Why is Wu singling out Israel

When Chinese American activist Harry Wu was unexpectedly released from Chinese captivity and allowed to return to his Milpitas home last week, the Bay Area breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Anyone who had been following his arrest in June on spy charges doubted that the Chinese government would ever release a man so committed to exposing human rights abuses in China's prison labor camps.

But when the newly freed Wu slammed Israel over the weekend, many Jews felt at least a twinge of disappointment.

In an interview broadcast in Israel and covered by the American press, Wu accused the Jewish state of allowing its military experts to work closely with the Chinese military.

"If the Israeli people are really concerned about concentration camps, concerned about Nazi fascists, they have to apply the same principles to China," said Wu, who accused the Chinese government of using concentration-camp techniques on its dissidents.

"Of course Israel has its own problem with Iran, Iraq and Syria," he added. "But if you are dealing with evil, how can you need another evil to support you?"

Israel has repeatedly denied allegations of selling U.S. military technology to China. And a 1993 investigation out of Washington, D.C., vindicated Israel of charges that it had sold Patriot missiles to China.

Responding to the most recent accusation, Israeli officials said Wu is overstating the amount of Israeli military assistance to Beijing.

It's difficult to know who is correct. And it's even more difficult to defend Israel if Wu is right.

But unless more substantial and detailed information becomes public, Israel's dealings with China aren't really the point.

What seems more pertinent is the question: Of all the nations that have diplomatic ties to China, why is Israel the one immediately and publicly singled out for criticism?

When apartheid ruled South Africa, there was a similar refrain. It was Israel that suffered the brunt of international condemnation for dealing with the country despite the fact that so many others did as well.

And why is the Holocaust continually raised when Israel is being criticized, as if that were the moral standard by which Israel is judged?

It seems as though China's human rights abuses more closely mirror the actions under the former Soviet Union rather than the genocide under Nazi Germany.

This is more than a case of Jews knee-jerking to any criticism of Israel. We simply object to Israel being singled out, early and often, for unfair attack.