All the people who two weeks ago were ecstatically cheering the re-election of Barack Obama are now having paroxysms of fury over Israel. Where the blogs, Twitterfeeds and daily conversations of these caring, Left-leaning folk were packed to bursting point with glowing praise for Obama on 7 November, now they are full of scorn for Israel and its inhuman, bloodthirsty bombing of Gaza. The intensity of these individuals’ delirium over Obama’s second term now finds its match in the intensity of their disgust with Israel’s military antics.
Which is weird, when you consider that Obama, their hero, has already done to the tribal regions of Pakistan what Israel, their nemesis, is now doing to Gaza.
Obama, like Israel, launches bombing raids on foreign militants, and Obama, like Israel, ends up killing innocent people in the process. Indeed, of the 283 drone strikes launched by Obama in rural regions of Pakistan over the past four years, which have killed an estimated 2,600 people, only 13 per cent have successfully killed an al-Qaeda or Taliban militant. Shockingly, this means that around 2,200 non-militant Pakistanis – or what we might call innocents – have been killed by Obama: bombed in their beds, or while herding sheep, or while driving their cars. This death toll dwarfs what has been unleashed by Israel over the past week or during the first Gaza war in 2008, when around 1,400 Palestinians died.
Israel’s numerous and vocal critics always talk about “disproportionality”, about how wicked it is to have a state as well-armed as Israel attack a territory as poor and huddled as Gaza. Yet if anything, the disproportionality between Obama and the poor parts of Pakistan he incessantly bombs is far greater. Unlike Hamas, these tribal militants do not fire a steady stream of rockets into American territory, yet they regularly feel Obama’s fiery wrath. These Pakistani militants for the most part come from amateurish and shabby groups, yet they frequently find themselves being obliterated by the most powerful military force on Earth. But when did you last hear concerned, sad-eyed activists over here kick up a fuss about the brutal disproportionality of Obama versus rural Pakistanis?
The double standards applied in relation to Israel are extraordinary. Where Obama’s assaults on Pakistan are nodded through, or occasionally mildly criticised in newspaper columns, Israel’s assaults on Gaza give rise to the most furious condemnation and to rowdy public demonstrations at which Israel is denounced as “evil” and “fascistic”. Where Obama’s victims – not only Pakistani militants but vast numbers of Pakistani women and children, too – are almost instantly forgotten, Israel’s victims are splashed across the front pages of our newspapers and at the top of news bulletins and are speedily put on anti-war placards that denounce Israel’s barbarism. Where Palestinian territories are overrun with keffiyeh-wearing, conscience-possessing Westerners who monitor Israel’s every act, rural Pakistan has no such army of caring outsiders, no well-minded gatherers of info about Obama’s bloody destruction. I guess rural Pakistan is too hard for these people to get to. Their consciences don’t stretch as far as the Khyber Pass.
So enormous are the anti-Israel double standards that Left-wing activists even call on Western politicians like Obama or William Hague to “do something” about Israel’s barbarism, to muzzle this pesky, violent state and put it back in its cage. Yes, that’s right, radical agitators look upon the bombers, invaders and occupiers of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia as somehow having the right to lecture Israel about bombing Gaza. That is, the double standard towards Israel has spun so ferociously out of control that not only are Israel’s military antics seen as being more criminal and despicable than the military antics of any other nation on Earth, but now, even the most militaristic nations of all – America and Britain – are seen as being morally superior to the low-life rogue state that is Israel and are called upon to rap Israel’s knuckles.
What is behind these mammoth double standards? Is it that Pakistanis are considered less important than Palestinians, and therefore there’s no need to protest when they get killed? Is it that Obama is viewed as so supercool and liberal that he can bomb whom he likes and still his cheerleaders won’t kick up a fuss? Is it because Israel is a Jewish State, and we are more offended by the sight of Jews bombing brown people than we are by the sight of America’s Democratic Party bombing brown people? What is it? There must be some explanation. Perhaps if you are one of those people who cheered Obama’s re-election and is now jeering at Israel’s militarism you might take a few minutes to tell us why some forms of militarism make you see red, and others do not.
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