Since the attack by Hamas on October 7, Israel has waged a campaign that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refers to as a war. But war is fought between two adversaries with equally matched militaries. The Palestinian people are anything but equally matched against what is often referred to as the most powerful military in the Middle East.
From bombing hospitals and residential buildings to killing thousands of innocent Palestinians, including hundreds of children, Israel is being indiscriminate about who they consider the enemy. Under the guise of being at war with Hamas, its campaign of horror follows the same track Israel has maintained for decades. In just the last two years, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli police have killed about 500 adults and 68 children. All of them innocent civilians.
We don’t have to look back to the beginning to see what Israel has done. In just the last several decades, the apartheid state has relentlessly removed Palestinians from their homes only to hand them over to Jewish people from the West, wrongfully incarcerated Palestinians without due process, and murdered scores of civilians in what amounts to nothing short of genocide.
The United Nations (UN) defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such: Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
The UN charter goes on to say, “Importantly, the victims of genocide are deliberately targeted – not randomly – because of their real or perceived membership of one of the four groups protected under the Convention (which excludes political groups, for example). This means that the target of destruction must be the group, as such, and not its members as individuals. Genocide can also be committed against only a part of the group as long as that part is identifiable (including within a geographically limited area) and substantial.”
With the deliberate bombing currently underway along with the extensive history of Western powers financing attacks on Palestinians and turning a blind eye to war crimes, land theft, rape, and murder, what Israel is doing with the United States’ blessing is nothing short of genocide similar to what was done to Indigenous people in the Western world throughout history.
Western support for Israel has only grown since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. The U.S. has two carrier groups with thousands of sailors in the Mediterranean Sea and the United Kingdom (UK) sent a carrier group to join them. While Western powers argue that the deployment of military assets is meant to deter other nations, such as Iran, from joining the conflict, it’s clear that their main purpose is to keep the IDF adequately supplied for its campaign of ethnic cleansing in Gaza.
Ethnic cleansing is defined by the European Union (EU) as, “Rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area persons of another ethnic or religious group, which is contrary to international law.” However, the U.N. says ethnic cleansing has not been recognized as an independent crime under international law.
Since the attacks, Israel has armed its citizens in the West Bank and has emboldened them to attack Palestinians there as well. When Israel orders Palestinians to evacuate and then bombs them as they follow the instructions it’s nothing short of a war crime. When they tell Palestinians to evacuate to refugee camps and then bomb them, it’s a war crime. When Israel bombs hospitals killing hundreds at a time, they too are war crimes. Yet, Western powers remain silent.
Complicity by Western news media is also a major driver. From claiming Hamas beheaded 40 babies and raped old ladies, neither of which was true, they’re driving not just Islamophobia against Palestinians but against Muslims in Western countries as well. When President Joe Biden claimed to have seen photos of the beheaded babies, a claim the White House retracted, he emboldened hate groups and extremists across the country to attack Muslims.
A 6-year-old Muslim child was murdered in Chicago by a man shouting Islamophobic rhetoric as he stabbed the child 26 times. His mother, a Palestinian, was also attacked but suffered non-life-threatening injuries as she tried to fight off the attacker. The man has since been arrested and charged with a host of crimes including hate crime charges.
But that’s only the beginning. A quick peruse of extremist channels, which I’ve been monitoring daily since the Hamas attack, shows that Islamophobia has only grown worse. As is always the case, the lie gets far more attention than the retraction. In this case, President Biden’s words are still being used by those on the far right who will do harm to Muslims and those who support the genocide of Palestinians on the liberal left. There seems to be no disconnect between the two.
When reaching out to the White House for a previous story, I asked them about the constant inflammatory language that was based on false reporting coming from Israel. I received no response. I then warned that if they didn’t tone down the rhetoric extremists were bound to commit heinous crimes here in the US. Less than a week later we saw the results of that type of language. The fear now is that it will only grow worse from here.
While we once rightfully admonished former president Donald Trump for his hateful rhetoric, we now find ourselves getting pushback when doing the same to President Biden. His lie is a major driving factor behind hate speech and the end result is the same. Xenophobic language had been the order of the day prior to the Hamas attack. Now, it’s anti-Semitism, Latinophobia, and the worst of them all seems to be Islamophobia.
While Western news media bears the largest responsibility, they will never admit fault for what they’ve done and continue to do. When their atrocity propaganda is so good that they dupe a president into saying he saw photos of beheaded babies, it’s not hard to see where the culpability lies. Much like the centuries of demonizing Indigenous people, Black people, and Latinos, the reporters responsible for not verifying the claims will walk away unscathed.
Aside from the mass murder in Palestine, this is the biggest travesty of all.
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