Sunday, November 19, 2023

  • Sunday, November 19, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon

The New York Times published a guest essay from Omer Bartov,  a professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Brown University. The article is entitled, "What I Believe as a Historian of Genocide."

While he doesn't quite accuse Israel of genocide in Gaza, he claims that Israel's intent to commit genocide is clear, quoting statements by Israeli officials:
My greatest concern watching the Israel-Gaza war unfold is that there is genocidal intent, which can easily tip into genocidal action. On Oct. 7, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Gazans would pay a “huge price” for the actions of Hamas and that the Israel Defense Forces, or I.D.F., would turn parts of Gaza’s densely populated urban centers “into rubble.” On Oct. 28, he added, citing Deuteronomy, “You must remember what Amalek did to you.” As many Israelis know, in revenge for the attack by Amalek, the Bible calls to “kill alike men and women, infants and sucklings.”

Yet in that same speech, notably not linked, Netanyahu said, "Whoever dares to accuse our soldiers of war crimes are hypocritical liars who lack so much as one drop of morality. The IDF is the most moral army in the world. The IDF does everything to avoid harming non-combatants. I again call on the civilian population to evacuate to a safe area in the southern Gaza Strip."

Intent is a necessary component of determining genocide. Bartov cherry picks a Biblical quote to hint at genocidal intent, and ignores the explicit statement in the same speech that shows that  there is absolutely  no intent to harm civilians. 

That is a pretty damning indictment of a professor who is pretending to prove a point.

He brings other "evidence" that is just s bogus:

The deeply alarming language does not end there. On Oct. 9, Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said, “We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” a statement indicating dehumanization, which has genocidal echoes.

Gallant is clearly talking about Hamas and other terror groups, since that's who Israel is fighting. 

The next day, the head of the Israeli Army’s coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, addressed the population of Gaza in Arabic: “Human animals must be treated as such,” he said, adding: “There will be no electricity and no water. There will only be destruction. You wanted hell, you will get hell.”
Right before that, Alian said, "Kidnapping, torturing and murdering children, women and the elderly isn't human." It is clear that his "human animals" statement is referring to Hamas, not all Gazans.

This historian of genocide sure doesn't check his sources. Or he does, and is purposefully lying. Either way, this should discredit him as any sort of scholar. 

And the New York Times proves once again that it doesn't do even a basic fact check when publishing anti-Israel pieces. Bartov links to secondary sources for each of his supposedly damning statements - and he does this on purpose, because the primary sources all prove otherwise. As a scholar, he knows this. 

It isn't as if he is the only Holocaust scholar in the world. The NYT published a very short rebuttal of Bartov's article as a letter to the editor:

To the Editor:

Re “What I Believe as a Historian of Genocide,” by Omer Bartov (Opinion guest essay,, Nov. 10):

Mr. Bartov, a Holocaust scholar, warns that Israel is very likely committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza that can devolve into genocide. To show “genocidal intent,” he cites furious Israeli statements made immediately after Oct. 7.

But these do not reflect actual Israeli policies toward civilians. Israel’s targets are military: Hamas’s soldiers, tunnels, headquarters and weapons stocks. By placing military targets in and under civilian structures, it is Hamas that violates laws of war.

The 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention mentions demonstrable intent to destroy a national, racial or religious group. Mr. Bartov is mute about Israel’s hundreds of phone calls to Gazans warning them to leave buildings in which Hamas fighters were located.  Israel has urged civilians to evacuate to the south to escape battle. A government intent on genocide would do the opposite.

A cease-fire now would leave Hamas’s leadership and its massive tunnel structures intact. Hamas would declare victory and prepare for the next round of killing. Mr. Bartov’s article and the demonstrations around the world accusing Israel of genocide would, intentionally or not, have the effect of consigning Israel to live next to a terrorist state committed to its destruction. No state in the world would accept such a situation.

Norman J.W. Goda
Jeffrey Herf
Mr. Goda is a professor of Holocaust studies at the Center for Jewish Studies, University of Florida. Mr. Herf is professor emeritus of history at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Just as we see with "Jewish Voice for Peace" and other groups, Jews who do not represent the vast majority of Jews get outsized attention. And the same goes for people like Bartov, who has accused Israel of "apartheid" multiple times - something that indicates his bias against Israel outside his field of study.  The Times would never publish an entire op-ed by a genocide scholar who supports Israel. 

NYT editors relish finding and promoting Jews who hate Israel, and give them more deference and coverage than they do to the vast majority of Jews. 

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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