HonestReporting recently commented on how the coverage of the Egyptian uprising had revealed a significant double standard in the media’s coverage of Israel.
While the current events in Libya do not necessarily have any direct linkages to Israel, nonetheless, the situation has continued to further expose the hypocrisy of some of Israel’s detractors.
The Media and Anti-Israel Campaigners
Writing in the UK’s Observer, Nick Cohen notes how the absurd obesssion with Israel has been laid bare by developments in the Mideast:
To a generation of politically active if not morally consistent campaigners, the Middle East has meant Israel and only Israel. In theory, they should have been able to stick by universal principles and support a just settlement for the Palestinians while opposing the dictators who kept Arabs subjugated. Few, however, have been able to oppose oppression in all its forms consistently. The right has been no better than the liberal-left in its Jew obsessions. The briefest reading of Conservative newspapers shows that at all times their first concern about political changes in the Middle East is how they affect Israel. For both sides, the lives of hundreds of millions of Arabs, Berbers and Kurds who were not involved in the conflict could be forgotten.
Michael Coren, in the Toronto Sun, refers to the 2002 Jenin “massacre”:
The usual hysterical demonstrations took place, where Muslim radicals and leftist activists took to the streets in Europe and North America, and liberal media expressed incredulity at the sadism of Israeli soldiers. Then the detailed reports appeared, revealing most of the figures were untrue and no massacre occurred.
This was the verdict of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, hardly friends of the Jewish state.
I write this because in the past few weeks we have seen genuine massacres and gruesome brutality. Thousands of people have now been murdered by Arab and Iranian governments and Arab and Iranian soldiers. In Libya, ordinary mourners attending the funerals of people shot dead in the streets were themselves targeted by snipers. …
Yet where are the massive street protests in Europe’s large cities? Where are the calls to boycott countries? Where are the labour unions demanding action? Where are the student groups using words like “apartheid” and “Nazi”? Where are the moralistic editorials condemning Arab intolerance, Islamic barbarism and the need for Arab countries to be banned from international sporting, cultural and literary events?
All of that is said about Israel, whether it engages in conflict or not. When it responds to the slaughter of its children, it is labelled a terrorist state, and when it allows its people to settle in lands that are historically Jewish, the religion of Judaism is spoken of as archaic. Retired Israeli generals travelling to London or Madrid to raise money for handicapped children are told they may be arrested on landing, Israeli athletes are promised death if they dare to appear alongside “civilized” rivals.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has been at the forefront of anti-Israel activities by so-called human rights organizations, producing dozens of one-sided and critical reports on Israel and putting its weight behind the discredited Goldstone Report on Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.
Now, Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division and her organization’s blind obsession with Israel has been further exposed by the Libya situation. NGO Monitor notes:
In 2009, [she] visited Libya, claiming to have discovered a “Tripoli spring.” In particular, Whitson praised Muammar Qaddafi’s son Seif Islam as a leading reformer. In two articles promoting this façade of reform, she repeatedly praised him for creating an “expanded space for discussion and debate.” In reality, Whitson was advancing a fiction; Libya remained a closed totalitarian regime that kept its population under tight control. Seif Islam continued to be an integral part of the repression, even appearing on state television to warn the protesters that the regime would “fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet.”
Read more on how Whitson performed an about face in light of Libyan human rights abuses and the behavioral pattern of HRWs embrace of Arab dictatorships here.
The United Nations and UN Human Rights Council
Libya is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which has spent a dispropotionate amount of time devoted to criticizing Israel at the expense of genuine human rights abuses. The UNHRC was also the source of the Goldstone Report.
Libya’s disgraceful treatment of its own citizens exposes the anacronism of a human rights body whose members include Libya, Bahrain, Qatar, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – hardly models of freedom and virtue.
As if to demonstrate how the UNHRC has been abused by the abusers (and to abuse Israel), UN Watch reports:
Despite having just voted to suspend Libya from its ranks, the UN Human Rights Council, according to the agenda of its current session, is planning to “consider and adopt the final outcome of the review of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.” According to the council’s timetable, the lengthy report hailing Libya’s human rights record will be presented on March 18, and then adopted by the council at the end of the month. The report, which the UN has published on the council website, is the outcome of a recent session that was meant to review Libya’s human rights record.
“Although the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism is often described by council defenders as its saving grace, the vast majority of council members used it to falsely praise the Gaddafi regime for its alleged promotion of human rights,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization. “The report is a fraud, an insult to Libya’s victims, and should be withdrawn immediately.”
Read more here.
Tom Gross asks:
Why did almost the entire world media ignore the excesses of Arab dictatorships until recently, ferociously attacking instead the Middle East’s only democracy, Israel?
Why in a secret ballot at the UN General Assembly last year, did no less than 155 countries, representing 80 percent of UN members, decide Libya would be a superb choice and voted it on to the UN Human Rights Council. Why did websites like this one express concern when this happened but large media organizations such as the BBC didn’t?
Read more here.
The Death of Linkage
Writing in the Washington Times, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon says:
The last few weeks and months have finally proven the fallacy of one of the most mistaken theories about development and peace in the Middle East. For a number of years, foreign officials, experts and commentators have claimed that if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was solved, then there would be peace in the Middle East. This was coined “linkage.” …
Furthermore, the linkage argument has allowed a dereliction of responsibility for anything that happens outside of Israel’s few square kilometers, which is equivalent to less than one seven-hundredth of the Arab world. Even the term “Middle East conflict” is negligent in that it stresses the singularity and uniqueness of our conflict, perhaps even one of the least bloody and destructive, in a region that has seen dozens of recent and ongoing conflicts.
In fact, of the 11 million Muslims that have been killed in violent conflicts since the middle of the last century when the state of Israel was created, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Muslims were killed in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian or Israeli-Arab conflict. However, more than 90 percent of all Muslims killed during the same time period were killed by fellow Muslims.
Will the revolutions sweeping the Arab world signal the precursor to a reassessment of how Israel is treated by the media, non-governmental organizations, UN bodies and others? We are under no illusions. Recent events in the Mideast have exposed the hypocrisy and double standards applied to Israel.
The battle against anti-Israel bias will, however, continue for the foreseeable future. And HonestReporting will be there.