Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Yes, it is Genocide

Imagine a minority population, in the midst of a land surrounded by people of a different religion and ethnicity, where there has been violence against the minority by the majority in authority, and where the minority is treated, both by law and custom, as second-class citizens – not afforded the full rights of citizenship despite having lived on the land for countless centuries.

Imagine that this minority is then subject to the worst atrocities by the majority – a majority that has all of the advanced weaponry.  Death and destruction ensue, with most of this poor minority population displaced, and many of them killed.  Men, woman, children, combatant or not – all subject to the same devastation.

Imagine that the justification for this heinous act is that a small handful of individuals from this minority population have committed what is considered some form of terrorist action against the majority population.  Not justifiable, perhaps, but very much understandable given the harsh treatment for as long as any of the minority population (as well as parents and grandparents) has been alive.

Imagine further justification for this devastation was the fear that the minority population would side with the enemy in any instance of war.  Again, maybe true for a handful of this minority population, but not for any meaningful percentage.

There once was such a genocide:

The first non-colonial genocide of the twentieth-century was the Armenian catastrophe in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It started in early 1915, when the Young Turk regime rounded up hundreds of Armenians and hanged many of them in the streets of Istanbul, before beginning the genocidal deportation of most of the Armenian population to the desert, in which up to a million died or were murdered en route.

The Armenian minority in Ottoman Turkey had been subject to sporadic persecutions over the centuries. … From 1915, inspired by rabid nationalism and secret government orders, Turks drove the Armenians from their homes and massacred them in such numbers that outside observers at the time described what was happening as ‘a massacre like none other,’ or ‘a massacre that changes the meaning of massacre.’

In this genocide of the Armenians by the Turks, all of those imaginings were realized.  Every single one.  Of course, they are all just as true of Israel’s current actions against the Palestinians.

From a video of Norman Finkelstein on Gaza, with Aaron Mate; Finkelstein succinctly lists statements made by senior Israeli officials on October 8, one day after the incursion by Hamas:

1)      Defense Minister Yoav Gallant: We are not letting in any water, food, fuel, or electricity. 

2)      Israeli President Isaac Herzog: We don’t distinguish between civilians and combatants in Gaza; they’re all Hamas.

3)      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: This is going to be a very long war, much longer than any before

On this last point, per Finkelstein, the longest recent massacre-style war was in July-August 2014, that lasted 51 days.

Finkelstein then summarizes what this means:

What you get is no food, no water, no electricity, no fuel, for 51 plus days, to the entire population of Gaza.  That was stated on October 8.  That is a murder plan, that is a genocide plan.  And since that day, everything Israel has done has been in accordance with that genocidal plan.

Article II of the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (PDF)” states:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(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;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

There is an intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical group.  On the five considerations, the answers to the first three are a simple “yes.”  To the last two, given the completely indiscriminate killing by Israel today, if births were merely being prevented and children were merely being transferred, it would be a blessed mercy.

Genocide is genocide.  What’s happening in Gaza is genocide, but this one, unlike the one against the Armenians more than a century ago, is being witnessed live by billions around the world. 

Like the one against the Armenians, there is plenty of talk, but those who could actually do something to put a stop to it aren’t.


  1. When I started reading this, I immediately thought of the way the American Indians had been treated by the whites. The indiscriminate slaughter, the Trail of Tears, the wholesale theft of land, the attitude that "the only good Indian is a dead one", the deliberated removal of children from their parents, the forced learning of English, etc.

    The perpetrators were our forebears. As regards this sordid chapter of American history, we ought to be ashamed.

    1. "As regards this sordid chapter of American history, we ought to be ashamed."

      Roger, I find such language problematic for many reasons, but I think it depends on "for what" we should be ashamed and who is the "we." I will try to explain my thoughts, briefly.

      Problematic: none of us were complicit in this; for many of us, our ancestors were not even in this country. Further, for all of us, we have both perpetrators and victims in our ancestors if we look back far enough.

      In other words, the "we" is all of us and none of us - depending on how one feels about identifying guilty parties. I do not like "we" forms of guilt for many reasons: first, it doesn't correspond with Scripture and salvation, but second, it opens the door to "we" forms of punishment - up to and including genocide.

      With that said, the "we" that continues to support and even act upon such genocidal impulses today should be ashamed, and should, instead, repent.

    2. You can visit Indian burial grounds in North Dakota. You'll find mass graves of men, women, and children all slaughtered in a colonizing raid dated to the 13th century. Gee, maybe the indigenous peoples perpetrated genocide on other indigenous peoples well before Europeans ever set foot in the New World! Maybe Europeans don't hold a monopoly on atrocities!

    3. Good response. I will try to remember the admonition.

    4. I don't think we can indict all whites and exonerate all natives regarding the clash of American tribes and European settlers. There's a big difference between the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, and Sand Creek on the one hand and the Comanche War and Red River War on the other, with many other clashes in between, where it is unclear which side initiated the conflict.

    5. The Commanches were a brutal and evil people. That is no lie and it isn't cover.

    6. Horse crap.
      Whites were here first actually - this has been proven time and time again by archaeology AND even oral traditions of certain indian tribes - and were genocided by 'indians'.
      Even if you disbelieve those counter narrative facts, then simply look at contemporary reports from the early days of this country; Whites tried time and time again to civilise/Christianise the 'indians' , only to be met with murder, rape, kidnapping and gleeful torture from those they attempted to help. Read some actual history and get this 'noble red man' garbage out of your mind. It is historically inaccurate and so tiresome.

