Article from Patrick Lawrence/”Israel’s place in Global Public Space/The Zionist State, like the US, can’t survive in it”

Juli 2014. Het Israëlische leger bombardeert de Gazastrook.




ICJ South Africa v. Israel (Genocide Convention)  CC-BY-SA-4.0


Dear Readers

On the request of drs J Wijenberg, former Dutch ambassador and

an important activist of the Palestinian Case, hereby I publish

the following article of another great advocate for Palestinian Rights:


The article is titled:



See more about Patrick Lawrence down below under his article [1]

And see for more information about drs J Wijenberg 


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The Zionist State, like the US, can’t survive in it

Patrick Lawrence

10 FEBRUARY 2024



—At writing, it emerges that Israeli propagandists spun of whole

cloth the tales that Hamas militias engaged in “systematic” rape and sexual violence

when they breached the border between Gaza and southern Israel four months ago

this week. 

Many of these accounts were preposterously implausible, but never mind:

Many Western media reported on Hamas’s “weaponization” of sexual violence. The

phenomenon now gets its own acronym. Those who accept this stuff as credible now

take to calling it CRSV, conflict-related sexual violence.

It is enough to put you off acronyms altogether.

There have been powerful, persuasive exposés of this assembly line—Israeli

propaganda productions to Western correspondents to the eyes, ears, and minds of

their readers and viewers. Here I should single out the work of  Mondoweiss , which

covers developments in Israel and Palestine, and The Grayzone, which covers Israel,

Palestine, and a great deal more.

Let us rotate this phenomenon such that we see it

from another perspective. Let us then ask, to what extent does Israel pollute what I

will call global pubic space in the cause of its survival? Follow-on question: Can

Israel survive in global public space?

The International Court of Justice’s recent ruling on genocide in Gaza is a usefully

revealing place to begin seeking our answers.


Two days before the ICJ ruled, on 26 January, that South Africa has presented

plausible evidence of Israel’s genocidal conduct in Gaza and a court case must

proceed, the Zionist government claimed it had declassified nearly three dozen

documents—cabinet minutes, internal orders, advisory notes—to suggest that its

intent all along has been to limit casualties among the Palestinians of Gaza. One of

these documents—these alleged documents, this is to say—reads in part:

The prime minister stressed time and again the need to increase significantly the

humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip.

And from another:

It is recommended to respond favorably to the request of the U.S.A. to enable the

entry of fuel.

The Israelis allowed The New York Times to see copies of these texts—alleged copies

of alleged texts. So far as we know, no other person or organization other than the

ICJ has had access to them. The Times, as is its wont whenever it covers Israel,

reported on these alleged copies of alleged documents with wide-eyed credulity. It

never questioned their provenance or their authenticity—an omission that is easy to

understand but difficult to forgive.

Read these passages carefully. Can you imagine a circumstance in which an Israeli

minister or another government official would make such remarks in a closed-door

cabinet meeting or in an internal memorandum?

 I cannot.

I interpret this exercise in

“declassification” at the eleventh hour as crude propaganda in anticipation of The

Hague’s ruling. My prediction: We will never again hear anything about these

“documents,” references to which merit quotation marks.

Instantly after The Hague ruled against Israel, shortly after The Times’s report on the

alleged copies of the alleged minutes and memos, the apartheid regime asserted it had

evidence that a dozen employees of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which bears

responsibility for the welfare of Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere across the region,

participated in the incursions into southern Israel led by Hamas militias last October


The evidence this time derives—the supposed evidence supposedly derives—from

several sources. There are the cellular telephone intercepts. Here are supposed

confessions of Palestinians the Israel Defense Forces captured during or after the


events of 7 October. In addition, the Israelis claim to have cross-referenced a Relief

and Works Agency staff list with a list of Hamas members it claims to have found on

a computer in the course of its ground campaign in Gaza.

Again, no Western official or Western medium has raised even the mildest question

as to the verity of Israel’s “evidence.” The Israelis have a long, sordid record of

torturing confessions from captive Palestinians.

