“Anything about us, without us, is against us.”
April 16, 2024 5:35 AM   Subscribe

There are clear continuities between the two German genocides. Many of the key elements of the Nazi system – the systematic extermination of peoples seen as racially inferior, racial laws, the concept of Lebensraum, the transportation of people in cattle trucks for forced labour in concentration camps – had been employed half a century earlier in South-West Africa. Heinrich Göring, the colonial governor of South-West Africa who tried to negotiate with Hendrik Witbooi, was Hermann Göring’s father.
–From the essay Three Genocides by forensic architect Eyal Weizman.
posted by Kattullus (23 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

You're now banned from travelling to Germany, kattullus
posted by infini at 6:11 AM on April 16 [8 favorites]

Such a well written article, with so many banger lines. This is absolutely chilling:
A photograph of the Kaiser looms over the diners. The wine is sent up from a cellar that was used as a prison during the genocide. The only cemetery in the area – well-tended and much visited – contains the remains of the German soldiers killed when attacking the Ovaherero in Waterberg. Few visitors to this breathtaking landscape realise that the cemetery stands on the ruins of the Kambazembi homesteads destroyed in August 1904. This fact, known to oral historians, was confirmed by a single old photograph of the village that we found in the Colonial Photography Archive in Frankfurt.
Thanks Kattullus!
posted by kmt at 6:30 AM on April 16 [12 favorites]

The OTA and NTLA slogan in the headline reminds me of the poesy of the Judge from Blood Meridian, though obviously affirming liberation/de-colonization instead of a declaration from a totalitarian madman:

"That which exists without my knowledge exists without my consent."
posted by KrampusQuick at 7:24 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

The mass killing of civilians in the context of war was already illegal under the terms of The Hague Convention of 1899 when both genocides were perpetrated; but since international law referred to wars between ‘civilised peoples’ this was taken to exclude colonial violence against Indigenous populations.
So this was an argument made in the past decade?

(Not that I wouldn't expect Canada and the US to make exactly the same argument in order to avoid legally binding responsibility.)
posted by clawsoon at 8:16 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

chavenet, I get a Forbidden notice at that link.

Thanks for posting this Kattullus. Eyal Weisman is one of the heroes of our age.
posted by mumimor at 8:19 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

chavenet, I get a Forbidden notice at that link.

huh, now I did too. Try this [PDF]
posted by chavenet at 8:22 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

re: the "(Re)visions of genocide" link: the site's checking the referrer and returning an error; if you copy'n'paste either link in a new tab they came up fine for me
posted by eschatonizer at 9:21 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

Hendrik Witbooi

What's the opposite of eponysterical?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:47 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

(archive link if anyone needs it)

Thanks for this Kattullus. A hard read but necessary and valuable.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:18 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Katullus, I’d never heard of Weizman or Forensic Architecture, and now I want to know about everything they’ve ever done. Thank you.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 1:06 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]

Elon emeralds from Zambia,
posted by hortense at 3:21 PM on April 16

Katullus, I’d never heard of Weizman or Forensic Architecture, and now I want to know about everything they’ve ever done. Thank you

Their OSINT-based reports that debunked or clarified numerous episodes during the current siege on Gaza has been very edifying and also shared in those threads.
posted by cendawanita at 5:04 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]

"There are ‘worrying similarities between what was played out in South-West Africa and what is being played out today in Gaza’, as Didier Fassin wrote a few weeks after 7 October. In both cases, the mass killing, destruction and displacements followed humiliating military defeats by people they thought to be inferior."

Not justifying the massacre in Gaza but who said Israel considers Palestinians inferior ?
posted by Narrative_Historian at 9:18 PM on April 16

posted by cendawanita at 9:36 PM on April 16 [11 favorites]

who said Israel considers Palestinians inferior

You might enjoy Adam Shatz's review of A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion. A couple relevant excerpts:
His own feeling was that Jewish women shouldn’t be allowed to marry Arab men ‘because as I see it an Arab is still not on the human level that I would want for a man who marries a Jewish woman.’


The first Arabs he met struck him as ‘goodhearted and friendly ... You could say that they are big children.’


...he met a group of wealthy Jews in New York to raise money for arms and equipment for the coming war of independence against the British. Rudolf Goldschmidt Sonneborn, his host, reassured the guests that the Arabs would be no obstacle to Zionist ambitions, since ‘the average of that race is inferior even to our average Negro.’


Ben-Gurion worried that if the Palestinian citizens of Israel could move freely, ‘those 600,000 or more refugees living on our borders will cross the border and enter the villages that have emptied.’ In public, he said that ‘keeping them isolated’ was for their own good, ‘just like the first reservations set up for Native Americans in the United States’.


Ben-Gurion was not a dictator, but he had a dictator’s ruthlessness, and the authority to impose his will while presenting it as political common sense – turning it into a nation’s ideology. He helped shape Israel’s distinctive mixture of technological futurism and religious chauvinism, procedural liberalism and ethnic discrimination; its cult of strength and contempt for weakness; its preference for military solutions and disdain for international law; its aggressive assertion of sovereignty (tempered only for the sake of continued superpower patronage); its weaponising of the Holocaust; and, not least, its racism towards Arabs and other non-whites.
posted by daveliepmann at 1:18 AM on April 17 [7 favorites]

who said Israel considers Palestinians inferior?

