When we hear the term ‘organised crime’, we generally tend to think of mob bosses, codes of loyalty, territories, drugs, guns, and rackets ranging from prostitution to precious ores to wildlife.
Oxford Languages, Google’s official dictionary partner, provides a conceptual framework that is wider than our Netflix-addled understanding of the term may allow for:
“Criminal activities that are planned and controlled by powerful groups and carried out on a large scale.”
The same dictionary describes crime as “an action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law”.
But what happens when the law falters, fails to punish the offender, and therefore, simultaneously fails to vindicate the victim of that crime? What happens when it is the lawmakers themselves who commit crimes while they are entrusted with an office that is meant to be used to represent the collective interests of their constituents?
Indeed, what happens when the lawmakers strike malicious deals with each other, deals which are only convenient to themselves and to their own political ends and will, in actual fact, cost millions of lives?
What happens is exactly what we’ve seen unfold in Palestine over the last 75 years.
After all, what is a state if not a powerful group that operates on a large scale? One can easily argue that there is no greater tool to commit crimes on a massive scale than a government. In fact, governments wield the kind of influence that a mob boss could only dream of in their wildest fantasies.
Being at the very top of a government power structure in any typical Westernised country means your word has the power to influence and shape virtually every major decision that is taken by the collective body you represent. Being a Cabinet minister means you get to shape a whole domain. Being a high-ranking staffer within one of these illustrious offices means you get to play a pivotal role in high-stakes, eleventh hour negotiations that will directly affect the lives of millions of people. And so on and so forth, further down the chain of command.
The state is the most powerful ‘group’ entity we’ve ever created. It follows, then, that it is also the singular, most potentially criminal entity we’ve ever created. In the hands of good people who wish to serve society well and help nurture it, it can be an unstoppable force for positive change. In the hands of bad people who wish to solely serve themselves, it is a machine that commits atrocities on a vast, unfathomable scale.
The fact that mankind’s greatest atrocities have been committed at the behest of governments is testament to the incontestable truthfulness of these words. Every war, every act of genocide, every ethnic cleansing, every act of corruption and self-enrichment at the expense of everyone else occurred on the orders of someone in power.
We now live in an era in which power manifests itself as an intricate, fragile web of interests, alliances, and stand-offs. The European Union was, in its inception, a utopian dream that was meant to coalesce the continent’s disparate power structures into a system in which European governments would operate on the premise of ‘one for all, all for one’. The United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) – they were founded in the same vein, too. It is more complicated than just the interests of individual governments.
Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine is not occurring in a vacuum. It is happening in the context of this complex web of governments and their representatives in international fora. This web, which in this case has been in the making for 75 years, studiously ignores the suffering of millions of Palestinians and further enables it by endorsing the government that is responsible for it.
This kind of criminal behaviour from our lawmakers falls squarely within the parameters of organised crime. In fact, it is perhaps the most abhorrent type of crime of all: the crime of either committing or enabling genocide, not even out of some deranged personal, moral or ethical conviction, but out of political convenience, largely because the big, bad Israeli bully in the corner will not stop stomping his feet until the Western governments that are loyal to him give him what he wants.
It is so abhorrent that, in spite of the efforts of Israel’s sophisticated propaganda machine and its enablers in Western media, there is still a worldwide movement to support Palestinians’ right to their homeland, to call for an immediate ceasefire, and to hold Israel accountable for the litany of war crimes it has committed.
Even the lawmakers who chose to defend Israel’s genocidal campaign know exactly just how bad it is. Why else would rockstar president of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola need to scurry out of a school she was visiting through an underground car park after she was faced a handful of angry, grieving students who wanted to hold her accountable for standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel?
What Metsola and other leaders in the Western world chose to enable is precisely the worst kind of organised crime one can imagine. It is industrial in scale and size, and destroys countless lives with terrifying nonchalance. As one of the students who completely thrashed Metsola’s PR stunt told me in an interview after the direct action, how could Metsola ever justify her decisions and her actions in relation to this occupation when historical evidence clearly shows that, if anything, it is Israel which has been avoiding the long arm of the law for all these decades?
The answer is simple – given the voluminous size of a typical government’s operations, responsibility for these kinds of awful stances tends to be spread out just enough to give each individual plausible deniability at the very least. This is quite clearly reflected in how Metsola’s focus was saving face and pretending those students weren’t even there. Just like any other politician, Metsola will stand front and centre when it suits her and will abdicate responsibility when it doesn’t.
As for corruption, the term doesn’t just refer to cases in which person X received a bribe from person Y so that X can do Y a favour. Corruption isn’t just financial – it can be moral. In this case, moral corruption outweighs any other consideration, for it is not only morally corrupt but downright reprehensible for someone as influential as Roberta Metsola to not only stand shoulder to shoulder with occupiers but to also ignore the sons and daughters of those whose blood was deemed politically convenient enough to spill.
These are the reasons why I fully support the fight for justice and peace for Palestine and all the displaced Palestinians across the globe, and why I firmly believe there is no difference between following a ‘traditional’ organised crime case in Malta and this kind of collusion between governments and heads of international bodies collaborating to enable mass murder.
Wherever injustice and oppression rear their ugly heads, this website will be there to report it, irrespective of who or what is behind it all.