Why Israel sees double standard in response to Wikileaks' Iraq files
The Wikileaks files on US actions in Iraq has some Israelis arguing they were unfairly singled out by a UN inquiry over the Gaza war.
The Wikileaks release of US military field reports from Iraq that detail tens of thousands of civilian casualties in seven years of fighting is being used by some Israels to argue that their country is a victim of an international double standard on human rights.Skip to next paragraph
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With Israeli politicians facing possible arrest in Europe and their government facing allegations of war crimes stemming form the United Nations' Goldstone Report on the 2009 Gaza war, some Israelis are drawing a connection between the conduct of the US military in Iraq and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza. They say that the world's likely response – or non-response – to the Wikileaks revelations will demonstrate that Israel is held to a higher standard than other nations.
On Monday, Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben Ari said he filed a formal complaint with the UN, calling for war crimes investigations of senior American politicians and "international arrest warrants for US government leaders."
In a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, he wrote: "I call on the UN to condemn the behavior of the US and especially its attempts to hide the facts... We need to expose the hypocrisy of the West... The world must understand who the criminals are."
Such a call emanating from Israel – usually a staunch US ally – may seem strange. But Mr. Ben Ari, a member of Israel's far right, isn't interested in prosecutions of Bush or Obama administration officials so much as he is in pointing out what, to his mind, is unfair criticism of Israel.
He's not alone. Gerald Steinberg, an Israeli-American professor of political science at Bar Ilan University, shares the view that the volume of international criticism of Israel is out of proportion, though he departs from Ben Ari when it comes to the case of the US.