Britain’s The Economist, in lecturing South Africa about its legal filing before the International Court of Justice, charging Israel under the Genocide Convention, does a pretty good job at pontificating and an excellent job at fallibility. The editors provide a clinical case of the mistakes made by an elite trying their best to keep a stiff upper lip as the Global Majority finally gets their say. Here are three examples.
1. They begin: “Parts of South Africa’s presentation were sloppy: its lawyers referred to a speech in which Mr. Netanyahu invoked the Biblical story of Amalek, a nation that persecuted the Israelites, yet in seeking to explain how the allusion was genocidal they cited the wrong biblical passage.” They don’t bother to cite the wrong passage, but it is not hard to find what South Africa actually said:
“On 28 October 2023, as Israeli forces prepared their land invasion of Gaza, the Prime Minister invoked the Biblical story of the total destruction of Amalek by the Israelites, stating: ‘you must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.’ The Prime Minister referred again to Amalek in the letter sent on 3 November 2023 to Israeli soldiers and officers. The relevant Biblical passage reads as follows: ‘Now go, attack Amalek, and proscribe all that belongs to him. Spare no one, but kill alike men and women, infants and sucklings, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.448’”
Footnote 448 directs the reader to the exactly correct Bible passage, 1 Samuel 15:3. Was that not genocidal enough for The Economist?
2. Then The Economist explains that, when South Africa quoted Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant saying, “Gaza won’t return to what it was before. We will eliminate everything,” South Africa got it wrong. The Economist: “That sounds genocidal. But in Mr. Gallant’s actual comments there is an additional sentence in the middle: ‘Hamas will no longer be.’” And, they argue, that means Gallant was only referring to Hamas, not to Palestinians.