I'm weary of those who get so much more exercised, so much more excited, by deaths in Gaza than they do by deaths in, say, Syria. An estimated 800 died under Assad during the same eight days of what Israel called Operation Pillar of Defence. But, for some reason, the loss of those lives failed to touch the activists who so rapidly organised the demos and student sit-ins against Israel. You might have heard me make this point before, and you might be weary of it. Well, so am I. I'm tired, too, of the argument that "We hold western nations like Israel to a higher standard", because I see only a fraction of the outrage that's directed at Israel turned on the US – a western nation – for its drone war in Pakistan which has cost an estimated 3,000 lives, nearly 900 of them civilians, since 2004.Well it's easy to simply say, it's the ethnic cleansing stupid! That is the ethnic cleansing, recent, current and on-going, without which Israel could not exist as a state for Jews that rubs a lot of people up the wrong way. Those of us who remember apartheid in South Africa remember being told that there were more human rights abuses elsewhere in Africa but racist rule, enshrined in a state's basic laws was considered a no-no.
There is also the fact that Israel has apologists throughout the western media and enablers and supporters in all western governments. This doesn't apply in the case of Syria.
The question about the USA could be more serious. Remember that Jonathan is:
tired, too, of the argument that "We hold western nations like Israel to a higher standard", because I see only a fraction of the outrage that's directed at Israel turned on the US – a western nation – for itsdrone war in Pakistan which has cost an estimated 3,000 lives, nearly 900 of them civilians, since 2004.Here the media cover for the US is about the same as it is for Israel but he might be wondering, why demonstrations against America's wars tend to be smaller than demonstrations against Israel. Unfortunately the basic premise is wrong. Demonstrations against America's wars tend to be between 10 and 20 times the size of Palestine Solidarity demos. Actually, I think there should still be more outrage against Israel because of its core lack of legitimacy than there is against America. After all, if America stopped the drone strikes the USA would still be the USA. If Israel stopped the colonial settlement, the ethnic cleansing and the segregation it would no longer be Israel and then it's periodic culls would end and so, I'm guessing, would the outrage they cause.
Jonathan Freedland's problem with getting his head around the sheer repugnance of the State of Israel in the eyes of humanist opinion is that he, like the Israel he supports, is in a perpetual state of denial.