The Independent published a commentary which included the complaint that international support for Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion represents a racist double standard – insofar as such support is not shown for “black and brown people”, such as Palestinians, who engage in the same behavior.
The op-ed (“The racial bias in western media’s Ukraine coverage is shameful”, March 1), by the Indy’s Race Correspondent Nadine White, argues that Western media outlets’ sympathetic coverage of Ukraine’s struggle, including their “armed resistance”, is based on their “whiteness” and “proximity to the west”, a dynamic which she claims “feeds into white supremacist ideology”.
She later writes:
On Friday, Sky News broadcast a clip of [Ukrainian] people making Molotov cocktails – effectively bombs – explaining in intricate detail how to make these devices as effective as possible. Can you imagine if these were Syrians or Palestinians? They’d quickly be branded as terrorists.
First, her entire racial paradigm is based on the false characterisation of Palestinians as “black and brown” and, at least implicitly, Israelis as white. As we’ve demonsrated previously, a majority of Israel’s citizens are not ‘white’, but ‘people of colour’, in that they claim Mizrachi, Ethiopian, or Arab ancestries. Unlike the US and UK (and Ukraine), Israel is a majority ‘minority’ country. In fact, if you picked random groups of Palestinians and put them next to random groups of Israelis, it often wouldn’t be easy to tell which was the ‘white’ group.
Even worse than her racial distortion, however, is her political one.
Citizens of democratic Ukraine making Molotov cocktails are doing so to throw at tanks which are part of an unprovoked military onslaught by an authortitarian, expansionist Russian regime. Palestinians, on the other hand, who manufacture and use bombs against Israelis typically use such explosives on civilians, and are usually affiliated with antisemitic extremist organisations which seek Israel’s destruction.
The international support for Ukraine’s defence against Russia, including by many Western journalists, is not based on Ukrainians’ race, but on the unambiguous moral divide between the two sides. There is not an intellectually serious case in defence of Vladimir Putin’s aggression. As hard as many radical activists try to frame the Jewish state as nothing short of the face of evil in the world, the question of how to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seen by most as extremely complex, with very little sympathy for regional Palestinian terror groups’ intransigence and racist ideologies.
It is not, as the Indy journalist suggests, the colour of Palestinian bomb-makers skin at play in the debate, but the content of their character.
- No, Ukraine is NOT like Gaza (Elder of Ziyon)
- Guardian criticises Howard Jacobson’s concern about left-wing antisemitism (CAMERA UK)