Saturday, January 11, 2014

Human Rights Watch remains as disgusting as ever.

As Ariel Sharon died after his long illness, HRW is very sad. Not about his death, of course:

Ariel Sharon died without facing justice for his role in the massacres of hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians by Lebanese militias in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. The killings constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Sharon also escaped accountability for other alleged abuses, such as his role expanding settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, prosecutable as a war crime. Sharon ordered the removal of all Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip and from four West Bank settlements in 2005, but the overall number of settlers in occupied territory increased significantly during his term as prime minister.

It’s a shame that Sharon has gone to his grave without facing justice for his role in Sabra and Shatilla and other abuses,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “His passing is another grim reminder that years of virtual impunity for rights abuses have done nothing to bring Israeli-Palestinian peace any closer.”
As far as I can tell, HRW has never written an article like this about the death of any other person. Not Osama bin Laden, not Moammar Qaddafi, not Saddam Hussein. Only Ariel Sharon gets treated this way.

Now, if you do a search through HRW's archives of the word "Phalangist" (or "Keta'eb," which is the current name of that group in Lebanon, still an active political party) you will not find a single condemnation of their massacres in Sabra and Shalita. Every single time they are mentioned it is in context of - Ariel Sharon.

To HRW, the people who actually slaughter human beings and mutilate pregnant women are blameless. They are not worthy of any calls to investigation, there is no reason to seek justice from them.

How can this be? How can Human Rights Watch ignore the perpetrators of the crime and give the lion's share of responsibility to someone who, while he should have anticipated and stopped the crime, was not either its planner nor executor?

The answer is very simple, and it betrays the racism of Human Rights Watch and many other such groups, media and politicians:

Middle Easterners are expected to be savages. Arabs and Maronite Christians, in HRW's world, are animals. They have no free will - their actions are disgusting but inevitable, a consequence of their subhuman natures.

Jews, on the other hand, must act like human beings. They must prevent two sets of animals under their control from killing each other.  Indeed, this is how human beings should act, and Sharon was correctly slammed by Israeli commissions for his not being proactive in stopping what was almost inevitable.

Human Rights Watch, however, only blames Sharon. The esteemed organization cannot be bothered to condemn Maronites or Arabs for acting like this - that is their nature. This is pure racism.

Sabra and Shatila would not exist on the website of Human Rights Watch if it wasn't for Ariel Sharon. In fact, Lebanon saw much worse massacres in recent decades- even against Palestinian civilians - and HRW has not a word to say about those massacres. Only if a Jew can be blamed is it worth being brought up.

Another angle: Sharon forcibly expelled thousands of people from their homes in Gaza and the West Bank. This would seem to be against the Geneva Conventions. The ICRC interprets international law this way: "Individual or mass forcible transfers...are prohibited, regardless of their motive." But they were Jews, so HRW has nothing bad to say about that. Jews in the territories are the only group of people in the world that HRW insists should be forcibly removed from their homes. There is a double standard clear to all: international law must be twisted to ensure that Jews, the indigenous people of ancient Israel and Judah, are always violators of law while Arabs who invaded or moved in millenia later are nearly blameless in their actions.

To put the icing on the HRW anti-semitism cake, they also wrote this about antisemitic French "comedian" Dieudonné:

France made the wrong decision when it banned controversial comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, known for appallingly and insultingly mocking the Holocaust, from performing a number of his stand-up shows.

The government’s representative in Nantes banned a show scheduled for Thursday, on grounds of threats to public order. On the day of the show, one of the city’s courts overturned the ban. But Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls, who has spoken out openly and strongly against Dieudonné, appealed to France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, which later in the day upheld the ban.

On Friday, another court upheld the ban on another show by Dieudonné that was to take place in Tours in the evening. Welcoming the ruling by the Conseil d’Etat, Valls said that “The Republic has won”.

Yet a country’s dedication to human rights and democratic values is measured in the way it treats those with whom it disagrees, and in this instance, France has failed that test. France should respect freedom of expression, including those opinions that shock, offend, or disturb – unless they amount to inciting violence. Any restrictions to this freedom must be necessary and proportionate, and banning Dieudonné shows is neither. If there are indeed threats to public order, authorities should deploy enough police officers to deter violence, not ban the show altogether.
Please, HRW, explain how making fun of the Holocaust and Jews is anything less than incitement. How does creating an environment where Jews being gassed and burned is a subject of mockery make it a safer country for Jews to live in? There is a reason that record numbers of French Jews moved to Israel this year, but, hey, HRW probably considers that a war crime as well.

And, of course, Arab media regularly has much more open incitement against Jews, as I have documented countless times. Yet to this day, HRW has never said a word against Arab antisemiticm and incitement to kill Jews.

HRW has a halo effect as being one of the most prestigious human rights organizations. And in some parts of the world, perhaps it does some good work. But its standards are twisted into a mockery of human rights when the subject or object of the reports happen to be Jews. The standard for Jews to tolerate hate against themselves is lower than that for anyone else; while the standard for Jews to act in a humane manner is much, much higher than that of their neighbors.

 It is hard to find this to be a coincidence.


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