Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Nicaragua’s opposition online newspaper, La Prensa , reported Monday that proceedings began at the International Court of Justice in Managua’s complaint against Germany for abetting Israeli genocide against the Palestinians of Gaza with its weapons shipments. Nearly half of arms shipments to Israel during the past six months have come from Germany, and it is second only to the United States as an arms supplier to Tel Aviv. Germany has increased arms transfers to Israel by a factor of ten.

The International Court of Justice is holding hearings Monday and Tuesday of this week regarding whether it should issue precautionary measures against Germany. Nicaragua brought the case in March, saying that the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz has not even attempted to “prevent what is plausibly a genocide” against Gaza Palestinians, demanding that it cease providing “political, financial and military support” to Israel.

Carlos José Argüello Gómez, Nicaragua’s ambassador to The Hague, said, “Germany seems unable to differentiate between self-defense and genocide. Germany is not fulfilling its own obligation to prevent genocide or ensure respect for international humanitarian law.

The ambassador pointed to a German double standard. Merely on Israel’s say-so, Berlin halted financing for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Gaza. But the German government has ignored much more credible allegations that Israel itself is committing genocide in Gaza.

Israel’s charge that UNRWA was riddled with Hamas militants was fact-free and lacking in any sound evidence, and most of the countries that suspended support for UNRWA after Netanyahu’s scurrilous accusations have now restored their donations.

Argüello said, “The Palestinian people are being subjected to one of the most destructive military actions in modern history.”

He said that without the unstinting support of countries such as Germany, Israel would not be able to act with impunity.

The ambassador acknowledged that Germany recognizes a special obligation to assist the Jewish people because the National Socialist government of Germany genocided them during World War II. He observed, “that is an understandable and commendable policy if it were addressed to the Jewish people, but the State of Israel, and particularly its current Government, should not be confused and equated with the Jewish people.”

Argüello has a point. The policies of the current extremist Israeli government are often being dictated by people like Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, who a plausibly characterized as fascists.

For Germany to be compliant with demands of Smotrich and Ben-Gvir is to compound the sins of the Holocaust, not to alleviate them. You can’t make up for mass murder committed by fascists by supporting fascists committing mass murder.

Al Jazeera English Video: “ICJ hears Nicaragua’s case against Germany over Israel’s war on Gaza”

Argüello added, “True friends of the Jewish people should emphasize the difference: the Jewish victims in the concentration camps in World War II would feel sympathy and empathize with the more than 30,000 civilians, including 25,000 mothers and children, massacred so far in Palestine, and the 20,000 orphaned children, with two mothers murdered every hour.”

Again, he makes a good point. For many people and many Jews, the Nazi genocide was a universal event in human history, with universal implications. The implications are that the world should never again stand aside and allow mass murder with impunity. For the ilk of Smotrich and Ben-Gvir the lesson of the Holocaust is instead that they should genocide their enemies quickly before those enemies can kill any more Jews. It is a tribal reading of the Nazi genocide, and itself can lead to genocidal acts.

Al Jazeera English reports that the Nicaragua team also argued that German arms firms have made a great deal of money supplying tank shells and other ammunition to Israel for use against civilian building in Gaza.

There are, of course, many ironies in this story for people who like irony (i.e. the appearance of the unexpected). It is ironic that Germany should be accused of genocide once again, this time for being overly solicitous of Zionist politicians who are themselves quite willing to commit atrocities.

It is also ironic that the dictatorial government of Daniel Ortega, which has chased 30,000 people out of the country through its repression and has banned opposition politicians and closed down newspapers (including the print edition of the neoliberal La Prensa, should be the one pointing a finger at Germany on grounds of human rights abuses.

La Prensa quotes Carlos Murillo Zamora, a professor at the University of Costa Rica with expertise in international law, as saying that the Ortega government is merely grandstanding and attempting to break the isolation into which it has painted itself by posing as a champion of human rights at The Hague.

All that is no doubt true. But it is also true that the United States and Germany, by giving the extremist Netanyahu government carte blanche to commit unspeakable war crimes against civilians, has created exactly this sort of opening for critics of liberal values such as Ortega and the ayatollahs of Iran. That Ortega’s ambassador can score undeniably valid points on the failures of democratic societies to halt a genocide playing out before the world’s eyes is the fault of Joe Biden and Olaf Scholz, who have undermined the whole regime of international humanitarian law.