The journalist also questioned the witness testimonies and numerous investigations by rights groups over the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater hit back at Danish journalist Asker Hedegaard Boye for equating the Gulf state’s human rights record to ongoing Israeli crimes against Palestinians.
Responding to Al Khater’s Tweet on preaching human rights while siding with the Israeli regime’s crimes, Boye accused the Qatari official of attempting to deflect criticism on the Gulf state’s human rights abuses.
The tweet included images of Palestinain children who were the victims of Israel’s latest three-day aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip, which claimed the lives of more than 40 Palestinians, including at least 15 children.
“Qatar’s assistant foreign minister is just using the tragic events in Israel / Palestine to tell the west that we should not come here and point out the slave-like conditions among tens of thousands of migrant workers in her own totalitarian country. Classy,” tweeted Boye.
In a diplomatic response, Al Khater elaborated that she was asking those who preach about human rights to “to walk the talk first”.
“Plus I am not sure who is ‘we’ in your tweet? If you are one of those who don’t dare to condemn Israeli occupation for its crimes the past 70 years, then YES you are right so STOP the double standards,” added the Qatari diplomat.
Reiterating his previous remarks, the Danish journalist went on to describe the official’s request as “nonsense”.
“Just to be sure: In order to criticise the obvious violations of human rights in Qatar, one must condemn the Israeli state? Nonsense,” he said.
Al Khater went on to question Boye’s stance with regards to the apartheid state’s crimes. In the follow-up tweet, she pointed out his double standards.
“Wait a minute, did you just confirm that you belong to the group that don’t dare to condemn the OBVIOUS crimes of the 70 year Israeli Occupation including killing thousands of kids and displacing millions? Well of course you can but unfortunately it’s still called double standards,” she noted.
People in Qatar and beyond have also rallied to clap back at Boye’s response.
Prominent Qatari writer Reem Al-Harmi responded to one his tweets, taking aim at what she described as Boye’s “whataboutism” with regards to the flagrant Israeli human rights violations.
“Your whataboutism doesn’t address the tweet about the hypocrisy and the double-standards we have been witnessing, where some human lives worth more than others, or when Israel gets a free pass every time they murder Palestinian civilians,” said Al-Harmi.
Al-Harmi added that his tweets were contradictory as he claimed to care about human rights while remaining silent on the killings of Palestinian children and civilians by the Zionist state.
“You say you care about human rights, yet, you had nothing to say about the children and civilians killed by Israel in the past few days,” she added.
Al Khater has been among the most vocal politicians on Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Qatar is often among the first countries to issue statements to condemn Israel, the latest of which were issued this week over the storming of the Al Aqsa Mosque by settlers as well as the occupation’s offensive on Gaza.
Questioning killing of Abu Akleh
Apart from Al Khater’s tweets, Boye has questioned the witness testimonies and numerous investigations by rights groups over the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Responding to a tweet on the investigations over the killing, shared by Danish journalist Freja Wedenborg, Boye said, “What do you base ‘killed’ and ‘war crime’ on?”
“Yep, I see that Al Jazeera believes they know she was killed (premeditated, that is) and that Israel will investigate. But how do YOU know she was killed? That is, as an impartial, investigative journalist,” he said.
Despite being met with various links by credible investigations, Boye said the killing cannot be described as “premeditated” and “a war crime”.
In response, Wedenborg said: “And you think that is the important discussion now? Not that Israel has shot an unarmed journalist in the face?”
Responding to her tweet, Boye said,”I don’t think the two things are mutually exclusive: that a critical focus is placed on the Israeli army; and that as a journalist one keeps one’s tongue in one’s mouth and refrains from dividing one’s sources into an intersectional hierarchy.”
Known as the voice of Palestinians, Abu Akleh’s killing was slammed by rights groups and Al Jazeera as “premeditated” as she was at the forefront of delivering to the world ongoing Israeli crimes.
Abu Akleh was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper on 11 May while covering the Zionist state’s raids on Jenin, amid ongoing expansion of illegal settlements.
The journalist was shot despite being in a flak jacket and helmet, clearly identifying as a member of the press.
The sniper, who admitted to the crime, had deliberately targeted a precise area in her head that was not covered with the helmet, completely shattering her skull, as per testimonies by her life-long colleague Givara Budeiri.