US Palestinian Organizations Say Biden’s Legacy Is Genocide

February 18, 2024

We, Palestinian-led organizations in the United States, are issuing an urgent call and a warning to President Biden. Palestinians in Gaza are facing the threat of extermination or expulsion, and this administration is greenlighting it. Israel’s genocidal assault on the Gaza Strip is the latest chapter in the ongoing Nakba, which began in 1948. Then, like now, Israel’s colonial regime is trying to erase Palestinian life in Palestine under the fog of war.

1.5 million Palestinians are crowded in Rafah. The majority have been displaced from elsewhere in the Gaza Strip over the course of the last 132 days. The majority were already refugees before October, forced to flee from homes across Palestine. With this assault, Israel is pursuing plans to depopulate Rafah, pushing a population it has starved into the Sinai Peninsula, in a continuation of its century-long attempt to cleanse Palestine of all Palestinians.

The world has watched this unfold, streaming horrors in real-time, scenes that will be embedded in our memories for centuries to come. Yet, even as we cry out for justice, the leaders of the so-called free world, led by Biden and Congress, continue to fuel the flames of destruction with their unrelenting support for Israel. The most bone-chilling part of this all is the public gloating and encouragement of our destruction, by Israeli and US officials alike, without consequence. We cannot, we must not, let Rafah fall under the shadow of yet another joint US-backed Israeli assault meant to drive Palestinians into the desert and into permanent exile. We Palestinians know that when we leave our homes, Israel works to ensure we cannot go back. This cannot be repeated.

Palestinians in the United States have watched our government’s complicity in what US courts and the International Court of Justice have described as a genocidal campaign. We have watched the Biden administration state “no red lines” on Israel, and instead, rush even more weapons, veto ceasefire resolutions, and block humanitarian aid, enabling every step of this genocide.

We also know that the horrors of today are the culmination of a 100-year process of dehumanization, dispossession, fragmentation, and suppression of Palestinians. With a blank check from the US, Apartheid Israel has thrived.

Through a century of Zionist colonization and 75 years of an ongoing Nakba, our Palestinian people continue, against all odds, to collectively struggle against our erasure. We are still here, whether on our lands or in our communities in exile, demanding a future of freedom, justice, and dignity between the river and the sea. The international community thought Palestinians would accept their permanent subjugation. But the history of colonized people tells a different story. The next 100 years will be our century of liberation, and it begins with protecting Rafah, protecting Gaza, and ending US complicity in apartheid and genocide.

We all recognize the unwillingness of Western world leaders to contend with the damage and destruction they cause both at home and abroad. We are living through complete obliteration: a human and climate disaster that will mark the earth for centuries to come, permanent environmental destruction through chemical and arms pollution, and an enduring trauma that will alter the DNA of humanity.

What happens in Gaza is about much more than freedom for Palestine and our return to our homes. The struggle for Gaza is a struggle of all oppressed peoples. This is why we have seen so many rise up and join our struggle.

The weapons of destruction, the tactics of dehumanization, the open complicity of the US in the face of genocide—these are the same tools that threaten us all. From immigrants and minorities, to workers and all the oppressed, the specter of white supremacy and racism looms large. We call on everyone of you who reads these words to not stay silent, not stay seated. Rise up. To those who have been on the streets with us, do not tire. Do not allow the inhumanity to become normalized. Disrupt the complacency of everyday life, and refuse to turn a blind eye to the genocide unfolding before us. 

TAKE ACTION ON PRESIDENTS DAY

  • Adalah Justice Project
  • American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
  • Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action)
  • Arab Resource and Organizing Center
  • Palestine Legal
  • Palestinian Feminist Collective
  • Palestinian Youth Movement
  • US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
  • US Palestinian Community Network

Boycott Chevron/Texaco/Caltex gas stations worldwide!

BDS movement Calls for a Consumer Boycott of Chevron-branded gas stations

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest Palestinian coalition that leads the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, calls for escalating campaigning against fossil fuel giant Chevron by engaging in consumer boycotts of Chevron, Texaco, and Caltex gas/petrol stations, in addition to ongoing campaigns to divest from Chevron.

Chevron has been the main international actor extracting fossil gas claimed by Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean since it acquired Noble Energy in 2020. With its extracting activities, Chevron is implicated in Israel’s policy and practice of depriving the Palestinian people of their right to sovereignty over their natural resources. Chevron’s extraction activities generate billions of dollars in revenue for apartheid Israel and its war chest, helping to fund the ongoing genocide against 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, as well as its regime of settler-colonialism, apartheid and military occupation. Chevron fuels apartheid and environmental devastation.

The BDS Movement issued a call to boycott both Siemens and Chevron in 2022, with campaigning around Chevron previously focused on divestment. Now, we are calling on supporters of Palestinian rights and climate justice to escalate pressure on Chevron also by boycotting Chevron gas stations and gas stations owned by Chevron, including Texaco and Caltex. There are thousands of Chevron, Texaco, and Caltex gas and petrol stations worldwide.

During the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, a movement to boycott Shell oil for its complicity in apartheid gained worldwide momentum, with supporters taking part in gas/petrol station pickets and major divestment campaigns from the fossil fuel company. Inspired by the South African liberation struggle, the Palestinian-led BDS movement aims to build pressure on Chevron until it no longer conducts business that gravely violates our human rights and benefits Israel’s genocidal apartheid regime.

We reiterate our call upon supporters of Palestinian rights worldwide to build and strengthen intersectional #BoycottChevron partnerships with the climate justice movement and the many communities and Indigenous peoples around the world who are exposing and resisting the colonial violence of Chevron’s extractivism, environmental destruction and grave human rights violations.

We have already seen organizations taking action to escalate pressure on Chevron, including by activists in Houston who protested Chevron’s sponsorship of the Houston marathon, and climate activists in California, who led a protest at Chevron’s Richmond refinery. They also disrupted two Chevron executives’ private events leading up to the protest. Sign their pledge to boycott Chevron, and look out for more information and resources to assist campaigning in the coming weeks and months.

In solidarity,
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)

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The nonviolent BDS movement for freedom, justice and equality is supported by the absolute majority in Palestinian society. BDS rejects all forms of racism and racial discrimination.

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International Court of Justice Orders Israel to Prevent Genocide in Gaza

Fails to Order Ceasefire

Democracy Now! Jan 26, 2024

In a highly anticipated ruling, the International Court of Justice at The Hague has found that there is a “real and imminent risk” that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, and supported “at least some” of the provisional measures South Africa had requested when it brought the case in order to rein in Israel’s military assault. Though the ruling falls short of calling for an immediate ceasefire, analysts say it is nevertheless a significant milestone. We discuss the “unprecedented” decision by the World Court with a panel of experts: Palestinian human rights attorney Diana Buttu, genocide scholar Raz Segal and scholar of colonialism Mahmood Mamdani. “It becomes imperative upon the world community to now act,” says Buttu. “This is the beginning of a process of isolating Israel,” adds Segal.

Support our work: https://democracynow.org/give

ICJ RULING ON GAZA GENOCIDE

AN HISTORIC VICTORY FOR THE PALESTINIANS THAT ISRAEL VOWS TO DEFY

Pro-Palestine activists wave flags during session of the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, Netherlands, on Jan. 26, 2024. Photo: Patrick Post/AP

While the 17-judge panel ordered Israel to halt any genocidal acts in Gaza, it stopped short of ordering immediate ceasefire.

THE 17-JUDGE PANEL at the International Court of Justice in The Hague issued a series of rulings on Friday about Israel’s conduct during its war against Gaza that constitute a significant legal defeat for Israel and its chief defenders, the United States and Germany.

It found that there is a basis to proceed with the case against Israel for genocide and that South Africa had solid foundation to bring its case before the world’s highest court. The ICJ’s chief judge, Joan Donoghue, said provisional measures against Israel were necessary because “the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is at serious risk of deteriorating further before the court renders its final judgement.” The full proceedings against Israel will take many years to complete.

At the same time, the court did not go as far in its rulings as South Africa wished and did not explicitly order Israel to immediately halt its military attacks against Gaza or to lift its state of siege. Instead, it ordered Israel to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of the Genocide convention.”

Both the Biden administration and the Israeli government seized on this aspect of the court’s ruling to argue that this amounted to a green light for Israel to continue its military assault on Gaza. “The court’s ruling is consistent with our view that Israel has the right to take action to ensure the terrorist attacks of October 7 cannot be repeated, in accordance with international law,” a State Department spokesperson said. “The court did not make a finding about genocide or call for a ceasefire in its ruling.”

This mischaracterization of the court’s ruling is a clear effort by the U.S. government to spin what was actually a very specific set of orders the court issued to Israel. Moreover, the court did not issue a finding on genocide, not because it concluded Israel’s actions do not constitute genocide, but because that determination would be made following a multi-year legal process, which the judges have now said should proceed.

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In a 15-2 ruling, the ICJ judges ordered that Israel must prevent the following actions against the protected “group,” which the court defined as the Palestinians of Gaza: “(a) killing members of the group; ( b ) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and ( d ) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.” While the specific word “ceasefire” was not mentioned in the order, the ruling could not be clearer about the court’s intent. It literally ordered Israel to stop killing Palestinians in Gaza “with immediate effect.”

In issuing its provisional measures, the court upheld “the right of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to be protected from acts of genocide and related prohibited acts” under the Genocide Convention. It found that “the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is at serious risk of deteriorating further before the Court renders its final judgment.”

“Israel must take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” the court saidOpens in a new tab. It also ordered Israel to halt and punish incitement to genocide, to preserve any evidence of violations of the Genocide Convention by its forces or personnel, and to submit a report on its compliance with the court’s orders within one month.

Donoghue read aloud several statements made by Israeli officials, which South Africa contended indicated “genocidal intent.” Among these was the statement by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announcing there would be “no electricity, no food, no fuel” allowed into Gaza and saying, “We are fighting human animals.” She also read a statement from Israeli President Isaac Herzog saying of the people of Gaza, “It is an entire nation out there that is responsible.”

Donoghue, the president of the ICJ, is an American who worked as a top legal adviser at the State Department under President Barack Obama. She voted in favor of every order the court issued against Israel. While judges do not officially operate as agents of their home governments, it was nonetheless striking that Donoghue ruled against Israel at a time when the U.S. has officially denounced the accusations leveled by South Africa and continues to fuel Israel’s military onslaught.

The ruling at the court is undoubtedly important in a symbolic sense: It found that the Palestinians of Gaza are a protected group under the provisions of the Genocide Convention and that South Africa had proven that there is a reasonable basis to litigate whether Israel’s military onslaught constitutes a genocide.

But it also represents a technical coup for Israel, which has already argued it is not committing genocidal acts. The bottom line is that the court has ruled that Israel should stand trial on charges of genocide in Gaza and ordered it to stop killing Palestinians in Gaza. But the U.S. and Israel clearly believe the court’s ruling contains a significant loophole that Israel can exploit to continue its war against Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that no one will stop the war against Gaza, includingOpens in a new tab The Hague. The court’s rulings, which did not explicitly order an immediate cessation of the military assault, is already being emphasized in Tel Aviv.

While generally denouncing the ICJ ruling, Netanyahu asserted that the court “rightly rejected the outrageous demand” for an immediate halt to the military attacks on Gaza. “The very claim that Israel is carrying out genocide against Palestinians is not only false, it’s outrageous, and the willingness of the court to deliberate it at all is a mark of disgrace that will not be erased for generations,” Netanyahu, reacting to the ruling, said.

He also vowed Israel will keep fighting “until total victory, until we defeat Hamas, return all the captives and ensure that Gaza will not again be a threat to Israel.”

Gallant, whose statements were cited as evidence of genocidal intent, added that Israel “does not need to be lectured on morality in order to distinguish between terrorists and the civilian population in Gaza.”

