Jews, Law, and Human Rights
Are legally enforceable codes of human rights good for the Jews? Even to ask this question seems parochial and unseemly. Human rights deserve the utmost respect—and by Jews of all people. They are morally necessary; they are in keeping with the best religious, moral, and cultural traditions of Judaism; they are a universal imperative.
Yet, the “Good for the Jews” question cannot be ignored for two important reasons. First, the creation of international human rights conventions was seen in the 1940s as a response to the Holocaust and potentially the most effective way to prevent any repetition of the genocide perpetrated by Adolf Hitler's Germany. It was hoped that a set of international human rights institutions would protect Jews and other minorities.
Second, Jewish opinion is now fiercely divided as to whether these institutions—particularly the United Nations Human Rights Council (Geneva), the International Criminal Court (The Hague), and the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg)—have achieved this outcome. Jewish voices are often heard to complain that the new international human rights system has come to be systematically biased against Jewish and Israeli interests. “Lawfare” has become a modern form of anti-Semitic agitation, albeit often conducted (it is claimed) by dissident Jews.
Jewish scholars and activists have been at the forefront of what denigrators call the human rights industry since its post-war inception. Many of the leading legal philosophers of the past century have been Jewish. The greatly respected but controversial American jurist Ronald Dworkin is one of the most influential advocates of, as his book title puts it, Taking Rights Seriously. Michael Sandel's course titled “Justice” attracts enough students at Harvard to fill Sanders Theater and has proved a YouTube sensation—the lectures have been viewed over seven million times. At Oxford University, Herbert Hart (the descendant of a rabbi) wrote the ground-breaking volume The Concept of Law. He was followed by Joseph Raz, who arrived in Oxford from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. By far the most influential of Britain's international lawyers, Sir Hersch Lauterpacht, came to Cambridge University from Galicia via Vienna, where he studied under another intellectual giant, Hans Kelsen, a Jewish convert to Catholicism. Other Jewish names to be conjured with include Raphael Lemkin, credited with the invention of the term “genocide,” and the French jurist René Cassin. It would be repetitious to include the title of “Professor” gained by all of the above.
Their influence was not confined to academe. Kelsen, a member of Sigmund Freud's circle, sat on Austria's constitutional court, formed after the country's defeat and dismemberment in the First World War. Lauterpacht advised the British Government on the legal basis of the Nuremberg war crimes trials. He later sat on the United Nations' Law Commission and as a judge on the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Cassin served as president of the European Court of Human Rights and won the Nobel Peace Prize. Some of the largest benefactors of human rights organizations, such as George Soros and Sigrid Rausing, are Jewish. So are many of the world's leading human rights activists and experts—Aryeh Neier of the Open Society Institute, Richard L. Bernstein (the founder of Human Rights Watch), Peter Benenson (founder of Amnesty International), Lord Lester of Herne Hill (co-founder of Interights), the British judges Lord Hoffmann and Sir Stephen Sedley, and the former head of Israel's Supreme Court, Aharon Barak, to name only a few.
Regardless of any calculus of communal benefit, there are very strong reasons for Jews to promote humane practices in peace and in war. It should be a matter of pride that rabbis such as William G. Braude, Saul Leeman, and Nathan Rosen were active in the civil rights movement in the American South in the 1960s. On a personal note, I wish to pay tribute to my late father, Rabbi Jeno Duschinsky; his Beth Din colleague in Cape Town, Rabbi David Rosen, and his friend Dennis Diamond (of the Board of Deputies of South African Jews) for their stands, albeit cautious, against apartheid.
In this article and in a second piece on Jewish Ideas Daily tomorrow (dealing with recent and current European conflicts, in particular about the Holocaust and the legality of circumcision and kosher slaughter), I will set out a few of the problems, for Jewish interests, of human rights advocacy. But, in so doing, it is vital to avoid any misunderstanding about the importance of human rights themselves and the need for tolerance within Jewish communities about the way in which differences of opinion about human rights may be discussed.
