Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Double Standards

Supporters of Israel are quite aware of the different standards that are often applied to Israeli actions. Some accusations of double standards are ridiculous. Is it valid to compare controversial cartoons to Holocaust denial?

There are times when double standards are needed. In our personal lives, we often apply different standards to friends and family than we do to strangers, or to people who we have had conflict with in the past.

Richard Cohen:
The invocation of the term "double standard" is often applied where Israel is concerned. Israel is presumed to have a nuclear arsenal. Why should the United States look the other way at Israel's bomb and go nuts over Iran's effort to get one? The answer ought to be clear: Because Israel has not threatened to blow Iran off the map; because it is vastly outnumbered in a tough, belligerent neighborhood; and because it is the lone real democracy in a region run mostly by thugs.
The Israeli bomb threatens nobody. An Iranian bomb does. India has transferred its nuclear technology to no one. Pakistan has. No one worries about India or Israel making the technology available to terrorists. Everyone worries about Iran doing that. These are distinctions with great differences. They are, as critics charge, double standards, but to apply a single standard to both friend and enemy, while it might be fair, would be singularly stupid.