Hundreds of Palestinians expelled from their homes! Women and children cast into the street! Cold-hearted government authorities refuse to heed their cries!
That was the news from the Middle East earlier this month. Do you wonder why you didn’t hear about it? Wonder why there wasn’t an international uproar?
The explanation is painfully simple: Because Israel wasn’t to blame. The Palestinian Arab Hamas regime in Gaza did it to fellow Palestinians.
The expulsions took place in the city of Rafah. The Hamas regime decided to undertake some construction near the Rafah commercial crossing. The fact that there were people living in the newly-slated construction zone was deemed irrelevant. The government arbitrarily expropriated more than 13 acres of land and demolished and bulldozed the homes and farms there. Twenty-three families – numbering several hundred Palestinians – were made homeless.
We know about the expulsions because a few Arab news agencies had the courage to report it.
Of course, if Israel had made several hundred Palestinian Arabs homeless, the usual suspects would howl. J Street and Americans for Peace Now would issue angry press releases. The United Nations would meet in emergency session. The European Union would announce that it’s sending a delegation to investigate. Journalists from around the world would descend on the scene to interview the pitiful expellees.
Instead, here’s what’s happened in response to the Rafah expulsions: Nothing. No angry press releases, no emergency sessions, no investigations, no coverage by the mainstream international news media.
Obviously, I’m not the first observer to point out this kind of hypocrisy. It happens all the time. You can glance at headlines from the Arab world almost any week and find examples of actions by governments that are greeted with silence by the world but would be greeted with shouts of protest if Israel had done it.
A writer is dragged from his home and beaten for disagreeing with a government policy. A demonstration is violently dispersed because the dictator doesn’t approve of it. A dissident is sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for failing to toe the party line. And the world looks away.
The question we need to ask is: Why?
I suppose ignorance is the answer in a small number of cases. Of course, ignorance is not a valid excuse. If you are one of those who publicly chastises Israel, you have an obligation to pay careful attention to the news and apply your critical standards to the Palestinian Arabs, as well.
This is especially true in our Internet age. There was a time when it wasn’t always easy to get all the latest news from the Mideast. But today, it’s just a click away. If you care enough to act responsibly, the information is at your fingertips.
For another segment of the hypocritical critics, there’s a different explanation. It’s simple, and it’s undeniable: They’re haters. They hate Israel, and in some cases, they hate Jews. Whether the source of their hostility is religious or political or something else, they are deeply and irreversibly biased.
It’s not that they approve of the Hamas expulsions. They just don’t care. They are so consumed with anti-Israel fury that nothing else interests them except opportunities to bash Israel.
But ignorance and bias don’t explain all of the international hypocrisy. There’s one more very important motivating factor. It may be the most important of all: fear.
Many of these critics of Israel simply are afraid of the Palestinians. They’ve read about Palestinian terrorists who burst into the bedrooms of little Israeli girls and stab them to death, who ambush jogging housewives and crush them to death with a rock, who machine-gun attendees at a Passover seder. They don’t want to be next.
So, they lobby energetically for the Palestinian cause, they cover up Palestinian outrages, and they hope that they will be spared. And Israel pays the price.