How the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict differ
By Amb. Alan Baker
The tragic Russia-Ukraine conflict, with the broad panoply of humanitarian, political, and legal issues that have arisen and continue to arise, has given vent to several not-unexpected phenomena in manipulative propaganda principally aimed at vilifying Israel.
Many political groups, organizations, politicians, and columnists seeking to further their own political agenda or to adapt the facts of the situation to such an agenda appear to be bending over backward to seek, invent, or generate similarities between the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, on the one hand, and the Israel-Palestinian conflict, on the other.
There appear to be several factors driving this phenomenon.
First and foremost is the fear that the Russia-Ukraine war, with the daily footage of vast, mass violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes, might be overshadowing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and removing it from the forefront of international attention, relegating it to a lesser status.
Secondly, there is the concomitant fear that the international community, witnessing in real-time the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine, might indeed come to realize the utter transparency and hollowness of its long and tedious preoccupation with Israel. Such obsession has been stoked artificially and ceaselessly by a well-polished propaganda campaign and by manipulating international organizations led by the UN and its specialized agencies. Moreover, they have left a legacy of hundreds of politically generated resolutions aimed at singling out and delegitimizing Israel. Recently, prominent human rights groups, like Amnesty International, have published scathing reports alleging that Israel has an apartheid regime.
Thirdly, it is likely that the high-intensity Russia-Ukraine armed conflict will sooner or later come to some form of termination or hiatus, while the Israeli-Palestinian low-intensity battle will almost certainly continue to simmer with renewed and periodic outbreaks of violence and terror.
To prepare the international arena for such an eventuality, those same propagandists are seeking to utilize the shock, indignation, and sensitivity of the international community in the face of the massive Russian violations of international law to establish a convenient platform from which to generate and direct comparisons with Israel’s treatment of Palestinian terror and violence.
While one might hope that the international community would not be so easily duped by false attempts to equate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the war in Ukraine, such an assumption cannot be made when it comes to Israel.
Therefore, those regular purveyors of anti-Israel propaganda will exploit the present wave of international indignation in the context of the Ukraine war to rejuvenate and revitalize their campaign to delegitimize Israel whatever the means.
Clearly, attempts to equate Israel’s actions in the territories in response to Palestinian terror and violence with Russia’s massive international-law violations in Ukraine would be unrealistic, presumptuous, and manipulative.
However, such attempts have already begun and must be rejected outright.
The differentiation between the Russia-Ukraine situation and the Israeli-Palestinian issue is clear and unmistakable. It must be impressed upon the international community and media in such a manner as to prevent false manipulations directed against Israel.
Absolutely No Comparison between Russia and Israel’s Conduct
Ongoing and future attempts to compare or equate the Russian mode of operation and massive violations of international law in Ukraine with Israel’s actions to defend its population from Palestinian terror attacks are patently lacking bona fides and the most basic sense of fairness and proportion.
The motivation behind such attempts is insincere, superficial, false, and deceitful. Those who attempt to manipulate international awareness by equating Russian aggression and war crimes with Israel’s actions to defend its population are driven by an overriding and irresponsible penchant to vilify, defame, and delegitimize Israel.
They come to the international community with unclean hands.
It is clear from the above that attempts to draw a comparison between the massive and brutal actions of the Russian military in Ukraine and the international reactions thereto and Israel’s response in defending its civilian population from ongoing Palestinian terror are artificial and contrived, to the extent of being inherently willful and malicious.
All self-respecting national parliamentary institutions and leaders and responsible media organizations are urged to reject out of hand such fake attempts to delegitimize Israel.
Amb. Alan Baker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center and the head of the Global Law Forum. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. He served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada.