Castigating Israel over Gaza’s Civilian Casualties: Hypocrisy or Anti-Semitism?

When French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau castigate Israel for civilian casualties in its forced war against Hamas-ISIS, it’s worth considering how leaders of those same countries — and those same people — were almost entirely silent when hundreds of thousands of civilians died during America’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, as just a few examples.

America is Israel’s closest and most respected, trusted ally with deep relationships between militaries, intelligence services, and political leadership. America also possesses the world’s most powerful military with unique, unparalleled capabilities and expertise. From that perspective, it’s worth taking note of what actually happened when America went to war after the heinous terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the battle to destroy the first incarnation of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. That’s relevant to understanding the often-unique focus on Israel as well as the actual experience of the many military advisors offering guidance to the Israel Defense Forces and the nation’s political leadership.

Every civilian casualty is heartbreaking and tragic. There’s no arguing otherwise, which is why war must always be a last resort.

By some estimates, well over 100,000 civilians were killed during America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and possibly many, many more. Every civilian casualty is heartbreaking and tragic. There’s no arguing otherwise, which is why war must always be a last resort.

So what were the results in terms of deaths caused by America’s relatively long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

According to the Watson Institute of International & Public Affairs at Brown University, “because not all war-related deaths have been recorded accurately by the Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition, the numbers are likely much higher [than those publicly reported]. Several estimates based on randomly selected household surveys place the total death count among Iraqis in the hundreds of thousands.”

“No one knows with certainty how many people have been killed and wounded in Iraq since the 2003 United States invasion,” the Institute reports. “However, we know that between 280,771-315,190 have died from direct war related violence caused by the U.S., its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces from the time of the invasion through March 2023.”

The violent deaths of Iraqi civilians, the Institute reported, “occurred through aerial bombing, shelling, gunshots, suicide attacks, and fires started by bombing.”

Watson’s ongoing studies of the war in Afghanistan found nearly 250,000 people were killed in the Afghan/Pakistan warzone since the American invasion in 2001. The Institute reports that at least 70,000 of those killed have been identified as civilians.

Of course, every civilian life is precious regardless of ethnicity or nationality. By every measure, and often at significant risk, Israel’s military holds itself to the highest moral and ethical standards, including while waging war against an axis of evil that deliberately seeks to cause the death of civilians, which they celebrate.

When political leaders and others who were deafeningly silent when Afghani, Iraqi, and Syrian civilians died by the tens of thousands single out Israel, they are at least offering a study in immoral hypocrisy and, more likely, revealing that they hold the Jewish State to unique standards that are impossible to meet. Whether they’re motivated by anti-Semitism, politics, ignorance or all of the above is difficult to gauge.

Horrifically and deliberately, Hamas-ISIS and their Iranian patrons forced this war upon Israel and the people of Gaza. As the IDF fights for the very essence of good vs. evil, Israel’s courageous soldiers, sailors, airmen and women deserve to know the entire free world stands behind them.

Should they fail, which is not an option, there should be no doubt the West is next.

About the Author
Seth Eisenberg is President of the PAIRS Foundation, a former At-Large chair of the National Writers Union, elected labor leader, and pro-Israel activist. He is an author of Instructions for Intimacy, The Laundry List of Relationship Mishaps, Knots and Double Binds, PAIRS Essentials, Warrior to Soul Mate, PAIRS for PEERS, and the SHALOM Workshop. He can be reached via LinkedIn at
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