The killing fields of Gaza. Genocide as spectator sport

John Wight
5 min readFeb 13, 2024

No universal history leads from savagery to humanitarianism, but there is one leading from the slingshot to the atomic bomb. Theodor Adorno

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed tirelessly to be acting in the name of the Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust with Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. In truth, the actions of his regime and military these past few months has placed them much closer to the guards than the inmates at Hitler’s death camps during this dark period in human affairs.

In other words, and put more simply, when your response to genocide is more genocide, you become precisely that which you claim to be against. This is precisely where we are now after five months of the IDF’s murderous and wholly indiscriminate military campaign against the people of Gaza.

Throughout, and to its eternal shame, the West along with Arab governments in the region have stood by and offered nothing in the way of serious and meaningful intervention. Supine and tepid calls for humanitarian pauses, temporary cessations, ceasefires, the provision of humanitarian aid, all have dropped and evaporated like snowflakes on the ground, such has been their impotence.

The result is 13,000 Palestinian children being thus far sent to their deaths under the missiles and bombs of a 21st century military machine in the hands of a government comprised of men with 14th century minds.

Netanyahu and his supporters will not be happy until the history, culture and entire existence of the Palestinians are relegated to the museum. This is both evident and implicit in the mad slaughter they have and are currently engaged in.

A twisted conception of the world as being fashioned on the basis of might is right and racial hierarchy has throughout human history produced monsters. And in this respect, Benjamin Netanyahu is merely the latest in a long line. In this respect, too, he has inflicted a moral injury of every one of us still in possession of a beating hard and a conscience, not to mention consciousness.

In Washington there currently resides not the leader of the free world, but a man engaged in an exercise of trying to cover his own arse. Biden’s cognitive decrepitude is only matched by his moral turpitude; his lack of scruples only matched by his surplus of hypocrisy. In providing Netanyahu with a blank cheque in Gaza in terms of military aid, while at the same time urging restraint, his is an administration with an ocean of blood on its hands and a desert of credibility. ‘Hell is empty and all the devils are here,’ Shakespeare once warned in words that are eminently applicable now, today, as these words are being written.

What Israel’s genocidal slaughter has done, over and above the destruction of Gaza and its people, is pull back the flowery curtain of human rights, democracy and international law to reveal the savage beasts of hegemony, militarism and white supremacy that in truth underpins the West’s engagement with the rest of the world, particularly the global South.

‘The last Christian died on the cross,’ Nietzsche claimed, and who could possibly argue that the most prominent misanthrope in world philosophy was wrong in that assertion?

Joe Biden could quite literally pick up the phone and put a stop to this now. With the requisite political will and basic common decency, he could halt the arms transfers to Israel and order an immediate ceasefire. That instead he is allowing this madness to go on is a grim legacy that will forever define both him as a man and his tenure as President of the United States.

Turning to the UK, the unelected incumbent in Number-10, Rishi Sunak, is what happens when a political system is allowed to become the wholly owned subsidiary of a country’s banking and financial sector. Mediocre is the very best that can be said of a small man with even smaller ideas.

His opponent Sir Keir Starmer, meanwhile, seems intent on arriving in Downing Street after this year’s general election on a wave lethargy rather than euphoria. Reds under the bed has been replaced by antisemites under the bed, with he of the lacquered bouffant eagerly embracing the role of a latter day Matthew Hopkins, infamous 17th century English witchfinder general.

With his ongoing defenestration of the Labour Party of any residual dissenting voices when it comes to the UK riding shotgun for Israel, Starmer’s time as leader of the opposition has drilled home the profound truth that tyranny is less the product of totalitarian political systems and more the product of the totalitarian ideas that sustain political orthodoxy in any given space and time. And, too, whenever those ideas come under challenge, said democracy is exposed as a cloak behind which mendacity resides, ruthlessly seeking malcontents to expose and miscreants to punish.

In Sunak and Starmer, Benjamin Netanyahu has himself patsies on whom he could not be more reliant. It is why when voters across the UK are asked to make a comparison come polling day later this year, on the issue of foreign policy at least they would be wise to ponder the words of Gore Vidal, one of the greatest wits in the history of American letters.

Vidal: ‘One does not bring a measuring rod to Lilliput.’


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John Wight

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