I'm not really into politics or history, so my question might be obvious.

I just wonder why Western countries condemn Russia so much for the Ukraine invasion, and why they didn't condemn Israel (from what I know)?

Because both invaded a neighbor country.

Is it because Israel is ally to Western countries?

Is it because Russia have more power than Israel? So they must condemn Russia before the problem gets bigger?

Am I missing something?

  • 2
    You might be interested: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/68774/… I doubt much of international politics is down to what countries think of as just; most of it is down to self-interest.
    – Allure
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 7:51
  • 9
    Which 'neighbour country' (did Israel invade in your comparison)? Lebanon 1982? Six-day war?
    – Zeus
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 8:36
  • 2
    This Q needs clarification (per Zeus' comment) for a concise answer. Israel does get criticized in the West for occupying certain areas and for building settlements in them. Depending on the administration, even the US does that sometimes france24.com/en/live-news/… Commented May 26, 2022 at 10:02
  • I don't think this Q can be answered in a non-opinionated manner. My opinion is that there is a snowball effect. Country A sees that country B, C, D, and E are exporting heavy arms to Ukraine so they do it too. But they wouldn't export arms to the Palestinian Authority because no one else is doing it. Commented May 26, 2022 at 12:25
  • it all boils down to self interest..for example if you see the ongoing russia-ukraine war ,there has been a lot of media coverage and support given to ukraine with sanctions and weapon supplies but when it comes to middle east ,lets say the taliban takeover of afghanistan,not much attention to paid to it..Similar to zelinsky ahmad massoud was also asking for support and arms but none was provided.
    – user42728
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 13:17

4 Answers 4


Because the situations are not the same.

Looking at the four Arab-israeli wars, two were started as wars of aggression by Arab states, one was a preemptive defense:

  • In 1948, the day Israel declared independence, a coalition of Arab states invaded Israel. During the war, Israel expanded their territory. In this conflict, the analogy would be between Russia and the Arab states (who both started a war of aggression).

  • In 1956, Egypt restricted access to the Suez canal, and in response Israel (and later the UK and France) attacked Egypt. This was indeed criticized by western countries.

  • In 1967, Israel preemptively attacked Egypt in response to a number of indicators of an emerging attack (various attacks on Israels border, Egyptian troop buildup & expulsion of peacekeepers, closure of Suez canal, etc).

  • In 1973, Arab states again started a war of aggression.

And of course, Israel is often criticized by western countries (often irrationally and disproportionately compared to other countries). See eg the support for UN resolutions against Israel.

  • 12
    Well, Russia is also claiming "preemptive defense" in the Donbas. Commented May 26, 2022 at 9:56
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    @Fizz The difference is that there is no indication that the Ukraine was about to attack Russia. Just the idea is ridiculous. On the other hand, there were many indications of a planned attack of Egypt (as well as a history of wars of aggression).
    – tim
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 10:16
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    The Kremlin is claiming Ukraine was going to attack the two republics the Kremlin had just recognized, and which are inhabited by a fair fraction of Russian passport holders (also granted in the past couple of years, IIRC). So that's more the distinction I'm seeing. Commented May 26, 2022 at 10:29
  • 12
    @Fizz Sure, but "recognizing" parts of a sovereign nation as independent and then claiming self-defense on their behalf is a bit of a stretch, and imho not really comparable to the actual threat to the core land of Israel itself in 1967. When comparing the situations, it's not enough to look at one individual point (eg claim of preemptive defense), but to see all relevant circumstances; and then the situations are just not comparable.
    – tim
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 10:46
  • 1
    @user366312 The question is about Israel. Israel was founded in 1948. If you want to talk about any of the thousands of years of history Jews have with the land before that, that would be a separate question.
    – tim
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 15:50

Tim's answer is basically correct: the situations aren't all that comparable and Russia is more cut-and-dry the aggressor than Israel ever was in any of its wars with its neighbors. And Western countries have not shied away from condemning Israel when in their view it has overstepped.

