State of Israel faces numerous double standards, but we can and should fight back.
by Manfred Gerstenfeld
The use of double standards against Israel has permeated large parts of the world’s mainstream. One finds this phenomenon at the United Nations and many of its affiliates, among governments including Western ones, in major media, academic institutions, NGOs, liberal churches and so on.
The definition of a double standard is rather simple. The Cambridge dictionary online puts it succinctly: “A rule or standard of good behavior which unfairly some people are expected to follow or achieve, but others are not.” That the use of double standards against Jews was at the heart of anti-Semitism throughout the centuries has often been recognized.
Natan Sharansky, when defining how to investigate anti-Semitism concerning Israel, invented the “3D test” - Demonization, Double Standards, Delegitimization. The definition of the FRA, an EU affiliate, mentions that manifestations of anti-Semitism which target Israel include applying double standards by requiring behavior of it that is not expected of any other democratic country.
Double standards can be broken down into seven categories, some of which overlap. A major one is one-sided declarations or biased reporting. The recent third Durban Conference in New York was a further example of the frequent use of double standards against Israel in the UN environment.
One additional example: The targeted killing of Osama bin Laden by the US in 2011 was praised by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin in 2004 by Israel was condemned by then-Secretary General Kofi Annan. The European Commission, along with British and French governments, as well as many others, reacted with similar duplicity.
A second category is conscious self-censorship or omission of essential information that would render a balanced view. After the lynching of two Israeli reserve soldiers in Ramallah in 2000, Ricardo Christiano of the Italian state TV Rai wrote a letter to the Palestinians stating that it was another Italian station that had broadcast the pictures. He stressed that he would never had made them public.
A third category is disproportionality. Media and many human rights NGOs look at Israel through a magnifying glass and have repeatedly ignored major crimes in Muslim states. Yet another category is interference in internal Israeli affairs. The Liberal Party leader Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister of the UK, has said that the interests of the Israeli people are not being met by its government. One should ask him to show when he has said something similar in the past about the Tunisian government of Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali, the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak and a few other similar ones.
A fifth category is discriminatory acts. Dore Gold relates that in 1997 when he was Israel’s ambassador at the UN, the Arab states convened an emergency special session of the General Assembly regarding Israel’s building of condominiums on the Har Homa hill. Gold found out that there had been no such emergency sessions called when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan or Czechoslovakia, when Vietnam invaded Cambodia, or when Turkey invaded Cyprus.
A sixth category is the application of double standards in international law.
A seventh type of double standards is the least known. One can call it humanitarian racism. It attributes intrinsically reduced responsibility to weak and non-white people. This is racism because the less some people are held responsible for their acts, the more similar they are considered to be to retarded people or even animals.
The writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali told me that when she studied social work in the Netherlands, she was taught that racism is only manifest among white people. She recalled, “My family in Somalia, however, educated me as a racist and told me that we Muslims were very superior to the Christian Kenyans. My mother thinks they are half monkeys.”
Typical of humanitarian racists is to hold Israel responsible for whatever it does to defend itself against terrorism. Palestinian responsibility for suicide bombings, missile attacks and the glorification of murderers of civilians is reduced at best.
Many individuals and organizations that apply double standards toward Israel do so frequently. Their statements and acts can regularly be followed on the Internet. One does not have to expose all of them at once, but carefully choose a few such anti-Semites to be monitored. Most people are cowards. Many enjoy free anti-Semitic lunches – yet once it becomes clear that some have to pay for the meal, the number of such diners will likely begin to drop.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 20 books. Several of these address anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.