February 25, 2012

OIC: A "deplorable act of incitement"

So says the Secretary-General of our new friends over at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, with regard to the burning of the Quran by the US forces in Afghanistan. Even after the profuse apologies that said it was a mistake, he called it a provocative act.

According to Fars News Agency:
In a statement on Thursday, Ihsanoglu described the incident as a "deplorable act of incitement", and said that the act runs "contrary to the common efforts of the OIC and that of the international community …to combat intolerance, and incitement to hatred based on religion and belief."
When the Human Rights Council resumes in March, we can bet this "incitement" will be used by the OIC to conflate in its drive against freedom of speech, expression, and conscience, soon arriving at your door.

Imagine what they would say if we were not friends.

(Cross-posted at Israel Thrives.)

February 20, 2012

Weekly Comments Trail/Open Thread

@ The Republican Candidates and Israel

@ Kossacks Love Islamic Jihadists

@ Hey, 1%! That Money Will Do You No Good When You Can't Breathe or Drink.
To illustrate how taking a solely partisan perspective can lead to oversimplification and anti-progressive behavior.

56 Islamic States: Sexual orientation and gender identity have “No legal foundation in any international human rights instrument.”

On March 7th, 2012, a panel discussion is scheduled at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) about a November 11, 2011 UN report from the High Commissioner of Human Rights entitled: "Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity." The report was mandated in Resolution 17/19.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) believes the subject matter is out of bounds, and that such "controversial notions" have "no legal foundation in any international human rights instrument," and to believe otherwise is "misinterpreting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

It wrote a letter to this effect to the HRC, saying that "historical, cultural and religious backgrounds" must take precedence. As such, "the issue of sexual orientation is unacceptable to the OIC" and it will not accept considerations and recommendations of the panel. It may even stage a walkout at the event.

The OIC said the debate would "seriously jeopardize the entire international human rights framework," and that such issues "relate to personal behavior and preferences, and have nothing to do with fundamental human rights."

The High Commissioner says otherwise. From the Report:
international human rights law is guided by the principles of universality and non-discrimination ... which states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. All people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, are entitled to enjoy the protections provided for by international human rights law, including in respect of rights to life, security of person and privacy, the right to be free from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action confirms that, “while the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Going further:
Non-discrimination is a core human rights principle embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and core human rights treaties.
The specific grounds of discrimination referred to in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties are not exhaustive. The drafters intentionally left the grounds of discrimination open by using the phrase “other status”.
The Report makes reference to the 1994 case of Toonen v. Australia holding that states are obligated to protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. Other treaty bodies have recognized the right of LGBT persons to exercise treaty rights free from discrimination.

The OIC picks and chooses human rights it will recognize, not to what conforms with the UDHR and international treaties arising from it, but instead with the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam that says:
All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah.
The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.
This view expressed in the Cairo Declaration, that Shari'ah takes precedence, seems to allow violations against minorities, women and non-believers by OIC states. Now it seeks to get rid of all criticism designed to show Islam in a negative light by criminalizing such "blashpemy." In other words, a religion will possess greater "human" rights than a human.

I do not understand why the US saw fit to cooperate in this effort to resuscitate "defamation of religion" from the dead, by agreeing last March to HRC Resolution 16/18, entitled: "Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief." It thereafter hosted a three-day, closed-door international conference in December to address implementation.

The HRC will again consider Resolution 16/18 in March and the OIC will push further  to advance the international legal concept of defaming Islam. Will we learn not to shrink from the OIC's attempt to dictate the scope of free expression or claim its discrimination is culturally and religiously justified?

(Tip to UN Watch)

Israel, Innovation, Imagination

Imagine what Israel could have done if there had been peace, and it might have unleashed all its resources to making itself and others better off, rather than defending itself against those who want to see it eliminated as a state, not to mention that some of these would like the elimination of Jewish people, too.

When the Zionists came and bought the land and developed it, and created the mechanisms of a democratic society, that is when Arabs came, too, to share in the relative prosperity and quality of life. So it remains today, which is why more Arabs in Jerusalem would rather live under Israel than a Palestinian state.

News: Kuwaiti MPs call for ban on construction of churches

This story from arabianbusiness.com illustrates Sharia's prohibition on building new churches or repairing old ones in Muslim lands. Though at times enforcement of these unjust laws has been relaxed, they remain, subject to use and abuse. Fortunately, there are some clearer heads in the country, but Islamists hold 2/3 of Kuwait's Parliament.

