Holy War revisited — ‘You want it darker, we kill the flame’

Holy War revisited — ‘You want it darker, we kill the flame’
(Illustration: Freepik)

Since its founding, the State of Israel has presented an obvious problem to the great writers, thinkers and artists of the Jewish diaspora — how would the story of Jewish suffering play out when the culture had its own army and flag? For voices like Saul Bellow, Naomi Klein and Leonard Cohen, events such as the banning of Al Jazeera and the invasion of Rafah were almost inevitable. Unless a new story could be told, they suspected, history’s victims would become its perpetrators.

The words of the master

‘They’re afraid that if they stop suffering, they’ll have nothing.” 

If ever there was a sentence that unlocked the secrets of the Jewish genetic code, it occurred to me, this was the one.

Set to paper by Saul Bellow, the great American-Jewish Nobel literature laureate of the late 20th century, the sentence appeared to hold the key to the enigma of my people. Also, there was the timing — while I had once been a fan of Bellow, I hadn’t visited his work in more than a decade. Now, in mid-April of 2024, the words of the master had returned to my field (via a poignant late-night YouTube session) like the lifting of a veil. 

Just as my people were beginning to properly suffer again, just as we were delivering suffering to our enemies in ways suggestive of the Old Testament, Bellow had arrived on the scene with a truism for the ages.

And, like many enduring truisms, his words would spin out into a web of urgent yet impossible questions. 

What would Bellow, who died in 2005, have made of the recent actions of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? As a man who had written extensively on anti-Semitism in America, what would he have made of the alleged Jew-hatred that was then just beginning to erupt on Ivy League college campuses across the length and breadth of the United States? Would he have drawn a new and revelatory correlation between the two, seeing in the Israeli reaction to the Hamas atrocities of 7 October something that the rest of us had missed? 

These questions were essentially unanswerable, not just because Bellow had written in the post-war era, when Jews were still regarded by Gentiles as history’s ultimate victims, but because never in his lifetime had the so-called values of secular Judaism — social consciousness, equality before the law, liberal humanism — been so endangered by the blindness of the culture itself.

And yet, I was thinking, there was a profound clue in the observation that my people were wedded to their suffering. 

Take, for example, the message I received from an old and cherished friend on the morning of 15 April, when Daily Maverick had shut itself down for the day in solidarity with the plight of local journalism.

“DM being very dramatic,” he wrote. “Like a Polish mother.” 

My friend, of course, being Jewish, was sidestepping the common trope — that of the dramatic Jewish mother. More than that, though, since he had left South Africa for Israel almost 10 years before, since his psyche had by now been indelibly marked by the bomb shelters and the hostage traumas and the world’s growing condemnation, it was almost natural that he would take this opportunity to lash out. For the last few months, my friend had been making it increasingly clear that he viewed Daily Maverick’s coverage of the war as pro-Palestinian at best, anti-Semitic at worst. 

Still, while I was sympathetic to his lived experience, while a part of me acknowledged that he was much closer to the heat, there was something about it all that felt wholly unnatural — my friend’s brand-new cloak of rampant Jewish nationalism; his sense that diasporic Jews held an a priori superfluous voice; his inability to feel into the devastation that was being visited on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. 

Accordingly, I was ready with a knee-jerk response.

“Israel may want death to journalism. We don’t.” 

From there, needless to say, it was downhill all the way. My friend pointed out that he had “heard from enough people to warrant attention” that they’d cancelled their Maverick Insider contributions because of the “obvious bias and tone regarding the Middle East”. He added that if we really wanted to survive and thrive, we should get our leading South African-Muslim writer (name withheld) to “proactively hit the Muslim community and get cash from there”. He noted, in brackets, that this was only a “half-joke”. 

My comeback, a “yawn” emoji, opened the floodgates. 

“Kev, in our conversations over the past months, there were a few comments that triggered for me some of the ideas that you’re taking on. You questioned the fact of the existence of rape on 7/10 when Pandor amplified this idea. This was quickly put to bed, and the numbers and facts are staggering, but you seemed to actually consider this at the time — without taking up the offer to view the 47 minutes documenting it, to save you and your DM colleagues from the emotional pain (paraphrasing your response).”

My ears were ringing, I had begun to sweat, my adrenaline was up. 

For one thing, to the best of my memory, I had never questioned the clear and compelling evidence of deliberate and planned sexual violence on the part of Hamas on 7/10. For another, my friend seemed to be implying that I’d been swayed by the extremist and arguably bigoted views of South Africa’s international relations minister, Naledi Pandor. Then there was the famous 47-minute reel of raw footage from the day of the Hamas attack, which he had arranged for me to watch through his Israeli contacts in South Africa. 

It was an offer I had refused, not because of the envisaged “emotional pain”, but because I did not see how subjecting myself to the footage would in any way move the journalistic needle on Israel’s kill ratio of Palestinians — which, at that stage, was hovering somewhere between 10 and 25 for every dead Israeli, depending on the source.

Later, it would dawn on me that those 47 minutes — and, specifically, my friend’s insistence that I watch them — were the clearest exemplar yet of Bellow’s trenchant observation. 

For now, however, my friend had more schooling in store. 

“You call it genocide when I think you know that it’s not,” he continued, “that the Hamas numbers are inflated; that they are themselves complicit in many ways in the reality on the ground; that this is war, as shitty as it is. I’m not washing the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], it’s been chaos, I’m just looking at where you’re holding.” 

The thing was, I had also been looking pretty closely at where I may have been “holding”. Every day, in every conversation with members of my family, in every news report, in every accusation and counter-accusation. 

Was it genocide? Again, there was a gap between what my friend thought he’d heard and what I had actually said. There was indeed a chance, I’d ventured, after the rubble had been cleared, after the last shots had been fired and the last graves dug, that history would judge against us.

It wasn’t something I wanted to happen, I’d added, but if there was no plan to pull the settlers out of the West Bank, if the IDF invaded Rafah, if the famine in Gaza was allowed to continue unabated, our children would be carrying the can for many years to come.

In the entirety of my friend’s WhatsApp assault, however, it was the phrase “I think you know it’s not” that was the giveaway. He was suggesting, subtly yet unmistakably, that our people weren’t capable of such an atrocity. He was suggesting, because of our suffering, that we were somehow exempt.

But my friend wasn’t done. He wanted me to know, as an olive branch perhaps, that he forgave me for getting hoodwinked. 

“These comments, and the general views around this issue, make it feel to me that you’re very taken up by the views of the South African leadership and media. If so, I get it. Not simple to escape the zeitgeist of the zone. It’s just not the big mind Bloom I’ve known in the past. (There, now you can have some guilt from another Polish mother.)”

What sort of Jew are you? 

In 1976, Bellow received the Democratic Legacy Award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the organisation’s highest honour. Back then, 38 years before it would be bestowed on former US president George W Bush, the award still stood for something — its prestige, which had been rooted in the ADL’s enduring battle to secure equal rights for the US’s Jews, was at the time commensurate with the organisation’s victories since its founding in 1913.

Bellow’s acceptance speech, published in his non-fiction collection There is Simply Too Much to Think About, opened with a meditation on what it meant to have a history that was “neither simple nor brief”, which led to an explanation of why, although he understood the impetus, he had never chosen the path of assimilation: “There are others, like myself, who suspect that if we dismiss the life that is waiting for us at birth, we will find ourselves in a void.” 

Then, before rejecting the assumption that the US — like too many Christian countries to count — was destined one day to turn on its Jews, he spoke about the inherent contradictions of the Jewish State.

“In Israel, I was often and sometimes impatiently asked what sort of Jew I was and how I defined myself and explained my existence. I said that I was an American, a Jew, a writer by trade. I was not insensitive to the Jewish question, I was painfully conscious of the Holocaust, I longed for peace and security in the Jewish State. I added, however, that I had lived in America all my life, that American English was my language, and that (in an oddly universalist way) I was attached to my country and the civilisation of which it was a part.”

I, for one, on first reading these words — and then rereading them in preparation for this essay — knew what was coming. And, I suspected, most diasporic Jews who had ever visited the Holy Land would have known too.

“But my Israeli questioners or examiners were not satisfied,” Bellow told his audience. “They were trying to make me justify myself. It was their conviction that the life of a Jew in what they called the Diaspora must inevitably be ‘inauthentic’. Only as a Jew in Israel, some of them told me, could I enter history again and prove the necessity and authenticity of my existence.” 

Bellow’s answer to his Israeli interlocutors, for me at least, would become the final word on the matter.

“I refused to agree with them that my life had been illusion and dust. I do not accept any interpretation of history that declares the deepest experience of any person to be superfluous. To me that smells of totalitarianism.” 

So there it was, set down in a speech almost 50 years ago, the signifier that would creep up on the Israeli body politic, which had always called itself — and, in April of 2024, still was calling itself — the only democracy in the Middle East. 

Totalitarianism. How could it be that the Jewish people, my people, who had suffered so unforgettably, so extremely, so ineradicably at the hands of the Nazis, would begin to draw the same set of fascist signifiers from the rest of the world? Was it simply anti-Semitism? Or, conceivably, was it time to turn the mirror on ourselves?

In her chapters The Nazi in the Mirror and The Unshakeable Ethnic Double, included in her book Doppelgangerpublished in September 2023, mere weeks before the Hamas attack — the Canadian-Jewish writer Naomi Klein offered what were perhaps the most thought-provoking and incisive answers to this distressing question. After 7/10 her publishers had agreed to make the chapters available free online, and Klein had agreed to frame them with a short introduction.

“These two chapters also get into the ongoing debates about how the Nazis were influenced by European colonial and racial segregation in the Americas,” she wrote, “and how a failure to reckon with those connections shaped and misshaped Israeli history, and contributed to exiling Palestinians into an unbearable purgatory. Israel-Palestine has been described by many as the ‘open wound’ of the modern world: never healed, never even bandaged. On October 7, 2023, that wound was ripped open in ways we cannot yet begin to comprehend.” 

For Klein, as alluded to above, there was a clear line that ran from the European colonial project in Africa, particularly the impulse of the Belgians to “exterminate all the brutes” in the Congo, to the genocide of the indigenous tribes in North America and then back again to Adolf Hitler in 20th-century Europe.

“Praising European settlers for having ‘gunned down the millions of redskins to a few hundred thousand’,” she observed, “Hitler claimed it was now Germany’s turn to engage in cleansings and mass relocations on its own frontier.”

This was an analysis, as Klein pointed out, that destabilised “pretty much all of the stories” that she had grown up with as a young Jew in post-war Canada; stories which taught that “the Holocaust was a singular event without precedent, so far outside the bounds of human history that it was essentially impossible to comprehend”. 

As a Jew who had grown up in apartheid-era South Africa, I could easily relate. At my Jewish high school in Johannesburg in the late 1980s, the Holocaust stood elevated and apart — the event that encompassed all of our sufferings, from the Babylonian exile to the Roman sacking of the Second Temple and beyond. It was the event that proved, categorically and without doubt, that the Gentiles wanted us dead, eradicated, erased forever from history; and that they always would. 

Accordingly, there was a specific way that the Holocaust was taught to us, which Klein — quoting a friend and colleague — had forcefully called “retraumatisation, not remembering”.

As she wrote in Doppelganger: “Looking back as the parent of a child older than we were then, I am struck by what wasn’t a part of these strangely mechanical retellings. There was space for the surface-level emotions: horror at the atrocities, rage at the Nazis, a desire for revenge. But not for the more complex and troubling emotions of shame or guilt, or for reflection on what duties the survivors of genocide may have to oppose genocidal logics in all of their forms.” 

If anything would, I was thinking, this would be the insight to earn Doppelganger the epithet of “prophetic” in the years to come. Because, from there, it was a short and obvious jump to the purgatory of the open wound.

“The reason for this frozen quality to our education,” Klein explained, “was that the Holocaust was a plot point in a larger, prewritten story we not only were being told but also were trapped inside: a phoenix-from-the-flames narrative that began in the gas chambers of Nazi-controlled Europe and ended on the hilltops around Jerusalem. Though there were certainly exceptions, for the most part, the goal of this teaching was not to turn us into people who would fight the next genocide wherever it occurred. The goal was to turn us into Zionists.” 

A new story 

In late April 2024, after weeks of wondering whether I had lost my friend for good — whether, as a diasporic Jew, I had got it all hopelessly and unforgivably wrong — I revisited the WhatsApp message exchange between us. Was there anything in there that I had yet to properly account for; anything that I simply could not know because I didn’t live in Israel? 

As it turned out, there was. While I was certain that I had never questioned the raw fact of the sexual violence on 7/10 — as my friend had angrily alleged — I had also not yet fully engaged with what had occurred on that day. This would be starkly reflected back at me by two items of impeccable and essential journalism: a deeply reported piece in the leftist Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, headlined “The New York Times Investigated Hamas’ Sexual Assault on October 7. Then the Trouble Started,” and a documentary directed by former Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, titled Screams Before Silence

On the professional level, the first item was significant because of what — to the best of my recall — I had actually said to my friend about the rapes. I had suggested that the infamously discredited New York Times investigation, “‘Screams Without Words: How Hamas Weaponised Sexual Violence on Oct. 7,” published in late December 2023, had done irreparable harm not only to all attempts at objective reporting on the war, but also to the evidence of systemic rape as released by the Israeli authorities and United Nations.

For Israelis, as the Ha’aretz report noted, that initial New York Times feature was crucial — it had landed at a moment when the international community was allegedly silent and hypocritical on the issue, and it had reset the narrative on the global stage, fortifying the IDF in its mission of pushing into Gaza and eliminating Hamas. By 28 February 2024, however, when The Intercept delivered what it hoped would be the final death blow to the Times story, all of the gains had been lost. The pro-Palestinian faction had by then flooded social media with the false assertion that no rapes had occurred at all — that it was all just a function of Israeli propaganda.

And so Ha’aretz, with admirable skill, had pulled off an analysis of how the Times had got the story both wrong and right. It was an object lesson in our loss of nuance, which was symbolic of how the war had collapsed our empathy range in general.

The Sandberg documentary, on the other hand, hit me on a personal level. Needless to say, as Mark Zuckerberg’s former second-in-command and a conservative Jew to boot, it was no surprise that Sandberg’s contribution would fail to make a global impact — even though her title was a direct reference to the Times story and another attempt to undo its damage. Still, after refusing my friend’s offer to watch the 47 minutes that had been compiled by the Israeli government, this was the next best (or perhaps worst) thing. 

Interweaving the footage of the Hamas operatives with intimate and harrowing interviews of Israeli survivors of 7/10, the film proved, conclusively, that the rapes weren’t just isolated incidents typical of any armed skirmish; they were rather part of a much broader pattern, demonstrative of the dehumanisation and terror that had always been core to the Hamas ideology. 

The Israeli survivors were not acting — months after the event, they were exhibiting signs of unimaginable trauma, having directly witnessed or overheard scenes that no human being should have to endure. From dismemberment to gang-rape to necrophilia, from hysterical screams for mercy to the silence after the bullet or knife, it was all too shockingly true.

“I don’t have words to explain what we saw,” said a member of the voluntary Israeli clean-up unit Zaka. “You couldn’t identify if it was a man or a woman. Everything was ripped.”

Unimaginable trauma, but also the articulation, in the present time, of thousands of years of Jewish suffering. The wound, in Klein’s terms, had indeed been ripped. The suffering on the other side of the fence, where Palestinians had been living for decades in what had long been described as the world’s largest open-air prison, had erupted inside the husk of Israel’s desensitised heart.

And the biggest tragedy of all was that it had been foreseen. 

Not just by Bellow and Klein, who had warned of the fascist tendencies in mature Israeli society, but by peerless Jewish philosophers such as Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt, who had escaped the Nazi apocalypse with lessons on how best to set the infant Jewish State on the most humane and enlightened course.

Then there was Leonard Cohen.

You Want It Darker, the title track from his final album, released in 2016, less than three weeks before his death, said it all. Whatever the other interpretations of the lyrics happened to be, for me, after 7/10 and the ensuing waves of slaughter and destruction that Israel would visit on Gaza and the West Bank, the track was the most prophetic yet.

“There’s a lover in the story/ But the story’s still the same/ There’s a lullaby for suffering/ And a paradox to blame/ But it’s written in the scriptures/ And it’s not some idol claim/ You want it darker/ We kill the flame.”

The same old story, the ancient tale of Jewish suffering, was about to play itself out in an inevitable and monstrous paradox, where the ultimate victims of history would begin to resemble the ultimate perpetrators. The banning of Al Jazeera, which the Israeli government ordered in early May, would soon come to symbolise the snuffing out of the light; the immutable fact, from the perspective of the Israeli establishment, that Jewish suffering was the only story that mattered. 

“They’re lining up the prisoners/ And the guards are taking aim/ I struggled with some demons/ They were middle class and tame/ I didn’t know I had permission/ To murder and to maim/ You want it darker…” 

The invasion of Rafah, which Netanyahu had vowed would go ahead “with or without” a deal on the hostages — and which the US administration had consistently opposed — was now a fait accompli, proof of Zionism’s murderous self-permissiveness, an augury of the endarkened isolation in store for the Jewish State.

And then, to make it clear that he was addressing the Jewish God, Cohen offered up the sacred announcement, in Hebrew, of the supplicant’s humble presence: “Hineni, hineni/ I’m ready, my Lord.”

Without our suffering, to return to Bellow, what did we have? Was there even a choice not to suffer? Would we continue to hand it all over to our God, assuring ourselves that in the face of the world’s condemnation we would be miraculously redeemed, or would we finally decide to interrogate our victimhood, in acknowledgement that it had been implicate all along? 

In short, would we begin to tell ourselves a new story? 

Bellow, for his part, had chosen. In his 1956 novella Seize the Day, in which the great Jewish writer had first grappled with the problem of his culture’s suffering, the protagonist would reach a sublime yet simple conclusion.

“You don’t know what you’ve got within you,” he would say. “A person either creates or he destroys. There is no neutrality.” DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: Israel-Palestine War

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Pet Bug says:

    Sorry couldn’t read past the „rampant“ adjective and suggestions that the Jewish „need“ suffering to have purpose.
    Goodness seriously… If anything it’s the Palestinians who have perfected this particular angle.
    Lost me and my interest in the rest of a very long effort right there.

  • Wendy Dewberry says:

    Looking for a justification for something you can’t quite pin down. That’s why you have written so many words. But it’s quite simple. You don’t have to pick a side of war. You want to stand against war itself. That’s what our morality requires.

  • Alaric Nitak says:

    The finest example of prolix writing I’ve seen for a long time. Whatever the writer is trying to say is lost in an avalanche of verbose stodge. A pity.

    • Peter Holmes says:

      I have to agree. If you can’t say what you need to say in a couple of pages (the journal Nature has perfected this) then you are going to lose your average reader. A lengthy self-flagelation? I’m still not sure.

  • Ben Harper says:

    You refuse to view video evidence of the atrocities carried out by Hamas as you are hell-bent on keeping the agenda of Palestine being the victim – no wonder journalism is dying when hacks galore choose to ignore facts and documented evidence

    • Denise Smit says:

      DM have blocked all similar worded comment from me this morning. Yours have gone through congratulations . They only approve comment not critical of the writer of the article. What does it say about DM

      • Ben Harper says:

        It says everything unfortunately, but also says a lot about the caliber of other commentators, the “cancel culture” prevails sadly

      • JP K says:

        I’ve learnt something. I thought that my comments were just rejected by peer commentators. But it seems that there is indeed review by moderators for a second opinion. I wish that we could get feedback of some sort. I don’t think that I’m being uncivil or spreading mis/disinformation. But how would I know if it’s not pointed out. It might be helpful for the DM to ask those who reject to indicate on what criterion it was deemed inappropriate.

