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American-Jewish scholar says Israel has launched ‘genocidal campaign of extermination’ in Gaza

February 22, 2024 at 2:44 pm

People gather as they hold banners and flags, to protest the Israeli attacks on Gaza and show solidarity with the Palestinians in Eindhoven, Netherlands on January 28, 2024. [Nikos Oikonomou – Anadolu Agency]

Since 7 October, Israel has launched a “genocidal campaign of extermination” against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to a Jewish history professor in the US who spoke to Anadolu.

Barry Trachtenberg, the Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish history at Wake Forest University in the State of North Carolina, said following the attacks on 7 October by the Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, that Israel has employed extremely disproportionate violence against the civilian population in the Palestinian enclave, noting Israeli leaders have held all Palestinians living in Gaza responsible for the attacks, Anadolu Agency reports.

“They have not only killed at least 29,000 Palestinians, wounded tens of thousands of more – what they’ve also done is to act deliberately to destroy the conditions to support life.”

“And, in doing so, this clearly meets the threshold of genocide, because it is also combined with a broad range of statements by Israeli officials, saying that they’re going to do exactly the steps, that they hold all Palestinians responsible, that there are no innocent Palestinians.”

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Trachtenberg emphasised that one of the main reasons behind Israel’s genocidal attacks on Palestinians is its “Zionist ideology”.

He said Israelis believe the Palestinian Territories they occupy as the property and eternal homeland of the Jewish people.

“All other people who are present in that Territory, who aren’t Jewish, are seen as, therefore, enemies of that vision.”

“So, these moments of crisis are really just attempts to further cleanse the land of Palestinians. And unlike what we saw in 1948, with the Nakba, and what we saw in 1967, with the expansion of Israel, into these Territories, what we’re seeing now is they’re embarking upon a genocidal campaign to destroy the Palestinian people in its entirety, especially those in Gaza at the moment,” he said.

Israel’s approach since 1948 has not made Jews safer in the world

Trachtenberg pointed out that Israel ignored the International Court of Justice (ICJ) orders to prevent genocide in Gaza and that thousands of people lost their lives after that decision last month. He noted that Israeli officials continuing attacks against Palestinians believe they should act alone in the world and they consider everyone their enemies.

He stated that Israel believes international rules do not apply to Tel Aviv.

“Unfortunately, what that ignores is that anti-Semitism historically has not existed in a vacuum. But it’s actually intertwined with other forms of hatred and bigotry,” he said.

As an American-Jewish scholar who closely studies Jewish history, Trachtenberg suggested that Jews acknowledge that the oppression they have faced in history is intertwined with the oppression experienced by other peoples and that forming solidarity with others can make the world safer for everyone.

“This approach that Israel has undertaken really since 1948 has not made Jewish people in the world any safer; it has increased the level of danger for everyone,” he said. “We must find a different path. I think it’s very important that we try every avenue available to us, whether it’s with the courts, with political pressure, with lobbying – we have to take all of those activists, those of us who believe in a peaceful, just resolution to this process, really believe that Israel needs to stop and recognise that pursuing this genocide further is only ultimately going to defeat their own long-term goals for Jewish stability in the world.”

In the Federal Court in Oakland, California, in a lawsuit filed against the Biden administration to stop Israel’s genocide in Gaza, Trachtenberg testified as an expert witness in favour of the Palestinians and said the support the US provides to Israel is regrettable.

He pointed out that the US is ignoring an approach that would be beneficial to a broader world but, instead, is pursuing its narrow interests by granting privileges to Israel over Palestinians.

“The United States also needs to shift direction, and recognise that its enormous power, its enormous, enormous influence in the in the world needs to actually be in line with the wishes of the world.”

“What we see right now, since 7 October, is very much the Global South sort of standing up in solidarity with Palestinians, you know, really for the first time in this mass way. And I think that the leaders of the United States need to recognise that their decisions and their actions over the long-term are really harming the interests of the country as well.

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