World leaders must believe Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli leaders without hesitation and benefit from the established method that provides the international community with extraordinary experience in how to act. One of the benefits of what is happening is that Netanyahu, the pillars of his government and his war leaders have removed useless burdens from the leaders of countries and armies, such as the need to adhere to international law, or comply with human rights, which the “friends of Israel” are not mentioning today. When any army wants to carry out the mission of crushing civilians, it is now able to divert attention from these useless obligations and principles using some easy propaganda efforts, and gain the sympathy of its allies as well, just as Netanyahu and his military leaders do.
The leaders of countries, governments and armies around the world have a definite self-interest in believing what Netanyahu and his war leaders are saying these days. This innovative Israeli method provides world leaders with ideal options in justifying all their wild desires during the management of conflicts, and to skilfully avoid the slightest responsibility for it, as well as not being scolded for it the next day. There is no need to adhere to the outdated rules and red lines that the international community imposed in vain after the end of the two world wars, because the method of blaming the victim takes care of what is needed. If any army in the world is interested in overcoming the outdated legal and moral restrictions that prevent it from committing mass massacres, for example, all it needs to do is listen carefully to what Netanyahu and his war team are saying these days and repeat it where needed.
Why would they need to spare hospitals, schools, kindergartens, United Nations facilities and humanitarian organisations from the scope of bombing if they can hold the victims responsible for their tragedy, as long as the leaders of democratic countries and the editors of reputable media outlets do not hesitate to adopt narratives intended for those with limited intelligence? There is no problem at all, even if children and their mothers were killed, wounded and maimed in large numbers in a desired bombing, because it is enough to fabricate a narrative before this mass killing begins, such as that “human animals committed a heinous massacre in which infants were beheaded,” making sure to give a specific number to suggest accuracy, and generating images with artificial intelligence. This would make any atrocity committed by any army merely a reaction to a shocking narrative designed to shed tears.
Netanyahu proposes to the leaders of states and armies a flood of ideal plots that are renewed every day, so that no one has time to scrutinise any of them. These are plots designed to justify military invasions, forced occupation, ethnic cleansing and acts of genocide, because the people under occupation are the attackers of the occupying authority, and everything that the army does, including crushing densely populated areas with tonnes of lethal munitions, does not go beyond exercising its “right to self-defence”, which world leaders tirelessly claim Israel has the right to do day and night. Who among the leaders of democracies are saying that the people under occupation, whose land and homes were stolen, have any rights at all, other than continuing to enjoy the benefits of living inside refugee ghettos surrounded by high walls and strict control systems for water, food, medicine, electricity, fuel and crossings? Instead of all this anger and rebellion against the fortified walls and settlements built on their occupied land, the Palestinian people should be expressing their overwhelming joy with this occupation, which represents “the forces of civilisation in the face of the forces of savagery,” and the generations of Palestinian refugees should have sent bouquets of roses and greeting cards to the armed soldiers and settlers that are suffocating all of their lifelines.Then Netanyahu opened a huge floodgate for everyone, when he suddenly lifted the ban on the possibility of making comparisons between the practices of the present and the horrific atrocities of the Nazis when he claimed that the Palestinians were Nazis. He even attributed this eloquent argument to the timid German Chancellor, Olaf Schulz, and repeated it in the presence of the Master of the White House and then the British prime minister in Tel Aviv (19 October and 20 October). Netanyahu suggested to the conflicting parties in our world that using the method of likening crimes to Hitler’s crimes had become possible after it had been considered a taboo method until then, because it simply belittled the Nazi atrocities. Before that, the world mocked the Kremlin’s propaganda, as one of its justifications for the invasion of Ukraine was the “denazification” of Kyiv, but now, the method of the brilliant actor Netanyahu now inspires those who are trying to wage wars and rob other peoples of their right to self-determination and maintain the status quo by committing war crimes. Indeed, the Israeli prime minister went further than that when he shifted responsibility for terrible crimes from Hitler’s shoulders, by impersonating a historian and declaring that the idea of the Holocaust was essentially Palestinian, according to his famous statement years ago (20 October 2015) in which he held Palestinian leader Amin Al-Husseini responsible for inciting Hitler to do so.
Credit must be given when credit is due, and credit is due to former US President George W. Bush for inspiring many countries and armies to attach the stigma of terrorism to their opponents – states, peoples, organisations and liberation movements – to the extent that accusing someone of terrorism has become a worn-out and used argument across the world in various wars, conflicts and acts of repression and persecution. Now Netanyahu is opening a new door wide for everyone who wants to label their enemies as “Daesh” and it will be a brilliant trick to disrupt international humanitarian law and remove unnecessary moral obstacles through the necessary military campaigns to “defend civilisation.” This new trick was blessed by President Biden, who now behaves like a robot repeating phrases that Netanyahu whispers in his ear, even if they are fake news that embarrass White House spokespeople. He did so even when he appeared to be disoriented after a long plane ride during his visit to Tel Aviv and seemed unable to recall the propaganda phrases he had intended to repeat.
There is no need for world leaders to engage in coming up with justifications and excuses after this innovative experience that Netanyahu and his political, military and media team are displaying publicly, in any other war or repressive campaign that they may like. All it requires is changing a few basic terms to adapt it as needed in other conflicts between countries, wars between armies, and campaigns of oppressive regimes.
As for the difference that distinguishes Netanyahu’s method from George W Bush’s experience before the Iraq war, it is that the administration of the former US President exhausted itself in presenting complex arguments and fabricated supports to convince the world of the legitimacy of the invasion of Iraq and claims that there was “proof” of the existence of weapons of mass destruction. Today, there is no need to go through all that trouble, because even these naive justifications that the Israeli army’s confused speakers come up with after the daily massacres, they commit are enough to inspire politicians in Western democracies and gain the coverage of the most prominent media outlets and international press in an unquestionable manner.
Leaders of states and governments are not the only ones learning the new art of promotion, as artificial intelligence is also adapting to this remarkable achievement in the public relations that these ethnic cleansing campaigns cannot do without. Apps will volunteer to suggest impressive immediate results on questions such as: How can one justify a terrible war crime? What are the best justifications for ethnic cleansing while ensuring immunity from international accountability? What are the most effective emotional and rational justifications for the inevitable acts of genocide? How can critical voices that stir up trouble in parliaments, universities, civil society, and social media in the name of protecting civilians and preventing collective punishment be silenced? What are the ideal formulations for spokesmen of wartime governments and army commanders after completing an annihilation mission?
We can guess what Vladimir Putin is doing these days after discovering this amazing new experience. We can imagine him banging his head against the Kremlin wall after he realised that he failed to come up with this effective method when he moved his forces towards the Ukrainian border. He did not think of easy arguments like they are “using civilians as human shields” while his missiles were pounding Ukrainian cities. He missed out on calling out “beheaded by monsters” and ensuring that the free international press refrains from questioning the credibility of an unsubstantiated claim or the question about the significance of the number “40 beheaded infants” no more, no less, as if the slaughter campaigns were operating according to the logic of industrial production.
Shouldn’t the leaders of countries and army generals hasten to applaud Netanyahu and his war team after all this, and be inspired by this effective method for managing their ongoing conflicts in the 21st century?
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.