ICJ genocide case shows the world is upside-down and perverse - opinion

How can it be genocide when the so-called “victims” are granted the opportunity to escape the conflict?

 The judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Netherlands. (photo credit: THILO SCHMUELGEN/REUTERS)
The judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Deuteronomy 28:32 states “They are an upside-down generation... ”

While this verse refers to the warning Moses gave to the Israelite nation before he died and handed over leadership to Joshua, the concept of a world behaving in an irrational and 180-degree perverse manner is evident today.

Moses warns of an upside-down world, a concept strikingly relevant today as we witness the absurdity surrounding the accusation of genocide brought by South Africa against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The parallels between ancient warnings and contemporary events are stark, prompting us to examine the perplexing nature of our current reality.

The claim of genocide against Israel becomes increasingly transparent as the antisemitism it really is, when one considers the deliberate steps taken by Israel to protect civilians in conflict zones. Unlike historical instances of genocide, Israel has established humanitarian corridors, allowing civilians to leave harm’s way voluntarily. This raises a fundamental question: How can it be genocide when the so-called “victims” are granted the opportunity to escape the conflict?

The antisemitism in accusing Israel of genocide

Israel’s commitment to minimizing civilian casualties goes beyond mere rhetoric. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) dropped millions of leaflets, providing explicit warnings to civilians before initiating military action. Such preemptive measures are unprecedented in the history of conflict, challenging the very notion of genocide.

 Demonstrations outside the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague (credit: PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW/REUTERS)
Demonstrations outside the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague (credit: PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW/REUTERS)

Furthermore, Israel has put its own troops at increased risk by employing targeted strikes to avoid collateral damage. This commitment to precision strikes and the protection of innocent lives reflects the IDF’s dedication to ethical conduct in the face of adversity. Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, has even gone so far as to describe the IDF as the most moral army in the world.

The absurdity of the genocide claim becomes glaring when one considers the alternatives Israel could have pursued. If Israel harbored genocidal intentions, it could have resorted to indiscriminate bombings similar to the Allies in Dresden or employed nuclear weapons as the US did in Japan. However, Israel’s strategic decisions have consistently prioritized minimizing civilian harm, not just raising doubts about the validity of the genocide accusation but demonstrating the upside-down attitudes of the contemporary world.

THE TRUE genocidal threat emanates from Hamas, the terrorist organization controlling Gaza. Their slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” leaves little room for interpretation; it implies the extinction of Israel and its Jewish inhabitants. The world, in its upside-down state, seems to turn a blind eye to this existential threat while focusing on baseless allegations against Israel.

In another surreal twist, the international community’s response to acts of terror by Palestinians is confounding. The British Foreign Minister, David Cameron, has declared the UK’s intention to expedite recognition of a Palestinian state. This is the “reward” for the October 7 atrocities? A state of their own so that the Palestinians can do it again, as they have promised to do. In their own words, Hamas has said that October 7 was only the hors d’oeuvres, wait till you see the main course – and for this, they are rewarded with a state?

Granting statehood as a reward for violence seems a crazy endorsement of further bloodshed – an unmistakable symptom of an upside-down world.

THE UN adds another layer to this topsy-turvy narrative. There is an inherent bias against Israel within the UN, evident in the disproportionate number of condemnations leveled at the nation compared to all other 192 member states. This glaring discrepancy persists despite the despicable actions of many other member states. It raises the question: Is the UN truly an impartial arbiter, or does it promote, contribute to, and encourage the inversion of moral judgment?

Statistics reveal a disconcerting pattern. Israel, a nation constantly under the scrutiny of the international community, faces more condemnations than states with documented human rights abuses and egregious violations. This inherent bias undermines the credibility of the UN and perpetuates a distorted narrative that further fuels the upside-down thinking prevalent in today’s world.

And the BBC is up to its old tricks again. UNWRA, an organization funded by nations worldwide, has also been exposed for its complicity in heinous acts. These allegations shed light on a critical issue that demands global attention. The BBC’s dismissal of these claims as mere diversions deliberately raised by Israel to deflect attention from its own actions, adds another layer to the distorted narrative perpetuated by influential media outlets.

The world requires a moral reset. It must acknowledge that Israel’s actions against Hamas are acts of self defense rather than aggression. 

The problem is, as my late mother-in-law used to quote from John Heywood, “There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.”

It is time for the world to wake up, reassess its moral compass, and embrace a right-side-up perspective. Ignoring the glaring truths only perpetuates the distortions of an upside-down generation.

They could start by reading Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. In the famous book by Lewis Carroll, there is an interaction between Alice and the Queen of Hearts, which could serve as the strapline for what we are dealing with in this world:

“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Wake up world and start some right-way-up thinking!

The writer is a rabbi who lives in Ramat Poleg, Netanya, and is a cofounder of Techelet – Inspiring Judaism.