The video of American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has attracted wide online attention, lifting the spirits and restoring pride. All isn’t lost after all. Her main message was a simple complaint: Why does the UN deal only with Israel, and remain silent with regard to the injustices in Iran and Syria, and by Hezbollah and the Islamic State? The ambassador compared the attitude toward Israel to the attitude toward North Korea, the state of the dear leader, which launches illegal missiles (as if those who are killed by legal missiles sleep peacefully).
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I would suggest that the ambassador add a few more points of comparison: Why not compare the attitude toward Israel to that toward Saudi Arabia, which is starving the residents of Yemen? What about Qatar, which in addition to its support for radical terror organizations employs migrant workers under hellish conditions? I’m surprised at the ambassador, who chose one type of bad guys and ignored the other kind. It seems that if there’s oil involved, her morality and that of many others splits on its own.
Still, I didn’t understand what the web was so excited about. The ambassador put Israel, Syria, Iran and North Korea all in a row, and determined that Israel is the best of them. Is that what the celebration is about? Should we dance in the streets because Israel is better than North Korea? That’s like complaining that they’re all thieves, and coming down on someone solely because of which family he belongs to. There would be reason to celebrate if Israel would star in a tournament with Scandinavian countries that seek peace and equality.
On the other hand, those countries Haley spoke of could only dream of being in Israel’s place; to be in the sights of the entire world, but protected from it by the American veto. The countries that the ambassador was comparing to Israel are under stringent sanctions, particularly economic ones. To them, the attitude toward Israel looks like heaven on earth.
At the same time, if there’s a ray of hope for those seeking peace in Israel, it lies in the fact that the world doesn’t relate to our region as a lost cause – not yet, at least. If the situation was hopeless, the world wouldn’t bother scrutinizing what’s happening here. “The wound doesn’t hurt the dead,” said the Arab poet Al-Mutanabbi. Apparently the world still believes there a chance for things here to be worked out.
That’s why every Israeli citizen, Jew and Arab alike, should be embarrassed that the United States and others are giving Israel the benefit of the doubt with regard to continuing the occupation, the oppression of another people and the discrimination against Arab citizens. Just as every progressive person in the Arab world is meant to refuse “considerate” treatment by the world’s so-called progressive elements that ignore the injustices in the Arab world out of their “understanding” of Arab culture.
After I heard the ambassador’s comments, I felt there was a trap here, even when in her remarks about Israel she mentioned countries that a previous Republican president had dubbed “the axis of evil.” Did the ambassador mean to use reverse logic to deviously instill in global public opinion the notion that Israel is not part of the free world? Was she trying to counter what Israel’s leaders have been trying to carve into world opinion for a generation? Apparently that’s what she thinks of Israel. The ambassador put out a bait of honey and people here swallowed it voraciously.
At the end of her remarks Haley said that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. To me that sounded like lip service. But even France was an exceptional democracy in Paris, even as it committed war crimes in Algeria. And Britain was, and continues to be, a paradigm of democracy in London, while in India she was cruel. There are many such examples.
So it’s true that Israel is a democracy in Tel Aviv, but it’s a bully in the occupied territories. A bully and a democracy. Some other characterization wouldn’t hurt.