The West’s Selective Outrage: Exploring Double Standards in Ukraine and Gaza

It’s imperative to critically evaluate the narratives we are exposed to in a society where information is readily available. This article explores the intriguing topic of media bias, looking at the hypocrisies of the West that have frequently tainted the way the conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine are portrayed.

Are we witnessing a situation where Gaza is characterized as the oppressor and Israel as the victim, or are we seeing the elevation and perpetuation of narratives that consider some people as more human than others to humanize one side and not the other? Let’s examine this phenomenon of the West’s selective anger by navigating these unfamiliar waters.

Unmasking Media Bias

Media outlets are crucial in influencing public opinion in a society where information is gathered from a variety of sources. Our perception of international conflicts can be greatly influenced by the way media reports are presented. Concerns about media bias have been raised recently due to the differences in coverage between Gaza and Ukraine. Why do some conflicts garner more sympathy and attention from around the world than others? Is there more involved, or is it just a question of intensity or geopolitical significance?

Dangerous false narratives are created by media coverage that only highlight the horrific killings committed by Hamas in Israel throughout one weekend, failing to contextualize the event in the larger context of Israel’s harsh occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people for more than 50 years.

Exploring the Double Standards

Undoubtedly, the West has been vocal in its condemnation of the conflict in Ukraine. The news was filled with stories of humanitarian catastrophes, political unrest, territorial disputes, and the right of Ukrainians to self-defense.

Ursula Ursula von der Layen, President of the European Commission, stated last year that “the international order is very clear—these are war crimes targeting attacks on civilian infrastructure—these are acts of pure terror.”.While US President Joe Biden described the situation in Ukraine as “genocide”.

Will she now characterize Israel’s decision to block Gaza’s men, women, and children’s access to power and water as terrorism? In the same manner that she had previously criticized Russia’s siege of the Ukrainian shoreline, would she now denounce Israel’s 17-year blockade and atrocities in Gaza?

Selective Language and Imagery

According to Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN in New York, “For some media and politicians, history begins when Israelis are killed.”Which brings up another crucial point, which is: What kinds of resistance are acceptable? Why are Palestinians who use violence to fight occupations viewed as terrorists and attacked with US assistance, yet Ukrainians who do the same are hero-like and given weapons by Western nations?

Terms such as “freedom fighters” for Ukrainian actions while calling Palestinian resistance “terrorism” show contradictory standards. While at the same time turning a blind eye to the conflict in Gaza This application of a double standard has been criticized for being biased against the West and hypocritical. This framing affects how people view and comprehend the conflict.

The British journalist Aaron Bastani, stated on X that there is a “clear double standard in endorsing terrorism against civilian targets in Ukraine… and condemning it by Palestinians.”Western leaders are are accused of hypocrisy over their their response to Palestine. A picture of a woman’s face with one eye closed next to a Palestinian flag and one eye open next to a Ukrainian flag has been circulated frequently as a representation of the West’s purportedly discriminatory attitude toward the two crises.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine “from the perspective of a Western state, “various sanctions have been implemented by Western powers against the Russian Federation. However, since 1948, the Palestinians have not found any Western nation that has held Israel accountable for acting as a state beyond the bounds of international law, nor have they observed any instances of boycotts, sanctions, criminal courts, isolation, etc.

Karim Khan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), expressed his “concern” over the events taking place in the region through several formal statements he made in the days after Russia invaded Ukraine. In response to his invitation for ICC member nations to “further expedite matters,” more than thirty governments quickly voiced their desire for legal action. Since October 7, no comparable outpouring of governmental support has been seen in reaction to the horrific violence and devastation wrought in Israel and Gaza. It ought to.
In Gaza, the same standards imposed by international law and human rights should be in effect.

Western countries’ geopolitical interests, especially those of the US and lobbying groups supporting Israel’s interests, have a significant impact on media coverage and political choices in the West. Western countries put their interests ahead of respecting human rights and international law. It is important to remember that these values and the rules of international law are universal and do not merely apply to circumstances involving Russia or Ukraine. But as a result of these vague strategies, the Palestinians started to have even less trust in the UN, Security Council decisions, American foreign policy, and the so-called international community as a whole concerning their cause.

A crucial element that has to be recognized at this point is the reshaping of the geopolitical environment on a multi-polar globe away from American uni-polar dominance. Moving away from Western dominance and duality of standards and toward a new world based on recognition of people’s rights and security, as well as the pursuit of settlement and dignity for them and the right to self-determination, and between America and its allies and a multi-polar axis led by Russia, China, and many other nations that reject American hegemony.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

Rania Ishtiaq
The author is a student of Defense and Diplomatic Studies at the Fatima Jinnah Women University.
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