Perhaps, if they were not enjoying a three-week Easter break, the students in western universities, who periodically take to the streets to earnestly denounce air strikes in civilian areas, would be out in force, outraged at the deaths of men, women, and children in around the clock air strikes now taking place in the Middle East and beyond. Were it not for the holidays they might rally outside embassies, flying flags, chanting slogans, and comparing what is happening to what the Nazis did in WWII.
Perhaps the usually concerned intellectuals are too busy holidaying in Tuscany to pen worthy agonized articles denouncing man’s inhumanity to man.
Perhaps, were it not for the UK election campaign, the politicians who normally care so deeply about civilian deaths in war would be on the stages and the airwaves denouncing the indiscriminate bombing? For example, George Galloway has a parliamentary seat to fight for in Bradford and so little time to utilize his usual modus operandi of shouting spittle flecked invective at whomever he is in front of that they ‘cannot name a single child that has died’.
And, perhaps, it is the concentration on the election by those media outlets which frequently lead the clamour that something must be done about the ‘disproportional responses’ of the war machines of several countries, which explains the lack of hand wringing, moral outrage, and calls for something to be done. Perhaps.
The Egyptian government is currently engaged in fighting terrorism in Libya and the Sinai region of its own country. Both operations involve air strikes. The Saudis are busy leading a ten nation coalition bombing operation in Yemen. The Iraqi Air Force is striking targets in built up areas north and west of Baghdad. The Syrian Air Force is in year four of a sustained strategy of bombing civilian areas. Much further south the Kenyan Air force has crossed into Somalia and conducted air strikes against Al Shabab in response to the terrorist attacks in Kenya. On the receiving end of some of these air strikes have been hospitals and refugee camps, and under the rubble of them have been civilians.
And yet, compare the silence of the poor lambs who normally care so very much about such actions to the noise they made last year during Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
Do the elections, the student break, and the attractions of Tuscany explain the disparity? Up to a point.
And beyond that point? It’s quite simple. The pilots are not Israelis. So what explains why, when the pilots are Israelis, the volume is turned up? The answer to that is more complicated.
For a significant proportion of those who select Israeli actions for the moral outrage they feel, but not other issues, they are persuaded by the narrative of the David and Goliath story turned on its head. It is a story which dominates decade after decade and so it is easy for the less informed to form an opinion that it is the most pressing concern in the world, and the crimes committed are the worst. Those who really have no concept of what WWII entailed will also buy the, beyond risible, argument that Israel behaves like the Nazis. These people are not anti semites but are poorly informed.
Then there are the others and they appear to care so deeply because of one reason. They hate Israel, and they hate Israel because the majority of Israelis are Jews.
Those in the poorly informed camp do not know the company they are keeping but should ask themselves, why, when such misery is currently pouring from the skies onto civilians, those who organize the hate filled demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy are nowhere to be heard or seen.