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March 10, 2022

Sanctioning Russia Not the Same as Sanctioning Israel

Contrary to radical leftists, there is a moral and historical difference to justify not sanctioning Israel.

The sanctions on Russia have garnered criticism from staunch supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement.

Notorious Jew-haters Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have long championed the BDS movement, which is an effort to support Palestinians and put pressure on Israel both economically and politically. They claim that Israel is a bully and an illegitimate country and that it treats Palestinians like second-class citizens. This trope is similar to the anti-Semitic document released by Amnesty International not too long ago. BDS supporters are crying hypocrisy because these types of sanctions are now being used on Russia.

According to the article in Politico that started this latest dust-up, the main senators who are being targeted by this accusation are Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio. This trio had issued a counter-bill to the BDS movement, which would make it impossible to put those sorts of limitations on Israel. The problem with the hypocrisy accusation can be summed up very simply: Russia is not an ally; Israel is. Furthermore, Russia was the aggressor in this war. Israel, with regards to attacks by Hamas et al., is merely defending itself.

Rubio and Cruz had very similar things to say. Cruz’s camp stated, “It’s not complicated, Sen. Cruz stands with our allies and against our enemies.” Rubio’s spokesperson put it this way: “The anti-Semitic BDS movement’s goal is to eliminate any Jewish state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. To compare that, in any way, to the actions taken by the international community against Putin is either naïve or willfully misleading.”

Besides the obvious moral obligations of being good allies, the historical premise for backing Ukraine and backing Israel is even stronger.

Ukraine is an ally and deserves our help because it was the United States that persuaded it back in 1994 to hand over its nuclear weapons in exchange for U.S. protection. It is also a sovereign nation that was just invaded by a much bigger neighboring country (Russia). Ukraine did not provoke this attack. Russia has long made clear its animosity toward the West and all that it stands for. Putin bided his time until the U.S. had a weak leader to make this move against Ukraine.

Israel’s conflicts with its Arab neighbors and specifically the Palestinians — not the ones who consider themselves Israelis — stem from a history of conflict in the Middle East. Israel is the longstanding historic home of the Jews. It is a sovereign nation that has a right and a need to defend itself against organizations like Hamas and other terrorist groups seeking its slaughter.

Professor Eileen Babbitt of Tufts University, whose area of teaching is international conflict resolution, erroneously believes that Israel has illegally taken over land. And yet even she admits, “I think there is something qualitatively different about amassing 150,000 or 200,000 troops on the border of a sovereign country and then crossing into that country with the intention of decapitating the government.”

At the end of the day, it’s a cheap sally from radical anti-Jewish congresswomen to use the human tragedy of war to further an unpopular movement.

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