      • Peter Holmes says:

        Agreed. I have cancelled my Insider subscription precicely because of what the DM has become. Their censorship would do many an authoritarian state proud

    • Denise Smit says:

      You can look it up. You communicated only in whattsupps

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      Absolutely. A global phenomena. In the US I reckon the flag manufacturing industry must be a booming business by all accounts. Same goes for Europe.

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        I can guarantee, almost beyond a doubt, that somewhere behind all of that flag and kaffiyeh manufacturing, lies a Goldberg Manufacturing Inc. Lol

  • Denise Smit says:

    And still you do not have the “guts” to watch the 47 minute video. Just watch not live it as Israel had to do. Go and watch . Then you will not have to use non Israel writers philosophies to justify the fact that you do not have to watch it. They are humans , not gods. I agree with everything your friend has suggested. And you are silent on the lies of Al Jeerah with the article on Israelis soldiers raping Palestinian, which was deliberate lies to taint the IDF

  • Tumelo Tumelo says:

    A candid and achingly fabulous read Mr Bloom. Events in history are shaped by how they end- we know how this ends, as it has been foretold an innumerable amount of times. Well done once again.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      We, the Jewish people, have read this story in every generation. We know how it ends. This is why we have survived, and will survive (and thrive). We are always on the right side of history. It is what “chosen” means. Those who bless us will be blessed, those who curse us will be cursed. Simple!

  • Denise Smit says:

    DM actively blocking me on free speech again this morning

    • Rebecca Davis says:

      Yet here you are

      • Lysergic Acid says:

        Shame let the lady post her desired comment, I’m sure South Africans are tough enough to handle some words. Her name is appearing clearly on the thread. If you choose to read/avoid then that’s your choice.

        • Kanu Sukha says:

          She got her degree from Trump University .. where they also encourage opening your mouth first … and think (if you can) later ! I believe such a course is also available from the University of Nkandla ?

  • Steve Davidson says:

    Paolo Freire had it all to a ‘T’ :

    “The oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors.”

    Says it all for me. But I doubt it won’t make any sense to some people on here.

  • Stephen Riley says:

    I enjoyed this article. Some topics are complex to expand on, and this is one. The Holocaust was an abomination of pain and suffering. It doesnt excuse Israel though from being examined for its role in the suffering of the Palestinians over decades, culminating in the horrors of 7 October. Two wrongs have never made a right, and we are seeing this play out again currently.

    Jewish writers exploring this very deep and hurtful topic should be commended for their bravery.

  • Justin Youens Youens says:

    So good to read a considered and nuanced thought piece on an ever more intractable problem from a SA perspective. Bellow’s writings in particular seem eerily prescient and I hadn’t thought of Cohen’s lyrics in that context yet. Thank you.

  • Josie Rowe-Setz says:

    Thank you for these words and this writing. A profound work that for me (I am.neither Jewish nor Muslim) seeks to move the narrative beyond where it is and ssk some of the very hard questions. I salute your courage and your questions

  • JC Mouton says:

    Wow! What a brutally selfreflective and honest piece of writing. Thank you.

  • Bhekinkosi Madela says:

    “Again, there was a gap between what my friend thought he’d heard and what I had actually said.” The resignation of the author in the face of perceived dismissiveness of his friend is all too familiar, even though it’s not only reserved for the Israel-Hamas conflict. Too often discussion on the matter degenerates to angry and loud exchanges not least because each side is married to its conviction. God help us.

  • Corry Versluis says:

    Let’s look at two scenarios:
    1) Palestinians/Hama’s lays down and disarms completely and commit to peace.
    2) Israel lays down and disarms completely and commits to peace.

    In scenario 1 within months there will be bliss and growth.
    In scenario 2 Hamas, Hezbollah et al will over run Israel and massacre every Jewish citizen.

    This in itself tells a story.

  • Shmerah Passchier says:

    Love your article Kevin! ❤️‍🔥 ❤️‍🔥 ❤️‍🔥

  • Warwick Johnson says:

    I agree with those who said this was over-long. But to comment on the situation: both Jews and Muslims have a historic claim to Palestine (the Levant) and only one faction is denying that claim.
    There are some questions which require answers.
    1. How many times has Israel threatened to annihilate any nation or ethnic group?
    2. For what periods in Israel’s existence has it NOT been threatened with annihilation by one or more Muslim entities or nations?
    3. How many West Bank settlements existed before 1967?
    And yet South Africa would accuse Israel of genocide!
    It occurs to me that Israel, from necessity, has adopted the policy of making it clear that attacking Israel is a bad idea. Alas, when confronted with a people who have been brought up on hate dogma, this is of limited effectiveness. But what other choice is there, apart from rolling over and dying?
    As an afterthought: How many of the “innocent civilians” we keep hearing about were out in the streets cheering the parading of the body of a young woman who had been raped, tortured and then murdered?
    People who can do this are of a mindset which is alien to many of us, so alien that many are inclined to repeat the appeasement errors of the 1930s, and believe, until it’s too late, that showing how nice we are will persuade them to our viewpoint.
    I quote Mark Twain: History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
    Learn from it.

    • Andre Fourie says:

      “As an afterthought: How many of the “innocent civilians” we keep hearing about were out in the streets cheering the parading of the body of a young woman who had been raped, tortured and then murdered?”

      Were 14 500 of them children? Would that give you the ‘legitimacy’ you seek for the near-total annihilation of the Palestinian people?

      • Lucius Casca says:

        Why do you put “legitimacy” in inverted commas? Notwithstanding, making the argument that they are an innocent people that don’t share the values and objectives of Hamas which are brutally imposed on them is becoming a dishonest view.

        • Andre Fourie says:

          “Legitimacy” is in inverted commas because there is absolutely no objectively moral justification for the wanton bombing of schools and hospitals; for relying on AI to determine targets and to only have “is the target male” as a check for whether that bombing should proceed (see investigative reports by Israeli and Western media about Lavender and the perversely-named The Gospel); for flattening entire neighbourhoods; for frustrating humanitarian efforts at relieving some of the Gaza residents’ suffering; for killing children, and so much more.

          How do you claim to know that the 14 500 children that Israel has killed in its latest war “share the values and objectives of Hamas”? How? What data do you use? What is the source of that data?

          Or are you just making broad sweeping statements about “those people” to justify an unjustifiable situation?

          • Lucius Casca says:

            Innocent people dying in conflict is a tragedy but that is the reality of such conflict.. Innocent Germans, men, women and children died during WW2 bombings, does that mean the forces inflicting such violence did not have justification? Sorry to say, but you are only obfuscating the objective moral justification to yourself.

