web analytics
July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Israel, Syria and Double Standards

All the wars involving Israel, throughout its history, have caused at least 30,000 fewer deaths than have been caused in Syria in the last couple of years alone.

Assad

Syria’s civil war recently entered its third calendar year. With worse still to come, in recent days it has been estimated that the number of people killed in Syria since the uprising began now stands at more than 90,000. Any death is a tragedy for someone and the people close to him; and a million deaths are not a statistic but a million individual tragedies. How can this fact glide by us with so little comment?

When it comes to Syria, there are probably a few practical reasons. One, undoubtedly, is that people get bored with long news stories. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown — in which American, British and other Western troops have after all featured prominently – public and media attention was fairly short-lived. After an initial burst of fascination, once the new norm was established, peoples’ attention wandered elsewhere. Syria has now dragged on too long to hold peoples’ ever-smaller attention spans.

There is also the fact that in Syria – as in other recent wars – journalists have found themselves becoming targets. While many journalists are willing to take the same risks as the population at large, few are willing to stay in situations where they might be the actual object of death-squads or the attentions of RPG’s. In Syria, most journalists have found it hard to get in, or once there, are unwilling to stay, so the amount of footage coming out is necessarily limited. With an absence of plentiful footage, if the story cannot be visualized, there is now rarely a story. Evidently we need pictures.

But there is another, more important, reason why this story has got so little attention. There are often underlying, as well as immediate, reasons why something does not make news. There are some situations in which a tragedy helps a political cause and others in which it hinders it. For some people, casualties are not tragedies or statistics, but simply a well-spring for political point-scoring. To compare the cases of Israel and Syria is to see this at its most stark.

Take, for instance, the highest figures for all the wars in which Israel has been involved throughout its history. The upper estimates suggest that the War of Independence in 1948 cost around 20,000 casualties in total – that is 20,000 on all sides. The upper casualty estimates of the wars of 1968 and 1973 are similar: another 20,000 and 15,000 respectively. The smaller wars in Lebanon and Gaza in the years since add several thousand more to this sad total. But something is striking here.

All the wars involving Israel, throughout its history, have caused at least 30,000 fewer deaths than have been caused in Syria in the last couple of years alone. Say that you added together all the wars involving Israel, and they had all happened either consecutively or in one go. Would we have seen the same amount of coverage that we have seen in Syria? Would there have been more or fewer protests around the world involving people of all religions, races and backgrounds, than there have been outside of Syria in recent months? Would the nations of the world, the United Nations and the U.N. Security Council, have been quieter or noisier than they have been when it has come to the matter of Israel’s neighbor, Syria, over recent months?

The answer to all these questions is that the air and ground incursions in Gaza in recent years have on each occasion led to deaths — tragic though they may be — that are a fraction of the number in Syria since the uprising there began. Yet the world, and the world’s press, and the world’s protest movements, and the world’s governments and the world’s supra-national organizations have on each and every occasion mobilized in a way which seemed at the time, and in retrospect, to demonstrate an obsession which is probably at best unhealthy, and at worst the expression of straightforward bigotry. All those people who claim that small incursions into Gaza have not been small incursions, but in fact a “holocaust,” where are they now? If the death of a hundred people is a “holocaust,” what is the death of 90,000?

How could the differences between reactions to the tragic situations in Syria and in Israel have become so obscene and exaggerated? There are a number of reasons. First, and most obviously, we are forced to conclude yet again that when an Arab kills an Arab it is not news. Only if a Jew is involved does it make the cut.

Second, we must consider that there is a strategic reason for the silence on Syria as opposed to the babel of opinions over Israel. As the death-toll reaches towards the first 100,000, is it not possible that the world reacts so differently in Syria because they see absolutely no solution there? They see a dictator at war with his people but cannot conceive of any way to solve this problem. They see lingering in the wings only worse dictators, worse parties, worse factions and worse religious extremists.

But with Israel — and here we come to the source of the babel — the world believes that there is a solution. Whoever is in charge in Israel — Olmert, Netanyahu or anyone else — the answer remains in the public’s mind the same. And the world, by and large, increasingly thinks that the answer is simple. The problem, they think, is Israel. And it has become “accepted wisdom” that if the press, politicians, international organizations and NGOs who think this way just push hard enough, they will finally be able to bring things to their happy, delusional conclusion.

When people talk of “holocausts” in Gaza, they are seeking to persuade the world to intervene (if a “holocaust” is occurring, how could they not? Just look at Rwanda.). Yet when it comes to Syria, most of the world appears perfectly content to be bystanders. With Israel, every death is investigated, every movement protested against. Yet when it comes to the wholesale slaughter in Syria, there is just a single global shrug. People cannot be wholly surprised, after this divergence of views, if some of us choose to observe in the future that many of those who comment with fury about Israel’s actions have revealed themselves to be neither humanitarians nor journalists, but pure and simple anti-Israel political activists.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute, under the title, “Who Are These Moralists,” March 11, 2013.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Israel, Syria and Double Standards”

  1. Yes – when Arabs kill Arabs the world is silent – but let one Jew defend themselves from the bloodthirsty fascist xenophobic Arabs – we are accused of being worse than Nazis.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israelis visit the former northern Samaria town of Sa-Nur.
Tears From 2 Security Officers, Refusals to Expel Sa-Nur Families
Latest Indepth Stories
Talks between Iran and the P5+1 were likely to be extended beyond Obama's self-imposed deadline.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

More Articles from Douglas Murray
NYPD officers blindfolded by new regulations.

They seek to be color-blind, and religion-blind. But in being so, they are also terror-blind.

Abdul Waheed Majeed (left), of Crawley, England, poses for photographs moments before driving a truck-bomb into a prison in Aleppo, Syria.

If we cannot see what is happening, it seems likely that we simply do not want it to be happening. But apparently not enough to try to stop it from happening.

Larger and larger swaths of people in the West keep coming back with the wrong opinion.

It was down to the press to expose the problem on behalf of everyone else.

There can be little doubt that the train of thought Secretary Kerry expressed is part of the unfortunate zeitgeist.

“The occupation of Palestine and Jerusalem is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed,” says Iran’s new “moderate” President, and the centrifuges keep spinning.

This latest decision tells us nothing about Israel or the West Bank. But it tells us what we need to know about the EU.

Disarmed despots are soon-to-be-dead despots. It is a lesson the North Koreans have taken on board with understandable eagerness.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/israel-syria-and-double-standards/2013/04/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: