Attempts by the US and its allies to “paint Moscow as a global pariah” have been criticized for their lack of consistency in supporting Israeli retaliation against Hamas in Gaza, according to a report by the Financial Times. The rush to support Israel, while framing the Ukraine conflict as an act of “unprovoked aggression” by Russia, has not gone unnoticed by officials from more than a dozen countries.
The report quotes a senior G7 diplomat as saying, “We have definitely lost the battle in the Global South. All the work we have done with the Global South [over Ukraine] has been lost… Forget about rules, forget about world order. They won’t ever listen to us again.” The official argues that if the US and its allies want to maintain their credibility, they need to apply the same standards and support for human rights to both Ukraine and Gaza.
The lack of consistency in Western nations’ response to the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza has raised questions about their credibility on human rights issues. One Arab official interviewed by the Financial Times points out, “If you describe cutting off water, food and electricity in Ukraine as a war crime, then you should say the same thing about Gaza.” The official highlights the apparent hypocrisy in condemning one action while turning a blind eye to another.
The issue of consistency in response to the conflicts was also brought up during an interview with White House National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan. Host Jack Tapper emphasized that “civilians are civilians” regardless of where they reside, but Sullivan declined to comment on whether the US was pressuring Israel to allow supplies into Gaza.
The lack of consistency extends beyond just rhetoric. The US State Department reportedly instructed high-level diplomats not to use specific phrases regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including “de-escalation/ceasefire,” “end to violence/bloodshed,” and “restoring calm.” This directive raises concerns about the US government’s commitment to finding a peaceful resolution and addressing the suffering of civilians in Gaza.
The lack of consistency in the international community’s response to Gaza was evident at the United Nations Security Council. A Russian-proposed draft resolution calling for a ceasefire and denouncing violence against civilians was rejected, and a Brazilian proposal was later vetoed by the US. Russia abstained from voting on the second proposal, highlighting their disappointment with the lack of inclusion of a call for a truce.
Moscow’s envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, chastised the Security Council for its choice to ignore the issue. He stated, “You, colleagues, will certainly come up with some formal justification citing ‘unbalanced language,’ but at this point they would sound pathetic. You have made your choice.” Nebenzia’s statement reflects the frustration felt by many countries that believe the international community is not applying consistent standards in their response to conflicts.
The lack of consistency in the international community’s response to the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza undermines their credibility and influence in the Global South. Officials from various countries are questioning why they should believe what Western nations say about human rights if they only selectively condemn certain actions. The need for consistent and principled responses to conflicts is crucial in maintaining credibility and promoting a just and peaceful world order.