          • Ben Harper says:

            Yes there is, read the provisions of the Geneva Convention

      • Ben Harper says:

        Near total annihilation? Hahahahaha hardly

      • Ben Harper says:

        What’s your source of that number, and please don’t say the Palestinian Authority (AKA Hamas)

    • JP K says:

      1. Apart from the Palestinians themselves? The Likud charter says there will be no Palestinian state between the Jordan and the sea.

      2. I think most countries now accept Israel and want peace within the 1967 borders.

      3. Don’t know. Why is that relevant?

      “And yet South Africa would accuse Israel of genocide!” Well, it looks like Israel is committing genocide. Making it a bad idea to attack Israel – the deterrence argument – I get but doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t mean Israel gets to ignore international law as it is currently doing and undermining the entire system.

      On the parading of Shani Louck, that is awful. But it seems that you point this out to blur the distinction between civilians and combatants. When Israeli children sing “Within a year we will annihilate everyone” does that make them legitimate targets? By your reasoning, presumably yes. By your reasoning “People who can do this are of a mindset which is alien to many of us, so alien that many are inclined to repeat the appeasement errors of the 1930s, and believe, until it’s too late, that showing how nice we are will persuade them to our viewpoint.” Or not?

      Which should object very strongly to rejecting international law and countries which choose to ignore it. Those are laws which prevent us going back to the horrors of the world wars.

  • Ed Rybicki says:

    This is a very well written, achingly honest and self-reflective piece – that is just as long as it needed to be, to fully explore the writer’s reaction to the harrowing events of the Hamas mini-invasion. It is not pro-Hamas, and definitely not pro-IDF. Quite simply, it is an exploration – set against the background of an interaction between friends – of the realities of being a Jew in today’s world. Flip comments by some of the usual DM commenters do nothing to detract from a thoughtful, well-crafted piece that does what it set out to do: to make people think outside of their rpeconceptions, or narrow prejudices. The victims have become the oppressors; the Semitic peoples of the region are hopelessly divided by religion and ideology; the rough beast has already slouched into Jerusalem if not Bethlehem – and what has been born is genocide.

  • Mahomed Latiff says:

    It seems that the length and convoluted messaging is designed to lead to two positions. The discredited New York Times report was true and that the rapes were fact and Israel’s actions flow from this. The rest of the missive appears as chaff for these two kernels. I saw no balance and little to no context. I am howeve grateful for the quote by Saul Bellow. It is a lesson for us all.

    • JP K says:

      It does seem to be decontextualised. It does seem to rely on Israeli claims of systematic sexual violence. It does portray Israel as a victim. (incidentally, both these latter points are typical features of any fascist state). The focus is on Jewish suffering.

      At the end of the day, all of the this reflecting, I suppose is good. The DM commentators are responding mostly favourably I would say.

      But there is a way to go. The sufferings of these two peoples are different in that, incontrovertibly, Zionism created the problem. Colonialists thought they could carve up the place a la Berlin Conference style. This reflection I suppose is good. But at what point does it become navel gazing? We need to be aware that it distracts from the suffering of Palestinians who are experiencing genocide. Who are being starved. Who are told to move, have their homes bombed and then told to move again.

      Bloom should know that for Israel it’s too late not to be judged. It’s already being judged as just the latest iteration of colonialism being practiced by one of the most sophisticated armies in the world on people who at one point were resisting by throwing stones.

      So when Bloom reflects on suffering I think that suffering will not only be the physical suffering, what it means to have experienced a holocaust, but also the suffering of knowing that they too are now perpetrators of a genocide.

  • michaellight22 says:

    A really well written article, which has clearly come from a place of deep self-reflection and empathy for all human suffering. The numerous comments about it being too long, are really a sad reflection of our modern society, where most are not willing to spare more than 5 minutes of thought on a topic, but are still willing to have more polarized and extreme opinions than ever before. Anything worth saying, takes time to say, especially on topics as complex and nuanced as this. I am neither Jewish nor Palestinian, and I do not have a position on who is right or wrong in this conflict (or even that it is possible for it to be so binary in such a situation), but it is refreshing to read something that explores these complex moral questions so thoughtfully.

  • Alley Cat says:

    A complicated but well written piece that is worth persevering on. Gives a good perspective of both sides in this tragic war.
    My opinion remains that the Palestinians need to be given some form of statehood that will give them hope and replace the suicidal attacks that so many see as their only current hope. Removing the 500 000+ settlers from the West Bank and curtailing their daily attacks on the Palestinians would be a good start.

  • Lawrence Sisitka says:

    A deep, careful, intelligent and yes, emotional analysis of a mindbendingly complex situation, which cannot be reduced to the simple black and white favoured by so many commentators on this platform. Thank you Kevin for writing something that I feel deeply but don’t have the experiential foundations to express. I sense that you, too, are not entirely sure of where, or indeed how, anyone can position themselves in such a maelstrom of contradictions. There are no answers, but darker the world certainly is.

  • Rob Man says:

    Wow. What a stirring and thought-provoking piece. Thank you. The deeper work of this article is to cause us all to have a good hard look at ourselves – whatever our nationality or belief-system.

  • Melanie Dass Moodley says:

    What an excellent and courageous piece of journalism. As a non-Muslim and non-Jew seeking to understand the hearts and minds of both sides in this horrible, humanity-defining conflict, this was most enlightening. Thank you.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    My mind and reading wandered very quickly to the next article

  • Antoine van Gelder says:

    Violence begets violence. With every act we renew each other’s permission to hurt ourselves even more until nothing remains but the stench of death and irreconcilable pain.

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    Leonard Cohen’s song referenced all wars relying on their God to sanction them. How you choose to interpret this as a prophecy of the war on Hamas only you can see. Especially since Hamas itself believes it is in a holy war at the instance of Allah to rid the Levant of the Jew. Forever. So please don’t bastardise Cohen’s writings to justify your apologist agenda.
    I’m sorry you’ve lost a friend, when just a listening ear might have helped. But then refusing to watch the tape was symptomatic of your selective deafness, was it not?
    And, by the way, Bellow’s quote “They’re afraid that if they stop suffering, they’ll have nothing” could as well be applied to just about every complaining minority in the world, including you journos.

    • Andre Fourie says:

      And Israel believes it is in a Holy War to claim back the blessed little patch of dirt its invisible friend in the sky promised it. It’s all just nonsense: all religion is takes us into the dark, into places of moral blindness. Once we have “divine blessing” for our actions, and a ‘promised land in the afterlife’, nothing becomes impermissible, and we so easily find justification for the most heinous acts.

      Until we rid ourselves of the idiocy of religion, we will continue to repeat the same mistakes, to the ultimate detriment of the generations that succeed us.

