Investigative Journalism and Independent Analysis (Established 2009)


Historical Amnesia and Gaza: Lest We Forget


‘Historical amnesia lays the groundwork for crimes that still lie ahead,’ says Noam Chomsky. Every November Londoners remember people killed in the 20th Century’s world wars. But now we are lured towards excusing – and perhaps later forgetting – an Israeli Zionist regime’s brutal killing of defenceless Palestinian people in Gaza.


By Paul Coleman

London, November 2023


“I found that homework dead easy,” says a London schoolgirl to her friend. 

The teenage girls saunter past a South Kensington mini mart. A shopworker stacks boxes of fresh fruit. Nearby, on Exhibition Road, primary schoolchildren chirrup excitedly, tiny tots sporting high-visibility yellow vests. They toddle in pairs to marvel at dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum.

Pedestrians on Exhibition Road walk past the clefts that pockmark the Victoria & Albert Museum. Explosions blasted these shrapnel fissures into the V&A’s stone walls during Nazi Germany’s attempt to bomb British people into submission during World War II.

Hitler’s initial heavy bombing of British cities – The Blitz – lasts from September 1940 to May 1941, killing an estimated 43,000 British civilians. My father and grandmother were evacuated to Cornwall, as were thousands of other mothers and children.

My paternal grandmother told me how the raids terrified her but that she was determined to come back to London.



Today, in Gaza, supposedly civilised people spew violence from the skies against terrified Palestinians and their children. An openly racist and Zionist Israeli regime has penned over two million Palestinians into Gaza, an open-air prison about the combined size of the London boroughs of Enfield, Barnet, and Brent.

But now the regime deploys the full might of its air force and macabre skill of its unchallenged pilots to launch air-to-surface missiles against that defenceless Gaza population – and Israelis taken hostage by Hamas on 7 October. The deadly precision of Israel’s fighter jets and missiles, many built by American and British manufacturers, destroys Gaza’s hospitals and schools – and kills doctors, nurses, teachers, men, women, children, and babies.

The regime’s air and land onslaught has killed over 14,100 Palestinian civilians, including 5,500 children. A reported 2,700 people are missing, presumed buried amidst blood-soaked concrete, including hospital paediatricians bombed as they treated wounded children.



The Israeli regime’s overwhelmingly one-sided ‘war’ has forced two thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million people to flee their homes. We see people starved of food and water. Without an immediate and permanent ceasefire, we will see increasing starvation, dehydration, diarrhoea, dysentery, and respiratory diseases. Doctors and nurses amputate wounded men, women and children without drugs and anaesthetic. Traumatised mothers cannot produce baby milk.

We see terrified mothers and children. I think of my father and grandmother escaping to Cornwall in commandeered trains. But there’s no evacuation plan for Palestinians. No sanctuary.

The regime’s onslaught also denies Gaza fuel that doctors and nurses need to power premature baby incubators. The world now sees premature Palestinian babies gasping for breath in makeshift cots. If denying premature babies oxygen and killing them is not a crime, does crime still exist?



Londoners, hoping to make sense of this crisis, are compelled by law to pay £159 for a licence to own a TV. The licence pays for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), including BBC News that routinely starves us of historical context that would inform our reaction to the crisis.

Worse, the BBC platforms people like Jacob Rees-Mogg, a class warrior politician-pundit oozing the prejudice born of silver-spoon privilege. We assume Rees-Mogg, educated at Westminster and Eton, must have read many history books when studying History at Oxford University. But now, Rees-Mogg spouts at a Question Time audience: “What do you expect Israel to do after 1,400 Israelis were killed?”

He amplifies the BBC’s restricted narrative that this crisis only began on 7 October with the Hamas attack – as if that attack suddenly frothed from some unfathomable depth. He ignores the long history of Palestinians and their oppression by the State of Israel – as if it had never happened.

Piers Morgan, a pundit with an ego the size of Malta, similarly bullies his TV studio guests to condemn Hamas as a terrorist group but stops his guests from saying Israel is a 75-year-old terrorist state.



Watching such highly indoctrinated TV condemnation games can be a harmful solitary experience with no means of instant reply – bar chucking the remote at the TV. Such coverage can fatigue and render us insensitive to the shattering of both Palestinian and Israeli lives. It can limit our attempts to gain a broader knowledge and deeper imagining of the historical roots of this long-running crisis.

Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics, one of the world’s leading intellectual dissidents, has constantly warned humanity about this peril: ‘Historical amnesia is dangerous…because it lays the groundwork for crimes that still lie ahead.’



London postscript

Chomsky sounds a chilling warning – and hopefully many people worldwide now seem aware of the danger.

For instance, a human sea collectively challenges such false narratives on a bright and sunny Saturday, 11 November. Over 500,000 people of all ages and ethnicities march towards the United States Embassy in Battersea. They demand the United States and British governments call on the Israeli regime to immediately cease bombing Gaza.

The marchers include thousands of Jewish people demanding a ceasefire; and Rabbis opposed to what they call the 75-year-old Zionist ‘terror’ state of Israel that has hijacked Judaism, their 3,000-year-old faith that strives for meaning in life, not domination (see photo below).



I meet Issa on Vauxhall Bridge over London’s River Thames. Wrapped in a Palestinian flag (see above photo), Issa brandishes a placard that promotes a sense of history: ‘It all started on Oct.7th in 1948′ – the year of ‘The Nakba’ (Catastrophe), when 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly removed from their homes and land. The state of Israel was declared soon after.

Issa’s placard echoes Chomsky’s warning against historical amnesia. But our schools and colleges will never reveal these historical realities to our children. Corporate-led state and commercial media will blur our clearer understanding with hectoring notions of objectivity, with crude propaganda, and distracting consumerism.


As global citizens we must ourselves awaken our own historical imagining to help us better analyse the origins of conflict and genocide.

Only if we quarry history can we precisely understand how and why other people flee to escape chaos in their lives in the hope of finding security and peace.

When we don’t make this effort, our historical amnesia diminishes these peoples.

Lest we forget, our historical amnesia diminishes us too.



Rabbis condemn Zionist aggression in Gaza



An outline timeline


1897: Theodor Herzl, convenes the First Zionist Congress in Switzerland, to seek political support for Zionism – the creation of a nation for Jewish people.

1917: Britain captures Palestine from the Ottoman Empire at end of World War I.

British politicians, including Prime Minister Lloyd George, are Christian Zionists who believe Jesus Christ will return if Jewish people return to their ‘homeland’. The Balfour Declaration supports a Jewish ‘homeland’ in Palestine.

1948: The Nakba (Catastrophe) – Zionist military forcibly removes 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and land. The state of Israel is declared.

1967: Six Day War – Israel captures Gaza and West Bank and occupies further territories.

The United States and Britain begin massive military support to Israel.

1987: The first Intifada (Uprising) – mass Palestinian strikes, protests, and violence across the occupied Palestinian territories. 1,200 Palestinians including 400 children and 160 Israelis killed.

1993: Oslo Accords – Israel and Palestinian Liberation Organisation peace process recognising Palestinian self-government in West Bank and Gaza.

2006: Hamas wins legislative Palestinian Authority elections and seizes control of Gaza. Israel and the US refuse to deal with the elected government. Israel blockades Gaza by air, land, and sea, establishing an ‘apartheid’ control system.

2008: Israel’s Operation Cast Lead bombards Gaza for 22 days, killing 1,400 Palestinians.

2014: Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas rocket-launch sites in Gaza kills 2,400 Palestinians and 70 Israeli soldiers.

2018: Palestinians ‘Great March of Return’ to the fence that separates Gaza and Israel calls on Israeli government to lift an 11-year-old blockade on Gaza and to allow Palestinians to return to their homes and villages. Soldiers kill over 150 Palestinians.

2023: Systematic Israeli ‘settler’ armed gang violence continues to force settled Palestinian farmers and communities from their homes, farms, and olive groves. A racist and ultra-nationalist Netanyahu government declares Palestinians ‘an invention’.

7 October: A Hamas ‘counterattack’ on a music festival kills hundreds of Israelis. Dozens are kidnapped. Israeli Defence Force helicopters kill both Hamas fighters, hostages and Israeli soldiers, The Israeli regime seizes on Hamas attack as pretext to collectively punish Gaza’s civilians. The regime calls Palestinians in Gaza ‘human animals’.

October-November: The state of Israel’s military kills an estimated 15,000 Palestinian men, women, children, and babies in Gaza.




Words and Photos © London Intelligence Limited ®



© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence ®, November 2023

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