We have all encountered Israel’s petulant cry “why are we being singled out, others are just as bad”: this use of finger-pointing is most used in infant-school playgrounds, where small children will respond to accusations of wrong-doing by claiming that other kids are doing just the same. This tactic often works a treat when the accused is the favoured child of the head teacher.
Double standards do, of course, play havoc with standards. But they don’t make the accused any less guilty. The plea of “guilty but others are worse” or “guilty but everyone else is doing it” may be useful for infantile online trolls and point-scorers, but would not hold good in even the lowest court of law. If speeding drivers or tax-dodgers tried that one, they’d get double the penalty.
Israel and its agents and representatives have, however, completely lost track of such distinctions. So when there were objections to Israel’s appointment to vice-chair of the UN Committee on De-Colonisation (whose remit includes Palestinian human rights and refugees), Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor did not think twice before invoking the well-trodden “double standards” argument: “We find corrupt countries leading the budget committee at the UN, and countries with rotten justice systems leading discussions on the legal issues committee,” he said.
That was the response quoted by The Times of Israel to objections that Israel was unfit to serve as vice chair of a committee dealing with Palestinian refugees and with investigations of its own practices because “its track record was rife with murder and its occupation had lasted more than 66 years” and that Israel’s appointment was the “moral equivalent of placing the apartheid regime of South Africa in charge of a committee to end racism.”
A clear admission of guilt, surely!
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