When hypocrite is spelled Wong

When hypocrite is pronounced Wong.

My mother used to tell a joke about a refugee in England after the War, trying to learn English with all its grammatical and pronunciation oddities. He apparently had it down pretty pat, but was flummoxed when he saw a sign reading ‘cavalcade pronounced success”.  We might well adopt that and add that hypocrite is pronounced Wong.

Since the tragic and accidental death of the Kitchen aid workers last week in Gaza, there has been an almighty pile on against Israel, culminating in Australia announcing it doesn’t accept the Israeli investigation and is sending its own rapporteur, an unprecedented action.

The tone of the government, my government, has been stridently and vociferously attacking Israel, alleging, variously, that the attacks were, if not intentional, then so reckless so as to be a war crime, or worse, if such were possible.

Notwithstanding that Israel, including the Head of the Army, the Prime Minister and the President ,immediately apologized; that of the soldiers involved 2 were sacked and 2 suspended, this wasn’t good enough for our armchair military experts who have probably seen battle no greater than trying to perform a hook turn in Melbourne’s CBD.

No, it wasn’t good enough and the harsh and unending critical rhetoric has been raised up by greater and greater notches.

But wait. Where was the special rapporteur when the pogrom of 7 October took place? Where was the outrage when Galit Carbone was murdered? Where was the special rapporteur and the chorus of criticism when in 2015 a Saudi led coalition hit a wedding party in the village of Wahijah in Yemen killing at least 131 civilians and injuring many more? What about Kunduz Airstrike in Afghanistan in 2016 when an airstrike hit a civilian home killing at least 30 civilians, including women and children. What about the US led strike in Afghanistan in the village of Azizabad which killed at least 90 civilians. What about the Khair Khana wedding party strike in Afghanistan in 2008- a wedding party was targeted and killed at least 47 civilians including women and children. This occurred after the coalition forces received reports of terrorist action in the area and targeted the wedding party by mistake. In 2009 in Yemen a US drone strike targeted a gathering in the village of al-Majalah in Yemen believing it to be an Al-Qaeda training camp. However, it hit a Bedouin camp killing at 14 terrorists and at least 41 civilians including women and children. Then Bola Boluk air strike in Afghanistan in 2009 targeted Taliban but hit a convoy of vehicles killing at least 27 civilians including women and children. NATO initially denied responsibility but later acknowledged it and apologized.

Then the Sanaa funeral hall strike in Yemen in 2016 where a funeral hall was hit and at least 140 people were killed and more than 500 were injured.

The Mansoura strike in Syria in 2017 when the US led coalition targeting ISIS hit a building where civilians were sheltering and at least 150 were killed.

In the Western Desert in Egypt in 2015 security forces killed 12 people including Mexican tourists during an anti-terror raid. The 4 vehicles were mistakenly hit, according to the Egyptian interior ministry.

If you are scratching your head to recall, stop! There was no rapporteur.

And the Australian military has never made mistakes? Never hit innocent civilians unintendedly or misread a target? The Brereton inquiry found compelling allegations of war crimes. Have there been any charges laid- no.

Sadly, mistakes in war happen. It isn’t some kind of tennis or cricket match where the rules are laid out and its easy to follow.

It is sad and it is tragic but to focus on Israel when all other countries have made the same kind of error but without the consequential cat calls for ceasefire and the appointment of special rapporteurs reeks of hypocrisy and blindness as to the existential fight being faced by Israel and ignores the blatant self -serving manner in which Hamas embeds itself in the civilian population. The news coming out of Israel suggests that Hamas terrorists were alongside the Kitchen convoy, they entered a hangar and upon exiting a mistake was made in identification.

The usual suspects of course reject anything remotely exculpatory let alone explanatory on behalf of Israel . Israel has variously lied, covered up, used AI or deliberately attacked aid workers, according to the current gospel as propagated by the usual useful idiots.

Precisely what advantage there was to Israel deliberately targeting a group with whom it had good working relations and trusted is yet to be explained. But of course it is much simpler to point the finger, yell a few slogans  about genocide and war crimes and throw mud.

It is much easier to attack Israel and scream ceasefire than to try to pressure Hamas to release the hostages – should any still be alive- and surrender.  And therein lies one part of the hypocrisy puzzle.

But as Shakespeare said  (Henry vi,part 2)

“Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all”.

It is perhaps time that PM Albanese and FM Wong took a refresher course in Shakespeare.

After all, is hypocrite really spelled Wong?

You be the judge.

About the Author
A family law barrister and amateur Holocaust historian with an interest in writing about what is important right now.