Norman Geras on accusations made against Israel of war crimes

Geras writes about the ways in which accusations were made against Israel during the Gaza war which he concludes by making a connection with antisemitism.

“In the outpouring of hatred towards Israel today, it scarcely matters what part of it is impelled by a pre-existing hostility towards Jews as such and what part by a groundless feeling that the Jewish state is especially vicious among the nations of the world and to be obsessed about accordingly. Both are forms of anti-Semitism. The old poison is once again among us.”

Geras’ whole piece is here.

6 Responses to “Norman Geras on accusations made against Israel of war crimes”

  1. Dov Says:

    A brilliant observation and I can add to the reasons why the so called liberal left ignore the war crimes of Hamas and only have hostility for Israel. They choose not to believe or are naive to the fact that Hamas use civilians as human shields and this is because they would consider it Zionist propaganda, and as Norman said, they consider Hamas’ actions just. They also have so much hatred towards Israel that they completely discount the war crimes of Hamas. Also, and I think this is very important, the lack of coverage in the media of Hamas’ war crimes has had a profound effect on the everyday man’s viewpoint. The bias and concentrated focus on Israel’s actions during the war speaks for itself.
    If people cannot see significant evidence of Hamas using civilians as shields, why should they believe that fact? And the fact that they see them as victims makes their war crimes more difficult to see.

  2. An Observer (not a Guardian) Says:

    And what if you think both sides are guilty of war crimes?

  3. Jacob Says:

    “And what if you think both sides are guilty of war crimes?”

    Good question “observer.”

    The problem is that we don’t know yet what crimes have been committed and by whom. Then there is the additional problem arguing as if one party, namely Israel is guilty of crimes for which they haven’t yet been charged much less tried. This is what makes the one sided view that only Israel is guilty of war crimes so infuriating.

    My question to you “observer” is how can you think someone guilty of a “crime” before the accused has been tried by a legally constituted court of law?

    I want to congratulate you, though, on bringing up the issue of fairness in observing that both sides ought to be charged with war crimes.

  4. N. Friedman Says:

    I thought that much of Professor Geras’ article is well taken. However, the allegations of war crimes – at least those by the Israelis – are allegations, not facts. By way of example, the most repeated episode of a supposed war crime by Israel (i.e. regarding the UN school) was not, on further investigation, a war crime at all, as reported by Haaretz here: . This was no doubt due to courageous reporting by reporter Patrick Martin of the Canadian paper, The Globe and Mail.

    It is also worth noting that Professor Geras does not quite understand the differences between International law conventions that do and do not apply to Israel. In fact, under the conventions that Israel has signed onto – which differ markedly from those signed onto by European states -, much of what is alleged to be war crimes by the Israelis are likely protected by the fact that Hamas places its fighters among civilians, which makes civilian areas into war zones.

    Regarding Hamas’ war crimes, evidently the new excuse put forward by “human rights groups” for focusing on Israel’s alleged sins and not those of Hamas is that Hamas’ violations are so blatant. See this article: . Since they need to investigate – or so they claim -, they help turn Israeli into a villain.

  5. Yaniv Says:

    Observer: The post doesn’t deal with the question you raise. It asks how come that people who are so concerned about the purported crimes commited by the IDF, have completely forgotten to mention that there is evidence showing that Hamas might be responsible for crimes against the Gazans as well. It also offers some explanations.

    As for your question, I believe it is too soon to determine who is the criminal and what crimes have been commited. Only a court of law can determine that, and so far there hasn’t been even a serious investigation of any of the various allegations.

  6. fred Says:

    few are going to be satisfied with any court’s investigation & verdict. witness the reaction to the ICJ’s verdict against the separation barrier. I’d be more interested to see what HRW has to say — the report Geras cites makes it sound like they are investigating both sides for war crimes.

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