They operate a propaganda machine

the match of any nation’s and superior to most.

These realities go unmentioned.


one has yet proven Israel’s allegations to be true. Nonetheless, nearly 20

nations—Among them Britain, Germany France, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland,

Finland, Australia, Canada, Japan—have followed the Biden regime’s lead in cutting

off aid to Relief and Works.

On Saturday The Times published a piece quoting at length the director of Relief and

Works in Gaza, Philippe Lazarini, who gives a credible account of the circumstances

in which his agency works and the procedures it follows to prevent staff from

collaborating with Hamas.

Nonetheless, at writing the agency predicts it will be

unable to operate by the end of February.

Famine, starvation, disease, chronic


This kind of catastrophe is now very near. As Jonathan Cook notes in an

excellent commentary published 30 January, the U.S. and those acting with it are no

longer merely complicit in Israel’s genocide: They are now participants in it.

It is important at this moment to recognize what we know and do not know about

Israel’s reaction to ICJ’s judgment. We cannot be entirely certain that the Zionist

state has submitted falsified evidence at The Hague, although this is very likely the


We are very unlikely ever to know the contents of any telephone intercepts, or if

there were indeed any such intercepts.

We cannot know with certainty how Israeli

interrogators obtained the confessions of captive Palestinians, or if they indeed

obtained any confessions, or if the IDF possesses any kind of Hamas membership list,

as the Israelis claim, and if they cross-referenced it as they also claim.

I confirm my

skepticism as to all of Israel’s accounts of these matters, but it is important also to

confirm that they remain too opaque to permit us to judge them with full confidence.

But the World Court’s ruling and Israel’s preliminary response are nonetheless

transformative—clarifying as a chemical agent turns a solution with suspended solids

transparent. We know two things now, as they are perfectly clear. One, Israel, with


the backing of the U.S. and the various pilot fish that follow it, has begun—or

resumed, better put—a concerted attack on the U.N., global justice, and altogether on

international public space.

Two, if this strategy tells us anything, it is that neither the Israelis nor their Western

backers have any idea what time it is on history’s clock.

They do not understand that

the international public space just mentioned is undergoing a process of restoration.

John Whitbeck, an international lawyer and commentator in Paris, put last month’s

events in their proper historical context as well as anyone.

He subsequently wrote in

his privately circulated newsletter:

More so with each passing day, it appears that our world is restructuring itself for

the long term into two new geopolitical blocs, largely if not exclusively based on

historical divisions between colonizing states and colonized states and

ethnic/cultural divisions between “white” states and “non-white” states.

On one side is a New Evil Empire (the Israeli/American one), supplemented by its

faithful and obedient servants in Europe and the settler-colonial Anglosphere.


the other side is a New Free World, encompassing countries with widely varying

cultures and internal governance systems which are both willing and able to stand

up to and resist domination by the New Evil Empire and, more broadly, to assert

their own freedom, sovereignty and national preferences …

Itamar Ben–Givr, Israel’s national security minister and one of its more repugnant

public figures, went on social media after the ICJ announced its decision with two

words those who know Jewish colloquialisms will easily recognize: “Hague

Schmague,” Ben–Givr posted on the message platform known as X.

Apart from this degree of crudity coming from an official of cabinet rank, there is no

surprise here. Illegal settlements, the criminal mistreatment of Palestinians, incidents

of torture, assassinations and covert operations:

The list of Israel’s transgressions of

international law is long.

It has contravened more than 30 Security Council

resolutions since the Six–Day War in 1967.

As the Israelis ignore the ICJ ruling and

proceed with their campaign to exterminate the Palestinian population of Gaza, this is

entirely of a piece with “the Jewish state’s” conduct since its founding amid the


massacres and forced removals—al–Nakba, “the Catastrophe,” as Palestinians call

it—that began 76 years ago (but has never ended).

It is a forlorn hope that Israel’s leadership, psychotically extremist as it is, could

recognize that the global order is changing, that the ICJ decision reflects this, and a

new set of responses is necessary.

There is no chance of this.

The bitter truth is that

Israel, as constituted in 1948, cannot survive in international public space.

It is too

committed to Zionism, which is precisely the racist ideology the U.N. proclaimed it

to be, not quite 50 years ago, in General Assembly Council Resolution 3379.

3379. Israel is

in consequence too reliant on unending war, repression, institutionalized

discrimination, and violence to count as anything other than a failed experiment. 

Resolution 3379, revoked in 1991 under heavy U.S. pressure, should be restored in

recognition of this reality.

Rejecting the validity of global public space is a considerable part of the bond Israel

enjoys—do I mean exploits?—with the U.S.

Where do we begin enumerating

America’s genocides—with Jackson’s Native American removals, the “Trail of

Tears,” in the late–1830s? Where its flouting of international law—with  with the

annexation of Texas and the Mexican–American War, 1846–48?

Closer to our time,

matters have become more explicit. In 2002, shortly after the U.S. invaded

Afghanistan, it passed the American Service–Members Protection Act, otherwise

known as the Hague Invasion Act.

It proclaimed unilaterally that American military

personnel were immune from prosecution in courts such as the ICJ. Joe Biden, then a

senator, was an enthusiastic supporter of this bill as it made its way into law.

Quickly after the events of 7 October, the Israelis took to calling it “Israel’s 11

September,” a reference to the attacks in New York and Washington in 2001.

This is

too histrionic a notion to take seriously, in my view, except for one thing these events

have in common.

Israel and the U.S. share an obsession with total security, both

believing they were impregnable against the intrusions of others.

The Events of 7

October shocked Israel out of this illusion, just as 11 September ended it for

Americans. Both discovered, on these dates, that there is no such thing as total

security or immunity from history and the tempests that are inevitably part of it.

Two nations with “chosen people” complexes, to put the point another way, found

they were no more chosen than anyone else. It is not difficult to imagine the


psychological shocks that led both to extreme, irrationally violent reactions when this

consciousness was disturbed.

And in my read, Israel is about to begin struggling with

the same bitter lesson Americans have so far declined to learn: As there is no such

thing as total security, quests for it are not merely doomed to failure but also to

destroy the people or nation seeking it.

It is useful now to consider Zionism as a variant of America’s claim to

exceptionalism. And in their responses to the judicial ruling in The Hague two weeks

ago, Israel and the U.S. have signaled they intend to continue insisting that they are

exceptions to the international community’s laws and norms.

Sadly but not

tragically—tragedy implies a cleansing, suffering that leads to knowledge—they have

read our moment wrongly. Can Zionism survive this mistake? Only with more

extreme violence. Can Israel survive the mistake of Zionism? Should it? These are

our questions now.

An earlier version of this essay appeared in Global Bridge.








29 JANUARY 2024

The non–West has spoken, it has raised its voice.

Half a dozen years ago I sat in the lobby lounge at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan talking at length with Richard Falk, the scholar, lawyer, U.N. rapporteur, and advocate of Palestinian rights. Inevitably, the conversation turned for a time to international law, a topic on which Falk has long been a recognized authority. Here is a little of what he said as we took our afternoon tea:

When international law is on the side of the geopolitical actors, then they are very serious about its relevance. When the American embassy was seized in Tehran after the Iranian Revolution, they talked about the flouting of international law as if that was the most sacred body of law that ever existed. International law is used very instrumentally. If you’re protecting private investment in Venezuela or Chile, then it’s barbaric not to uphold it. But if it’s blocking the pursuit of some kind of interventionist project, then it’s flaky or irrelevant to talk about it …

I thought about that exchange over the weekend, as I considered the International Court of Justice’s ruling last Friday that the apartheid state of Israel may be guilty of genocide against Gaza’s Palestinian population, as South Africa charges, and that the case Pretoria brought last month must proceed. Later Friday, the estimable Phyllis Bennis quoted Falk in a piece she wrote for In These Times. Falk called the decision the court’s “greatest moment,” and went on to explain, “It strengthens the claims of international law to be respected by all sovereign states—not just some.”

