For over four months, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western countries have been unwaveringly backing Israel’s offensive in Gaza. The Israeli army has claimed over 28,000 Palestinian lives, including more than 12,000 children. Despite this, Western countries continue to support Israel.
On January 26, the International Court of Justice determined that some of the allegations against Israel regarding its actions in Gaza seem to align with the provisions of the Genocide Convention. This was a blow to the West’s steadfast support of Israel. Furthermore, when Israel accused UNRWA employees of ties to Hamas, countries such as the US, the UK, and Germany suspended their funding, leaving Palestinians in Gaza to face starvation.
Despite being directly implicated in potential acts of genocide, Western countries continue to view themselves as the moral compass of the world. President Joe Biden openly declared himself a Zionist and extolled American greatness, ignoring the escalating death toll in Gaza. This sense of Western superiority and self-righteousness is also seen in UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who dismissed South Africa’s accusations of genocide against Israel as unjustified.
The belief in Western civilization’s superiority stems from centuries of exploitation and subjugation of non-Western peoples. The West’s history of pillaging resources, enslavement, and colonization has fueled the idea of Western exceptionalism. This ingrained mindset is evident in the reluctance of some Western citizens, including students, to acknowledge the atrocities perpetrated by their own governments and leaders.
The belief in Western superiority and rationality has led Western countries to intervene brutally across the globe, including in the Middle East. The reluctance to address the true nature of Western civilization’s historical actions is evident in the continued support for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Despite some signs of protest and resistance, it will take a fundamental shift in the Western mindset to truly address its complicity in global injustices.