      • Tim Price says:

        Precisely. Until humanity works to rid itself of the delusional thinking, religious and otherwise, that enables so much harm on this planet, the cycle simply repeats itself. We really are such primitive creatures.

        • Andre Fourie says:

          Two chromosomes from a chimpanzee, as some of the smarter secular thinkers of the past few decades like to point out. We will either rise above the industrial scale ignorance of organised religion, or be buried in its ruins.

      • T'Plana Hath says:

        Science flies you to the Moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

    • Ben Harper says:

      It suits his agenda, just like refusing to watch the video evidence and still supporting the aggressor

  • Dietmar Horn says:

    Perhaps this comprehensive article should be a stimulus for critical self-reflection for all rational and empathetic people, regardless of our national, ethnic or religious background? Can I be proud of my country and its flag if I am ashamed of my government’s criminal actions, past or present? Am I allowed to be a proud German or Austrian knowing about the Holocaust? Can I be a proud South African after apartheid and state failure? Given the way Putin and Trump advance their countries’ interests, can I still be a proud Russian or American? Knowing about the colonial past, can I be proudly British or French? Given the way Israeli governments enforce Israel’s right to exist, can I still be a proud Jew? As a Muslim, can I be proud of my religion in the face of Islamist terror in the world and regimes like the one in Tehran? Not forgetting China, the list goes on and on. What has evolution brought us? The hubris of religious people to see themselves as chosen by God to show themselves and others the “right” path! The hubris of atheists to show themselves and others the “right” path through their own empowerment! And isn’t it the memory of the past that makes it impossible for us to shape the future peacefully together?

  • Peter Tuffin says:

    Thank you Kevin. It’s achingly sobering (and encouraging) to hear an inside account of self examination that is so difficult to do. Looking through the mirror.

    I’m glad your message was long. My reading was interrupted a few times, and each time that I came back, I was pleased to find more.

  • Denise Smit says:

    Has any one of you watched recordings?

  • Alon Atie says:

    As A secular jew I am not happy to be expected to act differently because of a history of suffering. I want the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else. For a jewish state I would want it to be judged on the same basis as other states. I would want it to prioritise the wellbeing of its own citizens ,but also to do all it can to minimize civilian casualties when in a war situation. I thus think external commentary of the current or any war for that matter is good, but when it comes without a concurrent request for the release of hostages it becomes disingenuous as no other state would be expected to abandon its citizens. I dont think its unfair to place a lot of blame for the suffering in the current war at the door of these disengenuous critics. If the criticism was based on even handedness, Hamas would not be able to think they have the moral high ground despite holding kidnapped civilian hostages, they would be forced to release them which would force Israel to very seriously work to a cease fire to get the actual moral high ground back .

  • Daniel Roux says:

    This article finally prompted me to become a Daily Maverick insider. I do not mind supporting journalism like this – poignant, personal, intelligent and powerful work.

  • JP K says:

    Part 1/3
    Systematic rape is not the main point of Bloom’s article, but it is there and worth addressing because, by characterising Hamas as barbarians who rape women, it is an important part of motivating Israel’s brutal response necessary when dealing with “human animals”.
    While Bloom states “pro-Palestinian faction had … flooded social media with the false assertion that no rapes had occurred at all – that it was all just a function of Israeli propaganda” he is correct, but this does not mean that the Israel claim is true nor that the narrative was not a function of propaganda. And there is good reason not to take governments’ claims at face value unless we’ve learnt nothing from – let’s pick a random one – Hitler attacking Poland.

    On the other hand, in mainstream media, the claim on the use of systematic sexual violence had quickly gained traction being repeated by senior politicians. The piece by the US newspaper of record, the NYT, played an important part here in amplifying Israel’s narrative of systematic sexual violence. But the Scahill article shows that the NYT reporting on the issue did not meet its own journalistic standards and the article was so poor that “Screams without silence” has been challenged by +50 tenured journalist professors.

  • JP K says:

    Part 3/3
    So why this matters is for two reasons. First, Bloom, a seasoned journalist, is repeating claims essentially made by Israel but not supported by evidence. Here, of course, he’s not alone. It’s supposedly elementary journalistic practice to examine evidence. But something is going very wrong. Of course, it’s not new though – mainstream media plays a crucial role in justifying expressions of power. Second, Bloom makes the link between systematic sexual violence and “unimaginable trauma, but also the articulation, in the present time, of thousands of years of Jewish suffering”. But, without trivialising the violence, the claim as relates to sexual violence is not supported by evidence. And, I suppose, if one focused on the 1 200 killed that possibly wouldn’t support the unimaginable trauma claim as it would pale next to the numbers killed by Israel even before 7 October. With Jews the victims of the holocaust, the state of Israel formed as a violent oppressive colonialist project to project Jews. But because people reject this, Israel is the victim.

    • Ben Harper says:

      Please give us your dealer’s number – that’s some good stuff he has

      • JP K says:

        Here’s a simple challenge address just one point that you disagree with. Here, I’ll even summarise and number them for you:

        1. Mainstream media is credulous when it comes to repeating Israeli accounts of events without evidence.
        2. Mainstream media in general plays a role in establishing and maintaining hegemonic common sense.
        3. There is no independently verifiable evidence of systematic use of sexual violence used by Hamas on 7 October
        4. The unimaginable trauma linked to the atrocities of 7 October seem to pale when considered against the Israel response and in the context of Israel’s colonialist project.

        When you’re ready Ben….

        • Ed Rybicki says:

          Good one!

        • G C says:

          There is evidence Hamas fighters all wore head gear when they invaded Israel on oct 7.

          • JP K says:

            As Bloom notes, sexual violence is part of war. Obviously it’s awful. But the issue is whether systematic violence was used. And there is no evidence for that. Depsite Western mainstream media taking the the Israeli narrative hook. Line. And sinker. As you and done. Israel is obliterating Gaza. It’s genocide. Televised. Please try and keep up. Your racist framing is problemactic. I don’t say that lightly, but I suppose, I don’t expect people that grew up thinking apartheid was okay to be critical of this latest iteration of colonialist violence.

            G C I’m happy to debate what I think are your odious and highly problematic views.

          • John P says:

            Can you provide this evidence?

      • John P says:

        No dealer or stuff required there, just an open mind and an ability to think clearly and logically.
        You should try it one day.

