From [HERE] “IF THE CONCEPT of intervention is driven by universal human rights, why is it — from the people who identify themselves as liberal interventionists — why do we never hear a peep, a word, about intervening to protect the Palestinians?”
That was the question I put to the French philosopher, author, and champion of liberal (or humanitarian) interventionism, Bernard-Henri Lévy, on my Al Jazeera English interview show “Head to Head” in 2013.
The usually silver-tongued Levy struggled to answer the question. The situation in Palestine is “not the same” as in Syria and “you have not all the good on one side and all the bad on the other side,” said Levy, who once remarked in reference to the Israeli Defense Forces, or IDF, that he had “never seen such a democratic army, which asks itself so many moral questions.”
I couldn’t help but be reminded of my exchange with the man known as “BHL” this past weekend, as I watched horrific images of unarmed Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border being shot in the back by the “democratic army” of Israel. How many “moral questions” did those Israeli snipers ask themselves, I wondered, before they gunned down Gazan refugees for daring to demand a return to their homes inside the Green Line?
On Friday, the IDF shot an astonishing 773 people with live ammunition, killing 17 of them. Yet a spokesperson for the IDF bragged that Israeli troops “arrived prepared” and “everything was accurate. … We know where every bullet landed.” On Sunday, Israel’s hawkish defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, roundly rejected calls from the European Union and the United Nations for an independent inquiry into the violence and insisted that “our soldiers deserve a commendation.”
To be clear, then: Israeli troops will continue to murder and maim Palestinians while the Israeli government guarantees that there will be no consequences for their actions.
So, where is the outcry from liberal interventionists across the West? Where is BHL, as Palestinians are being shot and wounded in the hundreds in 2018?
Where is the call from former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose 1999 speech in Chicago defending the concept of a “just war” and a “doctrine of the international community” became a key text for liberal interventionists, for a “no-fly” zone over Gaza? Why does a guest speaker at Ariel Sharon’s funeral have nothing to say about the increasing number of Palestinian funerals?
Where is the moral outrage from former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, the famously pro-intervention, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of a “A Problem From Hell,” which lamented U.S. inaction in Rwanda, over the sheer number of unarmed Palestinians shot, killed, and injured in recent days? How does she have time to retweet a picture of an elephant and a lion cub, but not to make a statement about the violence in Gaza?
Where is the demand from Canadian academic-turned-politician Michael Ignatieff, who was once one of the loudest voices in favor of the so-called responsibility to protect doctrine, for peacekeeping troops to be deployed to the Occupied Territories?
Where are the righteously angry op-eds from Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, or Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, or David Aaronovitch of The Times of London, demanding concrete action against the human rights abusers of the IDF?
And where is the appeal from former U.S. Secretary of State and arch-interventionist Madeleine Albright for economic and financial sanctions against the state of Israel? For an arms embargo? For travel bans on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Lieberman, and IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot?
Their silence is deafening — and telling. Palestinians, it seems, have been so dehumanized that they don’t deserve a humanitarian intervention; their blood is cheap, their plight is unimportant, and, perhaps above all else, their killers are our friends. [MORE]