The favourite chant of some football fans in one part of East London is: “No one likes us, we don’t care.” On match days at The Den, it’s difficult for those of us on the outside looking in not to draw parallels between the fans of Millwall Football Club and the rogue state of Israel. For years, both have revelled in their awful reputations born out of indiscriminate violence, thuggery and otherwise bad behaviour. While contemporary football culture has forced Millwall fans to clean up their act, though, Israel has learned nothing from its bloody history or the court of public opinion. The brutal Zionist state and its US sponsor have blundered ahead with misplaced hubris since the millennium thinking that they were invincible, but the world is changing at such a fast pace that even historians are struggling to keep up.
The dangerous weaponisation of the obscenity of the Holocaust has encouraged Tel Aviv to justify its mass violence, collective punishment and genocidal intent against the Palestinians in both the occupied West Bank and the occupied Gaza Strip. Since 7 October, the US administration of President Joe Biden has looked on, cheering from the sidelines, as Israel does what it does best: killing and destroying Palestinian civilians and civilian infrastructure. The more that the ironically-named “Israel Defence Forces” carpet bomb Gaza, the more that US politicians send weapons, munitions and “aid” to buy even more to fuel the saturation bombing of civilian areas.
The world is able to watch a genocide happening in real time on TV and social media
Using its finely-honed bullying tactics, the US “encourages” its allies in Europe and elsewhere to give unconditional support to Israel. However, for the first time in military history, the world is able to watch a genocide happening in real time on TV and social media. The brutally honest reporting by heroic Palestinian journalists on the ground has seen them pay an extraordinarily high price: at least 92 journalists have been killed by Israel since 7 October simply for reporting the facts. Their coverage has been brutal, raw and unrelenting, putting the so-called impartial and neutral images shown by the BBC and other mainstream media to shame. Take a bow Al Jazeera, in particular.
It didn’t take the public very long to decide whose side they are on. Using the simple philosophy of the late South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the rule of thumb — “If you are neutral in situations of injustice of oppression, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” — most have opted to stand with the Palestinians.
By constantly invoking the Israelis killed on 7 October, the Biden administration and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu silenced their critics, while ordering the more obsequious states like France, Britain and Germany to fall in line. It was a tactic that worked after 9/11, and the mainstream Western media tossed aside any pretence of critical analysis to fall into a sycophantic and servile line.
Some media outlets went even further by accepting unquestionably the untruthful narratives pushed out shamelessly by the Israeli military. Old propaganda pros like the Australian-born Mark Regev, a mouthpiece for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, continued to lie shamelessly, pushing the incredulous line that Israel has the most moral army in the world.
However, this time round, the public hasn’t bought the lies. They can see what is rightly described as a genocide unfolding on their televisions and social media, in technicolour and Dolby sound. It’s horrific. The images are so traumatising, many are unable to sleep at night. Israel has embraced a grotesque, full-on scorched earth policy in Gaza which for some bizarre reason it thought the viewing public would salute unconditionally. It was wrong.
Regev and his evil ilk thought that all they had to do was blame Hamas for everything, or anyone else conveniently close to the atrocities on the ground, including the International Red Cross, blamed for not persuading Hamas to hand over the Israeli hostages. Tel Aviv even lashed out at the UN for daring to be critical of the IDF Blitzkrieg in Gaza. The fact that the UN has seen an unprecedented number of its staff killed by Israel didn’t appear to register an ounce of sympathy from the apartheid state.
As the number of Palestinians killed began to rise dramatically, the Biden administration shuffled uncomfortably, and urged Netanyahu to show some restraint. Even coming from Israel’s main sponsor, this still wasn’t enough. The patience of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres finally snapped and he invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, which allowed him to “bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”
As far as Guterres was concerned, Israel’s assault on the occupied Palestinian territories was that matter. A watching world breathed a sigh of relief at the prospect of world leaders finally bending to public pressure following some amazing pro-Palestine protests across the globe. Shamefully, but not unexpectedly, the US used its veto (all of the Security Council’s five permanent members – China, Russia, the US, the UK and France — have a veto) to block a ceasefire resolution. In another attempt was made on 18 October; once again, the US used its veto to block a resolution that would have condemned Hamas’s attack on Israel while calling for a pause in the fighting to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. Twelve other council members voted in favour; Russia and the UK abstained.