In today's world, we need to avoid the unduly personal attacks made against Jews such as Judge Richard Goldstone when they express unpopular and arguably unjustified criticisms of the behavior of Israeli forces in Gaza. For example, the Jerusalem-based organization NGO Monitor regularly reports on dubious anti-Israeli accusations made by hostile NGOs which are funded largely by European governments. It is a great pity that NGO Monitor and the Im Tirzu campaign of Israeli students devote so much of their energies to attacking another Jewish body, the New Israel Fund.
Nevertheless, the rhetoric and institutions of human rights are sometimes unfair and harmful. While we need to be respectful of Jews who express sincere reservations about aspects of Jewish morality, religion, and action, there is a tendency on the part of some leading Jewish thinkers and activists to be unduly self-critical. For sheer brilliance, there probably is no living legal philosopher greater than Dworkin. But I was taken aback to hear his reply to a theoretical question posed by the eminent political theorist Professor Alan Ryan at a conference at St. Antony's College, Oxford in January, 2009. Acting as devil's advocate, Ryan asked Dworkin why he felt every life was of equal moral value. Dworkin answered by saying that there were indeed those who did not have this belief: for example, Jews believed in a superior status as the “chosen people.” In subsequent correspondence, Dworkin justified himself by writing (presumably with reference to the Tanya of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe), “Some Jewish texts, particularly in the mystical tradition, do interpret the claim to imply superiority, though others reject that implication. I cited only the former interpretation as illiberal.”
Irrespective of the dubious validity of Dworkin's reference to “the chosen people” as an expression of racial superiority, why did he choose this example? Why not refer instead to Nazi beliefs or to those of slave owners? The notion that some Jewish human rights activists are prone to direct too much of their fire against their own co-religionists may sometimes have substance. A belief in the overarching ideal of human rights appears in some cases to be a form of secular religion.
When it comes to international human-rights institutions, the bias is undeniable. One does not need to be a defender of every controversial action by Israel in its dealings with Palestinians to realize that the United Nations Human Rights Council has an unreasonable focus on real or alleged Israeli misdeeds. Between 2008 and 2010, no less than 48 percent of this body's resolutions were directed against Israel. The notion that Israel is responsible for a half of all the human rights violations in the entire globe is absurd. Secretaries General of the UN Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon have both criticized the UN Human Rights Council for singling out Israel. “The Council should give the same attention to grave violations committed by other states as well,” said Annan. Yet the procedures for electing countries to membership on the UN Human Rights Council assure that voting blocks of countries hostile to Israel will predominate. The Council is no august, neutral body but is inherently political. The rules whereby judges are elected by the 121 constituent state parties to the International Criminal Court risk producing the same bias in that body.
The politicization of human-rights verdicts is not confined to Arab member countries of international human rights bodies. In 2002, when I was carrying out an academic study of political financing for an international organization based in Scandinavia, I spoke to the country's foreign affairs official responsible for human rights matters about her country's vote in the UN Human Rights Council on the Israeli “massacre” in Jenin. She was an official with whom I had previous contact in connection with my study. “You needn't worry,” she assured me. “We know that there was no massacre in Jenin.” In view of the fact her country knew the accusation was untrue, I asked her to explain her country's vote on the UN Human Rights Council. Her country wished to vote with the countries of the “South,” she said, and with Europe against the United Kingdom. Moreover, her ministry had issued a more detailed statement—which, however, had not been translated into English.
This example of prejudice brings me to the vexed issue of the record and attitude of human rights bodies in Europe to the Holocaust and to Jewish religious matters. This will be explored in tomorrow's article.
Dr. Michael Pinto-Duschinsky was a member of the United Kingdom Commission on a Bill of Rights. In the 1990s, he was honorary academic adviser to the London-based Claims for Jewish Slave Labor Compensation.
The fundamental tenet of the Frankfurt School forward was to tear away at Western civilization in order to establish socialism -- a word with so many different, contradictory and intellectually bankrupt definitions that it can mean everything and nothing.
