Criticising Israel is a risky business.
There is a delicate line marking the distinction between anti-Semitism and the condemnation of Israeli policy. Without questioning your right to form opinions on the subject, I think it’s important to ask ‘Why am I criticising Israel?’
Do you genuinely care about the Palestinians? Or have you just fallen victim to this fashionable movement of being anti-Israel.
The Palestinians are a group of people I have deep empathy for. They have had their fair share of bad luck. Multiple players are responsible for their current predicament: The British, The Ottomans, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, France, United States, USSR… the list is a long one.
But do you know your history? Do you know the role these other states and empires played in squashing the promise of the Palestinians? Do you place blame on these countries? Do you care for the Palestinians as much as you care for the Kurds, the Yazidis or the Rohingya Muslims?
Or do you just criticise Israel?
If you’re against Israeli occupation then I assume you are against occupation all over the world? Could you name other cases of occupation?
Are you aware that Turkey has occupied Northern Cyprus since 1974? Are you aware that Russia has occupied Azerbaijan since 1994? What about Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijan? Or again Russia’s occupation of Georgia? Do you protest about these countries? Do you wear stickers with ‘Free Azerbaijan’?
Do you know Israel was not the first military occupation on the Palestinians? From the years 1948-1967, Transjordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt occupied Gaza. If you were alive then would you have protested against Jordan and Egypt the same way you protest against Israel?
Would the movement for a free Palestine be just as strong today? Doubt it. Sadly we live in a world where double standards against Israel are very common.
The United Nations Human Rights Council dedicated 56 of its first 103 resolutions to criticising Israel. Over half of the resolutions were anti-Israel. Surprising? What about North Korea? Syria? Sudan? Iran? I could go on.
From 2006 to 2014 the UNHRC devoted 33% of its special sessions to condemning Israel, during the same time the UN never held a single session of Saudi Arabia, China or Russia. In 2016 alone, the UN issued more resolutions against Israel than North Korea and Syria combined.
Feeling a bit surprised? Thought so.
Taking this further let’s look at the rising star in British politics. Jeremy Corbyn. The bastion of equality and justice. In response to greeting representatives from Hezbollah and Hamas as ‘friends’ Corbyn said
‘I think to bring about a peace process, you have to talk to people with whom you may profoundly disagree.’
Whilst I think the atrocities committed by Hamas and Hezbollah don’t encourage the term friends I can see his logic in someway. However, the fact that Jeremy Corbyn refused to meet Benjamin Netanyahu, an elected head of state is un-defendable and frankly scary, but is it surprising?
Sadly we are living in a world where we have created a form of latent, legitimate anti- Semitism.
I agree that criticising Israel should not be considered anti-Semitic, but when presented with the double standards within the world of international scrutiny, how can you claim it is anything else? If world-governing bodies and leaders of political parties are criticising Israel excessively, then no wonder you are as well.
I will leave you with the words of New York Times correspondent Thomas Friedman ‘criticising Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile.
‘But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction-out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest.’
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