Dehumanization and Diplomacy: Unveiling Hypocrisy in Conflict
This week, United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken stated, “Israelis were dehumanized in the most horrific way on October 7,” a statement few would contest. However, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and their sponsors’ attempts to dehumanize and demonize and marginalize Israel and the Jewish nation is ongoing for many, many years.
And, Mr. Blinken, please do not tell us in what condition we are. You are not a psychiatrist. Those who seek to dehumanize us only dishonor themselves. But Blinken was saying this, not because he is a self-proclaimed clinical psychologist or moralist, but to give himself the “license” to continue with his follow-on caution: “The October 7 attack does not grant Israel a license to dehumanize others.” Subsequently, Biden remarked that Israel’s response in Gaza is “over the top”. In my opinion, this was shoddy.
So, who exactly is dehumanizing and intentionally endangering and exposing to harm, the Palestinian people living as citizens under their Hamas Government in Gaza? Answer: Hamas. But the death toll is too high, I agree. We are painfully aware. It’s agonizing. Even if we know that the numbers are likely highly inflated – all honest countries and institutions know this. And it’s all on Hamas, who has the power to stop it immediately, simply by laying down their arms, surrendering, and releasing our children and others held and brutalized in cages in underground tunnels as I write this. This is not rocket science. I have not seen even one other workable option presented by anyone, including America; it’s either Hamas surrenders, or Israel surrenders.
President Biden, Blinken’s boss, should be aware; after all, he was VP under Obama during the Battle for Mosul (2016-2017) not that long ago; and Blinken was deputy secretary of state. It was an easier battle, fewer people, much fewer ISIS terrorists, a tiny tunnel network by comparison. Yet, at least and probably many more than 10,000 people died, mostly from US coalition bombing. A coalition investigation concluded, in the case of a 500-pound (227-kilogram) bomb, which killed many civilians in a building, that it “appropriately balanced the military necessity of neutralizing (two IS) snipers. (AP Dec 2017).
Col. Thomas Veale, a coalition spokesperson, told the AP in response to questions about civilian deaths. “It is simply irresponsible to focus criticism on inadvertent casualties caused by the Coalition’s war to defeat ISIS. Without the Coalition’s air and ground campaign against ISIS, there would have inevitably been additional years, if not decades of suffering… at the hands of terrorists who lack any ethical or moral standards.”
hypocrisy: Hypocrisy is the practice of feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not. The word “hypocrisy” entered the English language c. 1200 with the meaning “the sin of pretending to virtue or goodness”. Today, “hypocrisy” often refers to advocating behaviors that one does not practice. (Wikipedia)
Misunderstandings and Meddling: The Blinken Paradigm and Foreign Interference in Israel
So, Blinken doesn’t grasp it; surprisingly, his understanding of the issues is superficial, or if I were to choose a more cynical posture, his understanding is a function of American political expediency.
This is the same failure of understanding of information and issues that led to resolution #608 introduced to the House of Representatives in August 2021 for the impeachment of Antony John Blinken, secretary of state, for high crimes and misdemeanors, for specifically ignoring critical intelligence received from the embassy in Kabul and United States intelligence agencies. The impeachment resolution stated,
his negligence left American property, military equipment, and weapons in the hands of enemies of the United States, left American citizens stranded in life-threatening situations in dereliction of his duties as Secretary of State. In direct conflict with the intelligence and advice provided by his own diplomats and the intelligence community, Secretary Blinken failed to advise and counsel the President accordingly and did not inform Congress nor American citizens at home and abroad of the dangers posed by the advancing Taliban of which he was explicitly aware.
The 2021 debacle in Kabul, when critical intelligence was ignored, and America ended up with a tragic mess — Yes, that’s the same Blinken. It’s like history is repeating itself, only this time, the stakes are Israel — our home, our land, our people.
Failure to understand is apparently a repeatable offense – for our Mr. Blinken.
