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shilolo's avatar

Why is there a double standard with respect to Israeli deaths by terrorist means?

Asked by shilolo (18040points) June 2nd, 2010

There is a global outcry regarding Israel’s assault on the flotilla of boats heading to Gaza. Protests, boycotts, UN resolutions. Why isn’t there a similar global response when innocent Israelis are murdered by suicide bombers in cafes, restaurants and buses? Is the lack of a global response tacit acknowledgement that these methods are acceptable?

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19 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

This issue is complex and from what I’ve read and educated myself on, I side with Palestine most of the time but I completely agree with you that there have been innocent lives lost on both sides and there should be an outcry for Israelis that died as well.

kevbo's avatar

Conducting diplomacy with a nation is different from diplomacy with a “terrorist organization.”

While in the past “terrorists” were tolerated in the way you describe within the public sphere, I think we’ve reached a point where conventional rhetoric decries all acts of “terrorism.” People in the U.S. used to think the IRA was cool before 9/11.

I use “terrorism” in quotes more because of my thinking about the issue rather than anything in particular to do with Israel. “Terrorism” is generally a byproduct of being outclasssed and occupied by an imperialist aggressor.

kenmc's avatar

There isn’t a global response because Israel responds enough for everyone else. The cards are in Israel’s favor, military-wise. They are the ones more capable of stopping the violence than the Palestinians.

dpworkin's avatar

I can only speak as an American Jew when I say that those of us who remember the Yom Kippur sneak attack, the Six-Day War, who knew personally people, now dead, who were the actual victims of the Holocaust grew up believing that democratic Israel was besieged on all sides by enemies, and that the mere fact of the Holocaust was reason enough to preserve Israel as a Jewish State, even though we understood that it required a certain amount of unfairness to the Palestinian Arabs.

Now, however, US Jews who are younger have inherited their parent’s liberalism, but not their parent’s unquestioning Zionism. Most younger Jews do not attend Shul regularly, tend to be of the Reform denomination, and feel no particular closeness to Israel.

What that, in turn, tends to mean, is that the politically powerful Jews here are generally the unquestioning Zionists they always were, and are wont to support the policy positions of AIPAC, and other organizations like it, and the Congress has not enough nuance to understand that these people no longer speak for all Jews, as they once did. In fact, it is the right-wing Orthodox Jew who is now dictating policy in the US.

Between this set of circumstances and the fact that Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Jordan are implacably opposed to Israel as a State, and that Shas and the Likudniks are sustained by one another in coalition, Israel feels free to behave in a shamefully punitive manner to the West Bank refugees, and goes unsanctioned by the US for that shameful treatment.

Until there is a return to genuine humanistic Liberalism on the part of the Diaspora, Israel will continue to be excoriated by the world, and will continue to abuse their Palestinian brothers and sisters, and this will have the effect of further driving anti-Israel sentiment in France and Britain particularly, where it is conflated with nativist antisemitism which is hard to tease out from principled policy opposition to Israel. It’s quite a quagmire.

In other discussions here I have seen the triumphalism of the covert antisemites who still haunt this board, and of course that further precludes reasoned discussion of an extremely complex geopolitical situation, and discourages any nuance or any acceptance of ambiguity or ambivalence.

As for the Turks, if they do not face their genocide of the Armenians, they will never be fit to take a place in the brotherhood of advanced nations.

janbb's avatar

Obviously intransigence and terrorism on either side are to be deplored and yet Israel seems to be losing the propaganda war. There is a very compelling op-ed piece in the New York Times today by the Israeli novelist Amos Oz. He states that Israel will not achieve peace by military means alone and that you cannot “fight” to win over an idea or problem – that of there being two peoples with rights to the same land. The article is well-worth reading as it reinforces the notion of a two-state solution; a solution that many Israelis and Palestinians buy into even if their governments do not.

shilolo's avatar

All of that makes sense, but I’m curious why there aren’t UN resolutions (and loud protests from the left) every time a bus full of women and children are blown to bits in Jerusalem?

CaptainHarley's avatar

A saying that I think applies to the situation in which Israel currently finds itself is, “When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s someetimes difficult to remember that your original objective was to drain the frakking swamp.”

Israel has always had a siege mentality. Beset by enemies on all sides ( literally ), and unsure of support from any other countries, Israel resorts to a military or spec-ops response to almost all percieved threats. I can’t say I blame them, but it gives the demented left a reason to hate them.

dpworkin's avatar

Because the UN is controlled by antisemitic states such as Russia, the UK, France and China etc. and their clients, the Emirates, Egypt, Iran, Dubai, Jordan, etc.

janbb's avatar

I think it is the perception of much of the world at this point that the Palestinians are the underdog and that Israel is a conquering occupier. As @dpworkin states, many now living do not recall or perhaps honor the justification for the founding of the state of Israel. Since the 1967 war and the occupation of the territories the moral high ground has shifted and certainly Israel cannot use the Holocaust as a reason for inhumane actions or treatment.

kevbo's avatar

@dpworkin (or anyone else for that matter), I’m ignorant about the antisemitism among western nations that you speak of. If you could elaborate or point to a source, I’d appreciate it. (And GA. Thanks for the context.)

syz's avatar

I am most often struck by the disparity in numbers: the ratio seems to be about 10 Palestinian deaths for each Israeli death (I have no references at hand at the moment, but it’s certainly striking).

breedmitch's avatar

The “assault on the flotilla of boats heading to Gaza” is being carried out by the official Israeli military. When a Palestinian detonates a suicide bomb, it’s hard to tie it directly to the official Palestinian military.

both sides are gravely wrong and need to be smacked

dpworkin's avatar

@syz How many rockets has the city of Ashdod lobbed into Gaza?

mattbrowne's avatar

There was a multinational outcry during the Munich Olympics in 1972 when eleven members of the Israeli team were taken hostage by Palestinian terrorists.

At the beginning of the Yom Kippur War when the Syrian and Egyptian armies launched a well-planned surprise attack against the unprepared Israeli Defense Forces there was also a multinational outcry.

Whenever terrorists blow up buses or buildings in Israel killing innocent civilians there is a multinational outcry.

When the people in Gaza elected a terrorist organization to lead their government there was a multinational outcry.

Not a global outcry, because countries like Saudi-Arabia or Iran or China are not civilized countries, but totalitarian states. We can’t expect outcries from them.

The multinational outcry often included countries like Turkey who was an ally of Israel.

Calling the UK and France antisemitic states is insulting and wrong to say the least.

dpworkin's avatar

The UK has institutionalized antisemitism for 600 years, What the fuck are you on about?

roundsquare's avatar

@dpworkin So you think that the US policy towards Israel/Palestine will change when a new generation gets into power? After all, according to our logic (which may well be right) the new generation won’t very zionisitic at all.

dpworkin's avatar

On the contrary. If nothing is actively done to interest the young in a genuinely Liberal Zionism, the hard right will consolidate complete power.

roundsquare's avatar

@dpworkin Are you saying that because the young won’t care about things at all so those who do can take over?

mattbrowne's avatar

@dpworkin – I’m not sure what kind of UK you are talking about. The Utgarde Keep?

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