Double Standards 101: A Lesson from Israel

As usual, the international community is misinterpreting and misrepresenting Bibi Netanyahu’s declared boycott of the UN Human Rights Council, which has begun an investigation of Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories. His reaction to the investigation was, in fact, moderate, statesman-like and responsible.

After all, he could have threatened to bomb the council, couldn’t he? That’s his normal modus operandi.

What’s more, those fools who cry hypocrisy when Bomber Bibi – a blistering and scornful opponent of boycotts against anything vaguely Israeli – becomes a boycotter have clearly not understood the concept of double standards. Continue reading

There’s only one victim, and don’t you forget it

On the Jerusalem Post news desk in the old days, we had an informal equation for figuring out the how big a tragedy had to be in order to make it onto the front page. It went something like this: one Israeli Jew equals three diaspora Jews equals 10 American goyim equals 25 Europeans equals 1,000 Indians. Something like that. It’s not that we took a particularly jaundiced view of things; the news is always more pertinent, the closer it gets to home. I would imagine that most news desks operate according to similar principles.

The massacre at the Jewish school in Toulouse is a case in point. Had the victims been non-Jews, it’s doubtful whether the story would have made it onto the front pages in Israel. The story would certainly not have received the saturation coverage of the last three days. That is not a particularly Israeli or Jewish phenomenon; all societies or groups of people are most affected by events that happen to their own. Continue reading

Slandering the Jewish State (and other fairy tales)

Anyone interested in witnessing the depths to a which party-line academic can descend should read Slandering the Jewish State by Prof Gerald Steinberg on the Yediot Aharonot web site, Ynet (English translation here.) The most striking feature of Steinberg’s attack on those who equate Israel with apartheid is that he makes absolutely no attempt to actually refute the arguments made in favor of the comparison. Not a word. Gurnischt.

Instead, Steinberg concludes that Israel is being slandered on the basis of quotes from various Jewish supporters of Israel who also reject the comparison and the fact that there are other unpalatable regimes in the world who, he seems to believe, are more worthy of the apartheid label. Continue reading

The Great Bibi Duck Hunt

Not for the first time, I’ve been upstaged by the Ha’aretz editorial writer. Lying in bed last night, fueled by one ouzo too many, I worked out the outlines of a piece about the sheer vulgarity of Bibi’s speech to AIPAC earlier in the week. But Ha’aretz got there before me, with a very good editorial published this morning. I urge everyone to read it.

The uncomfortable truth, despite the appalling spectacle that Israel’s prime minister made of himself this week, is that Bibi has won the first battle of the Iranian War. The global debate about the nuclearization of Iran is being conducted on his terms and within a frame of reference that he, Bibi, dictated. Barely a year ago, he sat in the Oval Office and twitched with extreme discomfort as Obama shat on him about settlements and the occupation. This year, settlements weren’t even on the agenda. It was all Iran. Continue reading