Friday, December 11, 2009

Double Standard: Anti-Humanist or Zionist?

Double standard or anti-Semitism
Published: Friday, December 11, 2009 6:35 PM CST

Tribune letter writers rarely engage in criticizing the world’s other 193 countries. It is striking that two letter writers have published more than 50 letters during the past few years exclusively devoted to criticizing, besmirching and delegitimizing Israel.

While a tiny minority of determined Israel-bashers exists, the great majority of Americans - polls consistently show - firmly support Israel and appreciate her monumental challenge of surviving as a tiny democracy (1/6 area of Iowa) in a sea of hostile authoritarian Arab countries, while forced to defend herself against Palestinian terrorism, repeated attacks on her territory and rejection of her right to exist.

These letter writers obsessively focus on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict but are silent about other massacres and genocide that have exacted a far greater human toll: Sudan’s killing of 350,000 Darfuris and the plight of millions of Darfuri and Somali refugees subjected to violence, hunger, and rape; Russia/Chechnya conflict where Russian troops killed tens of thousands of Chechnyan civilians; Tamil Tigers’ terrorism and Sri Lanka’s military assault on Tamil-occupied territory that resulted in 20,000 civilian casualties; Spain/Basque; China’s robbing of the Tibetan people’s homeland; Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus; Turkey’s suppression of Kurdish nationalism; gross human rights abuses by North Korea, Myanmar, Iran and many Arab countries; deprivation of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and other totalitarian countries.

Many of these countries are close U.S. allies; some (e.g. Egypt) are major recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

Singling out the only Jewish state for criticism and condemnation is at best an extreme case of double standard; at worst, a case of the new anti-Semitism. According to Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis, “the new anti-Semitism” is characterized by denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination; applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other country.

Pnina Luban