The question is which ideology has "walked on" "how many bodies?" The various versions of socialism cry aloud, "Look over there, but not here." Why? Because one can survey the 20th century and find National Socialism's millions of bodies, Soviet Socialism's even more millions of bodies and Sino-Socialism's numerical winner with many, many more millions of bodies. One can survey the 20th century and find Arab Socialism in a variety of forms, and it seems likely that the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East is continuing in this political style of organization. One notes that Arab Socialism managed more "bodies" among Muslims than the current Israel-Palestine low grade war has over decades. As with each example of socialism as cited above, there are modern socialists who rationalize away the massive murderous nature of socialism by a variety of mind numbing schemes, all involving tricks against basic intellect. Among these tricks has been the argument about proportionality in military engagements with Palestinian militants, as if it were more a game than a war.
The papers (thank you) as suggested by Perets, Steinberg and the Davidowicz text all suggest that there is a strategy of employing the "law and legal institutions," and this is in fact the point of the fine article. And yet, PJW5552 wants to measure "how many bodies" by anecdotal means, rather than by overwhelming statistics and documentable proof. This is because a portion of the Frankfurt School's approach was to demean and distract, to obfuscate and confuse. For this, such supposedly bright men as Chomsky and Zinn have been attacking the West by the same means of debate as PJW5552 tried to employ. "Look over there!" Our killing some terrorists is equivalent to them killing us and even them killing each other. With such inane logic, no man may contend against an enemy in a just war. And that is exactly what the Frankfurt School and its decades of offshoots have tried to convince -- but always against the West and specifically against Jews.
Doing the collecting of statistics as a PJW5552 would seek and answering the question "how many bodies you walked on to achieve it," the clear answer is that the supposed guilt of the West in general and Israel in specific pales by any "many bodies" measure one might choose to apply. Socialism in its many varieties and forms has managed so "many bodies" that it is now tallied in the hundreds of millions. For this, the same old challenge as regards Israel is trotted out: "speak to some Palestinians." The particular does not wash away the general, and especially across the killing fields of socialism throughout the 20th century, among them Arab Socialist killing fields and its millions of dead, the majority Muslims by the hand of Muslims.
Each time someone violates another's rights, rights are of course violated. The easier path then is to argue for live and let live. It is the "let live" part of this seemingly naive equation which socialists simply cannot abide, and so the argument about human rights falls into the arsenal of enemies of Jews. For to "let live" has been and remains an anathema to them, while I predict that "some Palestinians" would like peacefully if a true peace with Israel were assured. But as we have heard, the socialists among the Muslim world announce there can be no peace with Israel, and therefore no "let live." Given this, such as PJW5552's retort to the article are at best withered bits of resentment of the West filtered through the socialist's ideology, and at worst outright resentment of Israel's right of self determination and self-defense in a neighborhood where it is regularly attacked militarily and through the side channels of "human rights" rhetoric.
Regarding the "chosen people" concept, like Tevye in "Fiddler" says in speaking to his God, "Can't you chose some other people for a while?" Chosenness as a quality for any minority, and the Jews have been existing as minorities until 1947 everywhere in the world, is bound to be used against that minority as it was used against the Jews. Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan writing in the 30s gave up on the claim of chosenness to the extent where he deleted the "baxar banu" (has chosen us from among the nations) from the liturgy and substituted it with "asher kirev otanu l'avodato" (has drawn us near unto his service). Even in many Reconstructionist congregations it was a difficult change to make in the liturgy and consequently it has remained. Regardless of how one views this thinking, in the pre-state period of Israel, Jews did not boast of their alleged "superiority" at a time when the need for human rights recognition was still an ideal.
The test of law as a sociological entity, something you can poke with a stick, is whether it brings peace ("justice is everything in its place"). "Hit a man with a stick and he'll come back; hit him with justice and he'll stay away," says the Kenyan proverb. "When everybody tells you you're drunk, you should lie down." Arabic proverb. I apply that latter aphorism directly to Israel. Israel should ask itself what it is trying to do. That topic seems to be taboo in and about Israel, hence all the inanity: "emptiness". I did an electronic document search in my local law school's library for "Jewish state" or maybe "Israel" about two years ago, and found one document, a periodical article written by a law student, who identified himself as Jewish, and its stated purpose was to ask why there was no scholarship on Israeli law in US legal academia.
