Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Condemnations and Double Standards - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

u-s-state-department-spokesperson-jen-psakiLet us engage in a brief thought experiment. Imagine three US service members disembarking off their ship docked in the Israeli port of Haifa. They paint the town but are suddenly and unexpectedly surrounded by a group of 12 or so hooligans, who yell epithets at them, call them “murderers,” throw garbage at them, rough them up and then place bags over their heads. Imagine further that the hoodlums are caught and arrested by Israeli authorities but are inexplicably released shortly thereafter.

Let us engage in another thought experiment. Imagine that Israel, under the pretext of ensuring its security, dynamites eight-hundred “Palestinian” homes. The Israelis argue that smuggling tunnels under some of those homes warrant drastic action and announce their intention to construct a barrier where those homes once stood, displacing ten-thousand residents.

These two incidents actually occurred but not in Israel. On November 12, in a sickening display of brute thuggery, three US sailors in Istanbul were assaulted by a group of Turkish nationalists. They were roughed up, humiliated, had bags stuffed over their heads and chased to chants of “Yankee go home.” Some of the suspects were apprehended and despite the fact that they showed little remorse, were inexplicably released by Turkish authorities.

The second incident, involving the wonton destruction of some eight-hundred homes and the displacement of some ten-thousand residents occurred in the Egyptian controlled part of Rafah that straddles the border between Sinai and the Hamas enclave of Gaza. It seems that the Egyptians had had enough of Hamas’s shenanigans and decided to act resolutely after as many as 31 Egyptian soldiers were killed in an attack that the Egyptian government blamed on Hamas.

Now let us return to our thought experiment. What was the State Department’s reaction to these two occurrences? In the latter example, there was simply no reaction, only silence. There were no condemnations from John Kerry, no claims by Jen Psaki that such drastic measures were disproportionate and no protests from Obama shills Ben Rhodes, Phillip Gordon and Josh Earnest that such sweeping actions amount to collective punishment, are a source of regional instability and present obstacles to peace.

In the former case, the State Department did issue a condemnation but that’s as far as it went. The hooligans responsible for the cowardly attack took their cues directly from their anti-American, Islamist government. During his 12-year reign, President Recep Erdogan worked tirelessly to create a toxic environment conducive to such base anti-American displays. More astonishingly was the muted response from the State Department after the charges against those responsible for the assault were dropped. The lawless message Turkey is conveying to the United States is clear; your servicemen and women can be humiliated and assaulted on Turkish soil with impunity.

Had any of these incidents occurred in Israel, the State Department would have been up in arms. If there’s any doubt about that assertion, consider Jen Psaki’s comments concerning Israel’s decision to demolish the home of a terrorist responsible for crushing a pedestrian with a stolen excavator in August.

Psaki condemned the Israeli decision stating that it amounted to “collective punishment.” In Psaki’s eyes, the destruction of 800 Rafah homes, most of which have no connection to illicit activity, suits the State Department just fine but the targeted demolition of a single home belonging to a confirmed depraved Palestinian terrorist amounts to “collective punishment.”

Now consider the administration’s lackadaisical response to the humiliation of its servicemen on Turkish soil and subsequent dropping of all charges against the culprits by Turkish prosecutors. The State Department’s silence on the matter is deafening. By contrast, when a Palestinian terrorist with U.S. citizenship was shot while throwing gasoline bombs at vehicular traffic, Obama’s State Department went into high gear expressing its “deepest condolences” to the terrorist’s family and demanding a “speedy and transparent investigation” into the shooting.

It appears that the Obama administration, which treats friends like enemies and enemies like friends, has adopted one standard for Israel and another for the autocratic governments that surround it. While Russia invades Ukraine, Turkey absorbs chunks of Cyprus and China continues its ethnic cleansing and occupation of Tibet as well as creeping annexation of areas within the South and East China seas, the administration appears besotted by the idea of tearing Israel away from parts of its ancestral land and creating yet another hostile and dysfunctional Arab country right on Israel’s doorstep. The administration’s continued haranguing of one of its closest allies is indicative of the disdain Obama has for Israel and serves only to embolden its genocidal enemies.  But then again, maybe that’s precisely what he wants.

Ari Lieberman


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