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A double standard on ‘terrorism’

Israel/Palestine
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n a 1994 exchange of letters Bush and Sharon agreed that all the major Israeli settlement blocs would remain in Israeli hands, and that the Palestinians would never achieve their internationally-guaranteed right of return.

n a 1994 exchange of letters Bush and Sharon agreed that all the major Israeli settlement blocs would remain in Israeli hands, and that the Palestinians would never achieve their internationally-guaranteed right of return.

The lobby isn’t just rotten politically, it’s rotten intellectually. It demands one-sided stances by western leaders, against Arabs and for Israelis.

The double standard is in full sunlight in this NYT piece on the lobbying against the Iran deal. As you read this excerpt, compare the praise lately lavished on Ariel Sharon, who had a hand in several civilian massacres and was known throughout the Arab world as a butcher– but George Bush called him a “man of peace,” and Joe Biden compared him to James Joyce— with the contempt heaped on Iranian foreign minister Zarif for praising a Hezbollah leader. Rick Gladstone, in the Times:

Escalating an effort to portray Iran’s leaders as duplicitous, supporters of the Kirk-Menendez bill… have taken aim at Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, an American-educated diplomat who led the successful negotiations on the temporary pact…

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based group that supports tough sanctions, criticized Mr. Zarif on Tuesday for paying respects on Monday in Beirut, Lebanon, at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh, an assassinated commander in the military wing of Hezbollah, the Shiite political organization allied with Iran. The United States and Israel consider Hezbollah a terrorist group, and the European Union has classified its military wing as a terrorist operation.

Mr. Mughniyeh, killed in a 2008 car bombing that Hezbollah said was carried out by Israel, was regarded by the United States as having planned numerous attacks, including the 1983 truck bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 American service members.

“Celebrating a mass-murdering terrorist is a bad choice for any foreign minister, but the decision by Tehran’s top diplomat to so brazenly honor a terrorist like Mughniyeh, who killed hundreds of Americans, within hours of inking an agreement with the U.S. and members of the P5-plus-1 sends a very negative and unmistakable signal about Iran’s true intentions,” Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said in an email. He said Mr. Zarif’s gesture should be “met with a firm Obama administration response such as new terrorism sanctions against Iran.”

Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council, also condemned Mr. Zarif’s visit. “The decision to commemorate an individual who has participated in such vicious acts, and whose organization continues to actively support terrorism worldwide, sends the wrong message and will only exacerbate tensions in the region,” Ms. Hayden said in a statement.

Yes and how many hundreds died in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps? Even the Israeli government found that Sharon bore responsibility for those crimes.

Or consider Sharon’s first big murder raid, leading Unit 101 in the massacre of 69 Palestinians in Qibya in the West Bank in 1953. In an amazing new work of scholarship on Israel’s foundations, Citizen Strangers, Shira Robinson says that Sharon burst into fame with the raid, because his unit was part of Israel’s “War on Return”–the country’s absolute determination to maintain an ethnically cleansed homeland against a demographic threat, by the most violent means. And this has no connection to terrorism?

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47 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    January 22, 2014, 11:23 am

    Mark Dubowtiz part of the israeli lobby, he should go to Israel since he loves that regime so much.

  2. hophmi
    hophmi
    January 22, 2014, 11:41 am

    Putting aside for the moment that the NY Times criticized Sharon many times when he was alive, are you seriously positing an equivalence between an obit of a former head of state of a US ally and criticism of an FM for a non-allied country who lauded a man responsible for one of the worst attacks on American soldiers in history? It’s an American newspaper. There’s nothing special here about this so-called double standard.

    The real double standard in terrorism is the one that exists throughout the Arab world, where the killing of Israeli children in suicide bombings is not considered terrorism.

    • Scott
      Scott
      January 22, 2014, 12:09 pm

      hophmi, I know that the attack on Amurican soldiers was despicable and all that, but can you explain to me why attacking soldiers who have occupied part of your country for the purpose of intervening in your civil war is “terrorism”. I’ve long wondered this. It’s quite different, on a moral plane, from Qibya or Sabra-Shatila.