The bit of Dworkin I've run into makes me believe, with my mentor at law school, that the concept of legal scholarship in the US is a joke.
If law is not a "mandate of reason promulgated by authority for the common good," what is it? I reduce it, given the need for all those terms to be defined, to a public examination of a social problem. There is a whole universe of discourse waiting to take place in legal academia about what law is, what the law is, and what a law is. There are, what, eight centuries (since Aquinas) to catch up on, and instead we have a huge pile of inanity.
Israel is the proof of how far behind we are in our scholarship. The first principle of existence (per metaphysics) is that something cannot simultaneously be and not be. Israel cannot simultaneously be a Jewish state and a democratic state unless those two adjectives mean the same thing or unless they are entirely disparate, what I call skew concepts, like being blue and being woolen. If they are skew, there should be no limitations on democracy in Israel, nor any limitations on Judaism or Jewishness. Is Jewishness the same as Judaism? That suggests that conflicts between "Jewish" and "democratic" are unavoidable. What is the response to the suggestion that "separation of church and state" and "equal treatment of the laws", to quote the US Bill of Rights, are the only proposal on the table for handling that conflict?
My definition, "public examination", means a conversation. What premises are needed to have a conversation? Thanks for "opening the door" to that conversation.
There are two other lines of criticism the JSP must answer. One is the right to occupy that territory. In an era when European colonies were reverting to indigenous ownership via plebiscite, Palestine went the other direction.
Then, secondly, the domination of European politics by supporters of the JSP (the mob in the courtroom to which I referred above) makes the points about legal design and territorial claims of the JSP impinge directly on domestic European affairs. Rather than have law recognize the anomalies of the JSP, the destruction of law is under way.
The heart of the law is a cogent paragraph, which means steady use of terms. The heart of the political culture is the use of such paragraphs. In a lynch mob, the function of culture is anti-political and anti-legal: to deprive the members and onlookers of the ability to describe what is happening (not to mention the victim), so as to legislate about it.
As for Mr. Hertz's remarks, what are "collective rights"? "...[M]odern human-rights methodologies are probably astute enough to understand the intimate connection between Israel and the Jewish People..." sounds like a threat or is bluster. "There is probably no firewall that logically separates the matter of Israel from that of the Jewish People." Definitions are not empirical matters, subject to probability. You can make any definition as long as you use it consistently. Likewise for, "t]hus, the modern meaning of 'antisemitism' likely includes persistently targeting Israel and persistently applying to Israel a more exigent standard than regularly applied to other countries in the same or similar circumstances." I don't think "exigent" is the term you're looking for. But exigency is the topic here: what issues, what questions force themselves on our attention? Let me offer some free advice. Israel must decide if it is an attempt to safeguard Jews and Jewish culture, in which case it should abandon the JSP form of government and adopt "separation of church and state" and "equal treatment of the laws", so as to meet both the design critiques implicit in the Anglo-American legal tradition and the territorial claims of the indigenous people, or, on the other hand, if it is some kind of street-theater psychodrama (militating to who knows what earthly destiny). Politics involves theater but it is not theater. Its output is stop signs and lighthouses, not catharsis and elation. The law cannot deliver such products reliably. "Close enough for government work" is a gibe that should chasten every citizen.
My advice: have a good conversation about what Israel is and what it is for. A Jewish lady telephoning on behalf of J Street here in the US last year remarked to me, a total but sympathetic stranger, "You don't know how hard it is for a Jew to talk about Israel."
You might have seen Wallace Shawn's letter on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace last week. "Dear Christopher,
"I personally always find it nauseating when I hear President Obama or Hillary Clinton defending this or that indefensible policy of the Israeli government. It gives me a uniquely terrible feeling. It’s partly that it’s painful to hear apparently nice people praising brutality. But in addition, as a Jew, I can’t escape the impression that these well-meaning politicians have treated me somehow with a lack of respect.
"Obviously I don’t know what’s really going on in their minds, but I always imagine that they’re thinking something like, 'Damn, this is awful. I hate defending these vile policies, but I have to do it to please the Jews.'