This episode shows the irony of a world where the OIC seeks to outlaw criticism of Islam as one of its members discusses the merits to outlaw the practice of religion. The right to be free from insult (there is no such right or freedom) is somehow more protected than the rights to freedom of expression and association, and to practice religion. It is also textbook persecution and discrimination, as Copts in Egypt would affirm. You gotta wonder why it is so hard for some to understand.

There are elements in other societies that are no less hostile than in our own. They get that way without help from us, just as we get there without help from them. There is nothing wrong with seeking to establish minimal universal norms where all are accountable, such as Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. It is good to remember that not everything that takes place is due to Western hegemony and consider that others can also have imperialistic designs.

February 19, 2012

Ignatius: Obama's “cosmic wager” on the Muslim Brotherhood’s peaceful intentions.

David Ignatius penned an op-ed in the Washington Post on February 15th that looks at Obama's course of conduct toward the Muslim Brotherhood, commencing in 2009 with his oft-cited Cairo speech. He says, by courting the MB:
the United States helped legitimize their political aspirations; by refusing to come to Mubarak’s rescue during the Tahrir Square protests a year ago, the United States all but guaranteed that the Brotherhood would emerge as a dominant political force in a new Egypt.
I think that there is some merit to this claim. This leads to the question of whether or not there has been significant damage to anti-Mubarak liberals who want a more democratic and pluralistic Egypt? Some say yes and point to the evidence on the ground.

I wonder what occurred after meeting in secret with MB legislators, and direct meetings with the MB thereafter, only to be misled by the MB as to their electoral ambitions?

I also agree with the view set forth by Olivier Roy, related by Ignatius, that: 
“Democratic culture does not precede democratic institutions; democratic culture is the internalization of these institutions”
Does this apply to the MB? Is it justified to believe that a path of tacit support, where the MB predominates over the internalization of institutions, will be fundamentally democratic in approach? The MB mission is clear that it wishes to destroy democracy, and establish a system of intolerance, especially toward non-believers. Consider, for example, what the American MB said about its strategic goal of "settlement" in North America:
“The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Thus, is accommodating the MB a poor wager? Is gambling even appropriate in a matter such as this, that may have far reaching consequences? Does Obama pay sufficient attention to its purpose NOT to pursue democracy?

A bit more about the MB:

Putting aside the Obama's performance in dealing with the MB for a moment, I am more critical about how the liberals have been affected, in Egypt, in America, and elsewhere. These are people who share our values of human rights, but sound warnings, based on experience, that political Islam does not seek democracy, but to impose the norms of Shari'a and coerce others into submission. For speaking out, often a great personal danger, they are often treated like pariahs, when we should be saluting everywhere their bravery and cause. This is where Obama has performed worst, turning away from those who are oppressed and want to create societies that stand for universal human rights, in favor of those who do not such creations.

I am surprised by the influence possessed by MB American affiliates, particularly after their exposure as fronts for the MB, knowing its mission. Now the Government seeks to remove any hint that political Islam, as envisioned by the MB and others, exists as a threat to democracy. MB entities say things for Western consumption that obscure their actual intentions, and are provided with disproportionate power to decide what is proper expression and censor anything they do not like. Who could ask for anything more?

These issues should concern all those who promote Western ideals of liberalism, irrespective of political candidate. But that is not how it seems to work these days, where more seems to depend on candidates than anything, sometimes resulting in the strangest of bedfellows.

(Tip to Doodad)

February 16, 2012

On Jewish "Support" for the Democrats in 2012

In response to a the point made to me that Democrats do not deserve Jewish support this cycle, I say:

To me, it's not time to decide, although I cannot foresee not voting for Obama. Then again, support means different things to different people. As to the Democrats overall, I think they are solidly pro-Israel, as are most Americans. Obama supports Israel because America and Democrats do, and he fully understands that it is in our national and security interest no matter how he may feel personally.

I think the Republicans make some good points, but are too belligerent and prone to doing things like Bush. They take what is a winning argument over the actual nature of the conflict and tear it to shreds with incompetent and even negligent implementation. They tend to seek answers by starting with hard power. However, I believe they are ahead at understanding there IS a threat, where some Democrats are prone to diminish it as scaremongering.