      • philweiss
        philweiss
        January 22, 2014, 12:30 pm

        Thanks Scott. And that was it for Reagan. He ended the occupation soon after…

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        January 22, 2014, 1:12 pm

        There were 3 sets of peacekeeping forces in Beirut that year. American, French and Italian.
        The Italians were mostly from southern Med towns and very sympa to the suffering of the Lebanese civilians.
        The bases attacked were those of the Americans and the French.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        January 22, 2014, 1:34 pm

        The bases attacked were those of the Americans and the French.

        It’s an open secret in Italy that the Italian government paid “protection”.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        January 23, 2014, 12:09 am

        shmuel writes: It’s an open secret in Italy that the Italian government paid “protection”.

        Then the Italians were the most sensible of the three given that it made no sense for any of them to be there in the first place.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        January 23, 2014, 1:59 pm

        Furbo

        How come Yanks are so stupid when abroad in military form ?
        Why was Iraq such a car crash ?

        Scott Atran: ‘US foreign policy is set by people who’ve almost no insight into human welfare, education, labour, desires or hopes’ –

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/video/2011/oct/31/scott-atran-us-foreign-policy-video

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      January 22, 2014, 12:19 pm

      it’s not even a question of double standards, it’s a question of transparency, a question of tactics, a question of motivations. what is a rational observer to conclude when Shin Bet arrests alleged AQ operatives planning suicide attacks in Israel, those same operatives allegedly having been recruited by Syrian AQ leadership? If the narrative is accurate, you effectively have a force being financed and supplied by SA, an ostensible ally of Israel and the US, that is planning the assassination of US diplomatic personnel in Israel. How does any of this make sense in the context of the GWOT? it doesn’t. it doesn’t make sense that Israel and the US support the MEK (the Persian Khmer Rouge) in assassination ops in Iran; it doesn’t make any sense when the US and SA support Chechen and Dagestani terrorists in the Caucuses and Southern Russia. (and by the way, what happened with all the investigations into the Todashev and Tsarnaev links to terrorists while suicide bombs are being detonated in Stavropol? the US/EU/SA have an interest in destabilizing the region to weaken the 21st century Russian empire. so what gives?)

      it’s silly to go into all of this equivalence calculus when we don’t even have an honest conversation about the politics underlying these types of events. (and yes, hophmi, I don’t know who here supports ‘suicide bombers’, but that’s simply what happens when two military forces of disparately unequal means collide. it’s similar to what Zionists did in the early 20th century when confronted with British military superiority, and their own lack of sophisticated military resources. they exploded car bombs, and booby trapped orange crates, and assassinated other Jews who were insufficiently wedded to the cause.

    • Ron Edwards
      Ron Edwards
      January 22, 2014, 12:23 pm

      “… one of the worst attacks on American soldiers …” I believe the correct phrasing would be *one of the most successful attacks.”

      To learn something about it: http://adept-press.com/wordpress/wp-content/media/Shahida-excerpt-PR9.pdf

      U.S. soldiers were set up to die in a perfect storm of policy incompetence.

      This confounding of “terror,” “human bomb attack,” and “resistance vs. American forces” must cease. Even if I supported the sending of U.S. troops into Beirut at that time in support of Amin Gemayel, which I did not (and do not still), it is grossly wrong to mix up these terms.

    • talknic
      talknic
      January 22, 2014, 12:33 pm

      hophmi “The real double standard in terrorism is the one that exists throughout the Arab world, where the killing of Israeli children in suicide bombings is not considered terrorism”

      How odd. The Arab states have condemned the use of terrorism, incl terrorism on Israeli citizens.

      Meanwhile, soldiers are legitimate targets.

    • John Douglas
      John Douglas
      January 22, 2014, 1:42 pm

      Hophmi refers to Israel as an American “ally”. I’d like someone to explain why any American should consider Israel an ally of the U.S. It was Israel that pulled all its myriad strings to get the U.S. to enter the Syrian civil war to the point where the U.S. had to be rescued by Putin. It is Israel that has told every lie about immanent Iranian nukes and still pressures members of Congress and the President, so far unsuccessfully, to commit the U.S. to a war with Iran. It was Israel-firsters in and out of government who played a large role in committing the U.S. to a failed war in Iraq. It is the required “no space between us” position of U.S. leaders, combined with Israel’s inhuman treatment of Palestinians, including sponsoring settler terrorism, that has reduced the U.S. moral position in the world to zero. Perhaps someone knows of a reason to think of Israel as an ally of the U.S.

