The Unspoken Double Standard Emerges Yet Again In The Middle East

Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

There is something to be said about the fact that when something is done in plane sight, it gains significantly less attention than a similar act shrouded in secrecy. With news of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, a worldwide concern has erupted. He was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Jamal Khashoggi was one of a few voices in Saudi Arabia who dared to criticize the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, as well as the continued Saudi led bombardment of Yemen which has left millions of Yemenis in one of the worst humanitarian crises. Ironically the same people critical of the prince are the same ones supplying Saudi Arabia with the weapons it uses on civilians.

The worldwide condemnation has escalated to beyond the political realm, with figures ranging from business to Hollywood electing to boycott appearances in Saudi Arabia until the investigation into Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance is complete. Although the criticism of Saudi Arabia and its policies over the last several years are warranted, one cannot help but wonder where this same anger and criticism is when Israel openly commits the same acts. Already, war hawks in the United States are itching to enter into a new conflict with Saudi Arabia, pretending to all of a sudden care about the disappearance of an Arab journalist. Just this week, CNN contributor and Council on Foreign Relations fellow Max Boot tweeted that “If the Saudis killed him, there must be hell to pay”. Where was this outrage however when Israel for the last several months has been shooting down journalists in plain sight along the border with Gaza, in addition to hundreds of women and children? The double standard is no surprise to anyone that has seen the silence on the part of the international community when it comes to Israel. Nobody dares to defend the lives of the civilians killed for fear of being labeled “anti Semitic”.

Criticism of Israel is not a defense of Saudi actions. Certainly the Saudi Arabian government has done its fair share of evil, most notably by funding ISIS fighters and its war on Yemen with the help of U.S sold weapons. Yet what drives anyone involved in current affairs to scratch their head is the lack of accountability Israel receives for the same acts that others are threatened for committing. The international community is prepared to sanction Saudi Arabia for possibly killing a journalist without video evidence. Yet Israel’s military openly kills people in broad daylight in front of video cameras. What is the “punishment” for Israel? A U.S senate signed bill that gives Israel $38 Billion of tax payer money as American’s teeter on the brink of a recession. Where are the Max Boot’s of the world to threaten Israel with “hell to pay” for the victims they have killed?

This double standard is evident of one recurring theme throughout history that Arab leaders have seemed to not understand. That the U.S constantly acts as a friend to Arab world leaders. Whether it’s Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Bashar Al Assad, and more. Once they’ve gotten what they want out of them, they become useless enemies, and all the handshakes, bows and other kind gestures become meaningless. It all but seems that Saudi Arabia’s time as the U.S darling in the Middle East is beginning to shift. Throughout all of this however one thing remains. The unconditional loyalty to Israel by both political parties in the U.S as well as Western powers. Perhaps he was right when the now deceased former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said “Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial”. His words remain true as the world watches Israel commit daily what it chastises others for allegedly committing.

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Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan