Introducing the Global Hall of Shame, Deflection & Denialism

Introducing the Global Hall of Shame, Deflection & Denialism June 8, 2024

Did you know that the United Nations has a blacklist of countries that harm children in conflict?

Me neither.

The list includes Afghanistan, Congo, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and groups such as Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram.

Soon, it will also include Israel (as well as Hamas).

Reuters reports: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has added Israel’s military to a global list of offenders for committing violations against children in 2023. The global list is included in a report on children and armed conflict that Guterres is due to submit to the U.N. Security Council on June 14.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will also reportedly be listed.

Israel’s U.N. envoy Gilad Erdan said he was officially notified of the decision on Friday. “I am utterly shocked and disgusted by this shameful decision of the Secretary-General,” said Erdan. “Israel’s army is the most moral army in the world, so this immoral decision will only aid the terrorists and reward Hamas.”

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the decision “will have consequences for Israel’s relations with the U.N.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that the UN had “added itself to the black list of history when it joined those who support the Hamas murderers.”

Strong words indeed, gentlemen.

Also unconvincing words. Let’s take just a moment to look at each of these statements:

A photograph of the strike aftermath from Oct. 31 shows people gathering around multiple large craters amid destroyed buildings
A photograph of the strike aftermath from Oct. 31, 2023 shows people gathering around multiple large craters amid destroyed buildings.

“Israel’s army is the most moral army in the world.”

The superlative morality of the Israeli military has always been a myth. The fact that these Israeli leaders continue to repeat it with a straight face shows either how utterly brainwashed they are, or how gullible they think we are (many of us are indeed that gullible).

It says a lot about us if we believe that a a country being charged with genocide, whose leaders are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, whose military has slaughtered over 15,000 children – is a moral army.

“This immoral decision [blacklisting Israel] will only aid the terrorists and reward Hamas.” 

“Rewarding Hamas” is one of the latest in a string of mantras the pro-Israel crowd repeats endlessly.

First of all, the use of the word “terrorist” for a group that resists occupation and oppression is a political, not a fact-based choice. For example, the Nazis considered Jews who participated in resistance against their annihilation to be terrorists.

Focusing on Hamas, the alleged “bad guys,” at this moment distracts from the fact that Israel kills massive numbers of children. We mustn’t lose sight of that. International organizations do not employ loaded words – genocide, war crime, crime against humanity, apartheid – casually. These labels are based on research and documentation. Israel rarely if ever actually addresses the evidence behind the accusations; instead, it attacks the messenger.

Calling out Israel for its crimes won’t help Hamas – it will help Palestinian children. Resenting the UN for wanting to help Palestinian children simply proves the UN’s point.

The decision [to blacklist Israel] “will have consequences for Israel’s relations with the U.N.”

This is meaningless, and is not keeping anyone up at night. Israel already claims the UN is anti-Israel; its ambassadors regularly engage in hostile and cringe-y lectures. Prime Minister Netanyahu has himself engaged in theatrics from the podium.

The “consequence” that Israel is not talking about is the addition of its name to the list of shame. It’s not that they’ve forgotten about it – it’s that it wants us to forget.

The UN has “added itself to the blacklist of history when it joined those who support the Hamas murderers.”

First, Hamas is also on the blacklist. (Israel has killed over 15,500 Palestinian children since October 7th, and Hamas has killed, by Israel’s own count, a maximum of 38 – actually, some of them are known to have been killed by Israeli forces. What Hamas is doing on the same list with Israel is a matter for another day.)

Second, if Netanyahu thinks for a second that he won’t go down in history as a mass murderer, he is kidding himself. His actions and choices, not Hamas’ or the UN’s, brought Israel to this juncture. He and his military are rightly in the company of the leaders of Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram – and of course, the most stinging partner in crime, Hamas.

Hind Rajab: an ordinary girl whose story is both extraordinary and, sadly, all too ordinary.
Hind Rajab: an ordinary girl whose story is both extraordinary and, sadly, all too ordinary.

Let’s not lose sight of the real issue here: Israel is killing children – thousands and thousands of them.

The move to add Israel to the Hall of Shame comes nine years after the U.N. special envoy for children and armed conflict recommended that Israel and Hamas be added to the list for endangering children during the 2014 war in Gaza.

560 children were among more than 2,100 Palestinians killed. Zero Israeli children and 84 adults were killed.

If the UN had moved faster, putting Israel on the blacklist in 2014, thousands of Palestinian children could have been saved – that is, if Israel had responded with humility and decided to treat vulnerable lives with respect, not contempt.

Oh, and if the United States had lived up to its own ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all – instead of giving billions of dollars worth of weapons – we would find ourselves next to Israel on the blacklist of history, as we now surely are.

As I recently wrote, I have for the time being washed my hands of Christians who refuse to engage with the issue of Palestine, and for now (at least until the end of this horrific war) I will be writing about the significance of what is going on “over there” from a global and historic perspective.

I’m here for anyone who cares to have an intelligent conversation about reality, instead of living in a silo of confirmation bias.

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter. I write about the Palestine-Israel issue regularly, and other issues relevant to progressives or those considering becoming progressive. If you would like to comment on this post, please pop over to my Facebook page. All of my posts are there and open to constructive comment. I welcome your thoughts.

If you are interested, here are some of my earlier posts on the Palestine issue:

Further reading on the Palestine-Israel issue:

Posts about my Gazan family (in chronological order):

FEATURED IMAGE: by David Werbrouck, via Unsplash

Israel blacklist
About Kathryn Shihadah
I was raised as a conservative Christian, and was perfectly content to stay that way – until the day my stable, predictable world was rocked. A curtain was pulled back on conservative Christianity, and instead of ignoring the ugliness I saw, I confronted it. I began to ask questions I never thought I’d ask, and found answers I’d never expected. Old things began to fall away, and – behold! – the new me has come. What a gift to be a new, still-evolving creation. I found out that it’s better to look at the world through Progressive Lenses, with Grace-Colored Glasses. You can read more about the author here.

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