One need only look at Europe. I am a broken record, but what is happening today is a product of what happened there several decades ago when European and Arab states agreed to formal "multiculturalism" as ransom for oil. Millions flocked from the "South" into Europe, even at the expense of other Europeans in the East, with increasing cultural demands. Through the agreement and its offshoots, the environment in Europe now shows signs of conflict. There is not only the culture clash, but the democracy deficit from the supranational EU that has Europe approaching the brink.

Parenthetically, although they agreed to do so, the Arab states did not even have to make their societies multicultural. Relatively speaking, no one wanted to go to them, only leave. In many of these states, persecution against minorities and non-believers continued apace. To illustrate, in Saudi Arabia it is unlawful to build a church or for a non-Muslim to travel to Mecca. In Iraq, 130,000 Jews has shrunk to around 10. In Egypt, tens of thousands of Coptic Christians flee.

The extent of the problem in Europe is seen in the urban streets and schools, in the divisions of societies and the standards of law. The latest legal aspect is the effort in the Human Rights Council by the OIC to silence and criminalize criticism of religion, or what is considered "blasphemy" according to a particular society, despite the obvious implications for freedom of expression. It is known as Resolution 16/18:
"Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief"
Jonathan Turley, professor of public interest law at George Washington University, had this to say in an LA Times op-ed last December, when Secretary Clinton hosted an international conference to discuss implementation:
The impenetrable title conceals the disturbing agenda: to establish international standards for, among other things, criminalizing "intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of … religion and belief." The unstated enemy of religion in this conference is free speech, and the Obama administration is facilitating efforts by Muslim countries to "deter" some speech in the name of human rights.
While the resolution also speaks to combating incitement to violence, the core purpose behind this and previous measures has been to justify the prosecution of those who speak against religion. The members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, have been pushing for years to gain international legitimacy of their domestic criminal prosecutions of anti-religious speech.
The OIC members have long sought to elevate religious dogma over individual rights. In 1990, members adopted the Cairo Declaration, which rejected core provisions of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and affirmed that free speech and other rights must be consistent with "the principles of the sharia," or Islamic law. The biggest victory of the OIC came in 2009 when the Obama administration joined in condemning speech containing "negative racial and religious stereotyping" and asked states to "take effective measures" to combat incidents, including those of "religious intolerance." Then, in March, the U.S. supported Resolution 16/18's call for states to "criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief." It also "condemns" statements that advocate "hostility" toward religion. Although the latest resolution refers to "incitement" rather than "defamation" of religion (which appeared in the 2005 resolution), it continues the disingenuous effort to justify crackdowns on religious critics in the name of human rights law.

The OIC has hit on a winning strategy to get Western countries to break away from their commitment to free speech by repackaging blasphemy as hate speech and free speech as the manifestation of "intolerance." Now, orthodoxy is to be protected in the name of pluralism — requiring their own notion of "respect and empathy and tolerance." One has to look only at the OIC member countries, however, to see their vision of empathy and tolerance, as well as their low threshold for anti-religious speech that incites people.
I think that Obama's decision to support this OIC initiative that denies free expression was a huge mistake and will hurt minorities and oppressed across the globe. Just as people are becoming aware and want to speak, the information faces censorship under law. A prescription for conflict arises. As I said, the implementation of the policy by OIC states will be no less one sided than in the case of Arab states creating multicultural societies.

Sadly, Europe holds the balance in my view. Despite the way it likes to lecture, it has such a poor record when it comes to peace. If it descends into further chaos, many will suffer. Israel will feel the brunt. Cooperation with the attempts of the OIC (and MB) to implement Sharia tips the balance in the wrong direction and increases the threats to non-believers everywhere.

Many Progressives in the US are like the Europeans I mentioned, an elite intelligentsia immune to the fact that, just possibly, their positions may be good in theory, but not in practice. Others engage in humanitarian racism that looks for scapegoats rather than placing agency for criminal acts on the perpetrator. When, in addition, they tie their star to Obama, it deprives them of ability to consider his actions solely on their merits. And when they treat people who challenge with other theories as less intelligent or rational, it no longer even relates to the merits. It does, however, illustrate a side that is alien to the dignity of others, a tenet of being progressive.

In any case, even though we try and do out part, it all can change in a speck of time, so I reserve decision. I cannot be too hard on myself or even the others for not having the answers, even the ones who think they do. Like most on the planet, we really have no control, except to make individual choices and to treat others with respect, understanding that many demand it without the slightest intention of reciprocation.

