The Great Genocide game - Part II:
Obvious double standards
Double standards are most obvious now with regard to what is going on
in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinians killed, thousands injured, economic
blockades, none of them have led to the Western protectors of Israel
using the word to characterise what is going on.
This may be understandable in terms of the fact that Israel is not
deliberately aiming to destroy a race, in the manner which Hitler and
all his associates in Europe attempted with the Jews.
But it is ironic that the word is thrown around so easily with regard
to other countries now, while this mass assault on Palestinians qua
Palestinians is not seen in the framework of the Convention on Genocide
which defines genocide in terms of killing members of a particular
group, causing serious bodily and mental harm to them and deliberately
inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its
physical destruction in whole or in part.
In human terms it is also tragic that the victims of so much
suffering have no qualms about inflicting so much themselves now on
others. The literary image of Jews as victims of prejudice is something
that Israelis of course are delighted to escape from, since obviously no
one wants to be a victim.
But that they should have slipped so easily into the other extreme,
the triumphant perpetrator of what they had themselves suffered from, is
a depressing vindication of the sort of psychological vision Shakespeare
encapsulated in his depiction of Shylock as both victim and villain.
But it is not only that centuries of ill treatment have hardened the
Jews to demanding their pound and more of flesh when they feel
themselves hurt. What is worse is that they are also led astray by their
certainty of impunity for whatever they do.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, was reported
to have said ‘I haven’t seen too many tears shed in Paris, London or
Berlin over the fact that we have hit Hamas targets’, and that about
sums up the sheer callousness with which the modern Israeli knows he can
treat the suffering of civilians.
The reaction of the West is all that matters and, however many
civilians die, it can be argued that these somehow deserve to die
because they are in some way implicated in terrorism, and this argument
will be credited by those who cannot afford to criticise the monster
So Gareth Evans, riding his white charger to protect, dodged in
Geneva the question as to why he and his backers did not invoke R2P
against Israel by claiming that R2P applied to internal problems, and
those critical of Israel were proponents of two states.
That is casuistry at its worst, and Gareth obviously understood this,
for he admitted that something needed to be done - unfortunately he
clearly was not going to do this, even though he felt entitled to
pontificate about other countries which have seen nothing like the
horrors that have been going on in Gaza.
As far as Gaza is concerned indeed Gareth’s argument does not hold
water. Even though it could be argued that Israel controls the West Bank
by conquest alone (though that should not preclude moral obligations for
areas in which it enforces its writ as it wills), Gaza after all was
part of the British mandate of Palestine. If it was not taken over by
Israel, to which I believe it was initially entrusted, then it should
revert to the hegemony of the United Nations.
Unfortunately, in the military victories Israel had periodically
achieved over the last sixty years, victories regularly fuelled by
advanced American technology (whether obtained illegally as in 1948 or
with full financial and other support as now), the actual status of Gaza
has been forgotten.
Meanwhile, other outriders of the West produce what might be termed
distractions, by drawing attention to what they claim is genocide
elsewhere. Thus we had in December, whilst the Israelis were preparing
their onslaught, the Great Genocide Index. It is based entirely of
predilection dressed up in jargon, and thus produces a list of eight
stages which are in a state of red alert as regards genocide, and
another thirteen which are in a state of yellow alert.
The list is based on five indices which seem to have been selected on
a fairly arbitrary basis of indicators, all of them not just occidental
but Anglo-Saxon, most of them feeding into each other. To qualify to be
classified as red alert, a country has to figure on all five lists. The
eight countries that thus figure include Sri Lanka and Pakistan, with
China on yellow alert.
Which particular genus Pakistan and China are trying to destroy is
not made clear. And Israel itself, the country that has legal and
official status, is not mentioned at all, the introduction of the term
Palestine into the name of the area serving to obfuscate the issue of
where responsibility lies.
The five indices use some strange language for those who understand
what genocide means, though since the term is used simply for emotional
purposes it is understandable that the compilers did not seek academic
or any other form of precision.
The absurdities of the list are quite self evident, but it may be
worth noting the most absurd criterion of all, in the list that in
general seems less preposterous than the rest. Amongst the preconditions
here for a country to seem genocidal is trade openness.
That last dead giveaway reveals the motivation behind the whole
exercise, ie give a dog a bad name and hang him. To use economic
predilections to assert that countries are genocidal is taking
gamesmanship to the brink.
Many of the other criteria are also strange, whilst the value
judgments of some of the indices suggest not just ignorance or
carelessness but an unremitting hostility to particular countries.
But the idea that the perpetrators of these indices need to be
transparent, that they should make clear all their sources of funding,
is not widespread, and in any case they have this wonderful system of
wheels within wheels which permits the initial perpetrators of prejudice
to hide behind the myriad smokescreens the network produces.
To be continued