  • JP K says:

    Part 2/3
    Bloom goes on to say Sandberg’s film “proved, conclusively, that the rapes weren’t just isolated incidents typical of any armed skirmish; [but was] part of a much broader pattern, demonstrative of the dehumanisation and terror”. But did it? The Electronic Intifada, for example, notes that “Seven months after that day, Israel has still not identified a single survivor of the alleged mass rapes … nor a single credible eyewitness … or deceased victims”. Despite the problems with the piece, Sanberg described the problematic NYT article as “definitive piece on the sexual violence”.
    The UN report referenced by Bloom notes there are “reasonable grounds to believe attacks in Israel included rapes” but adds that it “was unable to establish the prevalence of sexual violence” and that “there was a lack of access to first hand accounts” and “information gathered … was in a large part sourced from Israeli national institutions … due to the absence of United Nations entities operating in Israel, as well as the lack of cooperation by the State of Israel with relevant United Nations bodies with an investigative mandate representatives and that Israel did not cooperate with independent UN investigators”.

  • Athalie Besseling says:

    Poignant article wonderfully written, deep thinking. I am shocked at the sheeer nastiness of some of the readers. Don’t worry, guys, DM is not censoring your posts, they’ve flowed through in their numbers.

  • Dietmar Horn says:

    Perhaps this comprehensive article should be a stimulus for critical self-reflection for all rational and empathetic people, regardless of our national, ethnic or religious background? Can I be proud of my country and its flag if I am ashamed of my government’s criminal actions, past or present? Am I allowed to be a proud German or Austrian knowing about the Holocaust? Can I be a proud South African after apartheid and state failure? Given the way Putin and Trump advance their countries’ interests, can I still be a proud Russian or American? Knowing about the colonial past, can I be proudly British or French? Given the way Israeli governments enforce Israel’s right to exist, can I still be a proud Jew? As a Muslim, can I be proud of my religion in the face of Islamist terror in the world and regimes like the one in Tehran? Not forgetting China, the list goes on and on. What has evolution brought us? The hubris of religious people to see themselves as chosen by God to show themselves and others the “right” path! The hubris of atheists to show themselves and others the “right” path through their own empowerment! And isn’t it the memory of the past that makes it impossible for us to shape the future peacefully together?

  • Yacob Weir says:

    Well written, thought provoking and much needed perspective. I am wondering what the late Jeremy Gordin would have said. My guess is that he would have agreed with you.

  • John Battersby says:

    Contratulations Kevin on a towering piece of investigative and soul-bearing journalism. I served as Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor based in Jerusalem from 1996-98. Ot was in many ways a life-changing experience. I have close friends on both sides. The events that have unfolded since October 7 have gnawed at my soul on a daily basis and I feel that my humanity has been diminished by the cycle of retribution and inhumanity. O have been holding back on writing a piece these past sjx months because I know that whatever I say will be zeized upon or rejected by one side or the other. Your piece helped me understand why I have held back. I have become convinced that it is counterproductive to take sides in such a complex and deeply polarised conflict between two historically traumatised communities however tempting it might be to do so. Even though I am neither Muslim nor Jewish, O have grappled constantly with the historic tragedy of the victim becomimg perpetrator and each cycle pf violence unleashed bevomong more vicious and inhuman than the one which preceded until not only the protagonists but humanity itself becomes the victim in an orgy of mutual destruction. Ypu have said far more eloquently than I could have what I would like to have said ot carries more weight because you are Jewish.

  • Vic Mash says:

    Nice article sir, well said.

  • Martin Hayes says:

    Any article that seeks to maintain the primacy of Jewish suffering should not be published at this time. That it is a masterpiece of intelligent insight makes it worse, as it forces those readers who want to comment on it – and who know when they’re being insulted – to choose between sycophancy and disgust.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      Was more nonsense ever written? To paraphrase this idiotic comment – there can only be one affected group being the victim and one being the aggressor, therefore there should not be any “masterpiece of intelligent insight” from the other group allowed to be published.

  • John Pius says:

    Vast majority of commentators here are just rant-manias and hypocrites. You guys only see and know about human rights and sufferings when it comes Westerners, Asians and the Arab nations whereas Africans and African continent that has been on the receiving end of your evilness remained blamed for all of their sufferings.

    Millions of indigenous Africans has been killed and are being killed every single day due to you guys evilness and none of you see or say anything about human right and dignity of Africans rather you all are happy and profiting from their pains and sufferings of indigenous Africans while pointing your swearing accusing finger at them.

    Israel / Hamas problem is there problem given the fact that is it a religious war and answer to their problem is in their respective religious books. No amount of analysis or quoting A – Z will fix it, if they are met to keep fighting till end of time, it will remain so forever.
    There’s no other problem in this world which does not have it genesis from either religion and racism / oppression.

    Lastly, the writer of this eye paining article doesn’t care about Israel or Hamas, he’s just earning a living with his provocative article, business as usual period.

  • Matthew Pantland says:

    Well written. Feels like some tacit acknowledgement that Maverick may have got it wrong printing Brenthurst Foundation nonsense early on.

    You have to be a commit Zionist willing to close your eyes and ears to the suffering and dehumanisation of Palastine to still offer any support to Netanyahu’s war.

    Problem is nothing will convince those who won’t look objectively.

  • anton meyer says:

    What is clear as Mud, is that the Israel 🇮🇱, Hamas / Palestine “fued” is historically based…
    Both Islam & Judaism claim ( As religion/s) the right to claim Palestine & or the ancient land/s!
    That DM has wilfully aligned itself with Hamas, the incursion into Israel, leaves it (DM) in an unenviable position, of no longer being equitable to the parties.
    As a descendant of German extraction, and my forefathers hand in genocide of Untermenschen, Jews, Roma, Sinai and other “undesirables” humans…
    The Law of Consequence, of the 7th of October 2023, Hamas attack will reverberate around the Globe for decades if not centuries!
    Action – Reaction/s is at play, the demonstrations around the World as at present,
    Have or will raise Islamophobia, rightly or wrongly, and create a divide that I fear will not, if ever be bridged!

  • So much logical fallacy and intellectual deceit. 1. Israel is anything BUT a totalitarian state. It is the only safe place in the Middle East for all marginalised communities, women & ethnic minorities including its nearly 2 million Arab population. Just ask prominent Arab politicians such as Ahamad Tibi, Ayman Odeh and Haneed Zoabi.  Khaled Kabub is a Supreme Court justice.  2. Banning Qatar-funded Hamas media arm: just common sense! 3. You don’t put 70% of a fire so Hamas can make good on its threats. 4. Hamas deliberately martyrs its civilians in an unprecedented urban war. 5. The Palestinians have rejected sovereignty no less than five times! 6. They have said unequivocally that they don’t want peace with Israel (Khartoum resolution 1967, Fatah Conference declaration 2008 and their charter article 21). 6. c. 80%of  Palestinians live under their own corrupt and draconian leadership and groom terror in schools under UNRWA. Read UK Parliament Hansard Report to UK gov vol.673 7. There have been 30,000 recorded terror attack on Israel in the last 20 yrs alone. 8. The roots of the Palestinian movement’s ideology can be traced to the Third Reich & the globalisation of the movement that began approx. 2.5 decades ago is rooted in that other ‘success’ story, the Soviet Kremlin. Kevin has stumbled directly into its trap, is complicit in the gaslighting central to its propaganda. Israeli success: GDP per capita greater than the UK’ second largest text sector in the world & its disproportionate contributions to advances in science, medicine, literature are fuelled by its liberal values. sanctification of life & refusal to be victims! As a young democracy it faces political challenges but is one of the most successful societies on earth (low crime, low depression rates ) & ranked 5th on the most recent UN happiness scale, in spite of Oct 7. Kevin, you’re nothing more than another sad hack.