Netanyahu's January reference linking the Palestinians with Amalek, a biblical era group Israel has hated on for millenia. The use of Amalek has been used again and again to drive mass murder and atrocity.
posted by unearthed at 1:28 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]

In descending chronological order:

AP (Jan 2024): Harsh Israeli rhetoric against Palestinians becomes central to South Africa’s genocide case

Dawn MENA (Nov 2023): The language of genocide: How Israel dehumanises Palestinians
Today, Telegram channels of Israelis cheering on the destruction in Gaza appear to refer to Palestinians as ‘cockroaches’, ‘microbes’ and ‘pigs’. But they are only following the lead of those in power.

Announcing a ‘complete siege’ of Gaza two days after Hamas’ attack on Israel, the latter’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, was straightforward about his view of Palestinians. “There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel, everything will be closed. We are fighting against human animals and will act accordingly.”

Even this is a throwback to earlier comparisons. In a speech to the Knesset in 1983, then IDF chief of staff Raphael Eitan declared: “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”

When stereotypes of hate, rooted in fear, are taught to society, dehumanisation is no surprise. It is no surprise when right-wing Israelis at the annual Jerusalem flag march shout: “A good Arab is a dead Arab.”

It is no surprise when children sing:

“All the world hates the Arabs,

And the main thing is to kill them one by one!

With these feet I stepped on my enemy,

With these teeth I bit his skin,

With these lips I sucked his blood,

And I still haven’t had enough revenge.“

It is no surprise when, in the ongoing massacres of Gazan citizens, the deaths of thousands of Palestinians were turned into a mocking meme by Israeli TikTokers, complete with the exaggerated features of the ‘stereotypical Arab.’ Nor is it a surprise when Palestinians in the West Bank are rounded up and humiliated by Israeli soldiers and settlers — and when that too is turned into a grotesque meme.

Daily Sabah (Nov 2023): West's double standards on Israeli hate speech
The record of Israeli prime ministers and other Cabinet ministers on hate speech against the Palestinians goes back to the time when Israel was still under the British Mandate. The fact that they were not held responsible for their utterances led to many joining the hate speech barrage after 1948, which continues to this day.

In 1937, David Ben Gurion, the head of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Agency and the first prime minister of Israel, said: “We must expel the Arabs and take their places.”

In 1982, then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin said: “The Palestinians are beasts walking on two legs.”

Ariel Sharon, prime minister of Israel from 2001 to 2006, said: “I wanted to encourage my soldiers by raping Arab girls as the Palestinian woman is a slave for Jews and we do what we want to her.”

In 2006, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: “Israeli lives are worth more than Palestinian ones.”

The racist Interior Minister Eli Yishai said in 2012: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for 40 years.”

“I already killed lots of Arabs in my life, and there is absolutely no problem with that,” former Prime Minister and leader of the far-right Jewish Home Party Naftali Bennett said in 2013.

In 2015, former Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: “Those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe.”

In 2016, the leader of the opposition and a member of the Yesh Atid Party, Yair Lapid, said: “We need to get the Palestinians out of our lives. What we have to do is build a high wall and get them out of our sight.”

Far-right former Justice Minister and later Interior Minister Ayelet Shakid said in 2017: “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

A retired army general and minister without portfolio, Benny Gantz said in 2019, after the Israel-Gaza clashes: “Parts of Gaza were sent back to the Stone Age.”

In 2012, far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said: “You are here by mistake – because Ben Gurion didn’t finish the job and throw you out in 1948.”

In March, he also said: “After 2,000 years, God is gathering His people. The people of Israel are returning home. The Arabs don’t like it. They invent fictitious people and claim fictitious rights to the land only to fight Zionism.”

PBS (March 2023): ‘No such thing’ as Palestinian people, top Israeli minister says
The development came a day after an Israeli and Palestinian delegation at a meeting in Egypt, mediated by Egyptian, Jordanian and U.S. officials, pledged to take steps to lower tensions roiling the region ahead of a sensitive holiday season.

It reflected the limited influence the Biden administration appears to have over Israel’s new far-right government and raised questions about attempts to lower tensions, both inside Israel and with the Palestinians, ahead of a sensitive holiday season.

As the negotiators were issuing a joint communique, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich delivered a speech in Paris saying the notion of a Palestinian people was artificial.

“There is no such thing as a Palestinian nation. There is no Palestinian history. There is no Palestinian language,” he said in France late Sunday. He spoke at a lectern draped with what appeared to be an image showing the map of Israel that included the occupied West Bank, Gaza and Jordan.

The Intercept (March 2023): Anti-Palestinian Hate on Social Media Is Growing, Says a Facebook Partner

Social media users in Israel are increasingly using platforms like Facebook and Instagram to launch hate speech at Palestinians.

Violent and racist anti-Palestinian rhetoric grew more prevalent across social media platforms last year, according to a new report published by 7amleh, an organization that partners with Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook.

