Sunday, July 04, 2010

Hypocrisy Rules OK?

United Nations, Pages 31-32
Hypocrisy on the March—From the U.S. And Israel to France and Morocco
By Ian Williams

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. July 2010
Ahmed Bujari, representative of the Western Sahara’s Polisario Front, speaks to reporters on April 20, 2010, following the Security Council decision to extend the mandate of the MINURSO peacekeeping force by one year. (U.N. photo/Eskinder Debebe)
THE FIRST week in May saw a media storm in Israel when the Hebrew tabloid Yediot Ahronot broke the news that, while he was an appeals court judge in apartheid South Africa, Richard Goldstone was in some way linked to rejecting the appeals of 28 death sentences.

Alan Dershowitz once wrote a book called Chutzpah (not available from the AET Book Club), and in his response to the allegations he and Israel's odious Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman personified it, jumping up and down in righteous glee that Goldstone had been proven unfit to sit in judgment on a democratic state like Israel. Some of the usual suspects went even further in deep psychoanalytic studies of why Goldstone was expiating his deep guilt by beating up on Israel and thus currying favor with the U.N. Human Rights Council.
At no point did any of this newly principled mob raise any new evidence to rebut or refute the generally irrefutable Goldstone Report. Indeed, the fervor of their ad hominem attacks suggests that they can't find any.
Even by the usual hypocritical standards of Israel and its supporters, this is chutzpah on so many levels, one hardly knows where to begin. For a start, however, although Lieberman promptly circulated the news to Israeli embassies across the world, it was the newspaper that dug it up—probably inspired by the same South African Zionists who tried to stop Goldstone from attending his grandson's bar mitzvah.
So why had Israel's famed secret services not done a background check on Goldstone and unearthed this earlier? Could it be because they regarded him—as indeed he regarded himself—as a friend of Israel, and as such to be excused a few executions?
Or could it be that wiser heads in the Israeli Foreign Ministry had not wanted to stir up memories of Israeli's vital role in supplying the apartheid regime, its biggest customer, with weaponry? Its collusion in buying yellowcake from South Africa, and their mutual assistance in developing nuclear weapons and means of delivery? The sole purpose of the Boer Bomb, after all, was to kill untold millions of black Africans if the white redoubt ever was seriously threatened. Or maybe they did not want to remind people of years in which sanctions were violated by blood diamonds from South Africa being exported and processed in Israel?
While many South African Jews took an active part in the anti-apartheid struggle, they tended not to include strong Zionists and pro-Israel supporters. Judge Goldstone, by contrast, was embraced by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. So who would you rather have validating your anti-apartheid credentials: Mandela or Lieberman? Tutu or Dershowitz?
Indeed, hearing the chorus of "gotcha!" and "Told you so!" from American pro-Israel types reminds me of the conversation I had with Rabbi Arthur Herzberg about the Lobby that dare not let you speak its name. Most American Jews and American blacks opposed apartheid, of course. How, I asked Herzberg, had the issue of the South Africa-Israel connection never been a matter of public discourse, even among liberals in the U.S.? He paused, and complimented me on my acuity, before telling me that the Jewish caucus and the Congressional Black caucus leaderships had essentially agreed on a pact. In return for the CBC not raising the issue, they were assured of full support from the Jewish caucus for their domestic agenda.
Goldstone does not need any ethical validation from people who still support apartheid in Israel and the occupied territories.
Human Rights Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is always a good theme for a column, so let's move to the northern tip of the African continent from the U.N. Security Council—where we had the France of Sarkozy fighting tooth and nail to keep a human rights monitoring clause out of the current resolution to extend the mandate of MINURSO in Western Sahara, even in the face of calls from its European allies like the UK and Spain.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon weighed in that he "remains very concerned about alleged violations of human rights" and that "his Personal Envoy, Christopher Ross, and the Secretariat will continue to work to promote the human rights of Sahrawis." The U.S. faced firmly in both directions and claimed that it is "deeply concerned about the allegations of human rights abuses by the parties." However, reports from within the Council suggest that Washington's concern did not run so deep as pressuring France—which was otherwise almost totally isolated—from backing Morocco. The UK, Mexico, Uganda, Austria, Brazil, Spain and Nigeria all favored a monitoring exercise. Russia, China and other countries with human rights issues seemed to have sat out this battle, which is almost a shame, since if they had joined with Paris it might have led to even more public ignominy for the latter.
There is, of course, only one reason Morocco and its French patron do not want to include a human rights monitoring machinery in the Western Sahara peacekeeping mission—the only one in the world without one. It is the same reason Israel refuses to mount a credible investigation into Operation Cast Lead: because they know what any such mission will find.
There was a minor success in the resolution—920, for the record—the preamble of which read, "Recognizing that the consolidation of the status quo is not acceptable in the long term." But, of course, it did not answer the question so familiar and equally unanswered on resolutions about the other scofflaw state at the opposite end of the Mediterranean: "So what are you going to do about it?"
The answer, of course, is to call for negotiations with no preconditions—which in the case of both the Sahrawis and the Palestinians implies abandoning their legal rights to self-determination and their occupied territories.
Nukes, Nukes, Who's Got the Nukes?
And, while hypocrisy is under discussion, the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to New York for the review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty was not a bad example. It is worth recording that his human rights record is deplorable, that he may have stolen the last election and, even if he didn't, he certainly acted as if that was what he was doing. On the nuclear issue, however, he almost certainly is speaking for the majority of Iranians. While some might long for the good old days when the GOP, Israel and Iran colluded to arm the Contras, Iran's president has now, of course, become a pariah in the U.S.—and not, one might add, for his human rights record.
In fact the Iranian president called the possession of nuclear arms "disgusting and shameful," and added, "Even more shameful is the threat to use such weapons."
But while Iran was in the pillory for standing there and renouncing any attempts to build nuclear weapons, there was the stunning sound of silence regarding North Korea, whose human rights record makes Iran seem a civic paradise, not to mention Pakistan, India and, of course, Israel—all of whom actually do have nuclear weapons.
There does seem to be some movement, however. The Permanent Five, including the U.S., expressed support for a nuclear-free Middle East. Once again this is greeted with surprising silence—perhaps because for the pro-Israel camp to vent its customary indignation against the Obama administration's allegedly anti-Israeli stance would involve publicly admitting that peace-loving, defenseless Israel actually has nuclear weapons.
And then we complete the circle, since there is strong evidence that Israel's nuclear arsenal was built up with help from apartheid South Africa. Go fulminate, Alan Dershowitz.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting the comparison you have made so is the adjective you have used , the position of France in Western Sahara is very peculiar how on earth to have sube position ,though the question which force it self here is what would be the repercussion on the credibility of UN and its mission MINURSO !?I think the international community have to make and end to this Baculum argument ad. She has to atone to here historical mistake in Algeria and one day in Western Sahara case .