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War on Gaza: Who's afraid of Francesca Albanese?  

The UN special rapporteur on Palestine has delivered a precise and damning report on the 'anatomy of a genocide' - so Israel's supporters are rushing to discredit it
Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on Palestine, attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on 27 March 2024 (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)
Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on Palestine, attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on 27 March 2024 (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, is a legal scholar, the first woman to hold this pivotal position, and an all-round pain in the neck for genocidal Zionists from Tel Aviv to London to New York.

Today, she is the voice of the global conscience speaking truth to the vulgar warmongers committing atrocities in Gaza.  

The bold, brilliant and thoroughly researched report Albanese recently issued, aptly titled “Anatomy of a Genocide”, has inspired much admiration around the globe for her tireless work - but also horror and fury among Zionists who do not want Israel’s genocide in Palestine to have such an eloquent, precise and detailed account.  

This is the second such account after the one prepared by South Africa’s legal team against the unfolding Israeli genocide at the International Court of Justice. That equally compelling document now foregrounds Albanese’s report as two solid records holding the Israeli settler colony to account for the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people.  

Fooled and deluded by the Israel lobby in the US, and by western media propaganda, genocidal Zionists might be under the illusion that like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand, the world is blind to the Israeli state’s savagery in Palestine - especially as the lobby has bought and paid for American politicians, who continue to procure weapons that fuel this horror.

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Reports such as the one from Albanese, and legal documents such as that of South Africa, comprise a global indictment against a morally depraved and politically bankrupt ideology of theft, murder and mayhem, which lies at the roots of the Israeli settler colony. 

Albanese’s report is detailed and breathtaking, a stellar document of professional integrity and exquisite research. “The overwhelming nature and scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza and the destructive conditions of life it has inflicted reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group,” the report solemnly concludes.

Facts on the ground

The report cites “reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating the commission of the following acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza has been met: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to groups’ members; and deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”. 

The legal language of the document is measured and emotionless: “Genocidal acts were approved and given effect following statements of genocidal intent issued by senior military and government officials.”  

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What drives Albanese in this report are the facts on the ground, including children and their parents slaughtered in broad daylight. From Netanyahu in his garrison state, to the American and European leaders who have backed him, all are implicated in this historic report.

Israel, Europe and the US must never be let off this hook. Schools and colleges around the world must begin to teach these documents

The recent book by Albanese and co-author Lex Takkenberg, Palestinian Refugees in International Law, provides a solid understanding of the scholarly and legal foundations of this short report, debunking Zionist propaganda machinery in Europe and the US.  

The reactions of Israeli, US and European officials to this report were, of course, threadbare and cliched. The report was reduced to its author, with critics declaring her an “antisemite”, questioning her research and diminishing her scholarship.

The BBC, the enduring voice of British colonialism around the globe, went into high gear: “Many Israelis, too, are likely to be shocked. And the suggestion of genocide, towards a state which was founded as a direct result of Nazi Germany’s genocide of Jews, will cause deep offence.” 

Many Zionists are reacting like juvenile members of a debate club, entirely new to a subject as they rush to cram and prepare for a televised debate, ignorant of the facts on the ground - or worse still, dismissing them. Indeed, Albanese has stirred up hornets’ nest.  

Truth versus propaganda

Still, the BBC feigned a ridiculous sense of balance: “Many will not like Francesca Albanese’s choice of words, but the content of her report will add to the pressure on Israel to change its strategy.” Strategy? Is genocide a strategy? And what exactly would a strategic change entail: continue to maim and murder Palestinians, but be gentle with it? The sheer inanity!

Ultimately, the BBC fuels the Israeli narrative that seeks to discredit the entire UN entity that commissioned this report: “Israel has for years been angered by the UN Human Rights Council’s agenda, which permanently devotes an entire section - Item 7 - to scrutiny of the situation in ‘Palestine and the other occupied Arab territories’.”  

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The article continues: “The agenda item was approved not by the UN itself, but by UN member states, decades ago, and has never expired. No other country in the world has permanent scrutiny like this, and Israel views it as discriminatory, and aimed at delegitimising Israel. It refuses to attend the council when Item 7 is under discussion.” 

The battle that we are witnessing over Albanese’s report is between truth, which echoes from South Africa to Ireland to Nicaragua to the UN on one side, and the desperate propaganda machinery of Israel, sustained and supported by western media on the other. The sustained history of British colonialism created this calamity, and the BBC continue to defend and legitimise its savageries.  

We are witnessing a momentous point in the history of not just the Israeli settler colony and the sustained course of savagery that has enabled it, but equally importantly, the prolonged history of European and Eurocentric savagery around the globe, of which Israel is today the prime legacy.  

During the Black Lives Matter uprising in the US and around the world, people began to bring down the ghastly statues of racist European colonial slaveholders, pointing to the deeply buried archives of barbarism Europe has perpetrated around the globe. Today, people around the world are witness to this momentous staging of European savagery in Palestine. 

Documents such as the one prepared by South Africa at the World Court now have an equally powerful counterpart from Albanese. These are the archives of our own present and vanishing history. Israel, Europe and the US must never be let off this hook. Schools and colleges around the world must begin to teach these documents.  

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he teaches Comparative Literature, World Cinema, and Postcolonial Theory. His latest books include The Future of Two Illusions: Islam after the West (2022); The Last Muslim Intellectual: The Life and Legacy of Jalal Al-e Ahmad (2021); Reversing the Colonial Gaze: Persian Travelers Abroad (2020), and The Emperor is Naked: On the Inevitable Demise of the Nation-State (2020). His books and essays have been translated into many languages.
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