Alan Silverstein

The Blatant Hypocrisy in Anti-Israel Accusations

Israel is subjected to a “double standard” more severe than that applied to any other nation-state.

Actually, the manner in which Israel is “judged” is far beyond “double”; it intentionally frames unachievable behavior.

As noted by journalist Haviv Rettig Gur, in a podcast for Times of Israel, the magnitude of international outcry at Israel’s “misdeeds” “reeks of hypocrisy.”

World opinion about Israel is not remotely similar to the manner in which the behavior of other nations is viewed.

As Gur said, “The world does not spring into action on [other] questions of civilian suffering.”

There was no moral outrage, he said, “on any campus in the world over Yemen, where 85,000 children were starved to death just in the last five years. No one cared; no one even knew.”

“The Muslim world will march for the Palestinians but never march for the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who were killed by Assad of Syria during that country’s civil war.”

The same hypocritical attitude is shown in regard to brutality against Middle Eastern minority groups. Gur pointed out that no protestors march against “the cleansing in Syria of its Christians [Arabs]. A decade ago 10 percent of Syrians were Christian; [today] 80 percent of those Christians are gone from Syria.” Maronites — the Arab Christian majority in Lebanon are gone too, Gur said, “yet nobody noticed, no one cared — not the Christian groups nor Christian governments.” In fact, all minorities in the Middle East “are being squeezed [and are] rapidly disappearing — Jews are the last ones standing. But no one cares about any of that suffering unless Israel is involved [in the persecutions and killings].”

Gur also points to hypocrisy in the UN and its affiliated agencies. “It is awfully hard for Israelis to take seriously the International Court of Justice on the question of genocide, when China doesn’t sit there [being judged] over the Uyghurs. When Russia doesn’t sit there [being judged for its behavior in the Ukraine]. When actual genocides are not brought forward [as in parts of Africa].”

Gur has visited numerous college campuses that are sites of anti-Israel protests. He observes the hypocrisy among the young American adults reacting quite differently to incidents when America’s GIs have caused suffering. “When Americans in Iraq killed tens of thousands of civilians, it did not draw protests, even on American campuses,” said Gur.

Why? Gur concludes that “the world cares a lot more about condemning Jews than about suffering Gazans” or Palestinians in the West Bank, or Iraqis or Syrians or Yeminis. “The rank hypocrisy of it is…bigotry.”

With a historical perspective, “New York Times” columnist Bret Stephens agreed, noting that the magnitude of noncombatant deaths caused by Israelis at war has been far surpassed by other militaries, with scant protest:

“In World War II, Allied bombers killed an estimated 10,000 civilians in the Netherlands, 60,000 in France, 60,000 in Italy, and hundreds of thousands of Germans” — all without massive protests. The USA-UK strategy for necessary victory, wrote Stephens, was to undermine “the morale of the German people to the point where their capacity for armed resistance was fatally weakened.” Stephens added that the policy against Japan was “identical”; Allied bombardment in the Pacific theater resulted in a massive number of Japanese killed, “according to some estimates, nearly one million civilians.”

Hypocrisy is also in evidence in regard to the intense scrutiny applied to the IDF’s use of American weapons. Every alleged civilian Palestinian casualty is assumed to have been from the misuse by Israel of armaments from the U.S. These accusations often turn out to be untrue. The initial “facts” are attributable to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry and Gaza media. Why the rush to judgment? We are informed that caution is warranted “in all cases” of weaponry provided by the U.S. to allies at war.

But is that true? The Ukraine is an American ally. At present, Ukraine has received at least 10 times the amount of American military aid provided to Israel. As noted in the May 28 “New York Post” by Jason Jay Smart, a Kyiv-based “Post” correspondent and national security advisor, “nearly 500,000 Russian casualties [have been] inflicted by Ukraine since February 2022.” Yet we never hear of the Biden administration’s or the Progressives’ concern whether the use of weapons has been “indiscriminate,” or that their use is “over the top.”

