Friday, February 18, 2011

What Is It Really About, Israel or Human Rights?

(cross posted here)

Anti-Israel activists often frame their arguments around phrases such as “the universal application of human rights.” And if you oppose their definition of human rights, then you are obviously not someone who should be tolerated in civil society.

But it doesn’t take much scratching below the surface to discover the ugly reality under this patina of progressivism. Take, for example, the current anti-Israel road show called “Never Again for Anyone”. As you could guess from the name, it attempts to conflate the current situation of Hamas-ruled Gaza with that of the Jews of Europe during the Holocaust. They have even found a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz whose anti-Zionism is so deep that he is the headliner for this circus. Reports from Rutgers and DePaul Universities document that this event featured denial of Jewish ties to the land of Israel, praise of Hamas, and opposition to any peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  Any reader of this site has seen films of the Holocaust. And while nobody should claim that life in Hamas-stan is peaceful and easy, we also keep hearing from the extremists that Hamas was the democratically elected government of the Palestinians. So perhaps those who voted Hamas have discovered that their choices have consequences. After all, Hamas’ platform is jihad against Israel, now and forever. And Israel has the right to take steps, such as a naval blockade, to prevent Hamas from freely importing long range rockets (and worse) from its Iranian patrons to carry out that jihad. Despite that, I don’t think we saw scenes like this from Auschwitz:

On campuses, it’s a similar story. Once again, the Hamas position of elimination of Israel is supported as a “human rights” campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel and only Israel. Yet if it was about human rights, then common sense would indicate that those concerned about human rights attack the worst violators first. China's use of forced labor and the abrogation of human rights of its own citizens on a scale measuring into the tens of millions doesn't register for these "human rights activists”. Saudi Arabia's treatment of women as less than second class citizens, not to mention the utter lack of any political or religious freedom, is irrelevant. (US-Chna trade was 15 times more than US-Israel trade in 2010; US-Saudi trade was 35% more).  And so on, ad nauseum, around the world.

Now if you approach the faux “human rights” activists with this, they will immediately claim that you are changing the subject. That depends. Is the subject Israel, or is the subject human rights? If the subject is Israel, and only Israel, and the object is its elimination, then what does that say about “human rights”? If the subject is human rights and only Israel is under scrutiny.... well, it says the same thing. And what it says is quite ugly.

You can see this ugliness displayed at colleges when Israeli speakers—and only Israeli speakers-- come to campus. Last year, the Muslim Student Union at UC  Irvine orchestrated interruptions of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren—and the leaders of this now face charges.
Last month, an Israeli who had served in the IDF, speaking as an individual, was subjected to the same treatment at Hampshire College;

(Read a full report on this event from Citizen Wald) I should note that in both cases the administrations of these institutions thoroughly condemned this behavior; at Irvine, the MSU was subjected to a penalty as well, though many felt that they should have been banned from campus for much longer than one semester.

In Scotland earlier this month, Ishmail Khaldi, an Israeli Arab who is an advisor to Foreign Minister Lieberman and who was formerly Deputy Consul General for the State of Israel in the San Francisco consulate, attempted to speak at Edinburgh University in Scotland; anti-Israel thugs took over the meeting and prevented him from speaking. Can anyone recall similar treatment of Chinese or Saudi speakers on campuses?

In the end, though, it comes down to one simple question: do you support peace between a Jewish state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine? All 3 of those speakers answer yes to that question. Those who prevented them from speaking, and those who put on obscenities such as “Never Again for Anyone”, will answer “no”. They insist that of all the peoples in the world, the only one that is not to be allowed to exercise the right of national self-determination in its indigenous homeland is the Jewish people.

Human rights, anyone?

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