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Opinion: Why is Nikki Haley scrawling genocidal messages on Israeli bombs?

Haley writing ‘finish them’ on an Israeli bomb is everything horrific about the US elite’s morally empty foreign policy

‘Rather than pursue the path of justice to bring about a sustained peace … Haley chose to write a sociopathic message on the weapons that have been used to kill an estimated 15,000 Palestinian children.' [Eduardo Muñoz | Getty Images]

This past Sunday night, an Israeli assault struck displaced Palestinians sheltering in tents outside of Rafah, in northern Gaza. The barrage killed at least 45 people in a hellish blaze, according to medics and witnesses, with many of the dead children charred or dismembered beyond recognition. “We pulled out children who were in pieces,” Mohammed Abuassa, who rushed to the scene, told the Associated Press. “The fire in the camp was unreal,” he said. The strike provoked another round of international outrage at Israel’s actions in Gaza. (Israel says it’s investigating.)

Not long after, on Tuesday, the former Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was all over social media for a picture taken of her during a visit to Israel. In the picture, Haley – the one Republican who had been frequently lauded for her smarts on foreign policy – is seen squatting down in front of a row of Israeli artillery shells, likely provided by the United States, with pen in hand. “Finish them,” she wrote on one of the shells.

The evidence indicates that Nikki Haley can write, but one must wonder if she can read. For months, report after report by international human rights organizations and jurists have documented one Israeli war crime after another. South Africa has petitioned the UN’s top court, the international court of justice, three times to compel Israel to stop its current campaign in Gaza on the grounds that Israel is committing the crime of all crimes, genocide. Each time, the court has generally (and overwhelmingly) ruled in South Africa’s favor, the latest ruling being a call that Israel cease its current campaign in Rafah.

Meanwhile, the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court is also seeking arrest warrants for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Israeli minister of defense, Yoav Gallant, along with the Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh, for crimes against humanity.

Rather than pursue the path of justice to bring about a sustained peace, a position that would befit a former US ambassador to the United Nations (which she is), Haley chooses to venerate the Israeli war machine by literally writing a sociopathic message on the weapons that have repeatedly been used to kill an estimated 15,000 Palestinian children over more than seven months.

Haley is hardly unique, either. Hers is the position of the American ruling class. “Biden provides the shells. Republicans autograph them,” the Greek political commentator Yanis Varoufakis noted on X, also known as Twitter. “The US political class is united in its complicity with this genocide.”

What makes this genocidal unity of Democrat and Republican all the more horrific and rage-inducing is that, despite the war-mongering messages emanating from America’s politicians and media pundits, all the polls repeatedly show that the American people want a ceasefire in Gaza, not a genocide. One of the latest surveys, a Data for Progress poll published in early May, found that seven out of 10 likely voters “support the US calling for a permanent ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence in Gaza”. This position was endorsed by majorities of Democrats (83%), independents (65%) and Republicans (56%).

But you won’t hear such a position from either the Democratic or Republican leadership, even if their voters endorse it. Instead, we get the same tired politics and predictable genuflections to party at the price of basic morality. Why should we expect anything different? After all, Haley recently announced that she would vote for Donald Trump for president after having previously called him “unhinged” and “not qualified”. The Biden administration’s cynical support for Israel – while Biden’s so-called “red line” to Israel’s invasion of Rafah evaporates like disappearing ink – is even worse behavior.

But principles still matter. To that point, the US-based Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention speaks more for Americans than the very politicians we have elected to represent us. On the same day that Haley was signing bombs as if they were love letters, the institute posted their own statement on social media.

“Let us be clear: Israel is committing genocide in Gaza,” the institute said. “The US is complicit in genocide. These are not political statements. They are statements that are made from knowledge and experience. Nevertheless, you do not need a PhD, a law degree, or X-ray vision to see the genocidal dimensions of Israel’s carnage in Gaza.”

The institute concluded their position this way: “Humanity has a choice: Either we decide that our children can all be killed whenever a superior force alleges that ‘terrorists’ are among us, or we decide that under no circumstances will we allow these superior forces to lay waste to our world any longer. We each must choose and act accordingly. The watershed moment is now.”

The Lemkin Institute exhibits the kind of moral clarity that we must demand from our leaders. If we don’t, the Nikki Haleys of this world will be signing more than bombs. By endorsing the genocide that the people don’t support, these politicians are also signing the death certificate of our own democracy.


© 2024, The Guardian


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