Selective Outrage: Julie Bishop on Israeli Slaughter And Russian Suspicion

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International diplomacy is all about carefully selected words. Words that are supposed to convey a nation’s ‘feelings’ without, necessarily, upsetting too deeply another nation’s feelings.

Unless that other nation is not your ally… in which case, it’s open slather.

Here’s what Julie Bishop had to say last week as the death toll in Gaza of unarmed protestors sniped by Israeli soldiers from across the border topped 100 (in total, more than 130 Gazans were killed in six weeks of protests, and thousands more injured).

“We recognise that Israel has legitimate security concerns and needs to protect its population, and we call on Israel to be proportionate in its response and refrain from excessive use of force. Australia urges Palestinian protesters to refrain from violence and attempting to enter into Israeli territory during the March of Return.”

Presumably, that legitimate security concern included gunning down an unarmed protestor running away from the Israeli border with a tire.

For the record, the ‘violence’ directed by Gazans resulted in zero injuries to Israelis.

Now here’s Bishop’s remarkably similar statement in 2014, during Israel’s assault on Gaza, called, without a hint of irony, ‘Operation Protective Edge’.

“The retaliatory acts from both sides that have led to civilian deaths and injuries are deeply regrettable, and I call on all parties to exercise restraint and do everything necessary to avoid a further escalation of violence.”

For the record, Israel lost 67 soldiers, and six civilians in that outbreak of violence. By contrast, 2,300 Gazans we killed, more than 500 of them children, and over 10,000 injured, with about 100,000 homes destroyed.

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Now here’s Julie Bishop’s response when Russia was accused earlier this year (without any real evidence, save for claims from countries which brought you the 2004 invasion of Iraq based on their ‘weapons of mass destruction’ intel) of a chemical attack on two former Russian citizens in Britain.

“Together with many nations, including our closest allies, Australia stands with the United Kingdom as we condemn the outrageous use of a banned Russian nerve agent on British soil, in the first chemical weapons attack in Europe since World War II. The Russian Government must explain how a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia was used in the UK, endangering the lives of hundreds of people.”

So an attack on two British citizens which claimed zero lives, and was allegedly perpetrated by a nation not allied with Australia, requires condemnation. But a series of attacks by a nation that is allied with Australia, which resulted in the wholesale slaughter of thousands of people and hundreds of children, with a hopelessly lopsided body count, requires a statement urging constraint from both parties.

Here’s a video of what Israeli restraint looks like… when a woman waves a flag at them.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. Chris has won a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards for his reporting. He lives in Brisbane and splits his time between Stradbroke Island, where New Matilda is based, and the mainland.

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