Lessons on hypocrisy from Syria

By: David M. Weinberg

May 14, 2013

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All the high-and-mighty human rights moralizers are ignoring the frightening plight of Palestinians and Christians in the Syrian civil war. There is, alas, no anti-Israel angle to the story.

Published in Israel Hayom, May 14, 2013.

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The fighting in Syria once again proves the sad old adage that human rights organizations and their advocates in the mainstream Western media are essentially anti-Israel. There is no other way to explain the fact that all these high-and-mighty moralizers are ignoring the frightening plight of Palestinians and Christians in the Syrian civil war.

You see, there is no anti-Israel angle to the story of Palestinian or Christian suffering in Syria. That suffering can’t really be blamed on the Jews. So nobody cares.

The United Nations Work and Relief Agency (UNRWA) reports that approximately 235,000 Palestinians have been displaced inside Syria since the beginning of the conflict two years ago. Just two weeks ago, some 6,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in Ein al-Tal, a refugee camp near Aleppo in northern Syria.

In addition, more than 55,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee Syria to Lebanon and Jordan over the past two years. In Lebanon, the Palestinian refugees join more than 500,000 other Palestinians who live in refugee camps and are subject to apartheid laws that deny them work, social and health benefits, and freedom of movement.

But of course, there has been no international uproar about this.

Now imagine if ten squatting Palestinian families were forced to move two kilometers out of an IDF firing zone in the southern Hebron hills. There would be UN investigations, international tribunals, condemnations from Western capitals, and much handwringing and moralizing by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and more.

Actually, this happened.

According to the brave Palestinian-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in Syria, most in recent months, by both the rebels and the Syrian army.

But of course, you wouldn’t know about this from the Western press.

Now imagine if on an incursion meant to destroy enemy missile launchers, IDF troops killed 150 terrorists and inadvertently also killed a few civilians behind which the terrorists were hiding. There would be UN investigations, international tribunals, condemnations from Western capitals, and much hand-wringing and moralizing by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and more.

Actually, this happened.

Abu Toameh pointedly notes that the two Palestinian governments – Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank – have said or done nothing to draw global attention to the plight of their brethren in Syria. Neither the Palestinians nor Arab countries nor Arab League foreign ministers have asked for an emergency UN Security Council session to discuss the new Palestinian tragedy.

“PA president Mahmoud Abbas is too busy touring the world and fighting with his just-resigned prime minister, Salam Fayyad. The Hamas government is too busy inciting Palestinians and preparing for the next wave of terror attacks against Israel,” Abu Toameh notes. “Construction in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank is more urgent than the lives of thousands of Palestinians in Syria.”

IT IS NOT ONLY PALESTINIANS suffering from Arab and Western disinterest. It is also Syria’s Christians, more than 300,000 of whom have fled Syria since the rebellion began. It seems that their fate will be similar to that of the Christians in Iraq, half of whom emigrated, fled or were killed.

In March 2012, Islamist militants went door to door in neighborhoods of Homs, expelling local Christians. Of the more than 80,000 Christians who lived in Homs prior to the uprising, approximately 400 remain today. In May 2012, Christian residents of Qusayr received an ominous warning: Either join the Sunni-led opposition against Bashar Assad or leave. Soon after, thousands of Christians fled the town.

Christians who have fled to Egypt or Jordan tell of harassment, fictitious marriage proposals designed to traffic their daughters, and curses and beatings for being Christians.

But of course, you wouldn’t know about this from the Western press.

Now imagine that a few Jewish hooligans were to vandalize a monastery or two in Israel. There would be howls of protest worldwide. The attack would be covered extensively in just about every newspaper in the world, with a lot of buzz about the supposed brutalization of Israeli society and a radicalization of religious Jewry. There would be UN investigations, condemnations from Western capitals, and much hand-wringing and moralizing by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and more.

Actually, this happened.

In short, the world is quick to jump on the rare cases of shameful Jewish hooliganism against Christians in Israel, or measured Israeli actions against Palestinians, but gives short shrift to the rampant and deadly persecution of Christians and Palestinians in the Arab and Islamic world.

When persecution against Palestinians and Christians doesn’t come from the Jews, nobody cares. And this tells me that international howls of protest against Israel related don’t stem from real concern for Palestinian or Christian “victims” of Israel’s heavy hand. Might it be possible that they stem from plain, old anti-Semitism?

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About David Weinberg

David M. Weinberg is a spokesman, speechwriter, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel’s detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel. Read more »


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A passionate speaker, David M. Weinberg lectures widely in Israel, the U.S. and Canada to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. He speaks on international politics and Middle East strategic affairs, Israeli diplomacy and defense strategy, intelligence matters and more. Click here to book David Weinberg as a speaker.


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