Without an ounce of shame Israel carried on slaughtering Palestinians and attacked the secretary-general’s use of Article 99. Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, described the move as “more proof” of Guterres’s “moral distortion and his bias against Israel.” Once again, the Zionist state was channelling the Millwall vibe: “No one likes us, we don’t care.” However, its biggest cheerleader remained silent, because the US does care about how it is perceived around the world, especially in the Global South.
It knows that Israel has lost the war for hearts and minds. If you are in any doubt about this, it is noteworthy that politicians on both sides of the Atlantic who once gave undiluted support to the rogue state of Israel are now revising their opinions. When your loyal supporters start to abandon you, then you should know that you’re in trouble.
It is too early to say what the military outcome is going to be, but at the moment Israel is not winning, and this is confirmed by the cruelty of its scorched earth policy. These are military tactics usually adopted in panic by the losing side. They date back to antiquity when Egyptian and Mesopotamian leaders commonly destroyed the crops of their enemies, forcing those they were besieging to choose between capitulation and starvation. The Spartans destroyed crops, orchards, and vineyards during their siege of Athens in an attempt to starve the Athenians into submission. That was in 431 BCE. The Palestinians in 2023 don’t even have that choice: it’s either die or die. And that’s the problem with this Israeli strategy; innocent human beings suffer, and the Palestinians are paying a shocking, unacceptable price.
Moreover, Israel has still not destroyed Hamas; nor is it likely to. How do you destroy an ideology based on unshakeable belief in God and His Final Messenger (peace be upon him), and backed 100 per cent by international law? Hamas is, in case we have forgotten, a legitimate resistance movement; only Israel and its allies label it as a “terrorist” movement, but then they would, wouldn’t they? Nor does the occupation state have an end game or clear strategy for the much talked about “day after” the war. In other words, yet another US ally is in a mess of its own making.
Just as the Afghan National Army failed, and the Ukrainian Army is struggling, the Biden administration fears that support for Israel means that Washington is backing another lost cause. More than anything else, though, the US does not like to lose, whether it’s a war or a football match. And it has shown itself to be a vindictive, sore loser, just like its protégé Israel.
The big clue to this is Netanyahu’s strategy to make Gaza uninhabitable. Think Berlin, March 1945, as Allied forces surrounded the German capital. Adolf Hitler issued a scorched-earth decree against his own country in an effort to punish those Germans who he regarded as defeatists. The German military was ordered to destroy industrial plants, electrical facilities, railways, ships, waterworks, gasworks, food stores, bridges, communication installations and more. Horrified Nazi officials and army officers refused to carry out the order.
It will not be lost on the Biden administration that the US adopted similar inhumane strategies in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Its saturation bombing led eventually to the negotiating table and peace. In many ways, though, Israel fears negotiations and peace more than anything else, because it has lost the moral high ground in the eyes of a watching world. The enduring cry is for a ceasefire, the return of the hostages, and peace. Whether the outcome is for better or for worse depends on your standpoint.
If there is a victory for anyone at all, it will be the ordinary Palestinians who’ve shown a remarkable degree of bravery, dignity and resilience. And I have no doubt students of military strategy will be examining the heroic guerrilla warfare and asymmetric fighting demonstrated by Hamas.
The big losers are being led by disgraced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who will not survive this war politically. He has shown himself to be a poor leader of ill-disciplined troops who appear to spend too much time making videos of themselves while looting shops and trashing homes to show on TikTok. When it comes to beating up women and children, ripping hijabs off the heads of old ladies and terrorising unarmed citizens, the IDF is in a league of its own. When it comes to 21st century warfare, however, it may be the best-equipped military in the world, but its soldiers are not up to the job in Gaza, Jenin or anywhere else in the occupied Palestinian territories. In enjoying its hateful reputation — “Nobody likes us, we don’t care” — Israel has clearly scored an own goal.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.