I’ve always thought everybody knew about the Nuremberg Principles. Even people who had no idea where Nurenberg is were at least aware of the fourth principle:
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him [sic] from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him [sic].
Anyway, yesterday I followed a link to this remarkable article in the Forward. It transpires that former Israeli army chief of staff, Moshe Ya’alon, while on a fellowship at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in
was sued by a group of Lebanese citizens who either lost family members or were injured in the April 1996 shelling of the United Nations compound in the Southern Lebanese town of
Errant? Yeah, right! Somehow I had formed the impression that the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity were subject to ‘universal jurisdiction’. Probably something I picked up when the Spanish were trying to extradite Pinochet from the
Well, that’s not all, because a couple of weeks ago, on 14 December, Judge Paul Friedman ruled
“If General Ya’alon’s actions were taken in an official capacity, he therefore was acting as an agency or instrumentality of the foreign state, and is immune from suit,” Friedman wrote in his opinion, citing the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, which prevents lawsuits against individuals who were acting as part of their official duty.
Is it really possible that the Pulitzer Prize winning ex NY Times journo, Chris Hedges, thinks he’s saying something new? Granted, it’s only today that I got his 18 December article from Jewish Voice for Peace, but it was pretty old stuff even then. His central point appears to be that what the Palestinians are facing is, in the words of his title, ‘Worse than apartheid’. But it was two years earlier, on 15 December 2004, when JVP sent around Moshe Machover’s article, from which I take the liberty of quoting,
To be sure, the two have many features in common. Both are perniciously racist; both impose a degree of separation between ethnic groups. And this is no accident: both are instances of the genus colonial settler state…
But the point is that they belong to two distinct species of the genus. All colonial settlers' societies built themselves up on exploiting the resources of the country that they colonized: primarily its land, which they wrested from the indigenous people, who became dispossessed. The decisive difference between the two species was what was to become of the dispossessed natives.
In one model of colonization, their labor power became one of the indigenous resources - indeed, the main resource - to be exploited by the settlers. The ethnic conflict between the two groups thus assumed the nature of a kind of class struggle. This model is represented, in almost pure form, by apartheid
In the other model, the native population was to be eliminated; exterminated or expelled rather than exploited.
Hedges is also concerned about the prospect of transfer. He correctly points out that the fundamental point of Israeli policy in the occupied territories – the closures, the lockdowns, the invasions, the roadblocks, the missile strikes, the ‘targeted assassinations’, etc. – is precisely to make life for the Palestinians so unbearable that they will pack up and leave. But this is nothing new, either.
But ethnic cleansing is one of the founding principles of Zionism. Everyone knows the passage from Herzl’s diary in 1895 where he is quite explicit that ‘the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly’. And it has played a central role in Zionist thought ever since. But much more importantly, the state of
The principal difference between Lieberman – of the KKK – and Olmert is that Lieberman is more honest about his intentions. The whole Zionist establishment is obsessed with the ‘demographic time bomb’ and are determined to shed as much of the non Jewish population as they can by whatever means necessary. Every ‘peace plan’ since UN Security Council Resolution 242 has incorporated the concept of ‘the principle of equal exchange of territory’. So what’s that all about? The whole idea is to incorporate areas of the West Bank with high concentrations of Jewish settlers into the Jewish state and to turn over the areas of ‘Israel proper’ with high concentrations of ‘Israeli Arabs’ over to ‘the Palestinian state’ to defer the day when the non Jewish population becomes the majority as long as possible. Exactly what Lieberman says explicitly.
Meanwhile, over at the NY Times, the editorialists are at it again. I suppose they’ve been partying hard in honour of the festive season. In their editorial sagely concluding
Toppling Saddam Hussein did not automatically create a new and better
What might have been a watershed now seems another lost opportunity. After nearly four years of war and thousands of American and Iraqi deaths, it is ever harder to be sure whether anything fundamental has changed for the better in
A lost opportunity for what? To ‘bring democracy to the
About 90 percent of Iraqis feel the situation in the country was better before the U.S.-led invasion than it is today, according to a new ICRSS [Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies] poll.
The editorial continues,
A carefully conducted, scrupulously fair trial could have helped undo some of the damage inflicted by his rule. It could have set a precedent for the rule of law in a country scarred by decades of arbitrary vindictiveness.
In his latest article in defense of Carter, Norman Finkelstein appears to have really gone a bit over the top. What he seems to be trying to do is to justify Carter’s refusal to debate the abominable Alan Dershowitz at
It’s true that ex presidents often speak at public events without the requirement that they debate someone who has slandered them. I think it may also be true that universities don’t always provide a platform for authors promoting their books. Brandeis appears to sport a wide range of academics specializing in the Middle East in general and
On a lighter note, check this out – a victory for freedom of expression in