And at the same time that the American secretary of state publicly disparages us and accuses the Jewish state of gross immorality — in front of our friends and our enemies, a former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and self-appointed judge of Israel’s leadership, introduced another foreign voice into Israel’s domestic politics, publicly calling for the ouster; aka, “regime change” of the democratically elected sitting prime minister of a sovereign state, saying “Netanyahu should go. He is not a trustworthy leader.”
She has parroted some in the media, including some the Israeli media, who suggests that Netanyahu is being overly concerned with his political survival during a highly tumultuous time for Israel. This is, of course, conjecture within some segments of a free Israeli society, with many thinking that, and many not. Is it the role of a foreign politician, a former secretary of state, to publicly call for regime change — essentially undermining the democratic choice of a sovereign nation’s electorate?
In her case, she is simply a failed and irrelevant ex-politician, past her political possibilities, and seeking attention. But at the same time, the double simultaneous whammy of criticism (Blinken and Clinton), is neither polite nor appropriate. In fact, it is rude — and symptomatic of the taking of too much “license” when it comes to criticizing Israel so blatantly, especially by friends. Talk about ganging up!
Global Blind Spots and Selective Outrage
Just this past week, in the Congo (DRC), thousands have fled and are on the roads, bombs are dropping, 42,000 people have been displaced from Feb 2 to Feb 7. Hillary, any comment? Blinken? World? University students?
Also, just this past week, the war in Sudan entered it tenth month. This week, over 80% of its hospitals are not functioning, and 7,400,000 (yes, 7.4 million) Sudanese are displaced, including 3 million children. It’s an ongoing disaster far greater than Gaza. Hillary, where are you? Blinken, do you see any “de-humanizing” there? World? University student protestors?
This selective attention raises questions about the consistency and priorities of international diplomacy. It feels like Israel is, as usual, under a microscope, while the rest of the world’s crises get a mere glance.
Israel’s Democratic Tapestry: Navigating Complexity Amid External Judgments
Fact: Israel’s democracy and political system is based on proportional representation and allows for a multi-party system with numerous parties represented in the 120-seat Knesset (parliament). There are a total of 149 registered political parties in Israel; only 13 political parties have earned enough votes to attain seats in the Israeli government on their proportional system. No party has ever won a majority of seats in an election, so coalitions of multiple parties form the government, including Israeli-Arab political parties.
That’s a vibrant democracy. Some might argue, too democratic, too many factions, too messy. And lots and lots of opinions. There are many dozens of newspapers, both paper and online in Israel, dozens of radio and TV stations. And current events are hotly debated everywhere, all the time. It’s a complex country. Israel and only Israel should debate its choice of leadership going forward. The very essence of their system invites robust debate and diversity of opinion, reflecting a democracy that is alive and kicking. Yet, external critiques often overlook this complexity, opting instead for broad strokes that fail to capture the nuances of Israeli society and politics.
And it’s tough to be a prime minister of such a complex country, located in such a dangerous neighborhood.
There’s an old story about Israel’s prime minister, Golda Meir visiting President Nixon in 1969. Nixon told her, “You think you have a challenging job? I am the president of 150 million Americans!”. Golda Meir responded: “Do you think that’s challenging? I am the prime minister of 3 million presidents!”
Though humorous, it makes an enduring point about the unique challenges of governing Israel, a country where every citizen is deeply invested in its governance, and a stark reminder of the monumental task of leading Israel. It’s a job that demands respect, understanding, and a fair bit of humility – qualities that seem to be in short supply among some of our critics.
Bottom line: Not everyone likes or supports Israel’s prime minister. Many do or “did” at the last elections – when he was elected democratically. Respect that. There will be exhaustive analyses around failures, blame, lessons learned, and what changes need to be made. Some are calling for that analysis now. I believe it’s an inappropriate distraction from a focus that ought to be dealing exclusively with successfully ending the war. Most people in Israel know this; it is rude to be told from the outside; in fact, it is an interference with a sovereign country, and it is resented.
While the intentions behind Biden, Blinken and Clinton’s comments may be rooted in a desire for peace and stability, their approach leaves much to be desired. A more informed, respectful discourse is necessary; one that uplifts rather than undermines, that seeks understanding rather than sowing division.