"They’re thinking about me. They’re trying to please me. But I’m not pleased. And neither are most other American Jews. The Jews who are pleased are a wealthy minority who have spent piles of money to convince these politicians that they, the minority, represent 'the Jews.'"
Law runs on candor, even more than it runs on grammar. People are not stupid. I would carve that sentiment on the pediments of public buildings. And in the meantime, I will try to remember it in dealing with my friends.
I would like to suggest that the politics you rely on are the politics of the turn of the 20th Century. I will speak very glibly (as my father would have said) about those politics. The phrase "fin de siecle" fits my understanding: "end of the cycle" or "end of the season". Something was coming to an end. I think it was the end of the transition of Europe from monarchies to democracies as measured by the concept of territorial security. Since the departure of the Roman Empire (and various Asian hordes), Europe had relied on dynasties to defend territory. (I take it that defense of territory is the first principle of law: the wrongness of trespassing.) But internally they had to unleash the power of the people to compete with each other in this dynastic competition. Eventually those popular legal dynamics (defense of the person, the idea, the organization, etc.) trickled down to the individual person. The comity of nations became the comity of persons: what could two persons work out to gain some measure of peace (or as we call it, stability)? That process fed back to the national competition first via treaty blocs, which gave us the First World War, and then treaty organizations, like Geneva Conventions, the League, the UN, etc. The tipping point, where dynastic competition gave way to international legal administration of disputes, was the issue of overseas empire. Europe paid the price of gaining the stability of an international legal regime by giving up the privilege their monarchical predecessors claimed: as the Norseman would say, the right to "go a-viking": raiding, pillaging, and where available, nation-building, as the creation of Russia as a national idea by Norse raiders.
I suppose Israel represents that model of national identity, almost a thousand years too late. No, you're right, the USA also fits that model. But on the other hand the USA had to lead the way, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, of repudiating that heritage and model.
History, in my understanding, makes changes in a chemical fashion. First a glob is one thing, then it is partly one thing and partly another, then it is the other thing. Working backwards from the end product, you designate the tipping point, although that point was amidst the most ambiguous structure of the glob. When people are the chemicals, they look back and they look forward. Fin de siecle was the recognition that Charlemagne was no more and Charlie Chaplin was the coming thing.
And so it has proved to be. Bear with me in some anachronisms and figurative language.
Such liberties are permissible in the art of history. The relationship of history and politics, and thus of history and law, is a rich one, but the essential difference must be borne in mind. Law is about stop signs and lighthouses, not catharsis and elation, as I said. History is the attempt to understand where we are now, so as to mobilize personal qualities in the identification and resolution of current crises: where is the new stop sign required?
At first glance, Israel appears to be an historical analysis masquerading as a state: a professor waving a machine gun in the lecture hall. But there is something of grim good faith in it, and I've attempted to show here that it is a refusal to accept the transition of Europe from dynastic competition to popular law (to coin a phrse): from privilege to common law.
Now we are in a different discipline if that is true. How can a group of millions of persons mislocate their century, even millennium? Goethe said grief is like a fog. I look back down my life's way so far and it seems I've been mostly in the fog. I had a math teacher ask me that very thing in fifth grade. Something had happened at home of great traumatic effect, but the only way I register it, even now, is when the math teacher remarked to me that I seemed to be in a fog. I read the Goethe quote about seven years later, and again, though recognizing it (so as to remember it forty years later) at the time, I was still in so much of a fog, arising from related events, that, as it seems now, I was almost disengaged from events around me. They had at most a metaphorical content. I was in a street-theater's psychodrama of entirely my own making, but due entirely to events that were occurring around me, and on the other hand, people who should have been consulting with me about those events did not. I had to "keep my own counsel", and it plunged me into a waking dream state, I should judge now. I meet people I knew then and I think their first reaction is, "He woke up!". That is to say, "Who is this guy who looks like Chris the sleepwalker but he's awake?!"
