What can one say when a religious zealot in a government controlling nuclear weapons declares that a nuke could be dropped on a population of approximately two million in a nearby city? Perhaps the word that describes this type of nuclear zealotry is “nuts”, not “metaphorical”. Who is Amihai Eliyahu? And who are the “Amalek” being referred to in harshest of terms?
Editor: In reference to the term “Amalek” that has been used in statements of the Israeli government officials and others, the NY Times subsequently ran an article that spoke to this issue and larger questions of violence being exerted.
Here is the “Guest Essay, Opinion of Omer Bartov. Mr. Bartov is a professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Brown University, published by the NY Times five days after the Nov. 5th StratDem article.
What I Believe as a Historian of Genocide
We know from history that it is crucial to warn of the potential for genocide beforehand rather than condemn it afterward. We still have that time.
Nov. 10, 2023 | Link to the NY Times Article [unlocked]
Israeli military operations have created an untenable humanitarian crisis, which will only worsen over time. But are Israel’s actions — as the nation’s opponents argue — verging on ethnic cleansing or, most explosively, genocide?
As a historian of genocide, I believe that there is no proof that genocide is currently taking place in Gaza, although it is very likely that war crimes, and even crimes against humanity, are happening. That means two important things: First, we need to define what it is that we are seeing, and second, we have the chance to stop the situation before it gets worse…
My greatest concern watching the Israel-Gaza war unfold is that there is genocidal intent, which can easily tip into genocidal action. On Oct. 7, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Gazans would pay a “huge price” for the actions of Hamas and that the Israel Defense Forces, or I.D.F., would turn parts of Gaza’s densely populated urban centers “into rubble.” On Oct. 28, he added, citing Deuteronomy, “You must remember what Amalek did to you.” As many Israelis know, in revenge for the attack by Amalek, the Bible calls to “kill alike men and women, infants and sucklings.”
The deeply alarming language does not end there. On Oct. 9, Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said, “We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” a statement indicating dehumanization, which has genocidal echoes. The next day, the head of the Israeli Army’s coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, addressed the population of Gaza in Arabic: “Human animals must be treated as such,” he said, adding: “There will be no electricity and no water. There will only be destruction. You wanted hell, you will get hell.”
The same day, retired Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland wrote in the daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, “The State of Israel has no choice but to turn Gaza into a place that is temporarily or permanently impossible to live in.” He added, “Creating a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a necessary means to achieving the goal.” In another article, he wrote that “Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist.” Apparently, no army representative or politician denounced this statement.
Published / November 5, 2023
Threats of nuclear use and talk of nuclear weapons being dropped have consequences — ‘quid pro quo’, in this case, a regional nuclear arms race accelerating international tensions and worldwide concern as nuclear arms controls collapse and threats of use multiply
In this nuclear arena, the ‘ambiguous’ stance of Israel as to its status as a nuclear weapons power has again been put under a light. Since the nation’s widely recognized nuclear breakout many years ago, accompanied by decades of advancement in land/sea and air nuclear weapons delivery systems, a minister of the Netenyahu government confirms the Israeli nuclear arsenal — and goes further, threatening nuclear use.
Prime Minister Netenyahu’s response publicly, to suspend the minister from ‘war cabinets talks’ (though disputed in news accounts), is far from reassuring. One might ask — “so what?” The world can ask, did the minister talk of a tactical nuke and ‘surgical precision’, or threaten nukes being used in Lebanon to pave the way for a land invasion? Did the minister threaten to nuke arch-enemy Iran?
The current right-wing, ‘religious’ government who swept into power, keeping Prime Minister Netenyahu in power, met deep protest among the Israeli population yet minister Amihai Eliyahu seems to feel empowered now… as he opens a proverbial box releasing problems known and unknown.
It’s a Prometheus moment, in fact, shades of Oppenheimer and the first use of the Bomb followed by decades of nuclear weapons development, deployment — and threatened annihalation. Amihai Eliyahu, Israel’s ‘Heritage Minister’, accompanied with zealot biblical threats is, in present times, accelerating a 3.0 nuclear arms race…
Moscow’s reaction came on Nov. 7, days after Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu, said during a radio interview, that the nuclear option would be “one way” to deal with Gaza…
Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, said that the main issue was that Israel appeared to have admitted that it had nuclear weapons.
“Question number one – it turns out that we are hearing official statements about the presence of nuclear weapons?” Zakharova is quoted as saying by state RIA news agency.
If so, she said, then where are the International Atomic Energy Agency and international nuclear inspectors?
The Federation of American Scientists estimates Israel has about 90 nuclear warheads.
On Monday, the United States condemned Eliyahu’s comments as “wholly unacceptable”. (Via Aljazeera.com/news)