Friday, March 12, 2010

No Apologies: The Double Standard on Israel

The Economist's Democracy in America Blog confirms what many of us have always known - yes, there is a double standard when it comes to Israel. Moreover, this double-standard is considered legitimate by Western intellectuals.
Western countries hold Israel to a different standard than they do Congo because they see in Israel a rich, Western-like, European-descended country. We in Europe and America judge Israel harshly not because Israelis are the Other, but because they're unusually like us. Does Israel really want to be judged by the same standard we use to judge Omar al-Bashir? Now that would be anti-Semitism.
Take aside the most obvious difference between Israel and the rest of Western civilization - the Jewish State is surrounded by state and non-state actors which seek its destruction, in the way that Luxembourg or the great State of Illinois aren't.

Two thoughts come to mind. First, the notion that non-"European-descended" nations should be held to a lower standard than Western nations, simply because they haven't mastered indoor plumbing, is blatantly racist. Such double-standards enable and legitimize true atrocities and genocides.

Second, the issue is not so much that Israel is held to a different standard as Sudan and China, but that it is held to a higher standard than France, Germany, Britain and the United States! Quiet assassinations of Israel's terrorist enemies, with no civilian casualties, draw immediate international condemnations and front page headlines, while American and European aircraft and drone strikes against suspected Islamist extremists rack up innocent dead by the hundreds, with mere hand wringing. The Americans responded to the gruesome murder of two private military contractors in Iraq by reducing the city of Fallujah to rubble, causing thousands of casualties among the enemy and civilian population, not once, but twice. Meanwhile, Israel is expected to absorb thousands of cross border rocket attacks on its civilian communities or risk being dragged to the Hague for war crimes.

We finally agree that there is a double standard - just not on the one that matters.


  1. just for the record:
    according to "my" Falluja-book's plausible telling the Falluja-story is a very convoluted one, a kind of perfect example how the fish starts stinking at the head (German saying) several heads even in this case i.e. the military wanted to handle the death of the contractors in tested low-key style but politics wanted to make the public happy and then instead of letting them finish the job the first time around they were ordered to abort it and after things threatened to spiral out of hand start again from scratch - it created a lot of hurt and deaths for the grunts also.

    I read it because it was the first thing on urban warfare I could find and I wanted to know more about what the IDF had to cope with in Lebanon at the time. Even though I got the impression that the US-military went quite out of its way to not hurt civilians if there were a competition for not hurting civilians my bet would be that the iDF would win even if one substracted that they know their fighting ground better than the marines did in Falluja.


  2. I strongly supported both Fallujah operations, as I did the general American endeavor in Iraq. I wish not to hold guilty American soldiers - I admire the US military - but to point out the vast difference in hostility, masquerading as humanist concern, that Israeli actions are subject to.

  3. here is another incident for the record - will Goldstone be called?

    and what is this of the right hand obviously claiming not to know what the left does? wasn't McChrystal in charge of some kind of special operations before? Isn't the creation of a bureaucratic smoke screen behind which to do what possibly has to be done what the US won't accept if Israel does it? BTW even though Germany didn't have full sovereignty until May 5, 1955 I haven't read about a single incident where the US Foreign Minister made it public over all the newspapers when he chewed the German chancellor up. If it happened at all it was kept under the radar i.e. I don't think we were ever given the "tough love" treatment

    Silke (exasperated)


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