    • Jarred Cinman says:

      This comment is such a vivid example of the problem in this debate – total, blinkered thinking informed by zero compassion and no compromise. With a steady flow of anger and self-righteousness to boot. It’s not only unhelpful and wrong-headed it’s also deeply depressing.

    • Denise Smit says:

      Thanks for your info, at last something that can put the other side case and give context

    • John P says:

      Was that straight out of the Netanhayu propaganda manual chapter one?

    • Lil Mars says:

      I’m not so sure about the depression figure. Over 50 survivors of the music festival have committed suicide. Many survivors are in institutions or cannot function.
      I agree with the rest. Israel has been exceptional. While it’s neighbours have tried to destroy it over and over.

  • Jarred Cinman says:

    As a fellow Jew in the diaspora I appreciated the subtlety and honesty here, as well as a rare (nowadays) well-written, rhetorical essay. If there are no simple takeaways on hand it’s because the entire situation has none to offer. These are conflicts and identities with roots that run down into the bedrock and beyond.
    What appears to be the only true common ground here is the recognition that thousands and thousands of innocent people dying is an appalling, tragic and heartbreaking situation. To be sure everyone blames someone else for why this is happening. And at the centre of that blame is a level of hatred that seems beyond reason, beyond negotiation.
    I have consistently had this thought since the events of 7/10 and the subsequent Israeli response: it’s possible, as it turns out, for everyone to be wrong. That’s not a very hopeful thought but is, at least, clarifying.

  • Chris Brand says:

    Interesting article and diverse views of author. Even more diverse opinions of all commentators. Let me just add the following fresh perspective: 1] Find the “WHR+24.PDF” Report (World Happiness Report 2022-2023) on the Internet and refer page 17 if you do not want to read the full report and there you will see the real reason why Israel is so high up on the list and most Western Nations and communist/socialist nations as well as the corrupt government of the RSA are so extremely critical of Israel – they all are absolutely jealous due to their own internal countries’ failings to get their own countries’ citizens happy and content about how their leaders run their own countries. Israel are being measured far different than any other country that has ever been forced into any other war. I am not Jewish nor Islamist but can see the utter bias against Israel. Shame on you all. RSA’s ruling party is most probably the biggest bigots of all. ‘Nuff said

  • Gordon Cyril says:

    It’s far more binary. Hamas tried to – and if fact have – committed a genocide and have vowed to do it again until EVERY Jew is dead irrespective of their origin. So, for the sanity of the world Israel must persist until Hamas is gone unless youre an antisemti who lauds what Hamas has done

    As the novelist Howard Jacobson novelist novelist Howard Jacobson writes: “There is a sadistic triumphalism in charging Jews with genocide, as though those making it feel they have their man at last. The sadism resides, specifically, in attacking Jews where their memories of pain are keenest. By making them now the torturer and not the tortured, their assailants wrest their anguish from them, not only stealing their past but trampling on it.”

    Added to that is the sick irony that there is indeed a wish for genocide – by Hamas, the terrorist group which massacred 1200 Israelis on October 7 and which is committed in its founding charter not just to the death of all Israelis but to the elimination of all Jews, everywhere.

  • G C says:

    I switched off halfway through, I did feel this article will be used in the future to justify a DM viewpoint.

  • T'Plana Hath says:

    Shame. It must be pretty kak having to surrender your privilege card and admit that you are now the Bad Guy, hey?
    Gone is your moral high ground. Gone is your claim to being “God’s Chosen”. Gone is your exceptionalism and presumption that you can do no wrong.
    You stand revealed as just another victim who chose to become a perpetrator. It’s all about vengeance, isn’t it? It’s not about peace, it’s about victory, and only you are right.
    YOU are the Nazis now.
    And you know it.

  • Theuns Fourie says:

    Kevin, from what I read above I get the feeling that you sometimes read Israeli left wing books, now and then, and therefore you see yourself as an expert. (Or a MENEER in your analogy.)

    But you dont quite nail your own colours to the mast. Are you a:
    Practicing Jew
    Jewish ancestry but couldn’t really care a hoot

    If you cannot answer above in one simple clear word, then dont bother to reply.

  • Agf Agf says:

    My previous comment disappeared so let’s try again, and I will tone it down a bit. Firstly the article was rather too long but enjoyable to read. Secondly, I agree with your friend’s comment that DM has been unashamedly pro Palestinian throughout the conflict, a fact which I find distressing.

  • Awake Not Woke says:

    The implementation of Zionism has inherently been characterized by a racist and supremacist approach, regardless of whether it was deemed justified or not.
    Merely experiencing a tragic event almost a century ago does not automatically warrant the entitlement to a state. If that were the case, various other groups such as the Kurds or even the Scots would have attained independence by now.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      More than 80 countries favour a specific religion, either as an official, government-endorsed religion or by affording one religion preferential treatment over other faiths. Islam is the most common government-endorsed faith, with 27 countries officially enshrining Islam as their state religion. By comparison, just 13 countries designate Christianity or a particular Christian denomination as their state religion. Yet there is only 1 (you guessed which one, and you guessed which religion), smaller than the Kruger Park (or 0.5% of the geographical area of the Arab world), housing more than half of the world’s current Jewish population, which is “occupied”, and unacceptable to the majority of people in the world. Makes you think about the world’s oldest hatred being alive and in rude health.

      • John P says:

        Are you suggesting that faith is the only deciding factor for a nation to decide it’s right to exist in a particular part of the world?
        As you often proudly point out there are already Arabs living within the borders of Israel, how about a negotiated settlement where Israelis and Palestinians are all able to live in a common state in peace?

  • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

    One side venerates life. The other venerates death. They should both be allowed to have what they want.

  • A B says:

    Lol, Palestinians are just like back south africans. They cry about racism while being racist. Crying about being “genocided” when they taught systemic antisemitism. Palestine was created by the romans.

  • Redaa Najaar says:


  • I would like to congratulate the South-African Government on its decision to condemn Israeli efforts to wipe out the Palestinian population in Gaza. – Greetings from an Austrian reader.

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