Condemnation of Israel by the UNHCR etc.

The UN Human Rights Council, being a bit more democratic than the Security Council, just condemned Israel for the 15th time in 2 years over its brutal aggression against Gaza.  Some countries disagree with the condemnation (including my own) because it doesn’t mention the rocket fire from the Palestinian side.  I think this is extremely ridiculous as Israel has killed something like 90 Palestinians so far this year and turned Gaza into a huge concentration camp prison, while on the other hand the rocket fire, though not the most peaceful method of resistance, has damaged a few structures and injured noone recently, let alone kill anyone.  The Palestinians are protected under the Geneva Conventions on an occupied people and Israel is in violation of these conventions with its brutal aggression against the Palestinians and it is right that the Human Rights council condemn these actions.

Of course Israel tries to spin this the other way, making the Palestinians out to be the bad guys while the US is the sole holdout on a UN Security Council resolution that deplores the situation in Palestine:

“I didn’t see them rise up when thousands of Kassams were fired on Sderot, and I don’t see why because of a Hamas spin, which makes things looks far worse, the whole international community should devote so much time,” Gillerman told The Jerusalem Post. “By engaging, they are rewarding terror, doing Hamas’s work, and doing what Hamas wants, which is undermining Abu Mazen and the peace process.” Even a balanced text would not be justified, Gillerman said. “There is no way to balance terrorists and killers and a country trying to defend itself,” he said.

In the meantime, I found a great article by Lawrence of Cyberia (though rather long-winded) that discusses very well the Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish State as it would be forever accepting all Arabs who live in Palestine as second class human beings and would be akin to saying that the US is a white christian nation and people belonging to all other races and religions are not given the same rights as white christians within their own country.  Here’s an excerpt:

“The widespread misconception that Israel, even without considering its regime in the Occupied Territories, is a true democracy arises from the refusal to confront the significance of the term ‘a Jewish State’ for non-Jews. (…)

By this official definition, Israel ‘belongs’ to persons who are defined by the Israeli authorities as ‘Jewish’, irrespective of where they live and to them alone. On the other hand, Israel doesn’t officially belong to its non-Jewish citizen, whose status is considered even officially as inferior.

This means in practice that if members of a Peruvian tribe are converted to Judaism, and thus regarded as Jewish, they are entitled at once to become Israeli citizens and benefit from the approximately 70% of the West Bank land (and the 92% of the area of Israel proper), officially designated only for the benefit of Jews. All non-Jews (not only all Palestinians) are prohibited from benefiting from those lands. (The prohibition applies even to Israeli Arabs who served in the Israeli army and reached a high rank.)”

I suspect that the Jews of the USA or of Britain would regard it as anti-Semitic if Christians would propose that the USA or the United Kingdom should become a ‘Christian State’, belonging only to citizens officially defined as ‘Christians’.”

(That last sentence is no academic scenario either, as there is currently no shortage of prominent voices in this country who argue that the Founding Fathers didn’t really intend for the separation of Church and state, and that the U.S. is in fact a “Christian country”. Not “a country where the majority religion is Christianity” but a “Christian country”. Usually, we hear that kind of talk from politicians pandering to the evangelical vote, but from time to time we get the same message from widely-syndicated opinion makers in cable TV and talk radio. Three months ago, Anne Coulter argued on CNBC that ideally, everyone in the United States would be Christian, and that Jewish Americans would be “perfected” [Jewishness apparently being some kind of a personal defect?] by converting to Christianity. In a similar vein, Bill O’Reilly explained to a Jewish-American listener, who called in to express how sick he was of people trying to convert him to Christianity, that if he didn’t like it then he should leave the U.S. and “go to Israel”. In both those cases Jewish Americans, who understood straightaway the negative implications for their own equal citizenship, were among the first to (rightly) complain at the suggestion that the U.S. is a Christian country.In fact, the ADL sent a letter to Bill O’Reilly, spelling out for him exactly why it is offensive to suggest to Jewish Americans that their failure to be Christian means they don’t really belong in the country of which they are citizens. (Read the letter here). The ironic thing is, with a few simple changes in wording – “Muslim” instead of “Jew”; “Israeli declaration of independence” instead of “tradition of religious freedom”; “Jewish Israel” instead of “Christian America” etc., etc. – that letter would articulate quite well how objectionable a religious definition of citizenship is for Palestinians in Israel. It is ironic that some of those Americans who have no difficulty understanding the undesirability of a religious state when the dominant religion is Christianity and Jewish people are in the minority, would probably be among the first to be affronted by Palestinian Arabs expressing the same reservations about being the non-Jewish minority in a “Jewish state”. I guess it’s just easier to argue for a sectarian state when you belong to the dominant sect, than when you belong to the minority that is being told to get out of your own country because you’re the “wrong” religion.)


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