Israel, to apply to Jews the expression my best friend down the street, a Jew, applied to me when he met me twenty years later (like in a French novel title?): "You were going through serious times." The Nazis' "final solution", in the perspective of European Jew-hatred ("anti-semitism" is an appalling term), from Oliver Cromwell wanting to bring back the expelled English Jews to send them to Palestine to bring on the Second Coming of Christ, to the Dreyfus affair in France (see, I am treating the entire modern European period here), to pogroms in Russia, were some "serious terms" for anybody who cared about Jews, Jewishness, and Judaism.
In that fog Israel was created. Look at that term, "created". Or "declaration of independence". From what? Did the English elite see Israel as a way of getting rid of English Jews, again? Was it the US/UK/French desire (a poll of US voters in about 1949 had about half of them tolerating the idea of a Jewish president) to inflict a wound on Asia to stem the further advance of legal history under the goading of socialism if not to initiate a beachhead for the final conquest of that mythical continent (in the mind of a fifteenth century European despot)?
Was it a suicide attempt by Jews who had lost their place in the world? I think suicide can best be understood that way. I combine two terms, suicide, and anomie, perhaps unlike sociologits have tried to before. One loses one's place in the world, as if it were a book, and rather than accuse the world of being willfully incomprehensible, one assigns the blame to oneself, deems oneself defective, and, as a final bit of housekeeping (the least one can do), one deactivates one's own body. If this is done with a bit of drama and pomp, one hopes to be forgiven that bit of vanity.
So I hope in law as a public examination of a social problem for the future of Jews in the world. If Israel pursues its course, I worry that there will be a new wave of Jew-hatred that will destroy the common law, the popular law, the idea of law as pertaining to all persons, not merely to states and dynasties. A lynch mob is a mass suicide attempt, using the actual victim as a dramatic prop.
We must unleash our historial imaginations, so as to see where we really are right now. For one thing, we must prepare ourselves to think the worse, of others and ourselves. We are in a crisis. We are responsible, at the moment, for solving it. We have nothing to go on. We must start from scratch. So we make the first analytical motion, and then see what "the world" offers by way of reply. If it displays "bad faith", then we must not get discouraged, but rather take on more responsibility: we must now also explain why "the world" is not helping our analysis in the crisis. Yet we must not prepare for a world where only we exist. We act in lieu of due authority, and cannot just consign the uncooperative "world" to extinction because it is a poor conversationalist.
Peace works, but only if you insist on it.
Mr. Rushlau additionally writes, "The first principle of existence (per metaphysics) is that something cannot simultaneously be and not be." Given the failure of his first statement about a test of law as bringing of peace, his second statement also makes an unexpected point. Since his first and proposed "test of law" fails based on his own words, it -- the test of law by failing to "bring peace" --cannot both be and not be. Or as Nero Wolfe was quoted to say, "Pfui."
He asks, "What premises are needed to have a conversation?" Given the observed data of many years of articles and cross talk via comments on JID alone, there is conversation aplenty, without the need to query waht premises are needed.
People know when they are in a conversation and when it is over. It is a shared venture, more, a shared crisis with a shared resolution. I now realize there is something to be added to that principle. If the conversation is about a third person, the two conversationalists will know, at the end of their conversation, if they need to talk to the third person. Israeli Jews need to talk to indigenous Palestinians.
I seem to be talking too much but I call this "priming the pump", so people will start talking to each other. So let me add that my time in Iraq with the US military in 2004, and then my time when I got back, led me to make an assessment of US policy toward Iraq: nobody concerned had ever spent a half hour talking with an Iraqi or with someone else who had spent a half hour with an Iraqi.
A law professor I encountered at random in Boise, Idaho, once told me it actually only takes ten minutes of chit-chat to encounter the person you're talking to.
Racism is the idea, the legal principle, that the person you're talking to is not a person. It's a cogent principle that leads to disaster. The exigency in the administration of that principle is that the other person, the despised person, cannot be successfully blotted out of one's awareness as a person. So the cost of the denial steadily rises. It is probably ultimately a matter of biology and thus chemistry, building up an electro-chemical charge which issues in either a fit of rage or a joyful reconciliation (can you reconcile with someone you were never "conciled" with in the first place?) with the despised person.