Hypocrisy is seen in feminist circles too. There was a shocking lack of response to the rapes of Israeli women on October 7 by Hamas terrorists and by Gazan civilians. In “The Jewish Quarterly,” British-Jewish blogger Hadley Freeman noted:

“When stories started to emerge fairly soon after October 7 that Hamas had committed horrific sexual violence during the pogrom…I hoped, given we’d so recently come through the #MeToo movement, with its urgent messaging that women should be believed, that it wouldn’t be too bad. I was wrong.”

“It took UN Women 50 days even to acknowledge that these sexual assaults had happened. When Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, was asked why, she reportedly replied that the evidence of rape was ‘not solid,’ even though there was video footage of Israeli women with blood-sodden crotches and reports from witnesses about dead Israeli women’s mutilated vaginas.”

“On October 30,” Freeman continues, almost 150 ‘scholars in feminist, queer and trans studies’ signed an open letter implying that to support Israeli women was to endorse ‘colonial feminism.’ Not a single UK charity that purports to protect women from violence condemned Hamas’s brutality — except Jewish Women’s Aid.”

Freeman goes on to say that after she “wrote an article in the ’Jewish Chronicle’ asking how this fitted in with [the charities’] feminist credentials, they replied with a statement saying that the reports of Israeli women being raped were merely ‘the Islamophobic and racist weaponization of sexual violence that presents it as an Arab, as opposed to a global, problem.’”

We see hypocrisy as well among advocates on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community. It is astonishing that they side with Hamas — brutalizers of gay, lesbian, transgender people — against Israel, the most exemplary defender of such rights in the Middle East.

In the Oct. 20, 2023, issue of “Time” magazine, journalist Chad de Guzman reported that “for LGBTQ+ Gazans, the specter of death from the Israel-Hamas war only compounds what was already a struggle to live freely in a place where homosexual relations between men is outlawed and open expression of queerness violates social and religious mores.”

Hypocritical too is the chanting of “From the River to the Sea” as a Progressive demand for an independent Palestinian state, irrespective of Hamas’s anti-Progressive policies. When asked, the protestors will claim that they support self-determination for all groups. Is that true?

Alan Dershowitz has written about the falsehood of this claim:

“On the merits, the Palestinian cause is far weaker than that of many other stateless people…. By any objective standard of morality, the claims of the Tibetans and Kurds — to focus on only two stateless groups [ignored by Progressives] — are far more compelling than the claims of the Palestinians…. There are many more stateless Tibetans and Kurds than there are stateless Palestinians. The Tibetans and Kurds have been treated far more brutally by occupiers….” The Tibetans and the Kurds, Dershowitz continues, “have employed only lawful and legitimate means of seeking redress” — rather than terrorism, hijacking, kidnapping, and shooting missiles into Israeli civilian areas. In addition, unlike the Tibetans and Kurds, “Palestinians have had many opportunities to achieve statehood” and have rejected them.

Israel is open to its behavior being evaluated in a just manner but dismisses overt bias as hypocrisy and anti-Semitism.

In “Progressives Hate Israel Since It Threatens Their World View,” author Daniel Turtel offers a rationale for this puzzling disparity between accusations and facts:

“Progressives might disagree with despots and death cults, but they also can accept that they exist. On the other hand, if a country like Israel [which] has suffered ubiquitous persecution on an unprecedented scale” and despite this can rise to success, what are the implications “for the [Progressives’] assertion that oppression, poverty, and tragedy are insurmountable facts of life…?” It is Israel’s successes, Turtel claims, “that pose the threat to the Progressive world view.”

About the Author
Rabbi Alan Silverstein, PhD, was religious leader of Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, NJ, for more than four decades, retiring in 2021. He served as president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis (1993-95); as president of the World Council of Conservative/Masorti Synagogues (2000-05); and as chair of the Foundation for Masorti Judaism in Israel (2010-14). He currently serves as president of Mercaz Olami, representing the world Masorti/Conservative movement. He is the author of “It All Begins with a Date: Jewish Concerns about Interdating,” “Preserving Jewishness in Your Family: After Intermarriage Has Occurred,” and “Alternatives to Assimilation: The Response of Reform Judaism to American Culture, 1840-1930.”
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