February 15, 2012

Internet Censorship and Banning w/ Update

What follows is a comment I made at Israel Thrives, upon the censorship and banning that occurred there today, Indeed, it turned into a statement of how thought is stifled on a larger scope, by people who only seem to like their own ideas.
As you know, I objected to the deletion of their remarks and indicated that it was not a good decision when VB did it to me either. Their words were silly, and in some cases demeaning, but they help to show where things stand. The more that is out there, the more the truth will rise.
What I did find troubling was the repetitive questioning of sanity and motivation. Why not accept that not everyone sees what occurs the same or from the same level? I oppose trying to jam one's views down the throats of others, no matter from what side. I also oppose defining those who think differently as "others" and there was way too much of that.
I am against banning as well, FWIW.
I am curious to know if these folks think that everything in the world is just fine. It seems so. Because Obama is such a good friend to Israel, we need not look at anything else that is taking place, or discuss the merits of his actions either. Obama's friendship is the only criteria to make a valid judgment.
But what if there are other issues where things are NOT fine, potentially more important, as Jews, democrats, Americans, to peace and security? Why get so apoplectic about those who address what is going on, who wish to provide more food on the table, especially a table that is imbalanced in information?
Are domestic politics their entire universe? Is that how it should be? Or are matters interrelated and interdependent?
Despite accusations, we do not condemn ALL Muslims. We are NOT Republicans. We DO condemn the millions who despise Israel, Jews, American, Westerners, and even our accusers who label us. Ironic, but we actually do it in the name of human rights: for Jews, Americans, women, gays, children, believers, and non-believers. Go figure!
Since late 2006 I have criticized Obama, from the left! Yet now, because I have the audacity to express disappointment in his responses to the onslaught of the OIC, MB and Political Islam in their geopolitical attack against universal human rights, seen daily across the globe, I am harangued as right wing by self professed "better" Democrats than me.
So it goes.
UPDATE:  I see that my comment has become a post of its own, On Progressive-Left Intolerance, with my permission, although I like my title better

February 14, 2012

Norman Finklestein: "BDS is a Cult!" w/ Update

Thanks to Elder of Zyon, I have to provide this video where Norman Finklestein interviews with a member of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) and Solidarity movement. Although I differ with Finklestein's depiction of international law concerning occupation, boundaries and settlements, he categorically destroys BDS as a cult, insular and delusional about its influence and power.

Finklestein in his writings and speeches is clearly anti-Israel. In 2000, he published a  polemic, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitations of Jewish Suffering, which posited that the Zionist narrative of the Holocaust is used to justify Israeli violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

He has villified Israel often and regularly. For example, last year he said:
“Israel is a dirtier place than the South was during the Jim Crow era”
He told an interviewer in Lebanon:
I was of course happy to meet the Hizbullah people, because it is a point of view that is rarely heard in the United States. I have no problem saying that I do want to express solidarity with them.
So there should be no doubt where he is coming from. Moreover, his reliance on the ICJ Advisory opinion, The Wall Case, as if it was binding, is simply wrong in my view, and according to the principles of international law. Resolutions of the General Assembly that he cites are not law either, unless adopted by state practice.

In any event, the video is good watching. I recommend it for the brief moment where one unexpected sees fit to reveal underlying truth against those mainly of his own persuasion. He states, explicitly, that if BDS is a rights based organization, it must recognize ALL rights, including Israel's rights as a state to exist under international law. But BDS refuses to do so, among other things, and the message he conveys corroborates all those who claim BDS is extremist and out of touch with reality.

UPDATEThe original YouTube was removed, but here is a copy of the highlights:

Comments Trail

@ A man's best friend or foe?

@ Has the Left Betrayed the Jews?: A Discussion Continued

Exposure of Political Hypocrisy from Down Under

I don't know Daphne Anson, but some of her personal story parallels my own, as to the evolution of thinking we both share about the situation of irrational hatred for Israel and its manifestations, including those from many on the Left that act as if the sole judges of morality.

This "progressive antisemitism" presently combines with Muslim antisemitism to bring forth almost all the incitement to hatred against Israel and Jews that we see and hear on an everyday basis. Most people reject these extremist views and can recognize the difference between valid criticism of Israel and hatred for it as the Jewish state.

Yet, the question arises whether the disparate treatment of Israel, as compared to ANY other state, is itself discriminatory and convincing evidence of antisemitism.

