Economist: Main reason for UN inaction against Israel glossed over

24 October 2002


The Reuters article “Double standards” that appeared in the Oct 10th edition of the Economist has been widely circulated and lauded by pro-Israeli media monitoring groups as “seminal” (Honest Reporting, Oct 17) and “highly informative and balanced” (CAMERA alert, Oct 16).***

The article, which apparently aimed to answer a recent trend in the media of noting that both Israel and Iraq are in a state of noncompliance with United Nations resolutions, went to great lengths to explain away this fact by focusing in great detail on the straw man of ‘binding versus non-binding’ UN resolutions.

There is a far less convoluted explanation why we have seen no UN action where Israel is concerned and it is found in a phrase that did not appear once in the “seminal” Reuters article — “US veto”.

Nigel Parry and Ali Abunimah
The Electronic Intifada
[address deleted]

This letter was submitted to the Economist on October 24th but was never published.

*** Full text and headers of e-mail alerts were enclosed with original letter to the Economist.

RELEVANT TEXT OF HONEST REPORTING ALERT: The Economist, not known for its pro-Israel views, has published a seminal article, “Double Standards: Iraq, Israel and the United Nations,” explaining the difference between binding UN resolutions that Iraq has ignored, versus non-binding UN recommendations that apply to Israel. The Economist writes: “By imposing sanctions — including military ones — against Iraq but not against Israel, the UN is merely acting in accordance with its own rules.”

RELEVANT TEXT OF CAMERA ALERT: While coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Economist magazine has been severely skewed in the past, recently the magazine published a highly informative and balanced article on the so-called “double standard” being applied to Iraq and Israel, as well as other hot button issues.

The October 10, 2002, Economist article, “Iraq, Israel and the United Nations: Double Standards,” explains the difference between binding and nonbinding UN Resolutions, and points out that Iraq is in noncompliance with binding UN resolutions, whereas Israel is not. It further explains that UN Resolution 242 does not require Israel to withdraw from all the land gained in the 67 War, and, in fact, that the resolution drafters envisioned that through negotiations Israel would likely keep some of the land.

On virtually all of the issues it raises in the article, the Economist provides both sides of the argument, but then commendably notes whether each one is accurate. While the article does contain assertions to which we object, the article is generally very informative.