Can We Hold Israel Accountable?


| 11/26/2012 2:24:41 PM


Tags: Operation Pillar of Defense, Gaza, Palestine, Israeli Defense Forces, Israel, Operation Cast Lead, Human Rights, Yes Magazine, Stephen Zunes.,
Gaza-Protest

To read Breaking the Silence testimonies by Israeli soldiers on the ongoing occupation and blockade of Palestine, check out "It's Mostly Punishment," by Oded Na'aman.

A version of this article appeared at YesMagazine.org.  

The great wish of the early Zionist leader Theodor Herzl was that Israel would be treated like “any other state.” Were that the case, there might be more rational and productive discourse regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is particularly critical in light of Israel launching yet another devastating attack against civilian-populated areas of nearby Arab lands.

There are certainly those who do unfairly single out Israel, the world’s only predominantly Jewish state, for criticism. There is a tendency by some to minimize Israel’s legitimate security concerns and place inordinate attention on the Israeli government’s transgressions, relative to other governments that abuse human rights. There are also those who, in light of the five-year siege of the Gaza Strip and the enormous suffering of the Palestinian people, try to rationalize terrorism and other crimes by Hamas, the reactionary Islamist group currently in control there.

What we recently witnessed from the Obama administration, however—as Hamas rained rockets into Israel and Israel rained bombs, missiles, and mortars into the crowded and besieged Gaza Strip—was the similarly unfair phenomenon of exempting Israel from criticism. While most of the international community has criticized both Hamas and Israel for their attacks on areas populated by civilians, the Obama administration has restricted its condemnation to the Palestinian side.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice—widely considered to be the president’s first choice to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State—correctly noted that there is “no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel.” However, she had absolutely no criticism of Israel’s far more devastating attacks against the people of the Gaza Strip, simply saying that "Israel, like any nation, has the right to defend itself against such vicious attacks.”

arnaud houdmont
12/3/2012 8:31:51 AM

Could someone please explain WHY such unconditional support exists for Israel?