Gefen Bar-On Santor

The Hague show trial (like any Jew-hate) is unlikely to help the Palestinians

I wake up in the mornings with the heaviness of war upon my heart.  I cannot believe what has happened.  The human suffering of war generates a strong intuitive reaction that says, stop!  This is how I have been educated my whole life, and this is what comes to me naturally—say no to war.

But there is another burden that we must never forget and that speaks against “stop:” it is the far greater genocidal war that the enemies of Israel openly fantasize about and that they must be deterred against pursuing.

On October 6, Israelis went to sleep with the expectation to wake up on October 7 and carry on with their lives.  For many Israelis living along the Gaza border, these lives included peace activism and peace-oriented volunteer work: notes on their fridge that reminded them when and who in Gaza needed a ride to an Israeli hospital.

As Israelis drifted off to sleep among TikTok videos about pets, fashion, cooking, celebrities, popular psychology and current affairs—they had no idea that they would be waking up to a massacre that would see some of the most left-wing members of their society—and the children and grandchildren of these peace-loving Israelis—murdered, tortured, maimed, raped and kidnapped.

Today, the show trial in the International Court of Justice gives stage to the lie that Israel has genocidal intent against the Palestinians.

What we see unfolding before us is what the injustice of Jew hate has always been—a theatre of projection.  Any ill that one does not want to face in oneself or in the world at large is the fault of the Jews.

Hitler blamed his defeat in WW2 on the Jews.  The Nazis said that the Jews were greedy and wanted to take over the world.  But who tried to conquer the world while the Jews were being mass-murdered in gas chambers? And who collected every gold tooth that they could pull out of the mouths of Jewish corpses?

Today: who is it that wants a genocide and has tried to meticulously and enthusiastically plan a genocide?  The word genocide seems to come easily to the lips of Israel haters as they nimbly play with language to distort factuality and causality. But when it comes to Israel’s enemies, the dictionary seems to put genocidal intent under R—“resistance.”

October 7 was the most horrific massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust.  But with regards to the question of intent, a massacre is not “all” that October 7 was likely dreamt up to be.

The Hamas did not do October 7 because they wished to spend the rest of their lives hiding in tunnels, patiently waiting to be dispatched to the next world by an IDF bullet.  The Hamas knew that Israel’s desire for normalcy—rather than for genocide—made its “small but smart” army unprepared to the point of delusion and dysfunction.  It is precisely the non-genocidal and normalcy-seeking nature of Israel and of the IDF—very well understood by the Hamas—that likely inspired in Hamas the fantasy that October 7 would be not “just” a massacre but the beginning of a large-scale genocide—with help from “friends” such as the Hezbollah that the Hamas likely hoped would join.  Several knowledgeable Israelis have noted that October 7 was a great genocidal fantasy that turned out to be “only” a massacre and a rape and torture “fest” because Hamas’s would-be collaborators did not perform as hoped.

Today, many of the people who claim that they are protecting the Palestinians from genocide do not seem to care sufficiently about the very real risk of genocide to Israelis (about one quarter of whom are Arab).  They speak in the name of caring for the Palestinians—but the focus of their actions is to inflame hate against Israel—which works directly against the real interests of the Palestinians who want to live in peace.

I recently saw a picture snapped at an academic anti-Israel event in a North-American university (the image was shared privately and is not available online). The person taking the picture photographed the handout distributed at the event, which featured the following October 11, 2023 letter from Birzeit University Union, which celebrates 2023 “as the year that Palestinians stood boldly in the face of colonial fascism and screamed in defense of their homes, humanity, and lives:” [Note for dictionary: Put rape, murder and kidnap under S for scream].

I zoomed into the document in the picture placed on the wooden academic seminar table to read that “‘We are all Palestinians’ in the face of colonial fascism.”  But what captivated me in the picture was not only the handout itself but the fact that it was framed on either side by two objects.  To the right: a wrapped plastic spoon (along with a paper napkin).  To the left, in a plastic cup: a gorgeous take-out yogurt parfait, waiting to be enjoyed while Israel hate is being simultaneously swallowed.

One of my first memories of learning about the Holocaust as a young child—before I really understood what the Holocaust was—involved a description of a Nazi devouring a sausage while “doing his job” beside starving Jews.

One night earlier this week, I dreamt that I was in the mall standing in front of New York Fries.  Beside me, a young girl, likely about 6-8 years old, who looked like a Holocaust child, materialized out of thin air.  She looked starving and dejected, and yet wise, intelligent and mature beyond her years.  I offered to buy the girl a hot dog, but she politely declined, as if she understood that she must fend for herself because she has no one in this world.  The absurdity of the starving, shinning, sad eyes that accepted their own predicament was too much to bear, so I knew that I had to convince the girl to accept a hot dog now—even if in five minutes she will be all alone again, hiding in the forest.  I kept trying to buy the hot dog—but the dream went into a loop in which several times I was just about to reach for the hot dog but could not grab it, while the girl was drifting away from me—abandoned to eternity.

The yogurt parfait—standing tall on guard beside an Israel-hating document—is to me a symbol of the fact that not much may be at stake for people in the West who choose to feast on Israel hate.  Like the yogurt parfait, demonizing Israel seems to be a source of pleasure within a secure environment.

The show trial in the Hague promises to be a sumptuous banquet to Israel haters.  They can choose what they want from the buffet and ignore the inconvenient facts—for example, that Israel was forced into a tragic war by an enemy that systematically and mercilessly uses civilians as human shields and that harbors even more grandiose designs against Israel than those executed on October 7.

What will likely remain untouched by Israel haters are the messages that can truly help to bring the suffering of the Palestinians to an end: Release the hostages from the dungeons and bring them home now.  Dismantle the Hama’s ability to rule Gaza as a terrorist base.  Accept the existence of Israel so that the Palestinians can benefit from its existence.

If the world gives the Palestinians a consistent message about the need to peacefully accept Israel—hopefully the suffering of the people of Gaza can gradually become a thing of the past.

But this would mean going on a diet and depriving oneself of the junk pleasures of Israel hate.  And why do so when it is much more delectable to relish the lie that Israel is Nazi?

Jew hate is—and has always been—empty calories that famish those who choose to make it a staple.  Some people apparently believe that the only life worth living is one that involves an all-you-can-eat Israel-hate feast.  And by demanding their supply from the Palestinians, they have brought enormous suffering upon the Palestinians.  The Palestinians who want to live peacefully are the victims of the world’s appetite for Israel hate.

About the Author
Gefen Bar-On Santor teaches English at the University of Ottawa, as well as adult-education literature courses at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre in Ottawa, Canada. She is an enthusiastic believer in life-long learning and in the relevance of fiction to our lives. She also writes at
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