  2. The "Good War" mythology surrounding World War II has done much to sanitize and mainstream state terrorism. At least, when the "right" state terrorists--e.g., the U.S. and Israel--perpetrate it.

    It stands to reason former Knesset member Moshe Feiglin invoked Dresden when he urged the IDF to flatten Gaza in retaliation for the Oct. 7th attacks on The Only Democracy In The Middle East (TM). Ideas have consequences. The ends do in fact justify the means--so long as the proper parties inflict those means on the proper improper parties.

    No, the ends don't justify the means in my (deontological) book . But what do I know? I'm a benighted Medieval obscurantist. The utilitarians rule the roost.

    Deontology be damned, we're all operationalists now. Does it "work"? That's all that matters.

  3. Bionic,

    I am sitting here wondering how to begin writing an article for my own blog, the seed of which has been germinating in my thoughts for days. My thoughts, as Bob Seger sang so well, have been "soon...wandering, the way they always do...", when Thanksgiving Day muscled its way in and took center stage, and a revelation came to me.

    We tend to view Thanksgiving Day as a time to reflect on how blessed we are, our good health, connection to family and friends, stable society, relative freedom and prosperity, etc. However, with respect to this article and the one posted last Friday, "Blessed are They that Mourn...", it struck me hard that one of the reasons I should be thankful is that God has given me time to repent of my sins and change my ways. By raising this realization to the level of social and national consciousness, it immediately became apparent to me that some serious mourning was in order and everything else which I had been thinking about just simply disappeared. I now have a much better understanding of the concept of mourning. Thank you for your tutoring.

    There are many references in the Bible in which it is mentioned that God gave Israel (the Hebrew nation) time, plenty of time, to stop what they were doing and move in a different direction. There are also many in which it is said that "they would not" and were destroyed, decimated, and conquered because of their stubborn pride and intransigence.

    "These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me..." could very easily be the spiritual theme of our day. We know better, but we walk, I walk, in the same manner as the apostle Paul did when he rued "...the sin that so easily besets me."

    What is going to become of America? Our sins, with respect to others who are less fortunate, are manifest and the liquid in the Cup of Our Iniquity is trembling at the lip, ready to spill over at any moment.

    Please, God, please, please spare me (us) a little more time to correct my (our) course.

    I am grateful.

    1. Roger: " of the reasons I should be thankful is that God has given me time to repent of my sins and change my ways."

      I cannot begin to list how this has been true for me, and how much this blog and the comments from many of you have helped me in this path. I just keep in mind: I have been saved, I am being saved, I will be saved. Repentance and changing ways is an ongoing process (and I know you know this).

      As for God giving Israel much time to repent (and, today, the entire West), I think that door has been closed for some time. All God has to do when the time comes is to remove Himself - and we have ample evidence that He has done that with our society. We, societally, can take it from there - God need not "punish" us, He just withdraws - turns His face from us.

      "Thank you for your tutoring."

      I say the same to you and the many wonderful commenters here. This journey is shaped by not only my interests but everyone's feedback.

  4. Former Obama official Stuart Seldowitz says 4000 dead Palestinian children wasn't enough while harassing an Arab food truck vendor.

    This is the mentality that many rabidly pro-Israeli nutjobs are adopting regarding the current conflict, at least when they don't know they're being recorded.

    1. ATL, they do it even when they are being recorded. Just as one example (but there are many), Ben Shapiro's voice and the speed at which he spoke made it difficult to listen to him even before all of this; now, he is beyond impossible - and he is proud of it and purposely wants to be recorded.

    2. Good point. Loomer in her debate with Dave Smith also pretty much said there's no such thing as a non-radical Islamist, and that all Palestinians are accountable for Hamas violence on Israel.

  5. There is little that I can say to alleviate the feeling of helplessness that many, I think most of us, are experiencing when we see before our own eyes the extent to which the Powers-That-Be are complicit in Satanic evil. One poignant photo I viewed today from Gaza shows a little girl in her birthday hat, ready to celebrate that occasion in front of her bomb devastated home. And here at home, the destruction of the unborn is now, as you know, a constitutional right in one state. As Yeats wrote, "Surely some revelation is at hand". And as Heidegger asserted, "Only a God can save us." Our current senile President's only defense before the dread judgment day of Christ will be that he honestly knows not what he is doing. But the folks pulling his strings will learn, I think, that the attempt to exercise absolute power entails absolute, just, everlasting penalties.

    1. DP, as I have mentioned elsewhere recently, God has withdrawn from us societally, He has turned His face from us. He need not "do" anything to bring on chaos to our society; He just stops doing and leaves us to our fallen and depraved nature.

    2. It has to be tough love. There is some important lesson we should be learning from all this. My best guess at that lesson is this: if we try to create Heaven on earth without first seeking the Kingdom of God, we get what we have gotten in the 20th century and are getting now (ascendancy of vices, mass killing, materialism, state servitude, mass confusion, meaning crisis, etc).

      It's just the updated story of 1 Samuel 8.