But to give a realist perspective, there is the simple fact that Russian expansion directly threatens the security of Western nations in a way that Israel realistically never will. NATO is implicitly an anti-Russia alliance, treaty-bound to wage war if one of them is invaded. Russian control over Ukraine is troubling because it gives Russia a corridor of attack if it wished to wage war on a number of NATO states like Poland and Hungary. And Russia's demand to withdraw is that NATO agree to never add another member, which would of course directly impact their future military strength.

Okay though, you might ask, wouldn't Israel's incursions in Lebanon imperil NATO as well, since those countries are theoretically corridors to Turkey? Well, there is also the matter of future ambitions. Israel has never really expressed interest in controlling territory far beyond the borders of the historical Mandate; even during their occupation of the Sinai and parts of Lebanon they never claimed those as Israeli territory. The most provocative position held by a meaningful number of Israelis is that they should exert complete control of the former British Mandate, plus the Golan Heights and Gaza. There is to my knowledge no contingent in the Knesset who believe that Israel should be the next Ottoman Empire.

Putin on the other hand, along with other influential Russians and media, have made little secret of their desire to return to the days of the USSR and Russian Empire's sphere on influence over Eastern Europe. That would imperil a whole host of current NATO members: Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, etc. to say nothing of aspirant countries like Georgia. It is simply far, far more likely than Russian troops march on Krakow in our lifetimes than that the Israelis land on the beaches of Italy, even if neither is particularly likely.

tl;dr, the West is more concerned with Russia than Israel because Russia is threatening them, and Israel isn't. There are other high-minded reasons, but that's the simplest reason.


Why do western countries condemn Russia and not Israel?

Realpolitik and alliances.

While the factual differences pointed out in the other other answers are very real, and in a world governed by unbiased fact gathering and jurisprudence the responses of nations would be expected to be different, the observed responses are not consistent with the hypothesis that it is these facts that determine the different reactions. From two wikipedia articles, these are the votes at the UN for United Nations General Assembly Resolution ES-11/2 calling for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine's recognized sovereign territory and United Nations General Assembly resolution ES-10/L.22 declaring the status of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as "null and void" represented as world maps:

calling for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine's recognized sovereign territory

Calling for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine's recognized sovereign territory declaring the status of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as "null and void"

Declaring the status of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as "null and void"

It is certainly possible that the differences observed here are all to do with different understanding of the facts, or different theories of jurisprudence, or some other reason that is consistent with the hypothesis that the primary defining feature of the decisions is the facts of the case. However this would require fitting an explanation around the facts. Under the hypothesis that the differences observed are to do with the national interests of the countries involved then this is exactly what we would expect to happen, no further fitting of our model is required.

If we further look at other situations, such as attitudes to the 2003 Iraq war we see a very similar pattern, with further supports the idea that it is politics not facts that determine if any country condems the actions of another.

  • It is mindless to draw a comparison between Russia's ongoing war which claims the lives of hundreds (if not thousands) of people every day, and Israel's declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state - something which is almost totally symbolic and doesn't make any difference to individual people (i.e. Arabs living in Jerusalem are not being deprived of anything provided to Arabs living in other areas in the west bank - besides receiving Israeli health care and education...).
    – Jacob3
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 11:02
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    I choose that because it is most recent GA resolution. Most others shows a very similar pattern, which just reinforced the point.
    – User65535
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 20:52

A simple question deserves a simple answer:

The territories that Israel took over during the Six-Day War in 1967, were taken in a war which was prompted by Israel's enemies, in an attempt to destroy Israel (and possibly annihilate its Jews). As in every war, territory is either lost or gained.

After that war, Egypt and Jordan made peace agreements with Israel, so they received their territory back.

Regarding the Palestinians, the world is still waiting for a credible elected Palestinian leader who would not support terrorism...

  • What do you define as terrorism? Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 11:10
  • @user253751, Deliberately killing innocent people (men, women and children) at bus stops, bars, parks and shopping centers.
    – Jacob3
    Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 19:02

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