Let’s get over the fact that there’s a double standard applied to Jews and especially to Israelis. It’s a given, so Israel’s government must come to terms with it and do what Israel needs to do for its security, regardless of the low esteem and condemnations which will follow whenever Israel acts in its own best interest.
The first time I became aware of special treatment towards some minorities was when I was a college student requesting information on the phone for a Congressional aide summer job for minorities. I assumed that being Jewish, one of just 2% of the US population, would give me that status. After giving my name, I was informed that I wasn’t a member of a “minority.” Evidently the person I spoke to divined that I was probably Jewish and certainly not deserving of being called a minority. (Maybe if I had been female, that would have helped.)
That, of course, was no big deal. But the treatment afforded today to Jews and Israelis by governments and quasi-governmental organizations is serious. Take the “dual loyalty” issue, which is a big deal if you want to work for the federal government. Jonathan Pollard is the only American ever to receive a life sentence for passing classified information to an American ally. He has just recently been released after thirty years, but the conditions of his parole are extremely onerous, as if he were guilty of treason, with which he was never charged.
The United Nations is the worst offender against Israel, closely followed by the European Union. On March 31, 2015, The New York Times published an op-ed by Ron Prosor, then the Israeli Ambassador to the UN. Below are a few of Prosor’s examples of UN enmity towards Israel:
“In March, the United Nations closed the annual meeting of its Commission on the Status of Women by publishing a report that effectively singled out just one country for condemnation: Israel; in the 2014-15 session alone, the General Assembly adopted about 20 resolutions critical of Israel, while the human rights situations in Iran, Syria and North Korea merited just one condemnation apiece; Israel is the only nation that is singled out [at each meeting by the Human Rights Council] for criticism … more than 50 percent of all condemnatory resolutions are directed at the Jewish state.” etc., etc.
Proser concludes, “The problem with the United Nations is that the leaders of many of its member states do not rule with the consent of the governed. Instead, they use the body as a forum to deflect attention from their own ruthless rule. In so doing, they turn a stage for courageous statecraft into a tragic theater of the absurd.”
The EU doesn’t have the undemocratic “excuse” that the UN has. EU members are all democracies. Yet, the EU also spends an inordinate amount of time castigating Israel and treating it uniquely. The EU’s latest campaign is the labeling program aimed solely at Israeli products manufactured beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines, with no similar labeling requirements against other countries who are involved in territorial disputes. Here are just a few of the nearly 200 territorial disputes today: Crimea (Ukraine v Russia, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (Republic of Cyprus v Turkey), Ceuta and Melilla (Morocco v Spain), Falklands (Argentina v UK), and Gibraltar (Spain v UK).
Why are products from these and scores of other places involved in territorial disputes not similarly labeled? But then, what can you expect from the continent that brought us the Holocaust? If you ask me, it’s just anti-Semitism. If you don’t accept that, you may just chalk it up to anti-Zionism. And if you deny even that, you are not paying attention to current events.
Let’s not forget the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) which specialize in bashing Israel. According to the Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor, foreign governments donated about $27 million to 24 nongovernmental organizations involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict between 2012 and 2014. The EU and Norway were the largest donors, contributing nearly $8 million, about one third of the total. Among the worst NGOs complying with the financial disclosure directives were B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Yesh Din — Volunteers for Human Rights, MachsomWatch — Women against the Occupation and for Human Rights, the Adalah Legal Center, Breaking the Silence, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Physicians for Human Rights — Israel, and J Street. Some of these are supported by billionaire George Soros and the New Israel Fund, which purports to be a pro-Israel charity but funds many organizations which boycott Israel. (unitycoalitionforisrael.org)
Equally damaging to Israel, because of their universal name recognition, are NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, Christian Aid, Save the Children and too many more.
So, given the antipathy shown towards Israel by NGOs, the biggest international organization (UN), and the most populous political combine (EU), what can Israel do? In my opinion, strength and an unwavering belief in its own legitimacy must guide Israel’s foreign policy. Since we’re not going to be liked, we should at least aim for respect.
Israel needs to project a bigger image of itself in line with its military power, brain power, and influence. Israel is the strongest power in the region; it is the most inventive in the region; it is the most educated in the region; it is the most advanced; it is the most (actually the only) democratic; and notwithstanding Western hypocritical statements, it is the foremost proponent of human and civil rights in the region.
For all these reasons, Israel must stop whining about this double standard, discount the inevitable criticism and unhelpful complaints of those which oppose it, and JUST DO IT.