Which brings me DA's post about words reported from a member of the Australian Parliament who rose in support of a motion on the subject of human rights in Iran, Kelly O’Dwyer. Her full statement can be found at J-Wire in an article entitled: "The Silence of the Greens."

I think that MP O'Dwyer raises some good points, especially concerning the Greens, and it makes me ask why should people follow advice from others who raise theories that in practice seem to fly in the face of experience and reality?

She assuredly understands the issue of human rights and the context:
There must be no more serious and heinous act in this world than a government turning on its own people and committing violent atrocities on its own citizenry.
President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is her main target and she sets forth a small litany of his hate speech, including that Israel should be annihilated.
Any one of these statements on its own warrants immediate condemnation, yet this despicable vitriol is left unchallenged and has been left unchallenged too often and for too long.
She then speaks about Australia, but it has wider ramifications to us all who care about the use and abuse of human rights internationally:
In Australia during this time one must ask the questions- Who stands conspicuously quiet? Who stands silent while these human rights are abused? It is not those sitting directly opposite me. It is, in fact, the Greens, those people who suggest that they are the champions of human rights and the keepers of the moral chalice, those professed keepers of all that is right and ethical. Where, I ask you, is Senator Brown in condemning these actions? Where is Senator Hanson-Young on her soapbox demanding justice? Where is the member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, in this chamber supporting this motion? Where are the Greens protests in the streets? Most importantly, given all that we have learned about the boycott, divestments and sanctions scheme that grew from the Greens local council movement in Marrickville, where are the calls for the boycotts of Iranian companies or even of Syrian ones, to be truly consistent? No, all that is simply reserved for Israel.

Interestingly, the Greens also profess to be strong champions of human rights, particularly for those who are homosexual. Yet it is the country of Israel, the only democracy in the region, that legislates rights for women and homosexuals. In fact, in a recent poll conducted by GayCities.com in conjunction with American Airlines, Tel Aviv was rated the best gay travel destination of 2011. Yet here the Greens condemn Israel and not Iran.
Could you imagine if the Prime Minister of Israel had prayed for the ‘annihilation’ of the Palestinians? How many motions would the Greens have moved by now? How many press releases, demonstrations and media conferences would they have called? I conducted a search on the Greens website. I typed ‘Iran’ into their search feature, 23 results were returned and in those results there was not one mention—not one, single, solitary mention—of the atrocities that have taken place, of the abhorrent preachings of the President of Iran or of the blatant human rights abuses posed against ethnic minorities, women and homosexuals. However, if you type in ‘Israel’ you will find pages and pages and pages—in particular pages as to how you can be involved as well in the BDS movement. This is a truly sad state of affairs and it is of great concern in particular to me that the Greens do not stand with us in this chamber against such violence against human rights workers, women’s rights activists, journalists and government opponents.
The Greens seem to quote the UN when it suits them and ignore them when it does not conform to their agenda. And make no mistake: the Greens agenda on Israel is well and truly on show.
She seems to describe a familiar group, at least to me, who are so convinced that they can only do good that they dismiss arguments to the contrary and ignore the daily events in Iran and elsewhere. To them it is so simple: Israel and pro-Israel supporters, as seen in the disproportionate lack of attention they give anywhere else. Should these advocates possess any more credibility in these matters than those they love to criticize? Or, all things considered, perhaps they should have much less.

February 12, 2012

Daniel Pearl and Remembrance

Over at Daily Kos there was a diary about the anniversary of the killing of Daniel Pearl, ten years ago and what it means to the diarist as a Jew. In the comments, Pearl was remembered larger than life. To me, and perhaps the diarist, he was just a Jew, and his plight will mostly be forgotten until another anniversary.

I therefore wrote a comment that did not make it there, but its essence follows here.

We take a moment to mourn a Pearl or a Klinghoffer, then return to the daze of ignorance and fear about how and why they were murdered.

The intentions and acts of adversaries, adherents of political jihad without compunction, should not be forgotten for a moment.

This does not mean, despite what some are quick to accuse, all Muslim individuals are bad jihadists and should be punished. To misinterpret and so accuse is both wrong and not an answer, but a diversion from the substantive issue, manifested by personally attacking another's character.

Interestingly, I learn all the time there are Muslims or ex-Muslims that feel no different than me. One I just read from yesterday is Manda Zand Ervin, a feminist who was the U.S. delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2008. She was invited to the 2009 G-8 International Conference on Violence Against Women, at the Italian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Rome, Italy, as the featured speaker on Iran, and can be seen here.

