by Yorgos Mitralias
While the operation to exterminate and ethnically cleanse the Palestinians in Gaza has – quite rightly – monopolized the world’s attention for weeks, little or no attention is being paid to one of its crucial objectives, which is passing rather unnoticed: the habituation of our societies and of each and every one of us, i.e. of all humanity, to a new international reality devoid of the humanitarian law that has governed international or internal armed conflicts since 1949. In short, we are becoming accustomed to a world that increasingly resembles a jungle, where only the law of the strongest reigns, and where the worst atrocities against the weakest are “permitted”!
In reality, this inhuman “habituation” takes place in two ways: firstly, by settling us into a daily routine, which has already lasted for weeks and months (!), populated by news and images of a veritable genocide coupled with ethnic cleansing, the victims of which are Palestinian civilians. And all this without the “great powers” of this world doing the slightest thing to stop this barbarism, when of course they’re not encouraging and applauding it. And then, by criminalizing, at least in a few major European countries, virtually any expression of sympathy for the victims and any criticism of the executioners who not only flout, but worse, publicly admit to flouting humanitarian law and its most elementary rules. Such as, for example, not bombing hospitals, schools, churches and mosques, UN facilities and international organizations, not targeting civilians, not killing (as a priority! ) doctors, journalists, ambulance drivers, not forcing people to abandon their homes, not systematically depriving them of means of survival, water, food, medicine, not destroying their infrastructures, etc, etc, in other words, everything the Israeli army is currently doing in Gaza, but also at least in part of the West Bank. And all this with a sadistic imagination without historical precedent, as when their bulldozers, which closely follow their tanks, systematically “plough” Palestinian streets, destroying not only the tarmac but above all the various pipes (sewers, cables, hoses, etc.) on which the inhabitants’ lives depend…
The result of this dangerous habituation should be our progressive mithridatism (the practice of protecting oneself against a poison by gradually self-administering non-lethal amounts) to the poison of unlimited barbarism, which divides human beings into “masters” belonging to a so-called “Herrenrasse” of sad memory, and others who obey the “masters” and who should undergo their dehumanization without protest, if they don’t want to be called… “terrorists”. And all this with the help of a global McCarthyism that not only criminalizes any protest, but also lynches the “deviant” in the media! But be warned: while all this may seem exaggerated and the fruit of a dystopian imagination, you only have to look at present-day France to realize that this “mithridatism” is not only real, but also pervasive and, unfortunately, rather triumphant…
Indeed, in this Macronist France of autumn 2023, we are witnessing more than anywhere else, the establishment of a new “normality” where, under the pretext of fighting anti-Semitism, the exercise of at least certain democratic rights and freedoms, such as the right to free speech, is criminalized. Of course, those who are arrested, and often convicted for… “anti-Semitism” because they dare to denounce the relentless bombardment of civilians in Gaza, are generally the so-called “anonymous people”, preferably of left-wing or North African origin. For it would of course be unthinkable for Mr. Darmanin (2) to denounce, let alone sue for “anti-Semitism”, for example, the major American TV channel CNN, even though it denounces the atrocities and other horrors suffered by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank in such detail all day long that journalists from the “big” French media (dailies and TV channels), would howl with indignation.
But there’s another side to the coin in this French-style fight against “anti-Semitism”: the trivialization of anti-Semitism. Indeed, by dint of labelling as anti-Semitism the slightest criticism of Netanyahu and his government, the slightest expression of compassion for the martyred Palestinian people, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish true from false anti-Semitism, i.e. to distinguish the real anti-Semites, who constitute a real threat to the Jewish people. And this trivialization of anti-Semitism is all the more scandalous in that the supreme censors of the alleged “anti-Semitism” of pro-Palestinians or even Jewish anti-Zionists – as are the young people of If Not Now – are nowadays notorious anti-Semites like Hungary’s Victor Orban, who is nevertheless described as “Israel’s best friend” by his buddy and accomplice Bibi Netanyahu. Or like the racists, fascists and other nostalgic admirers of Pétain and Pétainism who recently paraded through the streets of Paris demonstrating against…anti-Semitism!
However, even more serious than the habituation to the disappearance of humanitarian law is humanity’s habituation to the cynicism and collapse of moral values that would result from the eventual final crushing of the Palestinian people by a State of Israel not only triumphant and enjoying total impunity, but also proudly displaying before the world its total contempt for moral and other scruples. For the great “novelty” of today’s Israeli genocidaires is that they admit and even publicly claim responsibility for their genocidal intentions and war crimes, whereas every other genocidaire in history has always meticulously concealed them, doing everything to erase the slightest trace of their abominations.
The conclusion is necessarily alarming: the Hamas terrorist operation of October 7 serves as a pretext for the Netanyahu government to carry out what has always been the grand project, if not the raison d’être, of the Israeli far right, the extermination and definitive ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. But once launched, Israel’s all-out war against the Palestinian people is already serving as a pretext for the world’s capitalist and obscurantist reactionary headquarters, to accelerate and deepen their already-initiated attack on what remains of the democratic rights and freedoms of “those from below”. All the more reason to see the Palestinians’ struggle for survival as our struggle, as the struggle of us all to defend, tooth and nail, our freedoms…
1. Mithridatism is the practice of protecting oneself against a poison by gradually self-administering non-lethal amounts.
2.Gérald Darmanin: Interior Minister in the Macron government, notorious for his repressive performance paving the way for him to succeed Macron as president of the country.