There are many absurd charges leveled against Israel and her supporters but, of these, perhaps the most comical are suggestions, in one form or another, that “you’re not allowed” to criticize Israel, Israel isn’t criticized enough, Israel is spared its share of critical scrutiny, and the Jewish state behaves with something approaching moral impunity.
Yet, Peter Beaumont, the World Affairs Editor for The Observer, The Guardian’s sister publication, recently published a CiF essay, Israel’s right to exist doesn’t mean it can act with impunity, which not only suggests that Israel’s behavior could reasonably be seen as eroding its legitimacy but also complains that “[Israel’s supporters] make an essentially undemocratic argument utilising Israel’s right to exist as an argument for impunity.”
Of course, this is classic straw man, as those who passionately defend Israel never make anything even approaching such an argument but, rather, have demanded that Israel not be held to a higher standard than other nations.
How do we quantify such egregious double standards which are consistently employed against Israel?
Since the UN Human Rights Council’s founding in 2006 (the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights), more than 80% of all the UNHRC’s condemnatory resolutions (27 out of 33) have been against Israel – the only nation in the Middle East listed as free year after year by Freedom House.
From 2009-2010, the U.N. General Assembly passed 22 resolutions that were “one-sided or blatantly anti-Israel,” while a mere handful of the UN’s other 191 countries have been cited only once. And, of their 10 emergency sessions, six were about Israel. No emergency sessions were held on the Rwandan genocide, ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia or the two decades of atrocities in Sudan.
The UK Media
Closer to Beaumont’s home, a report by Just Journalism on the UK media’s coverage of the Middle East demonstrated the following about the Guardian:
Guardian coverage of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia combined and doubled in 2010, but still fell far short of the total coverage of Israel.
News reporting about Israel by the Guardian in 2010 was nearly six times the volume of the next most reported Arab country, Egypt.
Comment is Free pieces in 2010 on Egypt, Libya and Tunisia combined to less than half those published about Israel.
Sixteen Guardian editorials were published on Israel, whereas none were published on Egypt, Libya or Tunisia.
Just Journalism’s report also found similar biased coverage by the BBC and Daily Telegraph.
In the NGO world – as NGO Monitor is continually demonstrating – groups which claim a humanitarian non-political agenda often spend a disproportionate amount of energy and resources singling our democratic Israel for condemnation.
This graph by NGOM on country specific reports by Amnesty International, in 2010, is quite instructive.
Another 2010 report by NGOM on Human Right’s Watch (Middle East):
Indeed, the Guardian’s own data for 2010 (stories by country tags) demonstrated Israel not only fails to escape critical scrutiny but, indeed, such criticism – at the Guardian, as in much of the MSM – often rises to the level of obsession.
No serious observer of the Middle East can honestly believe that Israel acts with impunity – which I guess speaks volumes of The Observer’s World Affairs Editor.