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Weingarten: The world is watching the ICJ genocide case against Israel

A+photograph+of+a+protestor+carrying+a+Palestinian+flag.+
Caleb Weingarten
A photograph of a protestor carrying a Palestinian flag.

Currently, I am participating in Iowa State’s study abroad program in Ireland. Here, close to the southern tip of the island in Cork, a protest in favor of the Palestinians grabbed my attention as I was wandering and taking photos; the typical tourist modus operandi.

Let it be noted that I did not actively seek to be a participant in this protest, nor was I clamoring through the narrow streets of Cork. In fact, the congregation huddled directly opposite of the famous English Market and dead in the middle of the city center. Many bystanders simply ignored it, but it was difficult to. The protesters walked through much of the main drag, attracting the eyes of locals and tourists (like myself).

So, instead of moving on, I wanted to document it for readers who may be interested. The photos included below are my own and were taken over the course of a couple of hours.

It has often been claimed that pro-Palestine protests are filled with anti-Semitic rhetoric and endorsements of terrorism. While I cannot speak to other demonstrations worldwide, I am happy to report that I heard nothing of this sort in Cork.

However, there was an obvious and surging passion of revolutionary fervor running through the veins of many of the participants. Some were older, many were young, but their struggle was indistinguishable: to demand accountability, especially in light of the ongoing International Court of Justice (ICJ) case against Israel (the reference I included are the records and press releases published by the ICJ under the title: “Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel).”

Israel has unsurprisingly repudiated the accusation of genocide brought against it, virtually denying every premise brought forth by South Africa.

If the ICJ allows Israel to escape from this accusation, it is problematic for the following reason: it shuns accountability. After all, Ukraine and 32 intervening states are thrusting a genocide case against Russia (including the United States and the United Kingdom), so we know at least part of the world is interested in justice, right? Well, this assumption becomes all the more foggy when considering the situation in Gaza.
Taking a glance at the statistics, roughly 24,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, 10,000 of them being children. This death count is conservative, given many corpses are still lying under rubble. In addition, there is a “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, with over 1.5 million Gazans displaced and “hundreds of thousands” who “are living in fear and under continuing Israeli bombardment.”

Compare this to the Ukraine statistics, where 10,000 civilians have been killed, “including more than 560 children.” In addition, 18,500 have been injured.

In no way do the figures coming out of Gaza minimize the cost of life in Ukraine. Civilians are civilians, and people are people. However, my point is that our governments don’t seem to feel this way about Palestinian life. The total number of civilians that have been killed in Ukraine over the expanse of the war only matches the amount of CHILDREN killed in Gaza over the past one hundred days. Where are the other 32 states pressing for accountability in the Israel case? Silent and complicit in the ongoing tragedies that have befallen Gaza.

Now, intent is the biggest question. The ICJ could agree that Israeli action is abhorrent but claim they are not genocidal in character. In response to this, I would point first to the statements by Israeli leaders, which, in my view, provide more than enough evidence of genocidal intent. For example, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invoked the biblical reference of “Amalek,” who were the ancient enemies of the Israelites.

He says, “You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible.” The video referenced also includes the verse from 1 Samuel 5:13, part of which states, “destroy all that they [Amalek] have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” In addition, Israeli President Isaac Herzog claimed that in Gaza, “It is an entire nation out there that is responsible… it is not true this rhetoric about civilians not being aware, not involved. It’s absolutely not true.”

One may then claim that although Israeli leaders spewed this brash rhetoric, there is no evidence of it being shot down the ladder and enforced in battle; that is, into the directives of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers. However, there are photos and videos pouring through the internet that show IDF soldiers displaying extremely hateful rhetoric, clearly receiving these various messages from their chain of command.

In one video, IDF soldiers are seen cheering, dancing and rejoicing at the fact that they are “coming to occupy Gaza” and “wipe off the seed of Amalek.” It is truly baffling how the international community chooses to ignore such statements. Just as anti-Semitism is an ugly, contemptible disease that continues to plague our society, we must not let this fact confine us to only one struggle.

We can, as humans, be opposed to all forms of hate and discrimination. There is no limit to justice, and we must understand this. We must stop villainizing people and labeling them falsely simply because their views do not conform to our narratives. Never in my lifetime have I seen such a profound attack on free speech and free expression. People are outcasted for retaining their moral compass and, in the process, are framed as the opposites of what they are. If you know something, don’t be afraid to voice it. Confront it and use it to challenge those who are content with allowing others to fade to dust. Let no one convince you that it is arrogant to defend yourself from ignorance.

To clarify further, Hamas DID commit acts of terror on Oct 7. and the goal of my writings are not to defend Hamas but rather to not abandon the Palestinian people; the innocents who are paying the costs of Hamas’ actions with their lives.

I am a staunch defender of the Palestinian plight, not for any other reason than that. And amid such bewildering circumstances, Israel is enabled to dodge any accountability. Mind you, this is all funded by U.S. taxpayers. We live in a system of vicious hypocrisy. American pundits and politicians scold us as “freeloaders” because we demand the fruits of our tax dollars but simultaneously assert it is unpatriotic to oppose the war machine that shamelessly steals them year after year. A truly depressing state of affairs.

I encourage anyone to go to a protest like the one I stumbled into. It is an indispensable educational experience, whether you are in favor of the sentiment or not.

And I hope that people can receive this column and any others you may read without disdain. I merely have an opinion, but I do credit myself with being scrupulous. So, to anyone ready to label or accuse me flippantly, I apologize, but not really. It is understandably tragic to confront reality, but as Ben Shapiro once wisely said, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”
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For anyone interested in determining whether Israel expresses genocidal intent, I refer you to this compendium.

A sign at a protest in Ireland.
A sign at a protest in Ireland.
Caleb Weingarten
A sign at a protest in Ireland.
Caleb Weingarten
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  • .

    . | Jan 20, 2024 at 6:07 am

    An exelent piece! Extremely well written and informed!

    Reply
  • S

    SC | Jan 19, 2024 at 9:29 am

    Excellent piece, Caleb! Very well said.

    Reply
  • B

    Brigete | Jan 19, 2024 at 7:15 am

    Well written.

    Reply