The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Critics of Israel Silent as Arabs Starve Palestinians

Radio silence reigns among Israel’s critics as Palestinians suffer brutality at the hands of pro-Assad forces in Syria. In the Palestinian refugee camp known as Yarmouk, near Damascus, residents are undergoing a campaign of forced starvation, as pro-regime forces are blocking the flow of food and medicine to the camp and firing on PLO trucks carrying much needed emergency supplies. Innocent children and elderly people with no possible connection to the conflict tearing apart Syria are among those who have died of hunger. Yarmouk’s population has dwindled from 160,000 to 18,000 since the civil war began. The WaPo reports:

Camp residents and activists on Tuesday reported the deaths of two more people from hunger, bringing to 48 the number who have died since November from illnesses related to the siege, according to Farouq al-Rifai, an activist in Yarmouk who uses a pseudonym to protect family members living in government-held areas. […]

In a video posted Monday on YouTube, a teenage boy living in the Yarmouk camp described the anguish of residents.

“We just want to eat and drink, and we have no money,” he said. “What have we done to be part of this?” he added, breaking into sobs. “It is nothing to do with us.”

Hussein Ibish reports at NOW News on the ghastly response of Lebanon’s pro-Iran, pro-Hezbollah newspaper to the suffering in Yarmouk: “With absolutely no sense of decency or shame, [editor of Al-Akhbar Ibrahim al-Amin] writes, ‘the unfolding events [in Yarmouk] are 100 percent a Palestinian responsibility. … The one who seeks to liberate Palestine doesn’t join a bunch of murderers who work under US command to serve one occupier and one criminal: Israel.’”

Of course if Israel actually did anything even remotely this heinous, everyone from the BDS movement to the UN General Assembly would be spitting nails and screaming in righteous wrath. The total silence among Israel-bashers while Palestinians are starved and murdered just a few dozen miles outside Israel’s borders tells us two things about so much ostensible concern for the Palestinians. First is that, in the cozy cocoon of the anti-Israel world, the suffering of Palestinians only becomes visible when Israelis do something to them. Otherwise they and their problems simply don’t exist.

The second is that many of the people who think they’re standing up for Palestinians are more prejudiced than they’d like to admit. They spend much time and energy condemning the Jewish state for various crimes committed against Palestinians, but do nothing as far more despicable crimes are visited upon the same people by Arab Muslims. The phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations” comes to mind.

Those who really want to stand up for the rights to life and dignity of the Palestinian people, and for the existence of a Palestinian state to enshrine those rights, should be calling attention to this carnage, not sweeping it under the rug.

Published on January 15, 2014 3:00 pm
  • qet

    The MLA was unavailable for comment.

  • Kavanna

    When have these movements ever been about Palestinians? Not about them, never have been.

  • bigfire

    Same as it always was. Back in the ’70s when PLO attempt to take over Jordan, Jordanian Army showed the world how Arabs takes on insurrection. You fly a PLO over a town it gets shelled to the ground. Did anyone complain? Hell no.

  • gabrielsyme

    It’s not really a case of “the soft bigotry of low expectations”. It is far more that those who oppose Israeli policy either were never motivated by concern for the Palestinians or that their concern for the Palestinians has been transformed into and overtaken by a hatred of Israel – and more precisely, of the Jews. It is not that such people have a lower view of Arabs, but rather that complaining of Arab treatment of their fellow Arabs would confuse people and interfere with their use of the Palestinians to attack Jews.

  • Charles Dreyfus

    ….and 3). those local Arabs, more recently known as “Palestinians”, are only of use to the Arab Muslim world and OIC as the local shock troops in the murderous jihad against Israel and the Jews. That has been their only role since 1948 and it is the reason that Mahmoud Abbas will NEVER gain approval to formally recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people or sign a permanent termination of hostilities agreement. “Those who really want to stand up for the rights to life and dignity of the Palestinian people, and for the existence of a Palestinian state to enshrine those rights,….” should call attention to this historical fact and the ignorance that informs John Kerry’s mischief making in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

  • TommyTwo

    “Palestinians are starved and murdered just a few dozen miles outside Israel’s borders tells us…”

    That we must redouble our righteous campaign against the racist Zionist regime which is refusing to employ its thug military to help those poor Palestinians nearby while we well know how they would dramatically weep and wail if a single Jew were hurt halfway across the world!

