Blinken denies US has ‘double standard’ when adjudicating alleged human rights abuses in Israel

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a session during the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting on Capri Island, Italy, on April 19, 2024. (Gregorio Borgia/Pool/AFP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a session during the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting on Capri Island, Italy, on April 19, 2024. (Gregorio Borgia/Pool/AFP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denies that the Biden administration uses a double standard when adjudicating alleged human rights abuses in Israel amid questions from reporters that Washington is seeking to sweep such accusations under the rug only when it comes to the Jewish state.

“Do we have a double standard with Israel? The answer is no,” Blinken says during a press conference rolling out the State Department’s 2023 human rights report.

“As this report makes clear, we apply the same standard to everyone, and that doesn’t change whether the country in question is an adversary, competitor, a friend or an ally,” the secretary says.

Blinken reiterates that the US efforts looking into allegations of human rights abuses by Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza are “ongoing.”

While acknowledging that such probes take time to conclude, Blinken notes that the US doesn’t wait to reach out to Israeli authorities for immediate clarification regarding alleged abuses when they occur.

Blinken rejects the comparison made by reporters to the speed with which the US responded to alleged rights abuses by Russia in Ukraine and the more dragged out process employed to adjudicate alleged crimes by Israel in Gaza.

“The case of Ukraine is totally different than in Gaza. The Ukrainians are not in any way a legitimate target the way Hamas is in Gaza. [Hamas is also] embedding themselves among civilians, hiding in and underneath apartment buildings, mosques, hospitals — you name it.”

“In the case of Ukraine, when Russian forces withdrew from Bucha we were able to see very plainly what had happened. Each of these situations is different.”

Blinken also stresses that “Israel has demonstrated the capacity to look at itself. This is what separates democracies from from other countries — the ability, the willingness, the determination to look at themselves.”

“It’s my understanding that they have many open investigations based on reports that have come forward with allegations about abuses of human rights,” he says.

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