Consistency of thought: It does not get more admirable than this.

There are many, many ways to look upon the ICJ’s ruling, many things worth saying. The very first of these is that the significance of the ICJ’s interim finding lies beyond dispute. Will the barbarities of a nation self-evidently suffering a collective psychosis now stop? No. What Dick Falk said six years ago still holds: Israel has already made clear it will ignore The Hague’s judgment. 

But what “the Jewish state” does this week or next is not for the moment our question. What are the enduring consequences of this ruling for the global order? How shall we situate the court’s judgment? Where does its importance lie? These are our questions. And Falk was right last Friday, too: The ICJ has begun the work—the long work—of restoring international law as a foundational feature of a world order worthy of the term.

Having made this point, I must immediately note the abject deflections we find in the reports of our corporate media—which, nearly to a one, urge their readers, listeners, and viewers to dismiss the ICJ’s interim finding as, borrowing from Falk, more or less flaky and irrelevant. In the second paragraph of its main story Friday, The New York Times, fairly bursting to get the point across, wrote, “The court did not rule on whether Israel was committing genocide, and it did not call on Israel to stop its campaign to crush Hamas…”

Three untruths here, straight off the top.  One, the South Africans did not ask The Hague to issue a ruling on genocide one way or the other. In the cause of expedience, to stop the savagery as quickly as possible, it asked for what it got—a swift interim judgment so the court could order Israel to stop the violence and that the larger case on genocide could proceed.

Two, a mountain has been made of the fact that the ICJ did not, in so many words, call upon Israel to cease fire in Gaza. This is preposterously misleading. Peruse the six stipulations that comprise the ruling, the first of which reads, “Israel shall take all measures within its power to prevent all acts within the scope of Genocide Convention, Article 2.” Here I defer to Raz Segal, an Israeli historian who professes at Stockton University in New Jersey. This is from a segment of Democracy Now!, distributed last Friday:

We’re already seeing headlines in The New York Times today which frame this as, “The court did not issue an order for a ceasefire”—which, in effect, it actually did, because if it ordered that Israel should cease from genocidal acts, and it ordered Israel should facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid, it actually said, “You have to cease fire because there is no [other] way of doing that.”

And three, what Israel is doing in Gaza—as any review of the daily death toll will make clear, any five minutes of video footage—can be characterized as “a military campaign to crush Hamas” only by those so abjectly committed to defending Israeli atrocities that all thought of honest reporting and writing is cast aside. 

Almost all major media have followed The Times’s lead, per usual. Among the exceptions—and I confess my surprise here—is National Public Radio. It got the no-ceasefire bit wrong, but it otherwise published a quite good, balanced report from London that included worthy material from its South Africa correspondent (unless NPR took this off the wires):

Since former President Nelson Mandela’s administration, South Africa has long supported the Palestinian cause, saying it sees echoes of apartheid in the situation between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“We, as South Africans, will not be passive bystanders and watch the crimes that were visited upon us being perpetrated elsewhere,” [South African President Cyril] Ramaphosa said Friday. He noted the ICJ affirmed South Africa’s right to take Israel to court, “even though it is not a party to the conflict in Gaza.”

But exceptions prove rules, let us not forget. For the sheer nonsense of its reporting, I have to single out—the envelope, please—the reliably egregious MSNBC. You may want to take a moment to read this twice. In its Friday evening newscast, it had it that the ICJ ruling is nicely aligned with the Biden regime’s calls to minimize civilian casualties. Further, we need to know what The Hague’s finding is not and what it does not do: It is not any kind of indictment of the Biden regime’s policy, no, and it does not make Biden and the U.S. complicit in genocide. 

It is and it does, in my view. 

The running theme in American media is that The Hague’s judgment has changed nothing. Who can be surprised? Nothing ever changes when these media are telling us about the world. America is never wrong. America never makes a mistake. America is never on the wrong side. America is always good. America never loses. 

Let us now consider what enormous changes occurred when Joan Donoghue, an American judge who currently presides at The Hague, read out the ruling.  

