Washington getting Israel to condemn China over Xinjiang is an astonishing act of hypocrisy and projection
How fast did the West forget about the crisis in Gaza last month? Anyway, now it is out of the way, the unending narrative concerning Xinjiang has come back to the fore, but the US is already making blunders.
Earlier this week the US and Canada worked to assemble a coalition of countries to call out China at the United Nations on the matter of human rights, demanding a probe over the autonomous region. Amongst the 40 or so countries who signed up included, of all countries, Israel, reportedly at the request of Washington. This has seen Tel Aviv take a new position on international human rights that it had not previously considered, after adopting a new Prime Minister in Naftali Bennett.
Coming just weeks after the sustained bombing of Gaza and condemnation around the world, Israel’s incorporation into such a “coalition” is an astonishing act of hypocrisy, projection and double standards. It makes a mockery out of international human rights, not least regarding Muslims, and is a huge strategic blunder on Washington’s part which will backfire in the Islamic world, and even amongst some in the West. As this saga takes place in Geneva, the biggest irony was that not a single Muslim country, be it in the Middle East, Africa or Southeast Asia, joined the statement regarding Xinjiang. In fact, most major Islamic nations actually joined a counter-coalition of at least 65 countries supporting China's position.
In a recent column I discussed the reason why most Muslim countries support China on Xinjiang, and this doesn't need to be gone over again. In a nutshell, it’s common respect for national sovereignty and mutual interest in stability; they haven’t been “bought”. Yet, arguably, the inclusion of Israel into the broader anti-China campaign is another reason for such countries not to support the US-led narrative, one which they will only see as blatant hypocrisy and opportunism, and that’s without considering America's own colourful legacy in these regions. After absolute zero condemnation from most of the West concerning the events in Gaza, the US and its allies returned to the default position of posturing over Xinjiang and now, they get Tel Aviv to join them. I noted on twitter “Israel is lecturing China over Muslim human rights” – and it was widely met with ridicule and a large traction amongst Muslim users. It instantly casts massive doubt over the sincerity and moral honesty of the Xinjiang narrative.
Irrespective of this, China is not pulling its punches and has a few tricks up its sleeve. Its response to Western criticism is becoming tougher and more sophisticated. At that very same UN meeting, Beijing and its own coalition turned the situation on its head by calling for a UN probe into the deaths of indigenous children in Canadian boarding schools, a dark legacy that has aroused significant controversy within Canada, not least after 215 bodies were found in an unmarked grave a week ago and even more just today.
China’s counterattack stole the headlines and quashed coverage of the original letter. Beijing has also become emboldened to hit back at what it sees as double standards from the West and increasingly forthright in opting to defend its national sovereignty from these countries. It is no longer willing to sit idle. Israel has probably joined the party at the wrong time.Also on rt.com Is the real reason the US is so interested in what’s going on in Xinjiang because it contains so much oil?
Strong-arming Tel Aviv into joining this fiasco is an extraordinarily poor and short-sighted diplomatic judgement by Biden in a desperate attempt to isolate Beijing by building up various “coalitions”. It’s an inclusion which ultimately strives to poison, distract and expose the disingenuous tone of the Xinjiang narrative. This is purely designed to advance strategic goals against China above all else, as well as suit the preferences of American protectionism and industrial policy. While the US dismissed the violence in Gaza, it is now enabling the country responsible for it to take the moral high ground on human rights. It further drives a wedge between the West and Islamic countries, and in turn further undermines Biden’s ability to credibly say that a Muslim minority in China is suffering from severe human rights abuses.
Whether China itself will capitalize on this error remains to be seen, but the fact Beijing did not ignore the Gaza crisis might be a strong indicator that this will not go unnoticed. They would be missing a trick if they did not use this issue to garner support, and if Israel plans on getting more involved in the future then the message is crystal clear: it’s a straight route to the whole Xinjiang controversy not being taken seriously. If the United States strives to lead a “value driven” policy on human rights, then it has to stop enabling and whitewashing Israeli aggression both in Gaza and against its neighbours. Pitting Tel Aviv against Beijing is not a good look.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.