Monday 19 February 2018

Carol Hunt: Killing children is always wrong, so why do we blame Israel more?

Our insistence on holding Israel to a higher set of standards than we do her neighbours is anti-Semitic, writes Carol Hunt

Who can argue against the evidence of dead children? Who can watch four little boys playing soccer on a beach mown down, shrug and say, "well, all fair in wartime"?

Few can. Very, very few. Yesterday, my skinny, tanned, happy little 10-year-old played football with his friends in the street beside our house. He saw some of the evening news on Gaza, complained of a tummy ache and I insisted on staying the night beside him. As I watched his little chest rise and fall, I wondered how on earth the parents of those four beautiful boys - and so many more - could ever come to terms with their loss. And then there are the 9,092 children who have been killed so far in the nearby Syrian civil war and the 2,072 Palestinians also recently killed there. Where are the marches and protests for them? What is the difference between them and their Gazan victims? "Israel" would seem to be the answer.

We in the West hold Israel to a higher standard than we do her neighbours. Israel should know better, we say. Does this mean we hold her Arab neighbours to a lesser standard? Is this not basic racism? But Israel is the Goliath to Palestine's David, we insist. And in a narrow sense this is true. Yet in the broader sense Israel - smaller than Leinster - is a tiny Jewish, yet secular, democracy in a sea of warmongering, and increasingly dangerously anti-Semitic (and Christian) enemies. Israel is not the arrogant monolith we believe it to be, though it must try to give that impression in order to survive.

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