He said Israel will continue its war. “Those who seek justice, will not find it on the leather chairs of the court chambers in The Hague — they will find it in the Hamas tunnels in Gaza, where 136 hostages are held, and where those who murdered our children are hiding.”

“Hague Shmague,” tweeted Netanyahu’s minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s minister of international relations, said outside the court that she was grateful for the court’s ruling, but wished it had ordered an explicit halt to Israel’s attacks. She argued that the court’s orders would not be enforceable if Israel does not actually cease its military attacks and state of siege. “Without a ceasefire, the order doesn’t actually work,” she said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in speech that, with the ICJ ruling, “Israel stands before the international community, its crimes against the Palestinian people laid bare.”

The U.S. government has long shielded Israel from international legal consequences for its actions against the Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank. The only enforcement mechanism for rulings from the ICJ reside at the U.N. Security Council, where the U.S. regularly wields its veto power.

The State Department has refusedOpens in a new tab to answer whether the Biden administration will abide by the ICJ’s provisional orders, but its statement after the ruling indicates it is already aggressively spinning an alternative interpretation of a clear set of orders imposed on Israel. This proceeding may herald the intensification of the global debate over whether international law and courts have relevance, or whether the U.S. will remain the ultimate judge over which nations must face the consequences for their violations of the laws and conventions.

Update: January 26, 2024, 1:40 p.m. ET
This piece was updated to include the State Department response to the ICJ’s ruling and to add additional context about the specific provisional orders issued against Israel.

Justice & Accountability for Palestine Initiative

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In light of the unfolding genocide in besieged Gaza and the catastrophic situation across historic Palestine, the Justice & Accountability for Palestine Initiative kicks off!

A Palestinian-led initiative composed of international legal practitioners and lawyers is pursuing legal action against individuals & entities complicit in the crimes in Palestine including genocide in Gaza.

We are setting off TODAY by sending letters to the Governments of Austria, France, the Netherlands & Germany warning of our intention to prosecute public officials’ involvement in the crimes against Palestinians.

108 days into the genocide in Gaza, more than 24,000 Palestinians have been killed, 1.9 M displaced, in a state of total destruction while bombs continue to be dropped.

European officials are continuing their military, economic, political and diplomatic support to Israel, with knowledge that international crimes have already been committed and future crimes against civilians can be committed at any moment.

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We are counting on your brilliant mobilisation to ensure the journey for justice and accountability for the Palestinian people continues until freedom. Here is how you can help us:

  • Share Rābet’s post on the launch of the letters.
  • Use the Social Media Toolkit to share widely on your organisation and solidarity group platforms.
  • If you are a legal researcher, jurist or lawyer and want to get involved, please get in touch at info@accountabilitypalestine.org.

Stand with us for #JusticeForPalestine

Haneen Kinani,
International Advocacy Officer

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January 26, 2024
Livestream: Palestine v. Biden Hearing

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Constitutional Rights

Livestream: Palestinians Take Biden to Court

REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT

Join the Center for Constitutional Rights and our partners for a multi-part livestream on January 26 to amplify the hearing in our federal lawsuit, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) v. Biden.

January 26 is also the We Charge Genocide International Day of Action for Permanent Ceasefire, and the Center for Constitutional Rights and our partners are encouraging people all over the world to hold watch events to follow the pre-hearing livestream and then to switch to the court stream when that begins at 9 a.m. PST / 12 p.m. EST.

REGISTER HERE

Pre-hearing Briefing (Online)
Time: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. (PST) / 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. (EST) / 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. (Palestine)

During the YouTube livestream, lawyers, advocates, and organizers will share analysis about the importance to the Palestinian solidarity movement of this momentous court hearing and the DCIP v. Biden case, which charges the Biden administration with complicity in and failure to prevent Israel’s unfolding genocide against Palestinians. You can watch at on the Center for Constitutional Rights YouTube page.

Hearing in Defense for Children International – Palestine v. Biden (In-person & online)
Time: 9:00 a.m. (PST) / 12 p.m. (EST) / 7 p.m. (Palestine)

The hearing, which will include live testimony by our plaintiffs and expert, will take place in person at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, 1301 Clay Street in Oakland, CA. You can also watch the court’s online stream – instructions for how to join can be found on Judge White’s page on the court website.

Defense for Children International – Palestine v. Biden was filed in November by the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel Van Der Hout LLP against the President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense on behalf of two Palestinian human rights organizations and eight Palestinians in the U.S. and Palestine. The case challenges the U.S. government’s failure to prevent and complicity in Israel’s unfolding genocide of the Palestinian people and asks the court to order the Biden administration to cease diplomatic and military support and comply with its legal obligations under international and federal law. The hearing on the preliminary injunction motion and the government’s motion to dismiss the case will take place on Friday, January 26.

Find out more on our case page and Stop the Genocide resource page.

Last modified: January 19, 2024

January 26, 2024
Online Solidarity Rally for Palestine v. Biden

Palestinian human rights organizations, Gaza residents, and US citizens with family members killed and displaced by Israel’s war filed a lawsuit last November against the Biden administration for failing to “prevent an unfolding genocide” in Gaza.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, 11,000 Palestinians had been murdered by Israeli forces. Today the death toll has exceeded 24,000. And the US has continued to provide Israel with weapons that have been used to wipe out entire Palestinian families.

This historic lawsuit seeks to enforce international law as codified in the Genocide Convention and US federal law. If the suit is successful, it will force the Biden administration to stop providing weapons to Israel.

Next week, the Ekō community is joining together with allies from all over the world to show support for the Palestinian plaintiffs during the lawsuit’s hearing in Oakland, California.

Here’s how you can get involved, wherever you are:

1. RSVP to attend the solidarity rally on Friday, 26 January online.

2. Write a message or create a piece of art in support of the courageous plaintiffs, or calling for an end to arms sales; include your name, city, and country; take a picture; and email it by Wednesday to Lacey@eko.org. We will display them outside the courthouse during the rally.

