Steve Apfel
Steve ApfelINN:SA

Imagine international law that made the debasement of language a crime against humanity. Israel would then be taking South Africa to The Hague, to the International Court of Justice. As matters stand, it is the other way around. Israel has to defend a rap sheet riddled with language George Orwell wrote off as language,

"Designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind".

In Politics and the English Language,” Orwell took aim at buzz words intended to hide the truth rather than tell it. No post-Oct 7 buzz word comes close to ‘Genocide’ in volume and frequency. Orwell may as well have predicted this when he denigrated the buzz word of his era: “The word ‘Fascism’ has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’.”

It’s the turn of ‘Genocide to mean ‘something not desirable’. The ruling clique of South Africa (to all intents and purposes a criminal syndicate), deems it not desirable for Israel to dismantle Hamas, an alliance partner in crime.

Noam Chomsky said much the same thing. The linguist, activist and Professor at MIT observed that words are used for a tactical purpose. Radicals use words not for communication but for provoking an effect, said Chomsky. Contradictions and lies are not the issue. Every statement, he said, is uttered only for an anticipated effect.

Decadent language, Orwell and Chomsky may have deduced, makes for a decadent trial in The Hague. But Mickey Mouse trial or not, Israel is immersed in one arguably more consequential than the Adolph Eichmann trial in Jerusalem six decades ago. The trial is again about genocide, only now Israel is the defendant in the dock.

The international panel of jurists will deliberate to what extent the war on Hamas (effectively on Gaza) meets the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention. In Article II genocide is defined as acts, “Committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” (My highlight)

At this point jurisprudence promises to give way to decadence. From this point on let Israel beware of kangaroo court pirates boarding the ICJ. No – it is not about the “blood libel” as Eylon Levy, a furious spokesman for Israel, called it. And no – it is not about Prime Minister, ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu and the head of Tel Aviv University,voicing a genocidal intent by invoking the Old Testament injunction to, “Remember what Amalek did to you.” We remember”, said Netanyahu, “and we fight,” and he quoted the 25th chapter of Deuteronomy:

“And it shall be, when the Lord your God grants you respite from all your enemies around in the land that the Lord your God is about to give you in estate to take hold of it, you shall wipe out the remembrances of Amalek from under the heavens. You shall not forget.”

Amalek, lest we do forget, was a tribe of murderous raiders who inhabited the Negev not far from the Gaza Strip. Amalek makes later appearances in the Book of Judges, first when it loots livestock and ravages crops as far as the city of Gaza; and then in 1.Samuel, yanking back our thoughts to the black Sabbath on Oct 7. David, then a rebel against King Saul, moved his fighters out of the base at Tziklag, upon which the Amalekites

“struck Tziklag and burned it in fire. And they took the women captive, from the oldest to the youngest, putting none to death, and drove them off and went their way. And David and his men with him came to the town and behold, it was burned on fire, and their wives and their sons and their daughters were taken captive. And David and the troops who were with him raised their voices and wept until there was no strength left for them to weep.”

At least the Amalekites did not stoop to murder women and children. This however cuts no ice with the Jewish element which fervently prays for South Africa to win the case at The Hague. Peter Beinart, not just an enemy of Israel who called for the end of it as a Jewish state, but avowedly observant, said that,

“The wisdom of rabbinic tradition was to declare that we no longer know who Amalek is because that restrains the genocidal plain meaning of the biblical text. So in claiming that he knows who Amalek is, [Netanyahu] is undoing the moral scaffolding created by Jewish tradition and asserting a biblical literalism that is alien to the Judaism of the last 2,000 and . . is frankly terrifying.”

We must beg Beinart to stop right there. And sorry to burst his bubble, but the late eminent Rabbi J.B. Solovetchik, said that any enemy in every generation who wishes to destroy the Jews is termed Amalek. Beinart, though, has taken the bait. He has pursued the red herring, and guffaws accompany his impetuous chase after that wily though smelly fish.

You see, Hamas is an organisation. An ideology, if you want. But Hamas is not, to quote the UN Convention on Genocide: “a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” So when Netanyahu compared Hamas to Amalek he was calling for the extermination of an organization and its ideology.

The IDF went into Gaza for that purpose. And well it should exterminate Hamas whose ideology demands that it exterminates the Jewish people.

Israel may be setting itself up for a kangaroo trial. That’s why it never before engaged with libellous accusations at international forums. This time it’s different. Spokespeople for Israel explain that a charge of genocide is too great to ignore for a state born to the Mother of all genocides. Fine – provided the Israel team remembers. No – not Amalek; remembers Jean-Paul Sartre. The Frenchman, a non-Jew who lived through the Holocaust, can warn the Israel team what to look out for.

“The anti-Semite chooses to devaluate words and reason. His remarks are absurd: He is aware of the absurdity and knows that he is being frivolous. But the anti-Semite amuses himself, for his adversary has to counter him by using words responsibly. By making ridiculous remarks he tries to discredit the seriousness of his adversary. The anti-Semite also delights in acting in bad faith, seeking not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert.”

Let Israel beware: the wilder the charges, the greater the tactical advantage for drooling antisemites gathered for a hate fest at The Hague.

Steve Apfel is a veteran authority on anti-Zionism and a prolific author in general. His works have appeared in Gatestone. American Spectator. Jerusalem Post. Jerusalem Post, Christian Edition. Israel National News. LA Jewish Journal. American Thinker. Commentator. Israel Affairs. After “Hadrian’s Echo: The why’s and wherefores of Israel’s critics,” his latest book, “Hitlers at Heart: anti-Zionism and its Believers” will be out in 2024. Selections of Steve’s work can be accessed at and at