Home inContext A Deluge of Double Standards

A Deluge of Double Standards

Stephen Richer

According to Natan Sharansky, criticisms of Israel can be divided into two camps—reasonable and unreasonable—by using the “three D’s” test: demonization, double standards, and delegitimization.

Judging by the second criterion—double standards—the past few weeks have been rough for Israel. Consider the following double standards.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on Israel.

As noted in this blog post by David Frum, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan recently referred to Israel in a less-than-friendly manner: “We will go on to raise our voice against those massacring innocent people and children. We will call a killer a killer when needed.”

Only a little later, CBC News shined new light on Hezbollah’s involvement in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. Erdogan’s suggested response? Ask the investigating tribunal to delay its official report for another year so as to not upset the Middle East.

So much for calling killers killers…

South Korea and Israel: World Responses

North Korea put itself back on front pages this week by firing on Yeonpyeong Island and killing four South Koreans. The North then promised additional violence if the South and the United States continued their long-scheduled naval exercises.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak responded with an appropriately austere warning: “If the North commits any additional provocations against the South, we will make sure that it pays a dear price without fail.” Top South Korean leaders met in urgency, and South Korean troops mobilized.

The general response of the world community: “Well said.”

But a simple review of news articles on Israel’s most recent anti-terrorist rhetoric and actions shows the most popular adjectives used by world leaders to be: “uneven,” “unnecessary,” and “inappropriate.”

Responding dramatically to attacks is one thing for South Korea, but another thing for Israel…

President Obama: Call it both ways?

By far the most disappointing of the recent double standards comes from President Barack Obama. In response to recent Israeli developments in eastern Jerusalem, President Obama scolded the Israeli government for disrupting the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, saying, “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.”

One week later, Palestinian officials announced that they would not return to the negotiating table even if Israel issued a 90-day freeze on settlements. President Obama’s response? Silence.

Apparently developments in East Jerusalem constitute a serious disruption to the peace talks, but the Palestinian’s non-negotiable cessation of talks cannot be similarly be classified as an obstacle to constructive negotiations…

Unreasonable criticism of Israel is not a novel concept in Turkey and many other countries in the world. But it’s a recent and unwelcome development in the United States, a country that has largely kept the three Ds from its mainstream politics.

Stephen Richer is the co-founder and director of www.GathertheJews.com and is an employee of a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C.