3. Watch your inbox for more ways to get involved.

The Ekō community has so far made 637 calls, sent 5,574 emails, and generated 127,142 petition signatures pressuring government officials to stop selling weapons to Israel. But if we are going to win this campaign, we need to continue speaking out and showing up.

 CLICK TO RSVP 

Thanks for all that you do,
Lacey and the team at Ekō

More information:

Defense for Children International – Palestine v. Biden, Center for Constitutional Rights, 13 November 2023
Palestinian advocates seeking genocide ruling dismiss Biden’s response, cite Reagan precedent, SF Chronicle, 25 December 2023
77 Groups Worldwide Back Genocide Lawsuit Against Biden in U.S. Court, The Intercept, 10 January 2024


Ekō is a community of people from around the world committed to curbing the growing power of corporations. We want to buy from, work for and invest in companies that respect the environment, treat their workers well and respect democracy. And we’re not afraid to stand up to them when they don’t.

Please help keep Ekō strong by chipping in $3: CHIP IN $3

An Open Letter to Senator Tammy Baldwin: A Shameful Vote on Gaza

Statistics on the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip (07 October – 19 January 2024)

January 19, 2024

An Open Letter to Senator Tammy Baldwin: A Shameful Vote on Gaza

On Tuesday January 16, the US Senate killed Senate Resolution 504, submitted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, calling for basic oversight of U.S. weapons to Israel. Only 11 senators had the courage to vote in favor even though a clear majority of Americans want an end to this bloody war. 

Sen. Baldwin, to your everlasting shame, you ignored your constituents and joined Sen. Ron Johnson and the others who made the cruel choice to keep giving Israel a free pass to commit mass murder.

Our sister city of Rafah is being bombed, shelled, and overwhelmed with more than a million starving, thirsty, sick and wounded civilians — including some 500,000 children — fleeing death and the total destruction of their lives. The projects that the citizens of Madison have so generously supported in Gaza over the last 21 years have been destroyed, damaged or rendered inoperable by Israel with weapons provided by our own tax dollars.

Prominent among these is the Atfaluna Society for the Deaf, a children’s school and adult crafts workshop, which was completely destroyed when Israel deliberately blew up the entire neighborhood where it was located. 

Are the people that our hands were extended to still alive and intact, searching desperately in the cold and wet winter of Gaza for food, water, medicine, shelter, the bodies and body parts of missing relatives? 

Or are they among the 25,000 already confirmed dead, the 7,000 buried under the rubble, the 62,000 enduring their wounds without benefit of medical care, painkillers, or anesthetics to relieve the pain of amputations and caesarean sections? We don’t even know.

We are angered and devastated beyond words that you — who have the unmitigated gall to call yourself a Progressive when asking for our votes — lacked the courage to even investigate whether Israel is using taxpayer-provided weapons to commit war crimes in Gaza in violation of US law.

As Ahmad Abuznaid of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights said, “Every senator who has voted to let Israel off the hook, refusing to conduct the most basic oversight for U.S. weapons, is deeply complicit in Israel’s mass killings of Palestinians in Gaza. History will remember how you fueled bloodshed during a genocide.”

Senator Baldwin, in the name of all that is decent, compassionate and just, how many more must suffer and die before you take action? When will it be enough?

Rowan Atalla
Amy Atalla-Hill
Tsela Barr
Cassandra Dixon
Lisa Masri
Barbara Olson
Donna Wallbaum
Kathy Walsh

January 24, 2024
Webinar: “Israel, South Africa, Genocide, and the International Court of Justice”

A Conversation with Robert Herbst
12 noon CT
Register Here

South Africa sued Israel for genocide in the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) late last year.  On January 11 and 12, the court heard its initial arguments on South Africa’s claim for preliminary relief, styled Provisional Measures.

Robert Herbst and Michael Spath will be discussing the case and its political, moral and religious implications for Palestinians, Israelis, and their American supporters in our first webinar of 2024.

Viewers will get some understanding of (1) how genocide is defined in the Genocide Convention to which South Africa and Israel are both signatories, (2) the allegations of genocidal intent and genocidal acts detailed in South Africa’s 84 page complaint, styled an Application, which has now also been joined by others, including Turkey and Malaysia, (3) Israel’s response, (4) the nature of these proceedings before the ICJ, its jurisdiction and possible outcomes.  Come join us! 

Robert Herbst is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as a veteran international human rights attorney, arguing cases in Sierra Leone and other countries.  He and Michael Spath are co-chairs of ICAHD-USA.

Michael Spath is the Executive Director of the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace and a member of UCC-PIN and the Global Kairos for Justice Coalition.  He and Robert Herbst are co-chairs of ICAHD-USA.

January 11, 2024
South Africa presents its case against Israel

South Africa’s oral argument in the ICJ will take place on Thursday, January 11 from 10am-12pm (Central European Standard Time) which is 3 – 5 am CT, and Israel’s oral argument will take place on Friday January 12 from 10am-12pm (Central European Standard Time). The hearings will be streaming live on the ICJ’s website and on UN Web TV.

CodePink & South Africa Charge Israel with Genocide

CODEPINK.ORG

If you live in the U.S., tell the Senate to hold Israel accountable!

TAKE ACTION!

If you live overseas, share our petition to the ICJ on social media:

Over 30,000 people have signed our petition to charge Israel with genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). South Africa responded by bringing the initial charge against Israel — so we took action to make sure other countries heard your demands. 

This week we took historic action for Palestine as we delivered our petition to consulates and embassies in every major city in the United States demanding the world hold Israel accountable for genocide! We were able to speak directly with consular generals and senior staff at embassies to get your message across. And the day after we visited, Jordan joined South Africa in its case against Israel! Our advocacy is working. 

We kicked off the deliveries on Wednesday in Chicago with deliveries to the consulates of Pakistan and Bosnia!

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In Washington DC, we delivered the petition to 16 embassies! 

