The world doesn’t care when Jews or Israelis suffer, says the French Ambassador for Human Rights, Francois Zimeray. When Arabs or other peoples suffer, there are massive outpourings of support. But never for Israel or its people.
Somehow, they are not worthy of sympathy, he concludes from his experience of watching his fellow Europeans.
“I came to this idea when I was a member of the European Parliament. When bombs were exploding in Israel [there was little sympathy for the victims],” he said. “There is a denial in Western minds of Israel’s vulnerability. The feeling of compassion with Jewish suffering stops at Israel’s border.”
ACKNOWLEDGING THAT there were double standards in media coverage of the Gaza flotilla, he noted that the 400,000 Uzbeks who fled ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan this month and the 2,000 who may have died received significantly less media attention. The same was true for those who died in Sri Lanka’s Civil War or the genocide in Darfur, he said.
He asked: Where was the concern for the plight of the Palestinians in Syria where they lived in horrible conditions? “If only the world would mobilize for other causes in the way that it has focused on Israel,” he said.
Equally problematic, he said, was the application of language from the Holocaust or apartheid South Africa, which had given people an exaggerated sense of what is happening in the Palestinian territories.
He has heard, for example, people comparing Gaza to Auschwitz.
“If Gaza is Auschwitz, then Auschwitz was not Auschwitz,” he said. “The situation in Gaza is sad and deserves our indignation, but it is not the same as the Holocaust.”