As increasing numbers of Israel-haters now come out of the woodwork in the aftermath of the 2014 Gaza war, those who particularly hate Israel continue to search for new ways to delegitimise and legally hog-tie Israel and the Jews.
The most recent example of this ongoing anti-semitic practice of inventing new ways to indict the soldiers and political leaders of Israel is the appointment of William Schabas to head the UN Commission into the whys and wherefores of the 2014 Gaza war.
Schabas is a well known foe of Israel who uses his standing to mainstream ideas which will legally and economically harm the State of Israel.
It is now clear that Israel will not be removed through war. It then becomes increasingly difficult for people like Schabas to make the emotional case that Israel is committing genocide in places like Gaza.
This is mainly because the census figures for Gaza show that while the population in 1948 was estimated at around 240,000 people, it stands today at around 1.3 million inhabitants.
However, Professor William Schabas, professor of international law, believes that Israel is already guilty of sociocide if his recorded 2013 speech at the Russell Tribunal is anything to go by.
In this, Schabas is not showing initiative or originality. He is merely following the work of another documented anti-semite, Norwegian born John Galtung who in 1982 first coined the term in academic papers for his sociology classes.
Sociocide, as people like Galtung and Schabas see it, is the deliberate destruction of the social infrastructure which is the fundamental building blocks of any society.
Sociocide would include, for example, deliberately targeting, with the aim of destroying, group solidarity, national, ethnic, and gender identity, the family, social institutions, and the individual’s self-consciousness through taking the role of others as well as the generalized other. And once sociocide is perpetrated on a particular group of people, these social phenomena, (eg social conscience) cannot exist.
Sociologists like Galtung, and legal hangers-on like Schabas looking to use the coattails of others to make a name for themselves, took their inspiration from the tireless efforts of Raphael Lemkin, a young Polish Jew turned jurist, inspired by the mass killings of Armenians between 1915 and 1918.
Lemkin famously coined the term “genocide” which was defined as acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such.” His definition was accepted and became international law in December 1946, when the General Assembly of the new United Nations Organization voted a resolution concerning it.
This led to the passage of the United Nations “Convention on the prevention of the crime of genocide” on 9 December 1948 and then its adoption in 1951 after ratification by enough member states. (Interestingly, the United States belatedly ratified it only in 1988, initially because of the legal apartheid in some Southern states and then because of its exactions in Vietnam and elsewhere….)
Taking particular aim at Israel and her people, other Israel-haters like Portis (2011) define the ultimate aim of sociocide not as the physical destruction of peoples, or of a loosely defined culture, or of a State, but rather the destruction of the relationships between the different groups constituting a society.
This, according to Portis, is what the Zionists did in Palestine.
Citing Ilan Pappe (no less….), Portis posits that “ethnic cleansing” such as that practised by the Zionists from 1948 onwards contributed physically and culturally to the sociocide of the “Palestinian” people.
Specifically, Zionism destroyed the social bonds between diverse groups in “Palestine” in order to clear the way for colonial or imperialist domination and exploitation of the region through expropriation of the land, exploitation of its economic resources and occupation of its strategic location.
Like Portis, allegedly ‘impartial’ professors of international law like Schabas (who is to head the UN Commission into the 2014 Gaza war) believe that Israel is already guilty of sociocide. He said exactly that in 2013 when speaking at the Russell Tribunal hearings where he also famously said he would love to see Netanyahu in the dock for his “crimes” in Operation Cast Lead in 2008/9 when, history records, it was Ehud Olmert, and not Netanyahu, who was the Prime Minister at the time….
Not to be outdone by Schabas’ disregard for historical fact, Larry Portis (2011) states that, for him, the destruction of Israel as an institutionalized juridical entity remains the only possible way of achieving social harmony in the region of historical Palestine.
He believes that the right of habitation in Israel/territories must not extend to specific groups so as to reinforce the exclusion of other groups, as the Zionist movement and then the state of Israel have done. Only by ending what he terms “the infamous Israeli Law of Return can the creation of non-confessional political institutions, lead to the re-emergence of a truly cohesive society in the area.
He does not address the 2013 statement of Mahmoud Abbas, unelected leader of the PA “unity government” that no a single Jew would be allowed to live in the newly created state of “Palestine”. Nor does he address Israel’s concern that the other half of the “unity” government in Gaza trumpets the destruction of the State of Israel and the killings of Jews wherever it may find them.
The legal tussles with the enemies of Israel go on.
Sociocide is an interesting sociological construct and purely as a construct, it needs to stay where it originated with Galtung: in the text books.
In the real world, creating any significant critical mass for the concept to gain traction in international jurisdictions will mean that the likes of Galtung, Schabas and Portis will have their work cut for them for many, many years to come.