Guido Fawkes’ recent assault on the Labour MP, Naz Shah, for social media posts highly critical of the State of Israel has reignited the debate on the nature of international condemnation of Israel. Almost immediately after the attack the British media, along with a slew of Conservative MPs, quickly rounded on Shah accusing her of the most chilling antisemitism. Nothing in this is new, in fact Shah is merely the latest casualty in a highly effective campaign being fought by Israel and its supporters to silence any and all criticism directed against the state with the accusation of antisemitism. This behaviour is nothing more than a cynical bully tactic being used by war criminals and human rights violators, and it is time it was addressed by the international community.
No other member state of the United Nations has ignored and violated as many UN resolutions as the State of Israel. To date Israel is in direct violation of no less than 66 resolutions, passed by the Security Council, mainly with regard to its ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine, its appalling treatment of the Palestinian population, and its effective annexation of East Jerusalem. The state’s continuing settlement process in the West Bank and the de facto ethnic cleansing of the same is in contravention of the Geneva Convention, and its use of white phosphorous and 155mm shells (with a 300 meter radius ‘kill zone’) against civilian targets during its recent invasion of the Gaza Strip, together with the systematic destruction of Gaza’s economic infrastructure, have been rightly described as war crimes under international law.
However frustrating the violence Israeli soldiers in the Occupied Territories are encountering from knife-wielding Palestinian youths is, it is a well-established norm of international law (made explicit in the UN Charter) that an occupied people have a right to resist and defend their national sovereignty. This is not, as the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and others, would like to persuade us, a war between Muslims and Jews. The peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Jews around the world gives the lie to this absurd suggestion. Israel’s war is a war of expansionism and the domination of one nation by another. In the pursuit of this decades-old war the State of Israel has crossed the line of the behaviour expected of a civilised country.
Nothing of this is anti-Semitic; nothing of this is anti-Jewish or bigoted in any way whatsoever. This is nothing more than a matter of fact, and indeed of international law and human decency. What we witnessed in the recently released video of an Israeli soldier in Hebron (in occupied Palestine) executing in cold blood an injured and unarmed Palestinian youth is only the tip of the iceberg. All that this evidence demonstrated was the total disregard for Palestinian lives within the structure of the military occupation of Palestine. To condemn this behaviour and this illegal occupation is not antisemitism. To condemn it is not unjust; rather it is a duty incumbent upon all people.