Israel critics see double standard in treatment of Moscow vs. Jerusalem

Sarah Leah Whitson, the former chief of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division, accuses Washington of a double standard in okaying severe punishment against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, while opposing sanctions against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

“We see that not just the US government but US companies are falling over themselves to sanction and boycott anything that has an association with the Russian government,” she is quoted by The Guardian as saying.

“Contrast that with the exact opposite when it comes to sanctioning Israel for its violations of international law to the point where American states are passing laws to punish Americans unless they promise never to boycott Israel. It’s very clear that the grounds for resisting sanctions on Israel, or even compliance with international law, is purely political.”

British Labour MP Julie Elliott makes similar comments to parliament: “The Palestinians are looking to us to speak and act in the same terms. We sanctioned Russia over Crimea, and we are now likely to impose more sanctions, with which I wholeheartedly agree, yet Palestinians ask why we do nothing to end Israel’s occupation.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, pushes back. He says the Mideast conflict is “a dispute over territory by two peoples who both have historic claims and connections.

“To compare this complexity to Russia’s brute use of force against the sovereign & peaceful nation of Ukraine is to intentionally misrepresent the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and is deeply insensitive to the security and humanitarian crisis confronting Ukrainians today.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 2, 2017. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed