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Biden's bias toward Israel transcends his humanity

April 9, 2024 at 4:31 pm

US President Joe Biden gives a speech in Washington, DC, United States on January 19, 2024. [Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency]

What did the White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby say after the 1 April Israeli murder of seven aid workers in Gaza, six of them foreigners? “We were outraged to learn of an IDF strike that killed a number of civilian humanitarian workers yesterday from the World Central Kitchen (WCK).”

This seemingly strong statement by Kirby was, however, anything but. On the surface, it appears to be authentic, when in fact it is laced with poisonous intent with two clear purposes. Calling on Israel to conduct a swift investigation was nothing short of an attempt to avert demands for an impartial international inquiry into the killing. As WCK founder Chef Jose Andres told Martha Raddatz on “This Week”, ABC’s news programme, “The perpetrator cannot be investigating himself.”

Secondly, it aims to mollify the genuine outrage among the Democratic Party’s base and young American voters toward Biden’s perceived complicity in Israeli war crimes.

Kirby’s deliberate use of words such as “outrage” rather than “condemn” served not only euphemistic purposes, but also political calculations.

In diplomatic terms, “outrage” signifies emotion like anger or indignation, whereas “condemn” implies formal disapproval, carrying the potential of legal implications. Hence, the Biden administration has expressed anger, but stopped short of formally condemning the murder of the international aid workers.

This “outrage” was coupled with the statement, “We hope… there is appropriate accountability.” Despite Biden’s provision of material support and political cover enabling Israel to carry out such murders, there was no explicit demand for accountability; just some vague “hope”. Astonishingly, Kirby appeared to condone genocide when he cautioned Israel and emphasised the need to be “more precise” and “more careful” in its killing spree in Gaza.

When pushed back by a journalist the next day, Kirby returned to the same podium and effectively exonerated Israel of murders that he was ostensibly outraged by less than 24 hours earlier. The initial outrage morphed into normalisation of the murders, with Kirby asserting that there was no evidence to suggest that the targeting of the WCK convoy was a deliberate attack by Israeli forces.

READ: France suggests sanctions on Israel to get aid into Gaza

On its part, and to help the US undermine calls for an independent investigation, Israel released initial findings blaming low level army officers for the “grave mistake”. And in a callous comment lacking any semblance whatsoever of an apology, the Israeli prime minister explained that, “This happens in war.”

Israel’s hasty initial findings neglected to answer the crucial question of how they misidentified the convoy, which had coordinated its movements with the Israeli army prior to departure from its warehouse. Moreover, the attack on the convoy was repeated three times, at three different locations, spanning a distance of 1.5 miles. Chef Jose Andres accused the Israeli army of intentionally targeting the WCK convoy “systematically, car by car.” This was not a “bad luck situation where, ‘oops, we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,’” he told Reuters.

The “oops” reflects the policy of “shoot first and ask questions later,” which has characterised Israel’s rules of engagement for the past six months. It’s a policy that has led to the methodical destruction of major civilian infrastructure, such as universities, hospitals and power plants, as well as the blockade of fuel and targeting of police who guarded aid trucks, along with community groups that replaced them. This code of conduct has resulted in the killing of 196 aid workers in the past six months. Now, with the targeting of the World Central Kitchen charity, Israel’s plan to make Gaza unliveable and ungovernable has been exposed for all to see.

The targeting of the WCK convoy has to be seen as part of a broader Israeli strategy to undermine the aid distribution system, infuse even more chaos into the equation and shift blame for the Gaza famine onto disrupted delivery mechanisms rather than Israel’s blockade. For this purpose, UNRWA, the only organisation equipped with local staffing and the largest logistical infrastructure for sustainable aid programmes in the region, was banned by Israel from receiving or distributing food in Gaza. The targeting of the distribution centres and international aid groups could also stem from Israeli frustration at the fact that hunger and starvation have failed to turn Gaza into a completely incorrigible space. The mostly civil decorum of the Palestinian people, despite the destruction and starvation, has so far foiled Israeli malice.

READ: Drone footage shows Gaza turned to wasteland since start of Israeli offensive

Nevertheless, it begs the question, why did it take the murder of six foreigners in Gaza to get the attention of world leaders, while the death of 33,000 individual Palestinians, including over 20,000 women and children, failed to elicit similar outrage? Why did the “civilised” Western world not express outrage over the murder of six-year-old Hind Rajab who was trapped in her family’s damaged car and cried on the phone for hours before being mercilessly murdered in cold blood by the crew of an Israeli tank?

To paraphrase George Orwell, for Europe and the US, all victims are equal, but some victims are more equal than others.

It is, therefore, insincere and hypocritical — and totally unacceptable — for the Biden administration to express outrage at a particular murder while defending, normalising and enabling Israel to commit such crimes over the past six months.

We also need to juxtapose the White House “outrage” with the announcement a day earlier to supply Israel with a “new package worth billions in fighter jets and bombs” including 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs similar to the ones that Israel dropped in the middle of one of the most densely populated refugee camps in Gaza.

The murder of the WCK workers was not an anomaly; it served as a warning to foreigners that Gaza is too dangerous for them. As it has thus done to aid groups who left Gaza, Israel has effectively blocked international media access to the enclave. The engineered absence of the international media has given Israel a lot of leeway in determining who to kill or what to destroy with complete impunity. Remarkably, for the first time in recent history, US networks and cable news outlets, as well as major print publications and European news agencies, have no single presence in a significant theatre of war. Western media has been more than accommodating in this news blackout by acquiescing to the modern Iron Curtain directives from Israel and embedding with invading forces to cover the “Israeli Rambo” actions in Gaza, while turning a blind eye to the killings of international aid workers and Palestinian civilians.

Furthermore, Israel has also gone after Palestinian journalists, using an artificial intelligence-based programme known as “Lavender” to kill more than 100 of them. This is the most journalists killed since the Committee to Protect Journalists began collecting data in 1992. The Israeli human harvesting machine uses an AI system called “Where’s Daddy?” to track individuals once they enter their homes, and kills them along with their families. Despite calls from the Western media for press freedom, they have remained conspicuously silent on the murders of their “less than equal” Palestinian colleagues.

Netanyahu has been playing the Western world like a fiddle to advance his nefarious agenda, especially the Biden administration. Over the past six months of genocide, Washington has displayed an alarming readiness to conceal Israeli atrocities, no matter how egregious. What’s more, despite evidence to the contrary, Biden persisted in repeating Netanyahu’s fallacy about decapitated children — he even claimed to have seen for himself non-existent photographs — and remained convinced of the existence of a Hamas headquarters under Al-Shifa hospital, long after these claims were debunked.

It will come as no surprise, therefore, to see the US president discredit himself and his position even further by endorsing Israel’s faux investigation which will, inevitably, absolve its army of any responsibility for the murder of the World Central Kitchen workers. Biden’s feigned “outrage” will also likely spare Israel from an impartial investigation into its most recent war crime. For someone who claims to be compassionate, his bias towards and loyalty to Israel transcends his humanity.

OPINION: Killing humanitarian workers as a strategy: Israel’s endgame in Gaza

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