As the Israeli military and propaganda machines reached full throttle late last autumn, a friend sent me a video link to a film called Defamation, made in 2009 by an Israeli documentarian named Yoav Shamir. It is a strangely lighthearted but thoroughly serious treatment of how Israel drills into its people, youth and adults alike, the thought that the world, all of it, rages with anti–Semitism, that they are destined to be hated, that they must remain a people apart. My friend urged me to watch it amid the circus-like charges of anti–Semitism everywhere just then overtaking America. I found the film sad—as I do the cynical manipulation of history and memory by people who seem to think nothing of pimping their own past and the suffering of the six million. 

I watched Defamation again over the weekend. Here I transcribe a brief passage that features one Suzanne Prince and her husband, Harvey, who are active in the Los Angeles office of the American Defamation League. Shamir, who speaks from behind his camera, has asked them why the ADL makes incessant references to events that occurred many decades in the past:

S.P. To combat it [anti–Semitism] effectively you have to take responsibility for everything that happened in the past, then reach the present, and then go forward….

Y.S. Sometimes you need to give some slack to get what you want. 

S.P. No, no, absolutely not…. I bring up everything from the past…. We need to play on that guilt.

Y.S. Maybe the guilt trip we are giving them doesn’t help. Maybe we should give them some slack. 

H.P. Moderate.

S.P. The guilt of the father should not be visited upon the sons, true….

H.P. You cannot let it go down, but you can’t keep playing on it as heavily as some people do. You have to be moderate. 

This dialogue is now 15 years in the past. Until last Friday I would have said it is likely we are in for at least another 15 years of this kind of thing. We may be: The Israelis have already begun to sound the anti–Semitism bell in response to the ICJ decision. Over the weekend they accused a dozen U.N. employees—of 13,000 in Gaza—of collaborating with Hamas on October 7. I will believe this when I see evidence of it—evidence other than what the Israelis claim is evidence. The Zionist propaganda machine is now exposed. There is no air left in the tires of the Suzanne and Harvey Princes among us. At long last, the disgraceful decades of guilt-tripping is up and one can say so publicly. The Holocaust card, to put the point another way, is at last played out. 

Let us not miss the significance of this moment. As others have noted, 75 years of Israeli impunity will now draw to a close. Israel’s crimes can now be called Israel’s crimes.  Contempt for the Zionist state can now be legitimately expressed. I describe as best I can a change of consciousness, or of the rules of discourse, or both. All the rubbish condemning criticism of Israel as anti–Semitic can now be discarded for what it is. The ICJ, in the six stipulations it imposes on Israel, requires Tel Aviv to report to the court in one month of its efforts to “prevent genocide.” This is subtle, and very astute. It imposes a higher authority on the Israelis. It tells them, “You are answerable now to something other than yourselves (and, of course, the United States). You are answerable to the community of nations.”

There are many things that are for the moment unclear. If Israel ignores the court, as seems likely, and the U.N. Security Council convenes in response, what will the

Biden regime do? Veto a disciplinary resolution? Abstain? To what extent will Israel be isolated? And to what extent the U.S. with it? What about the Europeans? Will they act with some measure of autonomy in response to The Hague’s judgment? Cut off arms sales, scholarly and cultural exchanges? There are too many such questions to list. 

However such eventualities turn out, there are larger matters we must not miss. International law, as Richard Falk noted well, stands to count more now, even if the Israelis transgress it for the umpteenth time. Equally, or maybe this is a yet larger point, it is highly significant that it was South Africa that precipitated last week’s events. The South Africans have emerged over the past year or so, maybe a little more, as committed advocates of a new world order I will call post–Western. They have an enlarging identity as a non–Western power.  

We must all stand with the Palestinians, yes, however each of us is able to make this manifest. But we cannot isolate the ICJ’s ruling as a remedy for one incidence of genocide or one case of the aggression of Western power against the non–West. What happened last Friday in The Hague is best understood as a step, a big one, to ending half a millennium of genocides and violence. 

The non–West has spoken, it has raised its voice. And it will have ever more to say from here on out.


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