In this piece by Craig Murray, he argues that the genocide in Gaza needs be stopped, as required by international law. But what is lost by labeling Israel’s war in Gaza “genocide?”
Such a label obscures that what is going on in Gaza now has been going on, in one form or another, in Gaza for a long time, viz., Israel’s attempt to “remove” the Palestinians from land the Israelis want and claim as theirs. By labeling what is happening now “genocide,” it makes it seem that Israel is doing something now it wasn’t doing before. By labeling what is happening now “genocide,” the politics of the situation is hidden, making it appear that Israel is responding to the Hamas attacks of October 7th, when in fact it is merely continuing its long-standing policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians and Hamas.
This kind of thing goes on all the time, whereby the political context of events is disappeared, as it were. Particular events are thus made to appear to be extraordinary, thereby requiring what are presented as extraordinary responses. Only by ignoring its political context could 9/11, for example, be made to appear extraordinary, just as only by ignoring the political context could Pearl Harbor be made to appear extraordinary. Anyone aware of the political contexts of those events would not have been surprised by them. The same goes for the situation currently in Gaza and Israel, as the actions of both Hamas and Israel are merely a continuation of long-standing policies.
Such analyses are quite melodramatic, giving them the appearance of being a movie script. And, as in the movies, the good guys and the bad guys are clearly identified, with the good guys being forced to respond to the bad guys with “guns a blazing,” or with all the fire power they possess while “collateral damage,” as it’s called, mounts. And another righteous war breaks out, with its death and destruction justified, whether such death and destruction are caused by either Hamas or Israel. And calls for peace seem hopelessly naïve, like voices of those lost in the wilderness.
What is being labeled “genocide” is then the result, in large part, of ignoring the political context of the events in question. By ignoring the political, hiding it behind what amounts to a moral fable of good versus evil, we move inexorably toward war and toward the inhuman cruelty war always involves. By ignoring the political, we guarantee that what we label genocide will reoccur again and again. The way to stop genocide is by recognizing the political and realizing the need for political restraint rather than political mobilization.