Last Sunday, MaltaToday published an editorial carrying the illogical fallacy that given that the EU is indignant about Ukraine it should also be indignant about Palestine. It is the same illogical fallacy which Zizek made about Yemen in the Guardian. MaltaToday’s article came in the wake of the murder of Palestinian and Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli army.
The EU is indignant about Ukraine because Ukraine is a prospective member of the European Union and Ukraine is in Europe. Palestine and Israel are not in Europe. Neither is Yemen. There is a geographic gap. The EU’s interests are to secure peace in Europe not to secure peace in the Middle East. This is basically why the EU doesn’t need to be indignant about Palestine as it is about Ukraine. Those who should be mostly indignant about Palestine are Arabs, yet the Arabs are the least indignant about their fellow Palestinian brothers and sisters.
I’m not saying this is a good thing or that I agree with the situation, but this is the reality we live in. the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh is just one of the many cases of abuse that the Israeli state commits against Palestinians. The polemic here is that Leftists can’t come to terms with their own foreign-policy thinking and hypocritically swing between wanting the West to act as the world police to sometimes condemning the West for its “imperialist interventions”.
I very much agree that the US takes a global pro-rule-of-law stance supported by the European Union. I very much agree that the US acts as the world police, despite its imperfections, and I very much agree that the EU should be indignant about Shireen Abu Akleh. Indeed the West is already more indignant about the suffering of Muslims and Arabs than Muslims and Arabs themselves. Who speaks for the Uyghurs in China? It’s not Iran, neither is it Saudi Arabia – it’s the West. Who spoke for the Muslim Rohingya in Burma? It wasn’t Iran or Saudi Arabia, it was the Pope and the West. And above all, who speaks for Yemen and is the biggest humanitarian aid donor to Yemen? You guessed it, it’s the West, not other Arab countries. Maybe leftists should start getting a little bit indignant about why Arabs and Muslims are not indignant unless someone draws a funny picture of Muhammed.
And there are much more countries near our borders that commit even more atrocities yet are considered our allies. Turkey is still a member of NATO and supposedly our ally despite the fact that it imprisons thousands of journalists and dissidents as it massacres its Kurdish population who are also allied to the West.
So, clearly, I do actually 100% agree that we should be indignant with Israel for murdering a journalist, but common sense tells me that I as a European should be more worried about Turkey which is nearby and is even more deeply intertwined with us in many ways.
Currently, there is a very important trend in Western foreign policy which is becoming ever more applicable since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Western policymakers are strengthening the notion that to be a member of the capitalist trading club where we trade in Euros and Dollars, you have to follow a certain set of rules and the UN Charter is not bad as a reference point. Russia has been ejected out of this club after it invaded a sovereign country. Sanctions will become an ever-increasing popular tool by Western policymakers. Eventually, if European countries are united behind this approach and solidly assertive about it, rule of law around the world will become even more entrenched. Slowly we should get there.