Justice Inverted in Genocide Petition against Israel
By: David R. Parsons, ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman
When waves of Hamas terrorists infiltrated from Gaza and proceeded to slaughter, torture, rape, maim, and kidnap thousands of Israelis last October 7, President Isaac Herzog rightly described it as the darkest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. The Hamas onslaught was certainly not on the same scale as the Nazi mass extermination of over 6 million Jews, yet several Holocaust Survivors themselves have told us what happened that day was actually worse than what they suffered from the Nazis in terms of the brutality, malice, and perverse glee shown by the perpetrators.
This is why the legal stunt by South Africa’s ANC-ruled government to drag Israel into the International Court of Justice on the charge of genocide this week is so twisted and odious.
The current hearings at the ICJ in The Hague are a clear example of what scholars on modern-day antisemitism call “Holocaust inversion.” It goes beyond Holocaust denial or distortion, such as the claim by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that only 600,000 Jews died, or his more recent assertion that the Palestinians have been through “50 holocausts.” Rather, it turns the Holocaust on its head by portraying Israel as just as bad as the Nazis, if not worse. And if such is the case, it follows that the Jewish State and people today deserve to be eradicated.
To fully expose this grotesque ruse, let us start with these simple historic facts. First, the Jewish people were indeed the victims of the world’s cruelest campaign of industrialized slaughter at the hands of the Nazis and their accomplices during World War II. There was not even a word yet to adequately describe the enormity of the Nazis’ crimes, so in 1944, Polish Jewish Lawyer Raphael Lemkin coined the term “genocide.”
Following the Second World War, the international community not only established the United Nations as a bulwark against such wide-scale massacres in the future, they also enacted a specific treaty to ban this most extreme crime of genocide.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide adopted in 1948 defines genocide as the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group. This uniquely heinous crime not only has to involve systemic acts of mass murder, it also requires proof of a mens rea—a specific mental culpability of “intent” to wipe out another people or race.
In the time since the treaty was enacted, there have been several clear acts of genocide worldwide, such as the Hutu tribe’s mass slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda and the Khartoum regime’s massacre of non-Arabs in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Oddly, post-apartheid South Africa was never bothered enough by any of these genocide campaigns to bring their perpetrators to trial at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Instead, South African leaders have even welcomed the butchers of Sudan in Pretoria.
So why is South Africa now concocting an indictment of genocide against Israel?
THE ANSWER STARTS with the close ties the ANC and PLO forged as radical Marxist liberation movements backed by the Kremlin in the Cold War days. The Soviets spoon-fed them anti-Western, anti-colonialist propaganda, which viewed the State of Israel as a Western, colonialist implant amid the Arab world. Even though the late Nelson Mandela himself accepted Israel’s right to exist, the ANC today remains extremely hostile toward the Jewish State. They helped turn the 2001 Durban Conference on racism into an antisemitic hate-fest and now are even willing to serve as legal counsel for Hamas before the world’s highest court.
But their case is extremely flawed and was poorly presented in the opening hearings at the ICJ on Thursday, January 11.
To begin, there is a certain hierarchy to international criminal law that goes from basic war crimes to crimes against humanity that “shock the world’s conscience,” up to the ultimate crime of genocide. So why jump straight to the highest crime, which is hardest to prove?
Well, it just so happens that war crimes and crimes against humanity are generally both dealt with by the International Criminal Court, also seated in The Hague, and Israel is one of many countries that have yet to sign on to that court’s founding treaty—the Rome Statute. Nonetheless, the Palestinians are seriously pushing a war crimes probe against Israel at the ICC, but that will take time.
Meanwhile, Israel has signed the Genocide Convention, and since it is an international treaty, any disputes arising under it between UN member states can be brought before the International Court of Justice for adjudication. That is why South Africa went straight for the highest crime of genocide, and it is why Israel had little choice but to accept the court’s jurisdiction and will now show up on Friday with a strong legal team to defend itself.
EVEN THOUGH the International Court of Justice tends to be more a political body than a truly impartial court, Israel should make a good showing due to the poor case made by South Africa and the strength of its own case.
South Africa claimed Israel is committing genocide in Gaza due to: 1) the high civilian death toll; 2) the extensive damage the IDF is causing; 3) the lack of aid relief to civilians in Gaza; 4) the restrictions on fuel; and 5) the harsh rhetoric of Israeli leaders against Palestinians.
These charges can all be easily refuted by Israel, although the hostile remarks against Palestinians will take some finessing.
What really stands out, however, is all the hugely important facts that the South Africa team failed to mention. For instance, they never said one word about the Hamas terrorist invasion of October 7 that left 1,200 Israelis dead—mostly innocent civilians brutally murdered in their homes or at an outdoor music festival. They also skipped all the rapes, mutilations, and beheadings by Hamas.
They left out the more than 240 hostages taken back into Gaza, with more than half still being cruelly held in harsh conditions almost 100 days later. They likewise made no reference to their being held in the hundreds of miles of terror tunnels built with wasted foreign aid funds.
They ignored how Hamas deliberately uses Gazan civilians as human shields and places weapons and rocket launchers in schools, mosques and hospitals.
They were silent about all the extraordinary measures the IDF has taken to protect civilians in Gaza, such as the millions of phone calls and dropped leaflets warning them to flee the area due to impending military operations.
They forgot to talk about the hundreds of aid trucks being allowed into Gaza every week, as well as the fuel—even though denying fuel to an enemy is not a war crime.
Perhaps most telling of all, the South Africa team dared not speak about Hamas’ own genocidal, jihadist agenda, which is openly spelled out in its founding charter as a sacred Islamic duty to eradicate the Jews both in Israel and worldwide. They also were mum about how UNRWA and other UN agencies have aided Hamas in brainwashing the entire population of Gaza with this genocidal agenda and death cult mentality. So there is plenty for Israel to fill in to give the court a clearer picture and proper context for recent events in Gaza. Still, the panel of justices could already be stacked against Israel, and we may see some sort of novel ruling that demands Israel stop certain actions, which would ease the pressure on Hamas. But if the court does its job right, South Africa’s shameful legal maneuver will backfire, and all these endless, inverted accusations of genocide against Israel will hopefully start to lose their steam worldwide.
For more on this topic:
1) Watch “The Genocide Petition against Israel.” Hosted by David Parsons, it features Andrew Tucker, International Lawyer, and Director of Thinc.
2) Read “The Big Lie: Who Is Really Committing Genocide?” by Susan Michael, ICEJ USA Director and Creator of Israel Answers.