    • Walid
      Walid
      January 22, 2014, 2:15 pm

      “the Arab world, where the killing of Israeli children in suicide bombings is not considered terrorism.”

      Hophmi, where did you get this piece of information?

      • K Renner
        K Renner
        January 22, 2014, 2:44 pm

        He’s making stuff up, that’s all.

      • piotr
        piotr
        January 24, 2014, 9:16 am

        There are sources, like Torat HaMelech. The Laws Pertaining To Relations Between Jews and non-Jews In Matters of Life and Death.. Clerics in the region are a feisty bunch.

        Concerning “terrorism” hypocrisy, one can agree that atrocities committed by government are perhaps a separate category, but it is hard to see if they are morally superior. The rough moral calculus goes like that: to evaluate the killing we need to know the status and motives of the involved. The moral order goes like that: “our soldiers” (most innocent), “our civilians”, long gap (crickets chirping), “their civilians”, “their militants and soldiers”. So the attack on our soldiers is the worst possible kind of attack, and if it was committed by “their militants”, the worst possible kind of perpetrator.

        A little problem (or a feature?) in this moral system is that it says nothing if the victims are neither “ours” or “theirs”. For example, how do we judge massive support of terrorists attacking civilians in Syria? There is really no way we can judge Prince Bandar, so he can be invited to gatherings, quotes, one day eulogized with no objections.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        January 22, 2014, 3:47 pm

        “but can you explain to me why attacking soldiers who have occupied part of your country for the purpose of intervening in your civil war is “terrorism”. ”

        Never claimed it was.

    • K Renner
      K Renner
      January 22, 2014, 2:52 pm

      >> “The real double standard in terrorism is the one that exists throughout the Arab world, where the killing of Israeli children in suicide bombings is not considered terrorism.”

      Let’s say this isn’t lying pro-Israel blather, and let’s assume this is, at least partially, true– what’s the usual Israeli response to dead Palestinians, or dead Lebanese, or dead Palestinian or Lebanese children?

      It’s either “they were ‘terrorists’/supported ‘terrorists’/we’re sorry but it’s not our fault that they died by our hands, the Arabs are evil and don’t value human life”.

      These are things you will actually hear from Israelis representing the government or the military, and the “average” Israel is often worse in that regard– at least the ones in the political centre and traveling to the right.

      That’s factual, unlike your “nasty evil Arabs who love killing children” or whatever it was you were trying to get across.

    • Donald
      Donald
      January 22, 2014, 5:12 pm

      “There’s nothing special here about this so-called double standard.”

      True, but I wonder if you’ve thought it through. Basically you’re saying that one country’s terrorist is another country’s ally. But if calling someone a terrorist is supposed to be damning moral indictment, then Americans who praise Sharon are in a poor position to condemn others for attending the funeral of a “terrorist”. You’re right, of course, that there is hypocrisy in the Arab world. But Americans and Israelis set ourselves up as moral paragons who get to lecture others about terrorism and so it’s appropriate to point out the double standard.

      • Renato Oliveira
        Renato Oliveira
        January 22, 2014, 8:01 pm

        Sharon also dismantled settlements in Gaza. And saved countless lives in Israel and amidst Palestinian Arabs with the security fence.

        Mugnyieh, on the other hand, did nothing other than killing his enemies and his own people.

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia
      January 23, 2014, 12:09 am

      Did Sharon ever condemn USS Liberty?l

  3. American
    American
    January 22, 2014, 12:57 pm

    ”Mr. Mughniyeh, killed in a 2008 car bombing that Hezbollah said was carried out by Israel, was regarded by the United States as having planned numerous attacks, including the 1983 truck bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 American service members.”>>>>>>>>>

    And what part did the Israelis play in egging on the bombing of the Beirut marine barracks?

