One of the more bizarre political dynamics regarding the obsession with Israel – the amount of public space devoted to dissecting every conceivable Israeli sin, real and (largely) imagined, holding the Jewish state to moral and political standards which no other nation is held to (certainly no other nation in the tyranny-laden Middle East) – is the moral inversion engaged by those who not only deny that this double standard exists, but who argue further that the inverse is true, that Israel is held to a lower level of accountability than other states.
Jeremy Corbyn’s contribution in CiF, March 21, concerning what he characterizes as the UK’s “suspicious” “rush to war” in Libya is nothing remarkable, but his pivot, further in the essay, from exploring this skepticism over the wisdom of Western military intervention in Libya to attacking Israel is indicative of the Guardian Left – in which nearly any issue in the region can devolve into fodder for the demonization of the Jewish state:
Corbyn (a Labour MP for Islington North) says:
“One can’t help but be struck by the rush to military involvement [in Libya] by politicians of all countries and all persuasions. The contrast with the western treatment of the rest of the region could not be more stark. The Palestinian people have lived with occupation for 60 years, well over 1,000 died in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, settlements abound and Israel possesses nuclear weapons. I can’t remember anyone calling for a no-fly zone in Gaza in winter 2008-09 when phosphorous bombs were used against a largely unarmed and defenceless civilian population.”
“Palestinians have lived with occupation for 60 years.”
At best, this is simply unintelligible. Israel took control of the West Bank after defeating four Arab armies in a defensive war in 1967 – 43 years ago – so its unclear what occupation Corbyn is referring to, unless of course he’s suggesting, as Hamas and other extremists do, that all of Israel (even within pre-1967 borders) is illegitimate and should be considered occupied territory.
However, he could also be referring to Jordan’s occupation of the West Bank, and Egypt’s occupation of Gaza, from 1949 till 1967, in which case he may have purposely chose to left his passage vague as such a narrative would impugn countries in the region other than Israel, reminding readers that, even when given the chance, Arab regimes in the region had no interest in creating an independent Palestinian state.
Further, he asserts:
“I can’t remember anyone calling for a no-fly zone in Gaza in winter 2008-09 when phosphorous bombs were used against a largely unarmed and defenceless civilian population.”
The “white phosphorous” he refers to – a staple within the anti-Israel Guardian Left inventory of useful and highly deceptive invectives – was used during Cast Lead as smoke screen, which violated no international laws and, indeed, the U.S. and NATO allies have also employed this lawful tactical weapon during wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Moreover, to characterize Gazans as largely unarmed and defenceless bears no resemblance to reality, as it ignores the thousands of missiles fired into Israeli civilian territory in the years leading to Israel’s retaliatory assault, as well as the increasingly sophisticated weaponry smuggled into the territory (often from Iran) after Israel’s withdraw in 2005. Also, as even Hamas has admitted recently (facts which were established much earlier by the IDF) about half of all Palestinian casualties from Cast Lead were Hamas combatants.
But going beyond the mere specifics of his anti-Israel agitprop, Corbyn’s broader point, that Israel isn’t held as accountable as other nations doesn’t bear even the lightest scrutiny. Indeed, the obsessive criticism of Israel by international bodies such as the UN is extremely well documented and beyond dispute.
As the highly reputable watchdog group, UN Watch, has demonstrated, regarding the five years since the newly formed UN Human Rights Council was formed:
- In total, the council has adopted some 50 resolutions that condemn countries. Of these, 35 have been on Israel — i.e. 70%. All have been one-sided condemnations that grant impunity to Hamas and Hezbollah, and to their state sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- Built into the council’s permanent agenda is a special item on Israel. No other country is singled out in this fashion.
- Out of 10 special sessions that criticized countries, six were on Israel–and four for the rest of the world combined.
Corbyn’s extremist political sympathies have been quite clearly demonstrated:
“The idea that an organisation that is dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people, and bringing about long-term peace and social justice and political justice in the whole region, should be labelled as a terrorist organisation by the British government, is really a big, big historical mistake.”
He even stood in for George Galloway at Press TV, the propaganda wing of the Iranian regime which routinely promotes anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial material.
In other words, Corbyn has all the ideological ingredients necessary to render him a suitable contributor for the Guardian.