 
In New York City, we delivered the petition to 30 consulates and embassies!

 
In Los Angeles, we visited 9 consulates!

In Miami, we visited 9 consulates!

 
We also visited consulates in Orlando, Houston, Boston, and more! 

 👉 Check out more photos and videos of CODEPINK supporters delivering the petitions all across the country here as well as our video on Instagram here!

South Africa’s oral argument in the ICJ will take place on Thursday, January 11 from 10am-12pm (Central European Standard Time), and Israel’s oral argument will take place on Friday January 12 from 10am-12pm (Central European Standard Time). The hearings will be streaming live on the ICJ’s websiteand on the UN Web TV.

In the days leading up to the ICJ hearings and afterwards, we need to stay engaged for Palestine. Here’s what you can do: 

You’ve done a great job keeping up the momentum, we can’t stop until Palestine is free, from the river to the sea!

Towards Peace,
Nour and the whole CODEPINK Team

Donate Now!

South Africa seeks International Court of Justice genocide order against Israel

Court application the latest move by South Africa, a vociferous critic of Israel’s war, to ratchet up pressure on Netanyahu’s government

Smoke from Israeli bombardment covers the skyline of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

South Africa asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday for an urgent order declaring that Israel was in breach of its obligations under the Genocide Convention in its ongoing crackdown against Hamas in Gaza.

In the latest development in Israel’s war against Hamas, tens of thousands of newly displaced Gazans sought refuge in the centre of the Palestinian enclave on Friday after fleeing an Israeli tank offensive, while warplanes attacking the south flattened homes and buried families as they slept.

The court application is the latest move by South Africa, a vociferous critic of Israel’s war, to ratchet up pressure after its lawmakers last month voted in favour of closing down the Israeli embassy in Pretoria and suspending all diplomatic relations until a ceasefire was agreed in Israel’s war with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

In a statement from South Africa’s department of international relations and co-operation, the government said the application against Israel had been filed.

War on Gaza: Why is Israel losing the public relations war?

As Israel faces numerous military setbacks in Gaza, it is also struggling to inspire global support for its indiscriminate bombardment of Palestinians

Mohamad Elmasry, Middle East Eye, 27 December 2023

Supporters of Palestinians in Gaza protest outside the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on 28 November 2023 (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)
Supporters of Palestinians in Gaza protest outside the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the US Capitol in Washington on 28 November 2023 (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

In its current war on Gaza, Israel has been unable to make significant progress on its primary military objective: to eliminate Hamas.

After more than 80 days of fighting, Hamas remains largely intact, continuing to launch rockets into Israel and inflict heavy casualties on Israeli military personnel inside Gaza.

Israel has further failed to make good on its secondary military objective: to free all Israeli hostages taken by Hamas as part of its 7 October attack.

Judged purely against its own stated objectives, things aren’t going as well as planned for the Israeli army. While the outcome of Israel’s military campaign remains to be seen, there is little doubt that Israel is decisively losing the public relations war.

Israel’s PR losses are being acknowledged even by Israeli analysts writing in the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel, as well as by Israeli sympathisers at the Washington Post and White House, among others.

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And it isn’t just people in the Arab and Muslim worlds, or more broadly in the Global South, who are turning on Israel. Increasingly, citizens in western societies, especially younger people, are becoming more critical of Israel.

Live-streaming genocide

Public opinion polling from Western Europe is illuminating. Polls have found that only 35 percent of Germans support their government’s pro-Israel stance, people in Spain are more likely to support Palestine than Israel, and an overwhelming majority of the Irish oppose Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

In the West, mainstream media, which have historically supported Israel, no longer have a monopoly on information dissemination

Britons are effectively divided on Israel-Palestine, a reality that represents a departure from prior, overwhelming British public support for Israel.

Polling data from the United States tell a similar story. For example, a recent Harvard-Harris poll showed that Americans in the 18 to 24 age bracket are split evenly between supporting Hamas and supporting Israel.

More tellingly, perhaps, about 60 percent of American youth aged 18 to 24 feel Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israel was justified, with nearly half of those in the 25 to 34 age bracket and 40 percent of those aged 35 to 44 feeling the same way.

There is likely a correlation between media consumption and public opinion. In the West, mainstream media, which have historically overwhelmingly supported Israel, no longer have a monopoly on information.

Hundreds of millions of westerners, and especially western youth, are plugged into social media sites such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter). These social media users have seen, often in graphic detail, the carnage inflicted by Israel on innocent civilians in both Gaza and the West Bank.

This kind of social media imagery has become so widespread and is so damning of Israel that the Israeli government complained to TikTok and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, asking for thousands of posts to be removed.

Israeli censorship efforts have apparently borne fruit, with systematic censorshipof pro-Palestinian content now becoming pervasive.

    Netanyahu wanted to ‘collapse’ Hamas. This war could collapse Israel

    Read More »

For at least two reasons, however, censorship efforts will be of little avail, at least in the short term.

First, the proverbial damage has already been done – graphic posts shared millions of times can be removed, but not unseen. Second, and more importantly, pro-Israel censorship is likely to trigger even more anti-Israel anger among precisely the demographics that Israel wants to win over.

Why is Israel losing the PR war?

There are at least three primary causes of Israel’s PR troubles. First, there are basic difficulties associated with doing PR for an occupying apartheid state actively carrying out genocide. Second, some Israelis have gone rogue and delivered messaging harmful to their country’s PR efforts. Third, official Israeli PR efforts have suffered from basic incompetence. I’ll discuss each of these causes in turn.

Cause 1: PR can’t work miracles

Organisations, including governments, have damage control plans in place but hope to never have to use them. One useful PR guideline advises the avoidance of negative behaviours that will necessitate damage control.

For more than 80 days, Israel has indiscriminately bombed densely populated civilian areas and killed more than 21,000 people, 70 percent of them children and women.

In many instances, Israel has directly targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, shelters, schools, homes and so-called “safe routes”.

