Some of the most vitriolic Anti-Semitism across the world is produced in Arab and Muslim nations: Where is the outcry of human rights organizations?
Dear Friend of FLAME:
You may be aware that last week famous physicist Stephen Hawking made the decision to boycott Israeli President Shimon Peres' President's Conference as a result of Israel's "occupation" of Palestine. For an excellent analysis, please read Douglas Murray's article in the Daily Mail, in which he states:
Let us be clear. Such a boycott is an on-going attempt to demonize, delegitimize and ultimately destroy the world's only Jewish state and our closest cultural and security ally in the region. That Hawking should add his name to the boycott is shameful.
In other words, Israel is once again being singled out among all of the world's nations and held to a standard that other countries, including England, the United States, and of course any number of Arab countries, are not.
Douglas Murray asks a question that many academics, including Hawking, should have to answer: "Where are the academic boycotts of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Egypt, Syria and everywhere else?"
Clearly, Hawking's boycott, as well as other attempts to boycott Israeli conferences, have nothing to do with the actual facts on the ground. Furthermore, perhaps those academics who desire to boycott Israel should be reminded of just how much they depend on technology that has been invented in Israel. This includes cell phones, and yes, Hawking's communication system.
Additionally, perhaps Hawking should do some more research into how individuals struggling with any physical disability are treated by Palestinians.
A Christian charity called Pro Terra Sancta paints a desolate picture in reporting that, "from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, there is no support in place for children with learning difficulties or for families with disabled children. In the traditional mindset, disability is still seen as a form of divine punishment and brings shame on the family."
Hawking should also read about the disabled Palestinian three-year old boy who was rejected and abandoned by his own parents and now lives in an Israeli hospital with his grandfather.
The decision to boycott an Israeli conference, or to exclude Israeli academics from conferences around the world, is nothing new. In fact, a disreputable organization calling itself the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) has been working in this realm for years.
This single-minded obsession with Israel, especially with the exclusion of so many other countries committing horrible human rights abuses on a daily basis (e.g., Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia) should be called by its true name---anti-Semitism. Behind the efforts to convince academics like Hawking to boycott Israel is a hatred of Jews and an inability to live with the existence of a Jewish state.
Though some human rights groups, as well as the United Nations, have paid a certain amount of lip service to the existence of anti-Semitism across the globe, there has been a singular lack of focus on where it is the most extreme and the most hateful. This is of course in Arab and Muslim countries across the world.
This week's FLAME Hotline, by blogger The Elder of Zion, expounds on this phenomenon and provides us with some plausible explanations as to why this ignorance of Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism might be occurring. It is an excellent piece, which I urge you to take a few minutes to read and then to pass along to your friends, colleagues, and fellow congregants using the "send to a friend" button at the bottom of this email, or using the buttons above to share it via social media.
Thanks for your continued support of Israel, and thank you for your support of FLAME.
Why are Human Rights Organizations Silent about Arab and Muslim Anti-Semitism?
by Elder of Zion, The Algemeiner, May 9, 2013
In 2003, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a joint statement on anti-Semitism:
Recognizing anti-Semitism as a serious human rights violation, we also recognize our own responsibility to take on this issue as part of our work. It should not be left to Jewish groups alone to highlight this issue and to appeal to the international community to address it. We are firmly committed to joining their ongoing efforts and to helping to bring problems of anti-Semitism into the overall human rights discourse.
Now, in 2013, if you look through the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International websites, it is difficult indeed to find any condemnations of Arab or Muslim anti-Semitism. While they condemn anti-Semitism in Western countries, I cannot find a single mention of the phrases "Arab anti-Semitism" or "Muslim anti-Semitism" on either of their sites. Their typical mentions of anti-Semitism are usually together with Islamophobia.
Given the daily anti-Semitic incitement in the Arab and Muslim worlds, this is yet another indication that "human rights" organizations have a significant blind spot and are anxious to judge Arabs and Muslims by quite different standards than they judge Westerners.
In the past two days I posted crazed Jew-hating diatribes shown on Lebanese TV, in a popular Egyptian newspaper. Also recently we saw two accusations of the medieval blood libel in Egypt, a newspaper series insulting Judaism in Jordan, as well as examples of anti-Semitism in the Iraq media, Saudi Arabia newspaper, a Palestinian Arab "human rights group" and "peace activist," and pan-Arab media, and many more.
It is endemic. But worse than that, the hatred is mass produced.
In 2001, a hugely popular 30-part Ramadan TV series aired in the Arab world based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was rerun in Egypt this year.
Iran released an anti-Semitic movie last year.
A purely anti-Semitic TV series ("Khaybar") is being filmed now in Egypt and Morocco to be shown in Arabic TV will be used to incite hundreds of millions of people against Jews during Ramadan next year to the Arab world. The filming of the series gets regular coverage in Arab media, and they make clear that it is meant to demonize Jews. The director doesn't even attempt to hide the purpose of the film.
Naturally, "human rights" organizations are silent about that as well.
So where are the condemnations from the mainstream defenders of human rights who have said that anti-Semitism is a serious human rights violation? Or is it simply too touchy a subject for them?
Simply put, human rights organizations do not insist that Arabs and Muslims adhere to the same standards that the rest of the world must.
I think there is another reason why this issue is roundly ignored by the mainstream human rights organizations. They want to believe that if only Israel would offer more concessions, then peace is possible. They want to frame the Arab-Israeli conflict in terms of human rights and international law and fairness and other Western constructs. The Arabs happily take advantage of this blind spot and speak only in those terms to Westerners as well, so the cycle of self-deception is complete.
Publicizing the rampant Jew-hatred in the Arab and Muslim worlds, however, will show that the hate transcends any other claims.
The Arab goal isn't human rights. They want to destroy the Jewish state and have Jews revert to the second-class status (at best) that they held in the Middle East for the past 1400 years. The idea that Jews aren't meekly submissive to their more numerous cousins is what causes this pure hate, not land disputes or "settlements."
Once this realization sinks in, the Western liberal mind would despair. Peace, it would appear, isn't possible in such a toxic environment. But since peace is imperative, the thinking goes, all evidence to the contrary must be downplayed. Pretend it is a political problem with a political solution, and don't let anything get in the way.
The irony is that soft-pedaling Arab and Muslim antisemitism does no one any favors.
HRW, Amnesty, Oxfam and all the other human rights organizations can help the cause of peace immensely by shining light on this oldest hatred. Publicizing the issue is necessary for ridding the Muslim world of their hate - or at least opening up a debate about it, a debate that is all but silent. (I have rarely seen a talkback in Arabic condemning an article that denies the Holocaust or accuses Jews of drinking gentile blood on Passover.)
Peace is literally unthinkable when the Jewish people are viewed as evil incarnate. Human rights organizations have clout. Shining light on this problem is essential, and it is not an obstacle to peace – it is a prerequisite.
Right now, the human rights organizations have a chance to prove that they mean what they say. The Khaybar TV series is coming, and it is pure incitement against Jews. Denouncing this as a human rights issue – which it is, according to Amnesty's and HRW's own words – can show that these organizations are serious about their own stated purposes.
Elder of Ziyon is one of the world's most popular pro-Israel bloggers. His website is www.elderofziyon.blogspot.com.
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