    Israel Charged with Systematic Harassment of U.S. Marines

    By Donald Neff
    Former Time Magazine Bureau Chief, Israel
    Washington Report, March 1995

    snip….

    “It was 12 years ago, on March 14, 1983, that the commandant of the Marine Corps sent a highly unusual letter to the secretary of defense expressing frustration and anger at Israel. General R.H. Barrow charged that Israeli troops were deliberately threatening the lives of Marines serving as peacekeepers in Lebanon. There was, he wrote, a systematic pattern of harassment by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that was resulting in “life-threatening situations, replete with verbal degradation of the officers, their uniform and country.”…….

    Read the entire article and you will understand how the Israeli IDF set the scene that made Hezbollah regard the US peacekeeping mission as on Israel’s side and not as impartial peace keepers. When the facts appeared to the public at the time about this there was a huge outcry against Israel, particulary in the military community.

    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/p-neff.html

  4. Walid
    Walid
    January 22, 2014, 3:26 pm

    Elsewhere on terrorism, word out of Geneva 2 today is about the agreement between the US and Russia that Assad would not be replaced by an Islamist government. This would leave Saudia and Qatar and the rebels out in the cold since these 3 parties are adamant about Assad leaving. The talks are just beginning and it will be interesting to see how they’ll all work out that puzzle in the coming 9 days. The Syrian opposition at the Geneva talks doesn’t represent all the factions currently fighting the regime as some of them have flatly refused to participate in the talks.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      January 22, 2014, 4:46 pm

      The Syrian opposition at the Geneva talks doesn’t represent all the factions currently fighting the regime as some of them have flatly refused to participate in the talks.

      It’s worse than that.

      Now the only rebel faction involved in the talks, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), has lost its large internal party, the Syrian National Council, which is withdrawing from the talks, from the coalition, and from participation in the international community’s dealings in general.

      The Council is citing its objections to the Geneva II talks as a reason for its decision, saying it rejects any negotiated settlement with the Assad government. This leaves the already small SNC even more irrelevant among the rebels.

      Yet the SNC remains literally the only show in town in Montreaux, as the much larger Islamist factions have likewise rejected the talks and in many cases weren’t even invited.

    • yrn
      yrn
      January 23, 2014, 5:11 am

      Submitted by Ali Abunimah 22/01/2014
      Syrian army slows Yarmouk food aid to a trickle
      on the ground civilians continue to live through the horror .
      humanitarian access to the civilians trapped in Yarmouk camp remains in the hands of the Syrian army.

      http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/syrian-army-slows-yarmouk-food-aid-trickle

  5. marc b.
    marc b.
    January 22, 2014, 3:32 pm

    It’s an open secret in Italy that the Italian government paid “protection”.

    there’s a couple of jokes wrapped in there.

  6. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    January 22, 2014, 5:13 pm

    Hezbollah is a current tense enemy of US interests (as stated by the last few presidents), the acts of terror in which Sharon was implicit are a matter for historians.

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      January 22, 2014, 5:47 pm

      US interests lol no but israeli interests.

      Besides sharon, netanyahu, peres, all warcriminals. But you support that policy. Hypocrite.

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        January 23, 2014, 8:31 am

        fredman’s dishonesty is just so casual and natural. the post compares the relative treatment of two individuals to make a greater point about the hypocrisy of the classification of ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorists’ by the West. this is fredman’s cue to make an erroneous cross comparison of an ongoing, active political movement with a dead soldier/politician. how clever.

    • Donald
      Donald
      January 22, 2014, 5:52 pm

      So what? Sharon was in a coma for years, so obviously he wasn’t in a position to kill anyone. He was honored for his life’s work, which as it happens was basically killing Arabs and demolishing their homes. If American officials praise him, then they can’t condemn others for attending funerals of other people who might have similar moral problems.

      If it’s just a case of this guy was our ally and that guy was our enemy, fine, but then that undercuts all the grand posturing about America’s opposition to those who target civilians. (Though of course America’s own crimes undercut that even more than attending Sharon’s funeral.)