More than 100 United Nations workers have been killed, the most of any conflict in UN history, in addition to nearly 70 journalists killed in what the Committee to Protect Journalists described as the “deadliest period for journalists” since the watchdog began gathering data in 1992.

What makes PR matters worse for Israel is that its military bombardment was preceded by numerous statements by top officials suggesting genocidal intent.

For example, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said he ordered a “full siege” of Gaza, blocking all food, water, and fuel from reaching the Strip; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his intent to turn Gaza into a “deserted island”; and President Isaac Herzog indicated Israel made no distinction between Palestinian civilians and Hamas fighters.

Gallant also said Israel would “eliminate everything”, while military spokesman Daniel Hagari said Israel’s military emphasis would be on “damage and not on accuracy”.

Israel has also prevented medicine from entering Gaza, and the very few medical facilities left operational have been forced to carry out surgical procedures, including amputations, without anaesthesia.

A recent World Food Programme report says Gazans are now suffering from “catastrophic hunger”.

Numerous international humanitarian law experts have said Israel’s destruction of Gaza, combined with official statements showing genocidal intent, suggests Israel is carrying out a genocide according to international law. Raz Segal, an Israeli associate professor of holocaust and genocide studies, has said Israel is carrying out a “textbook case of genocide”.

Even the best PR professionals would find it difficult to polish a genocide. As the old adage says: “You can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig.”

Cause 2: Rogue communication

Immediately after the 7 October attack, a journalist for Israel’s i24 News channel reported that Hamas militants had beheaded Israeli babies. In her report, she sourced an Israeli commander.

The story was picked up widely by mainstream western news outlets and was even mentioned multiple times by US President Joe Biden, who said he had “seen” the images himself. Both the Israeli government and the White House were forced to walk back this claim, which was demonstrably false.

    ‘40 beheaded babies’: How media amplified an unconfirmed story

    Read More »

In November, a video purporting to show a Palestinian nurse denouncing Hamas went viral. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs retweeted the video.

The Israeli government was later forced to delete the video, however, because it was found to be staged by an Israeli actress pretending to be a Palestinian.

Throughout the war on Gaza, Israeli soldiers have filmed and circulated videos of themselves committing grotesque human rights violations against Palestinians. These videos, as well as similar videos posted by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank, have further damaged Israel’s image.

Human rights activists have posted the videos as evidence of Israeli atrocities. In recent days, the videos have also generated critical media coverage.

Cause 3: Incompetence

At least some of Israel’s PR woes can be blamed on sheer incompetence. Two weeks ago, the Israeli military staged an alleged mass arrest of Hamas fighters, who had been stripped down to their underwear, blindfolded, and video-recorded surrendering themselves to Israel.

Israel lost further PR points when investigations concluded that Hamas was not using al-Shifa as a command centre or for any other military purpose

The event was seemingly intended to show the Israeli public that the military was making progress in apprehending “terrorists”.

Investigations quickly revealed two important details, however. First, the men were ordinary Palestinians, not fighters. Second, the event was staged, with Israeli soldiers ordering the Palestinian captives to perform multiple takes of an apparent weapon surrender. Due to widespread outrage, Israel was ultimately forced to distance itself from the video.

In another incident, the Israeli military provided a video-guided tour of Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital, which it had attacked and ransacked. Military spokesman Daniel Hagari starred in the video, intending to show evidence that Hamas had been using the hospital as a “command and control centre”.

At one point, Hagari pointed to an Arabic calendar, claiming it showed a terrorist shift schedule. Pointing to the calendar, Hagari said: “This is a guardians’ list, where every terrorist writes his name and every terrorist has his own shift.” As Arabic viewers quickly noted, the calendar was a simple wall calendar containing only the days of the week. The video went viral on social media, with thousands of posts and memes mocking the failed PR stunt.

Israel lost further PR points when investigations, including one by the Washington Post, concluded that Hamas was not using al-Shifa as a command centre or for any other military purpose.

Does failed PR matter?

Israel realises it is losing ground in the battle for public opinion, especially among young people. This is likely why the Israeli government is flooding social media with paid advertisements and is going heavy on TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites.

    No, Piers Morgan is not impartial on Israel-Palestine
    Mohamad Elmasry

    Read More »

If Israel were a corporation, celebrity, or a country not allied with the US, there would be serious consequences for such miserable image management.

Over the long term, there is a real risk that Israel will lose whatever standing it has left, something that could impact on-the-ground political realities.

In the short term, though, Israel can be reassured that it is convincing the only people that matter – US officials. As long as the US continues to use its weight to shield Israel and promote its narrative, Israel can afford to fumble its image.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Mohamad Elmasry is Professor of Media Studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.

Israel is not targeting “terrorists” hiding behind “human shields.”

On the contrary, it’s targeting the “human shields” themselves.

 

Media performer Sam Harris recently appeared on Piers Morgan’s program. Effecting a flat affect—cool, rational—he used this platform to weigh in on irrational, fanatical Muslims. A clip was first shown of a Muslim (he is identified as the offspring of a Hamas leader) who expostulates that all Muslims are evil. This apparently deranged (or highly remunerated) fellow is a throwback to the days when Peter Lorre, eyes screwed up, was a stand-in for the wily, sinister Other. Mr. Harris seizes on this Archetypal Muslim as proof positive that “It should be obvious to everyone that we have a vast number of people in the Muslim community worldwide … who are powerfully deranged.” His evidence for this sweepingly “obvious” fact? Except for the hapless (or, if he’s generously compensated, very happy) Muslim exhibited on the program, and the fact that Mr. Harris is introduced as “one of the world’s great thinkers” (he’s Jewish, so the praise is redundant), the only proof adduced by Mr. Harris is that the Muslim world produces a prodigious number of suicide bombers—not least, children whose parents have been “rigging them to explode.” He cites no numbers or statistics. Indeed, he cites nothing. There is, of course, by now a vast scholarly corpus on suicide bombers—their origins, motivations, the support they garner. But Mr. Harris doesn’t engage it. Instead: here’s a clip of an apparently deranged Muslim saying Muslims are deranged; Mr. Harris is a genius (he’s Jewish, isn’t he?); ergo it’s “obvious” that he’s right.

