By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.
Five factors push US and Western politicians to either ignore Israel’s massacres of Palestinians or to acquit it of the crime. This article seeks to shed light on these factors.
Observers and scholars (esp. in the Middle East) are often shocked when Western political leaders issue statements condemning the killing of “Jewish civilians,” while completely ignoring the killing of “Palestinian civilians,” no matter how horrific or the scale of the massacres, and even when children, women and elderly people are killed. They are also dazzled by the Western mainstream media’s coverage of the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip (GS) which tends to be biased to Israel or to provide misinformation regarding its massacres and other crimes.
A prominent example is US President Joe Biden who condemned Hamas in the strongest possible terms after Palestinians broke out of GS to launch Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7th, yet has not uttered a single word of condemnation of the daily massacres Israel has committed over the past month which led to the killing of more than 9 thousand Palestinians, including about 3,650 children and 2,300 women, as well as the brutal GS destruction. Rather, he questioned the figures provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health which reported the numbers of the killed, wounded, and missing Palestinians, and relied instead on Israel’s inconsistent narrative of denying responsibility for the Baptist Hospital massacre despite all evidence indicating their responsibility.
Another example is John Kirby, US National Security Council spokesperson, who said during that Ukraine-Russia war that “it’s hard to look at what its [Russian] forces are doing in Ukraine and think that any ethical moral individual could justify that, it’s difficult to look at some of the images and imagine that any well-thinking, serious mature leader would do that.” However, when Israel began its vengeful aggression and massacres in GS, Kirby insisted the world be “realistic” claiming that “This is war, it is combat, it is bloody, it is ugly and it’s going to be messy. And innocent civilians are going to be hurt going forward,” thus disavowing all the values that he had preached.
European leaders in Germany, France, Britain, Italy and others, described their horror at the “Israeli civilian casualties,” condemned what they called “Hamas terrorism,” and spoke of what they called “Israel’s right to self-defense.” Yet, they carefully avoided a single word condemning Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians.
Documented Israeli Crimes
Politicians who absolve Israel of its crimes not only ignore the figures provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health but also overlook the reports of accredited and reliable global human rights organizations in the West, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both of which have documented, over many years, Israel’s war crimes and serious violations of Palestinian human rights and have confirmed its crimes again in its current aggression against GS.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) confirmed the accuracy of the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s figures and said that its experience confirms the credibility of this ministry in previous rounds of wars. Human Rights Watch stressed the credibility of Palestinian statistics, as did The Washington Post. The day after Biden objected to its numbers, the Palestinian Ministry of Health released a 212-page report listing every Palestinian killed since October 7, including their names, ID numbers, ages and gender.
It seems that there are five factors that push the US and Western politicians (to varying degrees) to ignore Israel’s massacres of Palestinian people, or to absolve it of responsibility.
The “Holocaust Complex”
The first factor is the “Holocaust complex” and the feeling of Western responsibility for the mass killing of Jews by Nazi Germany. This is combined with a perception that Israeli settlers in Palestine are fleeing persecution and “returning to their land.”
The Israelis have deepened this complex in the Western conscience and used the accusation of “anti-Semitism” as a weapon to silence and discredit any political or public figure opposing their crimes. Therefore, there is widespread fear among Western lawmakers of the consequences of any charges being brought against Israel, no matter how egregious their crimes. To complement this fear, the Palestinians are being portrayed as anti-Semites seeking to expel the Jews from their “only and last refuge.”!
Representing the West
The second factor is that the Zionist colonial settlement gathering in occupied Palestine is presented as part of the “White man’s world,” a representative of Western civilization and an “oasis of democracy” amidst an otherwise backward region. Hence, although Israel is a force of oppression and occupation, any aggressive military or security behavior on its part, no matter how cruel and barbaric, is accepted and justified by the West under the pretext of “self-defense” as long as such aggression protects the “oasis” in the face of the “savage” behavior of the Palestinians and others.
It follows that if Israel represents Western virtue, resistance and national liberation movements that represent local rejection of Zionism must be classified as “terrorism” as demonstrated in the denunciation of Hamas as a “terrorist movement’ by the US and many Western countries.
Western politicians have always been ready to ignore, forget or absolve the Zionists of their crimes. This happened with the massacres and ethnic cleansing of the 1948 war that led to the forcible displacement of the Palestinian people and the usurpation of their land and has continued in all subsequent wars and Intifadahs. Treating Israel as a state above the law has been the dominant position in the UN Security Council over the past 75 years, and the US has regularly used its veto power to whitewash the crimes of the Israeli occupation.
The Religious and Cultural Dimensions
The third factor is the religious dimension, especially Protestantism which supported the establishment of Israel for religious reasons and believes this to be a fulfillment of such prophecies as the return of the Christ and the premillennial doctrine. Mixed with this are centuries of historical, civilizational, and cultural conflict between the Western and Muslim worlds. Those affected by these factors offer support for Israel without reference to truth, justice, or international law, rejecting logic and reason in favor of religious fanaticism or irrational cultural and historical hostility.
Accordingly, Israel’s stability and security become a “great value” in Western capitals, against which the value of civilian life diminishes; Israel’s crushing of its opponents is “natural” and necessary, and a “morally and religiously justified” act, as long as this violence ensures its dominance. Any researcher can detect the religious backgrounds and cultural influence that has shaped the worldview of many Western political leaders, such as Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Donald Trump, and others.
The fourth factor is Western strategic interest in Israel’s presence as an advanced military fortress in the heart of the Arab and Muslim world, so that it acts as a policeman for the region and guarantees the interests of the major Western powers. Israel’s strength simultaneously ensures the weakness, fragmentation and backwardness of the strategic environment surrounding it, while Israel increases Western dependency on it as a producer of raw materials and a significant consumer market for Western goods.
Therefore, Israel has remained the cornerstone of US and Western policy in the region, and the West was motivated to overlook its transgressions and crimes, considering Israeli violence and conquest to be requirements for it to carry out its necessary tasks in the region.
The Influence of the Jewish Zionist Lobby
The fifth factor is the enormous global influence of the “Israel lobby,” especially in the US and Western Europe.
This lobby has a great influence on decision-making because of its political, economic and media influence, especially when it comes to the policies of these countries towards the Middle East and the conflict with Israel. It is difficult for any US candidate running for president or public office to succeed without the support of this lobby. For example, about 60% of campaign funding for the Democratic Party and about 30% for the Republican Party comes from Jewish donors, although Jews in the US do not exceed 2% of the population.
Many political leaders in the Western world are pinning their political future on appeasing this lobby, and examples in this respect are countless. Remaining silent about Israel’s crimes or proactively denying them is expected from these politicians. If they disobey, they are exposed to media distortion, political destruction and are cut off from sources of support.
Finally, Western officials’ disregard of Israel’s massacres reflects the “state of denial” in which they live. They support an Israeli narrative that is weaker than a spider’s web, as they continue to provide cover for Israel’s continued crimes against the Palestinian people, their land and holy sites.
Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 6/11/2023