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      January 22, 2014, 6:10 pm

      “Hezbollah is a current tense enemy of US interests ”

      Reminds me of something I read in the FT once. “The US has many enemies in Waziristan”

      What has Waziristan or indeed the Hezb got to do with daily life in Idaho?
      Answers on a surface to air missile decorated with the Star of David.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      January 22, 2014, 9:36 pm

      “the acts of terror in which Sharon was implicit are a matter for historians.”

      And his victims.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        January 22, 2014, 10:57 pm

        “the acts of terror in which Hitler was implicit are a matter for historians.”

  7. Shuki
    Shuki
    January 22, 2014, 9:14 pm

    An attempted terrorist attack against your embassy in Tel Aviv foiled by Israel and another attempted attack by a terrorist who tried to smuggle a gun in a child’s backpack (and you wonder why children need to be scrutinized at checkpoints), and all you have to “report” is an absurd moral equivalence “story” about a man whose been either dead or in a coma for 8 years.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      January 22, 2014, 10:22 pm

      An attempted terrorist attack against your embassy in Tel Aviv foiled by Israel

      Yeah, an attempted terrorist attack against the US embassy because of US support for Israel.

      • oneof5
        oneof5
        January 23, 2014, 2:18 am

        Terrorist, schmarrorist … the word has been so mis-used and abused that it’s practically been rendered utterly devoid of any real substantive moral implications …

        The following are the words of General William Eldridge Odom, former head of the National Security Agency – a man who spoke the truth – and who pointed out the hypocrisy of the double-standard:

        “By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ‘78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation.”

        “As many critics have pointed, out, terrorism is not an enemy. It is a tactic. Because the United States itself has a long record of supporting terrorists and using terrorist tactics, the slogans of today’s war on terrorism merely makes the United States look hypocritical to the rest of the world.”

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      January 23, 2014, 8:00 am

      Is that the one of the three guys who never met, never got training, never got any money and conducted their “operations” via Skype and Facebook? Wow, thank you Israel! We really dodged a bullet there!

      As for the gun in the backpack it was allegedly found in a car being driven by a man. (I say allegedly because I believe nothing the IDF tells me.) The kid wasn’t even carrying it. Google “guns in backpacks” and you will come up with stories of AMERICAN children who bring guns to school, whether intentionally or no. Perhaps we should do like Israel does and start keeping them in outdoor cages for punishment. That’ll learn ’em

  8. RoHa
    RoHa
    January 22, 2014, 10:27 pm

    “Hezbollah is a current tense enemy of US interests (as stated by the last few presidents)”

    Drivel promulgated by your dim-witted presidents notwithstanding, what does Hezbollah do that is against actual U.S. interests?

    • yrn
      yrn
      January 23, 2014, 5:28 am

      The European Union agreed to put Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist Same as Australia, Canada, USA.
      Same goes for Hamas.

      • Djinn
        Djinn
        January 23, 2014, 7:31 am

        Not entirely accurate yrn. Australia only lists Hezbollah’s external security organisation, it doesn’t list the party or even it’s armed wing. The alQassam Brigades are listed, Hamas is not.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        January 23, 2014, 6:55 pm

        “The European Union agreed to put Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist Same as Australia, Canada, USA.
        Same goes for Hamas.”

        The usual suspects call them “terrorists”. So what? Doesn’t answer my question.

        What does Hezbollah do that is against actual U.S. interests?

  9. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    January 23, 2014, 12:07 am

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4060499,00.html
    A man of no scholarship activity,no expertise,no knowledge of the Iran,no concern about the interest of the country that he pledges loyalty has been foisted on both Canada and US as an expert and given the necessarry machinery by the Zionist to carry out disinformation ,ability to influence the MPs ( Canada) and the Congress men and women to carry out the Olmert, Barak , Netanyahu scheme against Iran.
    He is the proof that OSP never lost its relevance and usefulness
    .

  10. Talkback
    Talkback
    January 23, 2014, 8:38 am

    If terrorism is violence against even one civilian than what is occupation? Mega terrorism? There is no belligerent occupation without violence against civilians as such to maintain a belligerent occupation.

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