itself? Genocide would mean wiping them out, not negotiating toward peaceful coexistence.

If they listen to the facts and adjudicate fairly, the ICJ will understand that neither in rhetoric nor in deed has Israel ever committed genocide.  Conversely the Hamas’ charter, its words and actions, embody genocidal antisemitism blending the Koran, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and Mein Kampf. Perversely, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are not on trial.

South Africa’s allegations that Israel “intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnic group.”   If they listen to the facts and adjudicate fairly, the ICJ will see that no distinct genocidal intention can be proved, and South Africa’s allegations have no basis or standing.

Officially, Israel is on trial at the ICJ.  But the reality is that the world is on trial, for even entertaining South Africa’s specious claims. The ICJ can either redeem itself and reject South Africa’s claims or call into question its own credibility and that of the nations of the world which it represents.