To be sure, it’s clearly possible that a large swath of a population can be unhinged; at any rate, temporarily. Witness Germany and Japan from the peak to denouement of World War 2. Or, to consider an example closer at hand: Israel. The Jewish state has launched a war of annihilation against the people of Gaza. The number of genocidal statements uttered by prominent Israelis at every level of the state and civil society since October 7 can by now fill a hefty chunk of cyberspace. But Mr. Harris is not in the least perturbed. Why is that?

More

First, as a pop secular prophet, indiscriminate mass killing only outrages Mr. Harris’s moral sensibility if it springs from religion. But the protagonists on all sides in the unprecedented bloodlettings of WW1 and WW2—and for that matter the Vietnam War, presided over by “the best and the brightest”—were secular or in thrall to secular ideologies. Was that really better? Indeed, it’s gone over Mr. Harris’s bigoted skull that the most lethal ideologies in the modern epoch have sprung not from religious but secular fanaticism. Hitler, Stalin, Kissinger: they can rightly be accused of many things but pathological religiosity is not one of them. In any event, the animating ideology in Israel is a heady brew of terrestrial calculation and super-terrestrial frenzy. Just a “tiny minority of Jews in Israel,” Harris caveats, “are motivated by their religious fanaticism.” Even were that so (which is most doubtful), it’s hard to figure why maniacal laicism isn’t also odious. Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly gestured to the Old Testament as he avows that Israel is waging a war against “Amalek”—i.e., every man, woman, and child in Gaza—“a war between the children of light and the children of darkness.” Does it really matter whether the register of this genocidal invocation is secular or theocratic?

Short of wiping out the entire population in one fell swoop—not easy with the social media at high alert—Israel’s repeatedly stated next-best objective has been to make Gaza uninhabitable. “Whoever returns here, if they return here after, will find scorched earth,” a senior Israeli official in Gaza projected. “No houses, no agriculture, no nothing. They have no future.” Israel implemented a total blockade of Gaza barring entry of any food, water, fuel or electricity; in other words, it’s relying not on prayers exhorting the Almighty’s wrath but on a resolutely secular recipe for genocide that passes Mr. Harris’s taste-test. Unsurprisingly, mass starvation and the spread of lethal diseases have ensued. Israel simultaneously unleashed a biblically indiscriminate (but also targeted) campaign of death and destruction that, by every metric—intensity of bombing and payload size; pace and level of devastation; total civilian casualties as well as women and children versus men killed—puts the hecatomb Israel has inflicted on Gaza in a category all its own in the 21st century; and, by some measures, it occupies a unique category going as far back as World War 2 (if compared, e.g., to the Allied terror bombing of German cities). “Gaza is one of the most intense civilian punishment campaigns in history,” a U.S. military historian observes.

The U.N. relief chief describes the humanitarian situation in Gaza as the “worst ever” in his long career, while the European Union foreign affairs chief calls the situation “catastrophic, apocalyptic.” Israel has killed at least 20,000 Gazans, seventy percent of them women and children. The proportion of men, women and children killed roughly approximates the distribution of men, women, and children in Gaza’s total population—which shouldn’t surprise if the massive bombing and artillery fire is largely indiscriminate. On average, Israel has killed 160 children per day in Gaza; the next highest number among conflict zones in the world is seven (in Syria), while as many children have already been killed in Gaza as in all conflict zones for the three years 2020, 2021, 2022 combined. In order to make Gaza uninhabitable, Israel has reduced to rubble Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. The Financial Times reports that Israel has already achieved half its objective: “Israel’s incursion has left northern Gaza virtually uninhabitable.” Its methodical targeting of Gaza’s hospitals has breached, in the annals of modern warfare, a negative threshold of barbarism.

Notwithstanding this ghastly record, nearly 60 percent of Israeli Jews believed a month into the assault that Israel had deployed too little force in Gaza, while less than two percent believed that Israel used too much force. Israel has a citizen army. Its combatants executing singly and en masse this genocide are broadly representative of Israeli Jewish society. In other words, overwhelmingly, Israeli Jews are either by their actions or vicariously war criminals. But there’s more. Consider the Jewish diaspora. As the genocide proceeds apace, fully 81 percent of American Jews oppose and just 12 percent support a ceasefire. (I would be remiss if I didn’t pay tribute to the deeply inspiring Jewish youth who have stood in the forefront of the resistance to Israel’s genocide.) Based on these salient data points, it would appear “obvious that a vast number of people in the Jewish community worldwide … are powerfully deranged.” Mr. Harris kvells that “There are 15 million Jews on Earth, most of them are impressively secular.” It happens that they are also in the grip of an impressively genocidal rage. “Most of them,” he reassures, “believe very little that would motivate them to die for their religious identity.” But they manifestly do believe enough to kill with abandon the people of Gaza on account of their religious (or is it secular—for the love of Yahweh, what difference does it make?!) identity.

It has been purported in extenuation of ordinary Germans that the Nazis installed a totalitarian state that repressed all dissent and concealed the genocide in the fog of war. Of course, ordinary Germans who wanted to know did know that if not exactly a genocide then still something monstrous was unfolding on the Eastern front. But later on, Germans could still cling to the alibi—in varying degrees disingenuous—that they didn’t know (or fell victim to ubiquitous Nazi propaganda about a “Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy”), and wouldn’t have approved if they did know (or couldn’t but obey coercive orders). Israeli (as well as diasporan) Jews don’t have these excuses. Israel was no doubt traumatized by October 7. But the facts remain that they democratically elected the government and overwhelmingly support the government’s prosecution of a genocide; that they have ready access to information about the genocide in a free and open media both inside and via the Web outside Israel. The genocide in Gaza is unfolding in real time in broad daylight before the eyes of Israeli (and diasporan) Jews and 60 percent literally can’t get enough of it.

But, lo!, we mustn’t miss the forest from the trees. Not the Jews, counsels our cool, rational Jewish genius (redundancy duly noted) but, on the contrary, it’s the Muslims who “it is obvious … are powerfully deranged.”

*

Second, if there are “so many casualties” in Gaza, Mr. Harris explains—parroting with consummate insipidness every other apologist—that’s because Israel

is fighting a terrorist organization … that is using its own population as human shields. It has strategically embedded itself among civilians…. It put its headquarters under a hospital. It prevents civilians from leaving to safer areas…. This is the issue: we are dealing with a suicidal death cult.

But stepping outside this secular jihadi’s tent, isn’t it—dare I say—obvious that, if Israel has inflicted unprecedented death and destruction on Gaza, that’s because that’s its objective? It is not “fighting a terrorist organization,” it is fighting the people—the existence—of Gaza. The media reflexively declare that this is an “Israel-Hamas War.” But that is already swallowing the Big Lie of Israeli propaganda. Israel is not targeting “terrorists” supposedly hiding behind “human shields.” On the contrary, it’s targeting the “human shields” themselves.

Of course, Israel wants to liquidate Hamas, but it rightly apprehends that another, more deadly Hamas will emerge in its place. If Hamas were eliminated, it would still be a Pyrrhic victory. Gaza itself must be destroyed. Indeed, that speck of land has always been a thorn at Israel’s side as Gazans stubbornly resisted Israeli repression. Israel eventually alit on the objective of subjugating Gaza by reducing it—in the words of Amira Hass—to a “giant concentration camp.” In large part it succeeded. Head of Israel’s National Security Council Giora Eiland in 2004 himself pronounced Gaza a “huge concentration camp.” But when Hamas won democratic elections in 2006 and consolidated its hold over Gaza, Israel confronted a new dilemma. Hamas was feeling its way towards a comprehensive settlement with Israel on the consensus basis of international law and U.N. resolutions. In other words, Hamas was engaging in another of those dastardly “peace offensives” that have always filled Israeli leaders with holy terror. They will only accept a victor’s peace; not one among equals under the law. So Israel imposed a suffocating economic blockade on Gaza and periodically “mowed the lawn” in order to rupture the spine of any resistance to its rule.

But on October 7, the reality lit up that Israel’s strategy had failed. The people of Gaza refused to languish and die in a concentration camp. The slaves had gone into revolt. And like our own homegrown Nat Turner revolt, they (in part) struck out indiscriminately at their oppressors. It created a crisis for Israeli society but also—to recycle the old cliché—presented an opportunity. To once and for all rid Israel of the Gaza thorn. To free itself not just of this generation of “terrorists” but as well the more than one million children in Gaza representing the next “terrorist” generation. Israel initially set its sights on dumping Gaza’s inhabitants in the Sinai desert but Egypt nixed the ethnic cleansing. Israel next proceeded to repurpose Gaza concentration camp as a death camp. (The Nazis turned to genocide when the advent of world war preempted the deportation of Jews.) It did scrape against the limits imposed by the formally genocide-intolerant international community. But that factor, critical as it was, bore on the genocide’s efficiency quotient (Israel couldn’t outright nuke Gaza), not on the genocidal intent. And Israel could always count on useful idiots abroad to disguise and defend its genocide by endlessly reciting the incantation: “Israel is fighting a terrorist organization … that is using its own population as human shields.”

If Human Rights Watch reports that Israel is systematically targeting hospitals without military justification, that’s because Israel is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” (Memo to Mr. Harris: a detailed investigation by the Washington Post has debunked the agitprop that Hamas “put its headquarters” under al-Shifa hospital.) If the U.N. reports that the number of its staff killed by Israel in Gaza is unprecedented in the organization’s history, that’s because Israel is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If the Committee to Protect Journalists reports that Israel not only killed more journalists in Gaza during the first 10 weeks than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year, but that it has also targeted the families of journalists, that’s because Israel is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If Israel has killed more healthcare workers in Gaza than the total number killed across all conflict zones every year in recent memory, that’s because it is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If Israel murders in broad daylight bare-chested civilians hoisting a white flag, that’s because it is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If Israeli snipers assassinate Christian women seeking refuge in a church, that’s because Israel is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If CNN reports that “Israeli soldiers raiding a hospital … desecrated the bodies of dead patients with bulldozers, let a military dog maul a man in a wheelchair, and shot multiple doctors even after vetting them for terror links,” that’s because Israel is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If Human Rights Watch reports that Israel is “using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare,” that’s because it is fighting “a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If the New York Times reports that Israel dropped 2,000-pound bombs on areas that Israel itself designated safe havens, that’s because it is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” (Memo to Mr. Harris: There are no “safer areas” in Gaza.) And on and on. However incongruous, however absurd, however ludicrous, however preposterous—however utterly divorced from and irrelevant to unfolding reality the recitation of this mantra has become, it still doesn’t faze these crazed cult members as they keep repeating it day in and day out. Om. Hari Krishna. Hara Kiri….

But Mr. Harris doesn’t just extenuate the genocide. He implicitly endows it with a positive content. Every Muslim—including every Muslim child—he enlightens listeners, is an actual or potential suicide bomber imperiling Western civilization. Isn’t it only a flea’s hop to infer that Israel is doing the (secular) Lord’s work in Gaza as it wages a civilizational war against “deranged” Muslim culture and even if one million children—pardon me: children who have been “rigged to explode”—might die? Mr. Harris somehow construes that it takes enormous moral courage to expose this Muslim peril on Piers Morgan’s program. Indeed, it takes as much courage as the German professor in the midst of the Nazi holocaust who sounded the alarm that “parasitic” Jewish culture was imperiling Aryan civilization.

Mr Harris proclaims that “This is the issue: we are dealing with a suicidal death cult.” I’m afraid, however, that the real issue is this: We are dealing with a Ziontology murder cult; and Mr. Harris is one of its gurus.


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