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September 29, 2016 6:23 am

Double Standards for Aleppo and Gaza

avatar by Simon Plosker

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IDF paratroopers in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. Photo: Wikipedia.

IDF paratroopers in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. Photo: Wikipedia.

Make no mistake, the carnage taking place in Aleppo right now is a disgrace to the international community.

The Syrian government and Russian-backed forces are reportedly using chemical weapons, barrel bombs and increasingly powerful explosives to target innocent men, women and children. While rebel fighters have undoubtedly embedded themselves in the city in fortified positions, it appears that the civilian population is bearing the brunt of the conflict.

While there has been some condemnation from the UN, where are the protests on the streets of European capitals and where is the media frenzy about this disgrace?

Had Israel been involved, or had the IDF aimed one solitary munition at Aleppo, I think the response would be much different.

The international community’s condemnation of the Assad regime and Putin’s Russia is nothing compared to the vitriol leveled against Israel for its far more restrained (and completely justified) 2014 operation against Hamas in Gaza.

Unfortunately for the 250,000 residents of Aleppo, the city is not being attacked by the IDF. There are no leaflets being dropped warning civilians to evacuate areas in the line of fire. There is no “roof knocking” — where non-explosive devices are dropped on the roofs of targeted buildings to give civilians time to flee. And judging by the number of civilian casualties and the extent of the destruction in Syria, there is very little to no concern for the well-being of innocent civilians.

Aleppo is a testament to the double standards at play when it comes to the treatment of Israel’s military operations. There is, however, a caveat. The IDF should be held to higher standards than the militaries of both Syria and Russia.

And that is why The Sunday Times of London caught my eye recently. One story was headlined “Putin’s gigantic firebombs torch Aleppo.” Next to it was an article entitled, “RAF drone crew divert missile to save ‘civilian’ seconds from death.”

The dissonance between the two stories is striking. On one side, we have the alleged deployment by Russia of a weapon “capable of blasting a massive ball of flame across wide areas of Aleppo.” On the other, the release of a video by Britain’s Royal Air Force showing a drone missile aimed at ISIS terrorists being diverted at the last minute to avoid killing a civilian.

One side was indiscriminately firebombing, while the other was deliberately acting to prevent civilian casualties.

The RAF evidently felt that its tale was a positive story, which showed that its drone squadrons act both ethically and in accordance with international law. Why is this news? Israel released many videos from incidents where missiles targeting Hamas terrorists were diverted due to the presence of Palestinian civilians. So why then were Israel’s identical efforts not deemed newsworthy?

Granted, the Sunday Times is a British newspaper covering the British military, but the UK press has never been shy about devoting many column inches to Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli efforts to minimize civilian casualties go unreported or even ignored by the press, and Israel instead finds itself regularly judged in the court of public opinion, which is led by a lazy or hostile media.

So Israel is subjected not only to a different standard than the deplorable militaries of Syria and Russia, but even to a different standard than other Western militaries.

If and when the Syrian conflict comes to an end, will anyone be held to account for what certainly appear, at face value, to be genuine war crimes? Will there be a UN investigation and a Goldstone-style report? Will the International Criminal Court issue indictments? Given Russian involvement and the lack of American global power projection, it is unlikely that anyone will be held to account.

The next time open conflict between Israel and Hamas breaks out, will the parameters of judgment have changed as a result of the carnage in Aleppo and other parts of Syria? Or will Israel continue to be held to a standard of behavior unlike any other military in the world?

The likelihood is that nothing will have changed when it comes to how Israel is treated, and we will be left to conclude that, ultimately, the world will be outraged by Israel defending itself and its citizens irrespective of how ethically it behaves.

Simon Plosker is Managing Editor of HonestReporting (

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  • Brent Pudsey

    It is a disgrace to the media that there is so much of a double standard against Israel. The media continually condemns Israel and will not mention here practices of trying to minmize loss of life, particularly among civilians.

  • Stanley

    If we defend ourselves they are unhappy. They won’t be happy unless every Jew is dead. They can go F*@&^&% themselves

  • diana

    I live abroad. Can somebody start a petitionl to discontinue subscriptions to the NYT .

    • Al

      Great idea!

  • Amnoon Mirzoeff

    Where Is UN Ban Ki Moon As I Mentioned Before He Can Bully Only Israel
    He Cannot Talk Against Strong Russia As He Wets In His Pants.It Shows Double Standard And Most Of All He Is Anti Smite.He Is Completely Useless
    And Achieved Till Now NOTHING. The Best Way For Him Is To RESIGN.

  • Jon Cathcart

    And once the civilians had fled to the street after the “roof-knocking”, is that when Israel fired white phosphorous shells?

  • Anonymouse

    This comparison would be accurate if the Syrian Army was forcing the people to stay inside Aleppo, and ten bombed them, as IDF does in Gaza Reality dictates the Syrian Army is doing everything in its power to move the civilians inside East Aleppo in to government controlled West Aleppo, including offering amnesty to members of militant groups.

    The SAA campaign is morally superior to IDF campaigns in Gaza, by orders of magnitude.

  • Jakeukalane Milegum Firisse

    Talking about hypocresy…

  • Anonymouse

    Terribly flawed comparison.

    Let us not forget that Israeli defense minister said they preferred ISIS over Assad ruling Syria.

