SEARCH beneath the rubble of Gaza and you will find, among the blood and the grief, another great casualty of Israel’s brutal onslaught on Palestine – the broken remnants of the West’s self-imposed moral authority over the world.

Where now are the champions of human rights? Where is the humanitarianism that we were told defined our glorious role in the world? You won’t find it in the complicitous chambers of Westminster, nor behind the door of Downing Street. It’s outside, heaving at the gated walls, demanding to be heard as it always has.

There is a gulf between the people of the UK and its state large enough to comfortably lose half a billion pounds worth of UK arms sales to Israel within. We have endured 14 years of callous Conservative rule.

We have watched the Labour Party abandon everything it stood for. And we have seen both parties cast aside the supposed foundations of the West to capitulate entirely to a genocidal ally. The ideal of Britain as a force for good in the world has met, on a scale unlike anything before, the reality of its foreign policies and pick-and-choose approach to human rights. And thanks to social media, we all have front-row seats to the horror of it all.

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I wonder how differently the West’s perception of itself would have been if, during the Iraq War, we had had the same access to social media as we do now.

Unfortunately, while US soldiers were torturing and killing Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison, Facebook was barely a twinkle in the eye of Mark Zuckerberg’s competitors’ minds. The Iraq War had been under way for three years before Twitter arrived on the scene. And even with the fledgling introduction of these new social platforms, no network was yet the powerhouse of citizen journalism that they have become since (for better and worse).

But now we do see. Full 4K, technicolour presents snapshots from an occupied territory; footage of a mutilated child limply hanging from a wall in Palestine, sandwiched between videos of a dog eating spaghetti and Keir Starmer insisting that Israel does have the right to cut off food and water to Palestinian civilians. Gods, do we see.

The West’s moral failings on Palestine are on display on every phone and computer across the UK – and we can see the gulf between how the West speaks and how the West acts.

In every UN Security Council abstention and veto lies the contradiction between Biden and Sunak’s milquetoast appeals to considering just toning down the killing a little, and their decisions to continue funding and arming and defending a genocidal regime explicit in its plans to ethnically cleanse all Palestinians, from the river to the sea.

The National: Israeli forces have pounded Rafah (AP)

Importantly, though, it is not the West’s moral authority that has been left ragged by this conflict but rather the perception that it held any to begin with. For all its talk on democracy, the West has backed any number of coups on democratically elected socialist governments.

For all its talk on the rule of law, the West has turned away from its own violations and the violations of its allies. For all its talk on humanitarianism, the West has discarded the principle of “Never Again” to equivocate on the obvious truths before them.

When you understand that this is a game about being perceived as a moral authority, over actually acting like one, the charade of Westminster’s righteousness is laid bare. The farcical ceasefire vote last week exemplifies this.

Labour’s amendment on the SNP’s ceasefire motion was not a turning point in the debate. Parliamentary procedure aside, it was a cynical attempt to brush off activists who have been holding Starmer to account for the bloodshed that has happened with his endorsement.

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Rather than back the SNP motion, Labour tried to defeat it, removing references to the collective punishment of Palestinians at the hand of Israel, allowing the party to triumphantly yell “See! See! You can’t be angry at us any more!” while coolly keeping themselves at distance from anything close to meaningful words of condemnation. Starmer’s Labour weren’t thinking of the people of Gaza; they were thinking of themselves.

And now what could have been a meaningful call for a ceasefire lies in ruins. You almost get the sense, in the limp pleas and indifferent language, that much of Westminster’s issues with Benjamin Netanyahu stem from anger at the manner in which the killing is taking place, over the killing itself.

If the West’s commitment to international law and humanity was as rock solid as it professes, why else would it have stayed so silent during decades of displacement and murder?

Western politicians and media have instead treated care for Palestine as a fringe obsession of folk with a drum to bang, and act like accountability and scrutiny are a great unfairness delivered upon them.

The National: Benjamin Netanyahu (Ronen Zvulun/AP)

This is a period of reckoning for the West. Its politicians don’t want to hear you. Its states don’t want to be accountable. And above all, its perception of itself as a force for good in the world does not want to be challenged.

But outwith Britain and Europe and the US, the West’s terrible deeds are known and remembered. To most of the world, its posturing as a moral authority is a twisted joke.

And all the while, real humanity pushes still at the gates, demanding justice.