Hypocrisy and genocide: how Gaza has exposed the West like never before

Dr Ramzy Baroud

The Israeli genocide in Gaza will be remembered as the moral collapse of the West. From the day that the Israeli war against the Palestinians in Gaza began, following Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October, every moral or legal frame of reference that Washington and its Western allies supposedly hold dear has been dropped. Western leaders rushed to Israel, one after the other, offering military, political and intelligence support, along with a blank cheque to right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his generals to torment the Palestinians.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken went as far as joining Israel’s first war cabinet meeting, so that he could take part in the discussion which resulted directly in the Gaza genocide. “I come before you not only as the United States Secretary of State, but also as a Jew,” he said on 12 October. The interpretation of these words is disturbing, no matter how it is spun, but it also ultimately means that Blinken has lost all credibility as an American, as a politician or even as a fair-minded human being.

His boss, President Joe Biden, as if in an infinite loop, has been repeating for years that, “You don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist.” He has lived up to this maxim, declaring, time and again, “I am a Zionist”. He certainly is.

Like many other US and Western officials and politicians, the US president has abandoned international and humanitarian laws altogether; he has even abandoned the law of his own country. The Leahy Law “prohibits the US Department of State and Department of Defence from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity.” Instead, he, like Blinken, has subscribed to tribal affiliation and ideological notions, which simply added fuel to the fire.

Although they are “protected persons” under international law, Palestinians are apparently dispensable and, in fact, irrelevant to the point that their collective death appears to be critical for Israel to regain its “deterrence” factor, and to protect itself, in the words of Israeli Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant, against the “human animals” of Gaza.

If there was a stronger word than hypocrisy, it would be used. In the meantime, hypocrisy must suffice.

At the beginning of the war, many rightly drew a parallel between the West’s reaction to Gaza and the enraged collective response to Russia’s invasion and war in Ukraine. However, as the death toll in Gaza grew, this comparison was inadequate. Over 12,000 children have been killed in Gaza in 140 days of war, compared with 579 in the two-year-old Russia-Ukraine war.

Yet, when the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell, was asked, point blank, in an Al Jazeera interview on 20 November about the violations of international law in Gaza, he offered two completely different answers. “I am not a lawyer,” he said, when the legality of Israel’s atrocities in Gaza was questioned. When the interviewer shifted to talk about Al-Aqsa Flood, Borrell had no qualms about the issue. “Yes,” he said, “we consider that [to be] a war crime, for killing civilians in this apparent way without any reason.”

This kind of thing has not been seen much in the US media, simply because few mainstream media journalists are bothered or, to be more accurate, even dare to question Israel’s grisly actions in the Gaza Strip.

However, when such opportunities did arise, the flagrant hypocrisy was impossible to hide. Marvel, for example, at Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the US State Department, in response to rape allegations in both Gaza and Israel. When he was asked, on 18 February, about allegations that Palestinian women in Gaza were raped by Israeli soldiers, he replied that the US has urged Israel to “thoroughly and transparently investigate credible allegations”.

Compare this to his response to a question about unverifiable allegations of sexual assaults against Israelis by Palestinians, although debunked even by Israel’s own media. “They’ve committed rape. We have no reason at all to doubt those reports,” said Miller at a press conference on 4 December.

Such examples surface by the dozen every day from Western leaders, senior officials and media organisations. Even now, when the death toll has broken all records of brutality in recent human history, they still speak of Israel’s “right to defend itself”, wilfully ignoring the fact that Israel forfeited this right as soon as it engaged in this prolonged aggression, which began in 1948, not 7 October 2023.

International law on the rules of wars and military occupation is situated within a framework — notably laid out by the Fourth Geneva Convention — that exists to defend the rights of the occupied, not the right of the occupier. This time-honoured truth is obvious to the vast majority of humanity, apart from Washington, London and Berlin, et al.

As dozens of envoys from around the world testified before the International Court of Justice from 19 to 26 February in protest against Israel’s horrific protracted occupation and violence, as well as apartheid, the US sent its envoy to the highest Court in the world to lobby for something else entirely.

With the ironic title of “Acting legal adviser for the US State Department”, Richard Visek bizarrely urged the ICJ to ignore international law altogether. “The Court should not find that Israel is legally obligated to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from Occupied Territory,” he said.

For far too long, but especially since 7 October, Western governments, starting with the US, have violated every last set of ethics, morality and laws that they themselves developed, drafted, promoted and even imposed on the rest of the world for many decades. Currently, they are practically dismantling their own laws, and the very ethical standards that led to their formation.

Now that some Western leaders have begun to feel increasingly uncomfortable as the enormity of the Gaza genocide unfolds, a few, albeit bashfully, are declaring that Netanyahu may be “going too far”. Even so, not even an outright admission of responsibility would erase the fact that they are active participants and complicit in Netanyahu’s murderous campaign.

When all is said and done, the blood of the horrifyingly high number of Palestinian victims will be shared equally between Tel Aviv, Washington, Brussels, London, Sydney and all the other genocide apologists. A crime of this magnitude will never be forgotten or forgiven.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.