LONDON (MEMO) – The glaring disparity between the way that the British government views support for Ukraine in schools and solidarity with Palestine has been revealed by a new survey conducted for the London-based advocacy group CAGE. The survey is based on the feedback of 532 respondents across England, Wales and Scotland, and covers primary schools, secondary schools, sixth forms and two universities.
It highlights starkly the double standards employed by the government in the way it looks at the suffering of Ukrainians and Palestinians. In particular, it asked respondents to consider the government response to the conflict in Ukraine which started in February this year, and the occupying regime’s 2021 military offensive against the Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Both Ukraine and Palestine have seen some of the most brutal violence against civilians in recent history. In Palestine, though, the aggression has continued over seven decades with the complicity of successive British governments, and their reaction to the ethnic cleansing, almost daily killings and human rights abuses, not to mention violations of international law, has been muted at best.
As with every Western government, Britain ignores the findings of major human rights groups including Human Rights Watch, about the regime’s practice of apartheid and crimes against humanity. In stark contrast, the conflict in Ukraine has been met with sanctions and unprecedented displays of solidarity.
Despite their claims to be defenders of human rights and protectors of international law, the same governments have gone as far as undermining principles long held to be very basic, such as freedom of expression, in order to crack down on pro-Palestine solidarity and preserve their own ongoing support for the apartheid Zionist regime. The findings of the CAGE survey expose this hypocrisy and double standards.
“The research seeks to illustrate what many have instinctively felt to be a stark disparity between the way that solidarity with Palestinians was repressed in British schools, compared to the expansive support extended to Ukrainians,” said Azfar Shafi, the author of the study and Head of Research at CAGE.
Testimonies from respondents highlight the sense among parents and students that there exists a hierarchy in human dignity and suffering. Non-Europeans are viewed by the government as being less deserving of the rights and protection granted to others from a European background.
According to the survey, 96 percent of respondents confirmed proactive engagement on the Ukraine issue by schools. Activities included non-uniform days, appeals for charitable donations and paid-for advertisements in school newsletters. Sixty-two percent indicated that their schools had raised funds or hosted donation drives for Ukraine.