Perpetrating a massacre in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a backlash at home and from the international community. As President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned Netanyahu that he was destined to lose power, a prominent member of the Israeli opposition, Yair Lapid, argued that the time had come to replace the Israeli prime minister and form a new government.
Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who already faced strong opposition before Oct. 7, faces a barrage of heavy criticism at home from observers questioning how Hamas was able to carry out such a significant attack.
The Israeli prime minister is expected abroad to answer for the crimes committed by the Israeli military in Gaza. Indeed, United Nations officials repeatedly stated that there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that Netanyahu’s government had been perpetrating a “genocide” in Gaza. People across the West have been staging pro-Palestine protests despite various bans, questioning the legitimacy of their governments.
Challenges in Mideast diplomacy
Meanwhile, in the United States, an increasing number of observers have been noting that the Biden administration was unable to successfully negotiate with Netanyahu and does not have a plan for the future of Gaza. At the same time, U.S. media outlets warn that Russia has strengthened its influence over the Middle East since Oct. 7.
U.S. President Joe Biden faces mounting criticism from young people, the Black community and Muslims over his excessively pro-Israel policy. More and more people seem to believe that Washington’s failure to rein in the Israeli prime minister takes a toll on its claim to global leadership, undermines its values and norms and, most importantly, hurts American interests.
Against that backdrop, Western public opinion remains divided between Israel and Palestine, experiencing a philosophical-political crisis. As some Western countries refuse to acknowledge the collapse or heed the warnings of the U.N. entities playing a crucial role in Gaza, Germany has distinguished itself in the most negative sense.
Whereas politicians in many European countries have finally brought themselves to urge Israel to stop, Germany remains Israel’s strongest supporter. Indeed, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, responding to President Erdoğan’s criticism of Israel, had no problem saying that Israel was a democracy and a country that respects and conducts itself according to human rights and international law – which is why, Scholz added, the accusations against Israel were nonsense.
The head of the German government actually made that statement as the U.N. accused Israel of perpetrating a genocide and warned that Gaza had turned into a graveyard for children.
Another manifestation of the Holocaust’s heavy toll on the German psyche came from Jürgen Habermas, a prominent member of the Frankfurt School, who joined three German thinkers to support Israel’s “legitimate” right to self-defense, opposing the description of what is happening in Gaza as genocide and claiming that defending Israel was Germany’s democratic ethos.
That Habermas signed a declaration, which did not mention the Israeli occupation at all, was widely seen as a defense of Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government, as opposed to a defense of the Jewish community. Indeed, Alex Callinicos, a member of the British Socialist Workers Party’s central committee, argued that the declaration marked the official death of critical theory because Habermas and the others rejected Israel’s genocidal intent even though the Israeli ministers repeatedly talked about their intentions.
Fortunately, there are some conscientious citizens in London, Paris and other European capitals who have staged pro-Palestinian protests despite the shameful silence of their governments in the face of this massacre. That is what keeps anyone from announcing the official death of the West.