    [/sarc]

    • abarafi

      You are an imbecile.

      • TommyTwo

        Note to self: “/sarc” is apparently insufficient. I need to preface my comments with “THE FOLLOWING IS SARCASM,” perhaps followed by a definition of sarcasm in monosyllabic words.

        • abarafi

          Noted. I take back my comment. Ordinarily, the wording of your comment would have raised my “he’s being sarcastic” flag…but these days I’ve seen comments that were not meant to be sarcastic and were totally imbecilic. Hence, my comment. Sorry.

  • Peter

    Hello, Annie Lennox and Emma Thompson! Are you listening? WRM is talking to you….

  • Ellen

    Yes, and the banner headline to this article should be, “Where are the European flotilla activists?” Why aren’t Alice Walker and her flotalistas storming the shore of Syria and protesting this outrage? Calling these people soft bigots is not correct – they are flagrant and virulent bigots.

    • Resist_We_Much_10

      “Protesting”? What’s the Left going to protest against? This is the global Left’s war – they fought for this to happen.

      You’ll recall that the neocons and other imperialists tried to save the Syrian people. They tried to protect the Arabians from their own savagery. And AIPAC tried especially to protect Arabian women. The United States had a very transparent and open political fight between the freedom- and human rights-loving imperialists on one side; and on the other side in favor of war stood the Left. The Left won.

      The global Left got the war in Syria that they wanted. So what’s there for them to protest against?

      People died? The anti-imperialist Left killed two million Iraqis over the past decade, you think they are going to lose sleep over some Syrians? Besides, as Hamas constantly reminds us, the global Left loves death more than the Yahood love life.

      Frankly, Humanity has no dog in this hunt. The neocons and Imperialists tried very hard to save the Syrian people, but they lost that fight. The United States has washed its hands of this and should let the anti-Imperialists have at it: the Left’s civil war is frankly none of our business.

  • sapfel

    The double standard is dead. Long live the impossible standard. http://blogs.jpost.com/content/impossible-standard

  • jbirdme65

    The nations hate the Jews and will always hate us. Similarly, the most religious Jews are hated by the less religious and non-religious. This is why I believe in the truth of Judaism.

    • heb macman

      The religious Jews are not hated (in Israel) by the the less religious and non-religious Jews (of Israel)… Some of their practices are hated but that’s another matter…

  • StanleyT

    Another example of the world’s hypocrisy can be found in Lebanon. Here, “Palestinians” have lived in “refugee camps” since 1948 because they are not allowed to live anywhere else. They are also not allowed to work in certain professions – e.g. teaching, law, medicine, policing.

    This is EXACTLY what apartheid is, and yet it’s Israel, which grants full democratic rights to its Arab citizens – just like all its citizens, of all religions – the country that stands accused of this crime.

    Oh, and about two years ago, the Lebanese army attacked one of those camps, killing scores. How many of you saw that reported in your local media?

  • Dave4321

    Most Israel haters couldn’t care less about Palestinians otherwise the absolutely appalling conditions for decades in Lebanon would have been their main issue.

  • heb macman

    Unfortunately, many to most of the so called pro-Palestinians are nothing of the sort!… They are simply (allegedly) anti-Israelis… Truth be told, as being anti-Israel is considered “bon ton” among BOTH the radical left AND the radical right I strongly suspect that being “anti-Israel” is simply code for that age old affliction otherwise known as antisemitism…

  • Peter

    Great article. My one critic is that you write “The…people who think they’re standing up for Palestinians…spend much time and energy condemning the Jewish state for various crimes committed against Palestinians, but do nothing as far more despicable crimes are visited upon the same people by Arab Muslims.” My objection is that Israel is not committing crimes against the Palestinians — at least not crimes that are serious or intentional. Israel is doing the best it can to protect its citizens — Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, Bahi, et al — from relentless terrorism and attempts by the Palestinians and their cohorts to destroy the State and drive all the Jews into the sea. So, if any “crimes” are committed, they are unintentional by-products of self-defense.