Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Brave and Futile: Speech Condemns Jew Hatred at UN

I thought this speech Columbia law professor Anne Bayefsky gave before the UN yesterday was incredibly brave. Futile, but brave. I’m sure she’ll have a lot of shit thrown at her for it. And of course the death threats (it seems that everybody’s getting the death threats these day, like it’s a fad or something). Nevertheless, the speech was stunning for its breadth and concision. If you haven’t read it, shame on you. Stop reading this silly blog and read the speech.

Bayefsky spelled out in clear and simple terms why anti-Zionism at the UN is just good old fashion anti-Semitism.
What does discrimination against the Jewish state mean?... It means devoting six of the 10 emergency sessions ever held by the General Assembly to Israel. It means transforming the 10th emergency session into a permanent tribunal--which has now been reconvened 12 times since 1997. By contrast, no emergency session was ever held on the Rwandan genocide, estimated to have killed a million people, or the ethnic cleansing of tens of thousands in the former Yugoslavia, or the death of millions over the past two decades of atrocities in Sudan.

More than one quarter of the resolutions condemning a state's human rights violations adopted by the commission over 40 years have been directed at Israel. But there has never been a single resolution about the decades-long repression of the civil and political rights of 1.3 billion people in China, or the million female migrant workers in Saudi Arabia kept as virtual slaves, or the virulent racism which has brought 600,000 people to the brink of starvation in Zimbabwe. Every year, U.N. bodies are required to produce at least 25 reports on alleged human rights violations by Israel, but not one on an Iranian criminal justice system which mandates punishments like crucifixion, stoning and cross-amputation of right hand and left foot. This is not legitimate critique of states with equal or worse human rights records
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I am impressed that the UN even convened this meeting (which shows how low my standards are regarding the UN). But after it’s over, how long until business as usual returns? One week? One day? Ten minutes? How long until the next resolution condemning Israel and only Israel is passed in the General Assembly? How long before the next anti-Zionist screed and the thundering applause?

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