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Gaza Fight is Humanly and Legally Just but Deserves Ceasefire If Hostages Freed

A British sociologist-political scientist, has published a scathing article in the Journal of Genocide Research (JGR) accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza. The article, entitled ”Inevitably Genocidal,” is even pointed in the direction of accusing Israel for instigating and welcoming the Gazans’ brutal opening of the war by genocide of Israelis!

This remarkable ‘scholarship” appears in an established journal in which the same author years ago identified Zionism from its original establishment as based on “an incipiently genocidal mentality towards Arab society.” At the same time the author also evaded completely recognizing respectfully the inherent intent of Zionism to rescue Jews from repeated murder, abuse, and expulsions such as from Britain and Spain over the centuries and in later years to culminate in the incredible modern ultimate of the Holocaust.

Now, currently, he blames Israel for the whole war! He writes that Israel planned and wanted the mass killing of the Gazans that is currently taking place: He says: “Israel intended this destruction.” In convoluted thinking, he posits that Israel in effect is responsible for goading Gaza into the dramatically cruel genocide it executed against Israel! He says it is “an irony that escaped most critics and reflected the field’s preoccupation with the one-sidedness of genocide. Gaza’s rulers not only launched their own genocidal assault; they also knowingly provoked Israel’s greater one. Hamas understood that its atrocities would incite Israel to its own campaign, which they must have calculated would cause global outrage that would ultimately constrain Israel.”

The critical sociologist goes on to recognize Gaza’s basic apathy to the losses of its own people, but also reaches for a crazy inference that Israel was also sacrificing its own people as hostages to Hamas. “For Hamas, thousands of Gazans were also necessary sacrifices, just as some of the hostages were for Israel.”

Some years ago a study of articles in JGR showed that 59% of bona fide genocide scholars –along with a smaller number of students in a Holocaust genocide course in a southern university in the US who gave equivalent results– evaluated the journal as purposefully intent on minimizing the significance of the Holocaust, a known technique of genocide denial. Needless to say, a huge wave of protest against the research including criticism of its purported scientific inadequacy followed, but the results –which had been collected and tabulated by an independent research organization-were plain and simple the results. In the months that followed, too late for inclusion in the study, JGR published a new article which claimed that the infamous Wannsee Conference of the Nazis on the Final Solution did not pertain to the Jews!! The present article indeed was in a welcoming home and continues a clearcut mission.

What follows is a rejoinder to the current article, “Inescapably Genocidal.” The author of this rejoinder is a well-known genocide scholar who is a committed Jew and Zionist with an overriding commitment to peace and safety for ALL the people on our Earth. The author has requested that the British author not be named in order to avoid a focus on a personality or professional conflict with him which is entirely irrelevant to the seriousness of the issues .

 The following are FACTS that are not mentioned by the author:

  1. FACT: Israel has never initiated missiles/bombing of Gaza except in response to bombings of Israel by the Palestinians.
  2. FACT: Prior to the present war – which was initiated by an incredible genocidal attack killing any Israeli in sight including babies, women, the elderly and infirm along with many unarmed non-combatant party-going teenagers and young people, rape, and included frightful torture and mutilation, as well as kidnapping of hundreds of Israelis – the Israeli ethos and popular culture did NOT call for extermination of the Palestinians.
  3. FACT: The fundamental official charter of Hamas seeks to kill the Jews and exterminate the country of Israel.
  4. FACT: Hamas has placed weapon systems in the homes of civilians and in civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals in total disregard of the consequences for its people.
  5. FACT: Zionism was and is a response to end the endless suffering of Jews from murder, and in no way called for eradication of Palestinians.

The following are also my OPINIONS:

  1.   OPINION: I agree completely that every word by Israelis of intention to destroy the Palestinians in Gaza, in whole or in part, is deeply wrong and a profound insult to true Jewish/Zionist values – however understandable it be as an emotional response to the depraved slaughter of Israelis by Hamas on October 7. I believe that Israel has erred seriously long before the genocide in allowing extreme right-wing violence against Palestinian farmers without legal consequences.
  2. OPINION: There is no question that the extent of killing Palestinians is inhumanly excessive and if at all possible should not be tolerated by Israel for its own sake as well as out of humanity towards the many Palestinian civilians who want to live non-violently. However, there is also no question whatsoever that full attention must be given to fighting back against the overwhelming murderousness that has been assigned to or has involved Palestinian civilians and what should be life-promoting institutions such as hospitals and schools that were turned into sites of attack by Hamas. Given the tragic extent of killing, I believe that Israel should undertake to stop the war at the earliest possible time, but I would insist on a prior condition of the release of the many Israeli hostages whose kidnappings also constitute legally crimes against humanity.
  3. OPINION: Legally what I am going to propose is a new legal concept that argues for a judgment that Israel is fighting back legitimately in Self-Defense in Response and in Self-Defense against Future Genocidal Attacks that Employ Citizens as Human Shields. The Geneva Convention specifically outlaws such provocative human shields and justifies fighting back in response as not genocidal behavior.

A striking example of the application of this concept is that following the Armenian Genocide, an Armenian, Soghomon Tehlirian, assassinated the key Turkish leader of the genocide, the Minister of the Interior, Talaat Pasha, and was brought to trial no less than in Berlin. The facts of his murder were totally clear, yet the court concluded that he was legally innocent.

Nonetheless, the extent of killings of civilians brought on by Gaza’s policies leads me to propose that Israel exercise a humanitarian gesture of offering to cease all fighting following return of all Israeli hostages, and at the same time that Israel underscore its readiness to return to massive destruction of Gaza in response to any further bombings or invasions.

The following are also my OPINIONS:

In conclusion, I pray for the earliest possible ending to this war. I know that my kind of writing is very uncomfortable for people who think in more clear cut polarities of good and bad and black and white. My definite intention is to protect our Israel and to support and protect the lives of all human beings as much as is possible in the face of reality.

Prof. Israel Charny, Director, Institute on Holocaust & Genocide Jerusalem, was the founder of the Intl. Assoc. of Genocide Scholars, and editor in chief of the first Encyclopedia of Genocide

About the Author
Prof. Israel W. Charny, who lives in Moshav Shoresh outside of Jerusalem, is the director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide and author of the just published "Israel’s Failed Response to the Armenian Genocide: Denial, State Deception, Truth versus Politicization of History," available from the publisher, Academic Studies Press (Boston) or Eurospan Bookstore in London.
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