Old Testament And The War Crime In Gaza: Re-visiting
24 December 2009
By Gilad Atzmon
To mark one year to the Israeli Christmas Massacre I
re-post a text I wrote in early January 2009.
Published originally on Jan 8 2009 as:
'The Old Testament and the Genocide in Gaza'
"You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by
the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a
hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand
to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before
you.”Leviticus, Chapter 26, verses 7-9
"When the Lord your God brings you into the land you
are entering to possess and drives out before you many
nations…then you must destroy them totally. Make no
treaty with them and show them no mercy.”Deuteronomy
"…do not leave alive anything that breathes.
Completely destroy them…as the Lord your God has
commanded you…” Deuteronomy 20:16
There is not much doubt amongst Biblical scholars that
the Hebrew Bible contains some highly charged
non-ethical suggestions, some of which are no less
than a call for a genocide. Biblical scholar Raymund
Schwagerhas found in the Old Testament 600 passages of
explicit violence, 1000 descriptive verses of God's
own violent actions of punishment, 100 passages where
God expressly commands others to kill people.
Apparently, violence is the most often mentioned
activity in the Hebrew Bible.
As devastating as it may be, the Hebrew Bible
saturation with violence and extermination of others
may throw some light over the horrifying genocide
conducted in Gaza by the Jewish state. In broad
daylight, the IDF was using the most lethal methods
against civilians as if their main objective is to
‘destroy’ the Gazans while showing ‘no mercy’
Interestingly enough, Israel regards itself as a
secular state. Ehud Barak is not exactly a qualified
Rabbi and Tzipi Livni is not a Rabbi’s wife.
Accordingly, we are entitled to assume that it isn’t
actually Judaism per se that directly transforms
Israeli politicians and military leaders into war
criminals. Moreover, early Zionists believed that
within a national home Jews would become 'people like
all other people', i.e., civilised and ethical.
In that very respect, Israeli reality is pretty
peculiar. The Hebraic secular Jews may have managed to
drop their God, most of them do not follow Judaic law,
they are largely secular, and yet 94% of them
interpret their Jewish identity as a genocidal
mission. They have successfully managed to transform
the Bible from being a spiritual text into a
bloodsoaked land registry. They are there, in Zion
i.e., Palestine, to invade the land and to lock up,
starve and destroy its indigenous habitants.
Accordingly, it seems as if the artillery commanders
and IAF pilots that erased northern Gaza were
following Deuteronomy 20:16 they indeed did ".. not
leave alive anything that breathes.” And yet, one
question is left open. Why should a secular commander
follow Deuteronomy verses or any other Biblical text?
Some very few sporadic Jewish voices within the left
are insisting upon telling us that Jewishness is not
necessarily inherently murderous. I tend to believe
them that they themselves consider their words as
genuine and truthful. But then one may wonder, what is
it that makes the Jewish state brutal with no
The truth of the matter is actually pretty sad. As far
as we can see, Zionism is the only secular ideological
and political Jewish collective around and as it
happens, it has proved once again that it is genocidal
to the bone. As far as genocide is concerned the
difference between Judaism and Zionism can be
illustrated as follows: while the Judaic Biblical
context is soaked with genocidal references, usually
in the name of God, within the Zionist context, Jews
are killing Palestinians in the name of themselves
i.e., the ‘Jewish people’. This is indeed the ultimate
success of the Zionist revolution. It taught the Jews
to believe in themselves. To believe in the Jewish
state. ‘The Israeli’ is Israel’s God.
Accordingly, the Israeli kills in the name of ‘his or
her security’, in the name of ‘his or her democracy’.
The Israelis destroy in the name of ‘their war against
terror’ and in the name the ‘their America’.
Seemingly, in the Jewish state, the Hebraic subject
reverts to mass killing as soon as he finds a ‘name’
to associate with.This doesn’t really leave us too
much room for speculation. The Jewish state is the
ultimate threat to humanity and our notion of
Christianity, Islam and humanism came along with an
attempt to amend Jewish tribal fundamentalism and to
replace it with universal ethics. Enlightenment,
liberalism and emancipation allowed Jews to redeem
themselves from their ancient tribal supremacist
traits. Since the mid 19th century, many Jews had been
breaking out of their cultural and tribal chain.
Tragically enough, Zionism managed to pull many Jews
Currently, Israel and Zionism are the only collective
voice available for Jews. The merciless offensive
against the Palestinian civilian population does not
leave any room for doubt. Israel is the gravest danger
to world peace. Clearly the nations made a tragic
mistake in 1947 giving an emerging volatile racially
orientated identity an opportunity to set itself into
a national state. However, the nations’ duty now is to
peacefully dismantle that state before it is too late.
We must do it before the Jewish state and its forceful
lobbies around the world manage to pull us all into a
global war in the ‘name’ of one banal populist
ideology or another (democracy, war against terror,
cultural clash and so on). We have to wake up now
before our one and only planet is transformed into a
bursting boil of hatred.