    The are no videos of women with their dead children in their arms in Aleppo as they were in Gaza

    The battle of Aleppo is that of the Syrian People and its government against entities such as Al Qaeda who want to establish an Islamic emirate and genocide anyone they consider infidel (Shias, alawites, christian, kurds, etc). The battle of Gaza is that of a discredited yet well funded and well fed army against the Palestinian people.


    • John Torpey

      False Assads father completely destroyed the Syrian town of Hama killing over 10000 people

  • Dani

    The only reason for the world media to act in such a way is that they are not afraid of us but they are very much afriaid of Moslem repraisals like in Charlie Hebdo´s Magazine. So they end up identifing themselves with the bad guy of the movie because it is always cheaper to keep blaming the Jews.

    • Selma Prager

      Dani- As usual the Jews are the canaries in the coal mine.

  • duncanmc

    The world will NOT change in it’s hypocrisy toward Israel. In fact, the vitriol will only grow. My guess is that Obama and his coterie of Democrats which US Jewry so blindly support, will firmly place a knife in Israel’s back right after the election. Israel will be faced with retreat and surrender to the Palestinian demands, getting nothing substantive in return. If Israel refuses to allow itself to be pushed into a physically indefensible position then European and other nations will quickly begin crippling economic sanctions. It’s coming.

  • Peter

    Is it ANY surprise???

  • Ichbins

    I have been noticing exactly the phenomenon that this article is talking about.
    After following the news covering the last wars (2008–09, 2012, 2014 ) I have been asking myself similar questions about reactions of the media and bodies like the UN to what is going on in Syria, compared to reactions to Israel’s use of military force.
    It would be worthwhile to do a more scientific study of this phenomenon, because it really does throw out questions about double standards.

  • tiki

    No Jews, no News!

  • cbusa

    Sadly, the author is right. Israel will undoubtedly continue to treated entirely differently from every other country on the planet. And Israel will continue to behave more ethically in conflicts forced upon it than every other country.

  • Crinedel

    As the cliche has it, if there weren’t double standards, the lefties wouldn’t have any standards. So don’t worry about the Brits–who have a disgraceful history of oppressive imperialism–and let Israel do what its gotta do to survive.

  • Sten Gunnerman

    Here in Canada the mainstream press never shows pictures of children killed by Israel or the US or Saudi Arabia, but always shows those killed by Russia or Syria.

    That is the way propaganda works, and that’s the way it always has.

    “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” — George Orwell

    • johnny belfor

      How pathetic these village idiots come out of the wood work hiding behind their computers .Hamas uses their children as human shields because they multiply like rabbits ,Human life means nothing to them .Syria has been ruled by Assad dictatorships for 50 years ,Killing and torturing his own people .Where were then? In your mosque brainwashing children to hate and blowing themselves up

    • elreason4

      No matter the news organization, when one rolls in ‘sh*t’ they smell like it. The double standards and blind racism against Israel has discredited many otherwise capable new organizations. Regardless, you are simply blind if you genuinely believe the Western media covers up Western caused casualties. It actually amplifies them beyond reason. At least the West actually tries to save innocent life, all too often letting terrorists live. The tyrannies of the world barely even pretend to care about the actual public good. Only the West even tries to play by any moral rules.

      • Sten Gunnerman

        Your assertion that “Only the West even tries to play by any moral rules” merely serves to underscore Orwell’s point. You are blind to its crimes, just as a Russian nationalist would be with respect to those committed by his government.
        The west has, for example, sponsored some of the most dangerous and depraved violent Islamic radical maniacs on the planet, and continues to do so. Saudi Arabia teaches in their school textbooks that Jews are pigs and Christians are monkeys. They flog journalists to death and cut the heads off homosexuals and “sorcerers”. 15 of 19 of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudi. The jihaddis tearing Iraq, Libya and Syria to shreds are, if not Saudi themselves, directly funded and armed by them. And in what will go down as one of the most disastrous strategic blunders in history, the US leadership continues arming them to the teeth with advanced weaponry – over $100 billion worth in the latest sale. These are weapons that could one day be turned on an unsuspecting Israel along with whatever nuclear weapons they have acquired from their Pakistani partners.
        Supporting these maniacs is not just criminal. It is suicidal. And turning a blind eye to this will not make the world a safer place.
        “the nationalistic loves and hatreds that I have spoken of, they are part
        of the make-up of most of us, whether we like it or not. Whether it is
        possible to get rid of them I do not know, but I do believe that it is
        possible to struggle against them, and that this is essentially a moral
        effort. It is a question first of all of discovering what one really
        is, what one’s own feelings really are, and then of making allowance for
        the inevitable bias. If you hate and fear Russia, if you are jealous of
        the wealth and power of America, if you despise Jews, if you have a
        sentiment of inferiority towards the British ruling class, you cannot
        get rid of those feelings simply by taking thought. But you can at least
        recognise that you have them, and prevent them from contaminating your
        mental processes. The emotional urges which are inescapable, and are
        perhaps even necessary to political action, should be able to exist side
        by side with an acceptance of reality. But this, I repeat, needs a moral
        effort, and contemporary English literature, so far as it is alive at
        all to the major issues of our time, shows how few of us are prepared to
        make it.” -IBID