I'll suggest what the Palestinian would really like to say (realizing all the burdens of that prediction): what about this all is so important to you? Test my prediction. Maybe I'm flat wrong.
Rushlau adds, "what the Palestinian would really like to say." There is plenty of public rhetoric such as "from the river to the sea" and "all of Palestine" defining Israel into nothingness already. Has he not heard "death to Israel?" Fatah and Hamas, Hizbollah and others, all uniformly have threatened destruction of Israel and Jews. It becomes apparent that Rushlau is not informed on what Palestinians have already said. Or perhaps it becomes necessary that he ignore such pronouncements to hold and argue for his views.
Rushlau sums up wiht "Maybe I'm flat wrong." Coming from someone lecturing about the primacy of law as a way to adjudicate between good law and bad law, as between Palestinians and Israelis, as between Muslims and Jews, I agree with his final statement wholeheartedly.
As a UK national, it is my belief that the British treated the Palestinians utterly shabbily for decades. British imperialist racism always thought better of "European" Zionists than it did of Orientalist Arabists. The British sided with the Zionists, even up to and including actual ethnic cleansing in Palestine. British involvement in Palestine is one long period of shame.
As to "illegal occupation" and the policy of the British government, a web search for contemporary public statements by the last several administrations shows no official statement available to be seen. If John D would like to provide a link to a UK government site which documents his statement, it would be interesting for him to provide a link.
The continued use of the term, 'ethnic cleansing," by John D only aimed at Israel is a seriously one-sided slur. Ethnic cleansing is a political and legal term in use these days, and ethnic cleansing is more a crime committed over time by Muslim governments in the neighborhood, as demographic changes indicate. Jews have been far more "ethnically cleansed" than Muslims, and the continued use of this as a one-sided argument is telling. John D is simply a Palestinian apologist revealing ever a little more of his politics as he writes.
The founders of Judaism, Osarseph-Moses and Abraham, were both foreigners to the area. Osarseph-Moses was an Egyptian, married to an Ehtiopian, and Abraham was an Iraqi, married to his own sister.
The last sentence is illogical though highly political. One reads, "a state based on religion and blood is a racist state." This being said, most Islamic countries are racist. Moreover, based on "blood," all the socialist states of the 20th century have been horribly bloody, so one might well argue that socialism is both racist and a religion unto itself. Statistics are readily available to further this fact.
Palestine's latest status courteay of the UN vote of this last month proves you incorrect. Additionally Abbas' directive to change even the stationery now to the "State of Palestine" proves you wrong. When Palestine -- the state -- officially announces its borders and they do not wipe Israel off the map but rather make for the possiblity of neigbbors who could then conclude a peace might be good of Jews, if it comes to be. When Palestine -- the State of, as it itself now says -- announces borders which wipe Israel away, it will obviously be terrible for Jews. Now why is such a simple question so difficult for a lawyer to construct for himself?
Comments are closed for this article.
Michael states the UN Human Rights Committee is composed of many nations that dislike Israel. Never addressed is the reason for the dislike, why it exists or what Israel can do to rectify it. It is merely a statement that the world is unfair to Jews, always have been always will be. This dismissal of the reasons for why this animosity exists remains the basis for why it continues. It reflects the same mind-numbing logic used by Dick Cheney to explain why terrorists hate the US, "because we are rich and successful". It has nothing to do with wealth or success. It has to do with how many bodies you walked on to achieve it.
What is achieved by this myopic thinking and ego-centric logic? More conflict, more hate, anger, fear, distrust and war. One may attempt to excuse Israeli actions and misdeeds all one likes, but it does not make them go away and it does not lead to more friends in the world, but fewer friends. Michael may view that as "this is because the people of the world just hate Jews", but the reality is the people of the world dislike selfish, ego-centric nations and individuals who think they are above the rules that should guide everyone, instead of excused by some who think the rules do not apply to them. If Michael wishes to delude himself into thinking Israel does not violate human rights of Palestinians on a daily basis, he needs to get out of his armchair and speak to some Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.