As such, it shows my remark cannot involve ALL. Many charges of Islamophobia or other derangement are simply false.

Indeed, one could say the accusers, by their actions, pretend there is no threat at all. Yet we know that they understand, which is why it would be unfair to accuse them. That said, should we trust the opinions of those who deny the obvious that occurs before our very eyes? Do they really know better?

When they say it is hateful to expose hate, do they know what they are talking about? Many of them seem quite willing to demonize others in hateful terms. Does that count?

Or what of the attempts to censor speech in the marketplace, as if only they have the right to provide information about what people may think.

They are to be excused. They do it all in the name of human rights!

Generally speaking, there is something the matter when false labels and accusations are used to divert an argument or discussion, no matter by whom. Admittedly, that is the state of discourse these days. It changes little on the substantive level, but constitutes a serious hindrance to cooperation among peoples.

Yes, it is virtually impossible to stop one intending to use a gratuitous approach, though it stands in the way of well considered solutions to complex, real problems that reflect the will of the interested.

It is something we should not tolerate in silence.

February 10, 2012

Comments Trail

@ "Israel Apartheid Week" is coming

@ Fizziks Responds

@ University of PA responds about Amy Kaplan's politicizing of her courses

On the Progressive-Left's Care about Human Rights and Social Justice

Earlier today I read a post at a site where I contribute, Israel Thrives, where it was stated:
If the progressive-left honestly cared about human rights or social justice then they might care about Tibet or Darfur or Congo (where something like 5.5 million people are dead over the last decade, or so, due to that conflict), but they do not. This can only mean that their claims to care about social justice and human rights are entirely hollow. Yet day after day they fling filth at the Jewish.
I understand the gist of this remark, but have a running, good-natured difference with the author. I am not of the opinion that the claims of those mentioned about social justice and human rights are entirely hollow. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that for far too many it's become an obsession against Israel that blinds such voices of morality to most anything else, including the ramifications of their own actions. Further, try as they might to demonize and act illiberally toward others, I still endeavor to believe they have altruistic intentions, though misguided in the approach and methodology they adopt.

When I hear how these folks lecture others about morality and human rights, though I believe most are good intentioned to make the world better, I usually scratch my head. I wish they were less ignorant about history and reliant on theory, more attuned to the reality of the world and the human condition. All that education that provides one narrative deprives the ability to recognize or acknowledge other narratives, let alone give them appropriate or fair minded consideration. In this environment, coming from such a disproportionate foundation, no wonder they feel how they do.

As ignorance decreases, more liberals and others become less hesitant to speak out to change this Orwellian dynamic where the point of departure is that Israel, the USA, the West are imperialistic, intolerant and evil. (As if no others actors have equal capacity or can choose their own behavior.) What seems forgotten is that some states and groups at least try to comply with standards of human rights and democracy, while far too many do not. Rather than work against the worst of abuses and human suffering, because it is much harder to confront when societies are closed and there may be personal danger, these disproportionately obsessed instead prefer easier prey to attack with their self-made clubs and badges of human rights, wielding their theories and weaponry far way from the fray, among themselves and captive audiences.

In my view, from a human rights standpoint, these proponents squander limited resources with overblown efforts against states where governmental have tangible protections in place like a free press to expose, an independent judiciary to enforce, and virtually no risk of reprisal by the state for expression. Nevertheless, they demand a standard of perfection from these best actors, one that can never exist among humans or states, rather than place focus on situations where even minimum standards are absent. As a result, most people remain in the dark about the gravest threats to universal human rights.

This is not at all to say that a state that violates human rights should have impunity. Only a sophist or the like would gleen such an interpretation. It pains me to say that there are many such persons. So let me be explicit: All violations are wrong and deserve a remedy. However, as an analogy, I prefer to first prosecute killers, then tax cheaters. I take the same view in the matter of human rights and international relations.

Indeed, this is more a call for those who define themselves as liberal or progressive not to fear those that disproportionately ignore the worst actors to target the best, then treat people who seek balance as bigoted enemies of human rights. Assuming they act in good faith, is it liberal or progressive to call others names or seek to censor other voices or the content of others' ideas?

Each time I see a "liberal" or "progressive" act this way, it drives home the point of how ironic and contradictory life is among the believers. Until the barriers of ignorance are made weak with sunlight, knowledge and fair discourse, the battle for human rights does not stand a chance.

Back to the grind.