Obama. Dismisses criticism
Photo: AP

Indifference and outrage

World indifferent to global atrocities but outraged by Jewish self-defense

During his millennium address to the White House a decade ago, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel told a distinguished audience that the horrors of the 20th century were possible because of the world’s indifference to the suffering of the oppressed in Cambodia and Nigeria, India and Pakistan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, and on a different level, of course, Auschwitz and Treblinka. Murder was facilitated by indifference.


Indifference, he explained, can be “tempting and even seductive” but must be uprooted from human nature. Wiesel could not understand why President Roosevelt who, “was a good man, with a good heart”, refrained from “bombing the railways leading to Birkenau, just the railways, just once”. The cost of indifference was staggering.


Today, the world is indifferent to the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, to tyranny and torture of dissidents in Tehran, to starvation and AIDS in Africa and to the disregard for women’s human rights throughout most of the Islamic world.


The world, however, is no longer indifferent to the Jews – it is outraged by them! It is outraged Jews dare defend themselves. It was outraged when Begin bombed Saddam’s reactor in 1981. It is now outraged that Israel, that bothersome bully in the Middle East (or as Krauthammer of the Washington Post puts it “Those troublesome Jews”), dared kill nine radical Islamists on board a vessel of villains to Gaza.


They are outraged again, just like when Israel acted in self defense after more than 8,000 rockets were launched from Gaza at its citizens between 2005 and 2008. The outrage has led the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, composed of such Human Rights giants as Pakistan, Cuba and Saudi Arabia, to once again demand “an independent international fact-finding mission.”


Israel can only count on itself

The press too has once again gone overboard. With a blatant discount for facts, The Economist reported Israel “resorts to violence too readily” and put a picture of Benjamin Netanyahu behind barbed wires on the cover of its weekly magazine. A New York Times editorial stated that same week that, "Turkey is understandably furious about Israel's disastrous attack on the Turkish aid ship.” And of course, Reuters, the home of dishonest journalists, was caught doctoring photographs that incriminated a knife-wielding “peace activist”, replacing it with a picture of a passenger providing care to a wounded IDF soldier.


Double standards are also applied by Israel’s closest allies. President Obama insists that Israel allow an international inquiry to inspect its actions, yet he has dismissed any form of criticism or inquiry of his targeted killing - drone war policy that has directly caused the death of hundreds of civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan since he took office.


Whether its indifference or outrage – one thing is clear. When it comes to vital security interests, Israel can count solely on itself. A case in point is nuclear Iran.


In this context, President Obama may ultimately be remembered as “a good man, with a good heart,” and his efforts to impose important yet unenforceable sanctions on Ahmadinejad’s regime may attest to that. However, these are not the “crippling sanctions” needed or promised and it is still a mystery whether he views a nuclear Iran as an existential threat to anyone, other than perhaps Israel.


A soft setting for his indifference. He won’t bomb those plants, not even one of them.


Israel’s security is in its own hands. Therefore, today perhaps more than ever, Netanyahu’s overarching task is to guarantee that the fate of Israel’s six million Jews will differ from that of those who lived in Europe during the darkest days of humanity. We should all be indifferent to the hypocritical outrage over Israel’s just actions.


פרסום ראשון: 06.16.10, 00:29
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