Today, Monday, May 30, 2022, the Freedom of Speech and Expression Program in the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue issued a new report entitled (Double standards…between the war in Ukraine and the Palestinian cause).
The report compared the Western response to the Ukrainian crisis and the Palestinian issue, highlighting the duplicity and double standards in the Western reaction. Ukraine was met with support from media, states, and international organisations. On the other hand, Palestine, which has been occupied for more than 75 years, does not get the same support. They are met with condemnation or, at best, impartiality. Even though its right to self-determination and self-defence are stipulated by international law, the West does not extend to it those rights.
The report addressed a number of topics, including:
1) Media Coverage
The report emphasized the stark difference in the media coverage in regards to language, headlines, and narratives. The language used in the Western media to discuss both crises uncovered the duplicity and double standards of the US and European media in their claims of objectivity. Their objectivity was simply thrown out of the window in their coverage of the war in Ukraine. They are mostly positive in their coverage of the Ukrainian resistance, but when they cover the Palestinian resistance, they are either negative, or rarely “objective” at best, although both cases express resistance against the illegal occupation.
Moreover, they are fiercely positive of the condemnation and sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation. On the other hand, they are wary at best of any sanctions or boycotts of the Israeli state. In fact, most acts of support to Palestine by celebrities are portrayed as “antisemitic”.
2) Western Government’s Reaction
The Russian attack on Ukraine was met with a very swift and clear stand by Western governments. They unanimously and clearly condemned the attacks, very rightfully so. However, their response to Israeli aggression towards Palestine is always hesitant and vague at best. They call for restraint from “all sides”. Other times they outright condemn and criticise Palestine for defending themselves and their right to self-determination.
3) International Organizations and Companies
The report stated that these organizations have long maintained their apolitical stance when it comes to boycotting Israel. However, it is now considered a legitimate and necessary moral response to Russia’s violation of international law and human rights in Ukraine.
International human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have also shown their bias. Moreover, multinational businesses are encouraged to boycott Russia and stop all their operations in Russia. On the other hand, these same businesses have no problem in participating in the Israeli apartheid.
The report also clarified that the extent of the duplicity and double standards revealed by the recent crisis is blatant. The treatment of victims of war violence depends on the colour of their skin or the origin of the victims and the political alliances of the perpetrators. It showed that international law and human rights are just tools that the West uses when they find them appropriate.
The report concluded by emphasizing that human rights are universal, and do not accept division in humanitarian crises, nor adhere to them for the individual interests of some countries at the expense of others, representing the capabilities of the most powerful politically and militarily in the international community.