Int’l Court of Justice Review of Gaza ‘Proves Many Haven’t Learned Anything from Holocaust’

Israeli President Herzog showing copy of Arabic “Mein Kampf” used by Hamas. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of President’s Spokesperson.

On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the International Court of Justice at the Hague (ICJ) heard accusations from South Africa alleging Israel was committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The disturbing double irony, both in the timing and the claims against Israel’s war of self-defense after Hamas attempted to commit an act of genocide against Israelis, were not lost on Israel. They were appalled by it.

“There is no greater absurdity than what occurred yesterday, on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night. “There were those who came to The Hague to—falsely and outrageously—accuse us of genocide. On whose behalf did they come? On behalf of Hamas, the ‘new Nazis’, who came to perpetrate genocide against us.

“…I must tell you, the very willingness in The Hague to discuss this ridiculous claim, the very fact that it was not rejected outright, proves that many in the world have not learned anything from the Holocaust. But we have learned from it.”

Israel’s war in Gaza follows the horrific attacks by Hamas against Israel on October 7, in which 1,200 Israelis—most of them civilians—were murdered, and hundreds taken captive. It marked the most brutal stage of Hamas’ ongoing effort to destroy the State of Israel, following years of off and on conflict and terror attacks.

Netanyahu, whose comments were translated from Hebrew, backed up his claim of calling Hamas the “new Nazis”: The Gaza Strip terror group studies the original ones.

“I hold here Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ in Arabic. Our fighters found this book in civilians’ homes in the Gaza Strip. They found extensive antisemitic and Nazi literature there. This is what they educate their children on,” said Netanyahu.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also was deeply troubled by the ICJ’s review of Israel. “The very fact that the hearing at the court in The Hague was held on the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day, to judge whether the democratic, moral, and responsible State of Israel, which rose from the ashes of the Holocaust with the overwhelming support of the family of nations and its institutions was guilty of committing genocide, is a blood libel that undermines the very values on which this court was established,” said Herzog on Sunday in comments published by his office.

While the Hague took into consideration the South African case against Israel, it chose not to accept all of South Africa’s positions in their request for provisionary measures as the overall case is being reviewed—which included an immediate ceasefire. Instead, the ICJ called upon Israel to “take all measures within its power to prevent” acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza enable the provision of humanitarian aid to Gazans, among other orders, which were published to the ICJ’s website. The order concludes with a demand for Israel to report back on these matters in a month.

Herzog, in his comments, underscored that Israel does not view innocents in Gaza as military targets, and contrasted that with Hamas’ actions against their own people.

“To be clear: The State of Israel sees great importance in the humanitarian aspect of the campaign. Israel is committed to this, and operates, as it has always operated and will operate, in accordance with international law,” said Herzog. “…Hamas is also responsible for the suffering of their own people. Often quite directly—when they threaten their lives, forcefully taking humanitarian aid facilitate by Israel, and using them as a human shield.”

The Israeli President reminded the world that regarding Israel, Hamas “didn’t just declare their desire to wipe from face of the earth, but actually set out on a brutal massacre to destroy—and is still working hard to do so.” He said that Israel’s “full right to self-defense” is a “right anchored in the most essential foundations of international law, and in general, everyone with sense can see that Israel is acting in accordance with international law.”

As for Israel’s right to self-defense, that was a key lesson that the Jewish people learned from the Holocaust. “The main lesson of the Holocaust is that only we will defend ourselves by ourselves. Nobody will do this for us,” said Netanyahu. “…The state of the Jews arose from the ashes of the Holocaust in order to promise a defensive shield for the Jewish people. Israel, like every sovereign country, has the basic right to defend itself. Nobody will take this right from us and nobody will stop us from implementing it.”

The main message repeated about the Holocaust is “Never Again.” Netanyahu has the same goal for October 7. “If we do not eliminate the Hamas terrorists, these ‘new Nazis’, the next massacre is only a matter of time,” he said. “Therefore, we are determined to finish the task, to eliminate Hamas. And if it takes time, we will not relent in the mission.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, January 28, 2024) 

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