Mearsheimer: China cements diplomatic role as Palestinian genocide isolates US, Israel

Jan 27, 2024
Israeli-Palestinian War

John Mearsheimer, in an interview, also argues South Africa’s case of genocide against Israel before the ICJ will further isolate the Jewish state and the US, while Palestinians face the bleak prospect of apartheid or ethnic cleansing.

What do you think about South Africa’s case of genocide against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)? Is it convincing?

I listened to the South African case as it was presented from start to finish. I thought the team did an excellent job. It was done very professionally. I found nothing in the presentation that was really surprising because they issued an 84-page report beforehand that I had read. And the presentation made by the South African team corresponded quite closely with that.

What about Israel’s defence?

I had not known what they were going to say because the Israelis did not present any document beforehand. Nevertheless, I anticipated what they would say would reflect their talking points over the past few months at great length in the West.

They did not disappoint me. What the Israelis argued was not surprising for the most part. My view going in, which is that the Israelis are in the process of waging a genocide against the Palestinians, is the same view I left with after hearing the Israelis.

The ICJ case clearly has an impact on how the world, global opinion, views Israel, the Israel-US relationship and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. What do you see are the implications for these three factors?

For the Israelis, this was a disastrous situation because here you have a state, a Jewish state, and in light of the Holocaust, to be accused of genocide is absolutely terrible.

Furthermore, when you look at the evidence that the South Africans brought forth, it was massive and in my opinion, it was compelling. Even if you don’t believe it’s genocide, it’s at least mass murder. This will be permanently a moral stain on Israel’s reputation. That’s why the Israelis are fighting it so rigorously.

For the Americans, the problem is that they are basically complicit in this genocide; not only the weapons but also the diplomatic support. The United States protects the Israelis at every turn on the diplomatic front, and in terms of economic assistance. So you can make the case that If the Israelis are guilty, we are complicit. This is a huge problem for us, [not only] for our moral reputation, but also in terms of diplomacy.

The United States has a deep-seated interest in having good relations with other countries around the world and having other countries think we play by the rules, that we play fair and square and so on. This [ICJ case] certainly cuts into that.

From the Palestinians’ point of view, they are simply desperate for help. Anything that they can get to help them to get out of this horrendous situation they are in would be welcome. The Palestinians are hoping that something good comes out of this to alleviate their suffering.


First published by the South China Morning Post January 22, 2024

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