Hateful anti-Palestinian remarks grew by 10 percent in 2022, compared to the prior year, according to the new report, based on an aggregated analysis of mentions of “Arabs,” “Palestinians,” and related keywords by Israeli social media users. 7amleh attributes the increase to a spate of real-world violence, including the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and Israeli military raids at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. As The Intercept previously reported, 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since the end of the Second Intifada, with 2023 already on track to surpass that toll.

Al-Jazeera (Aug 2022): Why Israel hates the Palestinians so much
Israel especially fears Palestinian mothers bearing new babies, which it calls a “demographic threat”. Echoing this national Israeli obsession with Palestinian procreation, a historian warned 12 years ago that demography is a threat to the survival of the Jewish state much like a nuclear Iran, for example, because in his view, Palestinians could become a majority by 2040-2050.

Fear is also instrumental for a garrison state like Israel, known as “an army with a country attached”. In a book summarising his decades-long experience in Israel, an American journalist noted that: “Today’s government stirs up fears, most of them imaginary or at least wildly exaggerated, painting Israel as an isolated, lonely, threatened, little country, always on the defensive, always on the lookout for the next sign of hate somewhere, eager to overreact.”

In sum, fear generates hatred because, in the words of another Israeli observer, a state that is always afraid cannot be free; a state that is shaped by militant messianism and ugly racism, against the indigenous people of the land, cannot be truly independent either.

The Conversation (Oct 2020): How secular Israeli millennials feel about Palestinians
Researchers have criticised hiloni millennials for being self-absorbed, not committed to Israel’s future. But I found they had a great sense of responsibility. Many felt a heroic idea of themselves as reasonable, moderate and socially responsible. Across the political spectrum, they thought of themselves as reasonable, as what I call “fulcrum citizens”, balancing out extremists – including violent religious nationalist Palestinians and Jewish-Israelis. One man in his mid 20s, Tamer* told me:

Being moderate allows you to do more for people. Pragmatism is very important in life. Where there is no pragmatism there is no progress.

But the political impact of feeling reasonable has been double-edged. Even those who described themselves as left-wing and ultimately against the occupation, saw continuing occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel “for now” as “reasonable if regrettable”.

Ruth, also in her 20s, the child of Oslo-era activists, told me why fewer of her generation were fighting against the occupation.

I’m kind of hopeless actually. I think we’re stuck … We’re really numb … Our life is too good. We have too much to lose. If I want to intern at the UN, you don’t want to get caught at a protest and have a police file. We’re like yeah, (occupation) sucks but (fighting) it is too risky.

This finding is consistent with post-Oslo public opinion polls since 2000. These show that while half of Jewish-Israelis are open to peace with Arab states (such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan), they do not prioritise the protection of Palestinian human rights under international law.

APC (March 2019): New index on racism against Palestinians on social media
Every 66 seconds a post inciting hatred against Palestinians was shared on social media platforms in 2018. Almost half a million calls for violent actions and racist slurs were registered. From all the posts mentioning the term “Arabs”, 1 out of 10 contain an insult or an invitation to violence against Palestinians. These are some of the revelations included in the Index of Racism and Incitement in Israeli Social Media 2018, launched by APC member 7amleh-The Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, which received an APC project grant in 2018.

The index shows shows a huge rise in incitement and racism against Palestinians on social networks between 2017 and 2018, with the most hate being directed at Palestinian members of the Israeli legislative body, Knesset, and their political parties in Israel during the discussions and passing of the Nation-State Law, which guarantees rights to Jewish citizens only. There was also an increase in incitement against influential Palestinian citizens of Israel on Israeli media, such as renowned media figure Lucy Harish.

posted by cendawanita at 1:57 AM on April 17 [8 favorites]

I really am serious about wanting a deep, lengthy expose on how Israeli media is selling all of this to the people of Israel. The reason everyone thinks they're comitting genocide is because they keep telling us that's what they want.

I wonder if this will help put to bed the idea of the innocent German civilian who didn't keep up with the papers and didn't notice the Holocaust. Israel has orders of magnitude more access to media and it doesn't appear to matter.
posted by Audreynachrome at 2:08 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]

“Ariel Sharon, prime minister of Israel from 2001 to 2006, said: ‘I wanted to encourage my soldiers by raping Arab girls as the Palestinian woman is a slave for Jews and we do what we want to her.’”

This is a false quote. It is attributed to an interview Sharon did with a General Ouze Merham, who never existed. This has been circulating since Sharon’s term as prime minister. Here’s a correction from back then. Unfortunately, it keeps circulating.
posted by Kattullus at 8:00 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]

Oops! I also meant to link to the original correction that the others reference.
posted by Kattullus at 8:09 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]

Thanks for that! at least we can strike that horrid quote off of the list.
posted by cendawanita at 8:14 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]

Gaza's IVF embryos destroyed by Israeli strike

"We know deeply what these 5,000 lives, or potential lives, meant for the parents, either for the future or for the past,"

let there be no doubt
what this is all about
posted by infini at 11:31 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]

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