Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What does ‘Global Human Rights Day’ means to us?

Part of Haitham's adventure

[Carlos Latuff © Cartoons]

International Human Rights Day is marked every year on 10 December. This year, it was a start of a new week after a week of rabid racist and anti-human rights rhetoric and work carried around the US by the usual suspects. The US media has had little coverage of human rights issues. Instead the vicious attacks on Jimmy Carter continue even though many of us consider his book far too leaning and accommodating to racist Zionism.

President Jimmy Carter when asked about the use of the term Apartheid said he was talking about the areas occupied by Israel in 1967. That is sad since Israel practiced apartheid since 1947 when 70% of the native Palestinians where expelled in the area that became Israel by 1949. 530 villages were completely depopulated but over 100 of the remaining villages were never “recognized” by the Jewish state (so they get no water, no electricity, no roads, no government services) and Israel is now going to demolish more homes in these “unrecognized” villages:

“The Israeli interior minister, Roni Bar-On, declared that his ministry has planned the demolition of more than 42,000 homes of Palestinian Bedouins that were built even before 1948 when Israel was proclaimed. The minister, speaking at a session for the Israeli parliament’s interior committee, claimed that all those houses were “illegal” and warned that any new homes built in the so-called “unrecognized” villages in the Negev [Naqab] desert would be razed. According to PIC, the regional council for those villages, not recognized by Israel, said in a statement commenting on the minister’s statement said that what the minister threatened meant the destruction of an entire community. On the ground, the Israeli authorities on Wednesday demolished 17 houses in Tawil village, Negev [Naqab] desert, and assaulted an old woman and four young men who tried to stop them.”

Behind the scenes and with no debate allowed, a bill passed in Congress to apply draconian sanctions on Palestinians, collective punishment, until they “elect” (I put quotes because people under occupation do not have full freedom to engage in modalities of elections as International and Human Rights laws require) more acceptable leaders who will agree to Israeli and US demands of surrender. The sanctions will make life even more miserable in the occupied territory nearly 40 years after Israel illegally occupied these territories contrary to international law and UN resolutions. Meanwhile, they are still talking about peace and two-state solution, refusing to admit that this solution is dead, and Israel killed it. In spite of all this, I wonder how some can we see Beacon of Hope in Apartheid Israel? (Action alert on this at bottom, please take action)

Back to Congress, racists like Tom Lantos stand with straight face to denounce Palestinians and declare his allegiance to Israel instead of the US. On CNN, Glenn Beck vilifies Muslims by questioning the loyalty of the one newly elected member of Congress who happens to be Muslim…. Beck then goes on to vilify Palestinians (Christians and Muslims) claiming they were backward “wandering nomads with few goats” ignoring the facts that over 2500 thriving villages and towns existed before the State of Israel proceeded with its ethnic cleansing. His racism is not unique. It is common on TV and talk radio (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Bill O’Reilly) and many more. It is common rhetorhic from Mort Zuckerman (editor and publisher of US Report and World News) and of “commentators” (racist pundits) like Jeff Jacoby, Charles Krauthammer, and Thomas Friedman. Does anyone really think that all of these racist attacks are not connected in any way? More importantly, do US citizens and taxpayers who are footing the bill of sanctions on Palestinians, swallow the language and actions of hate or challenge it?

Interestingly; Jewish Groups To Challenge Ethics Reform:

By Nathan Guttman, Forward, 1 December 2006 (this does not really address the bigger scandal of the powerful AIPAC and its refusal to register or disclose under the foreign lobby rules- MQ) Two of America’s most influential Jewish organizations are gearing up for their first direct confrontation with the incoming, Democratic-led Congress. The topic: Democratic proposals for congressional ethics and lobbying reform. At issue are two key congressional perks, targeted for elimination, that Jewish organizations rely on to achieve community goals: overseas junkets, including dozens of trips to Israel each year, funded by Jewish organizations; and an estimated $25 million a year in earmarked funds for Jewish communal projects. Both the trips and the earmarked funding face possible elimination as part of the Democrats’ pledge to fight corruption on Capitol Hill.

On the other hand, there is a fascinating developing discussion on Jewish opposition to Zionism (check here, here and here). Also, don’t miss “Delusional fabrication: Propaganda tools of Israel and American Zionists By Paul J. Balles.”

I think more and more people are beginning to challenge it. Perhaps that is why the aforementioned Zionists are becoming more shrill and louder (they are beginning to worry that the message is not getting through). I think that is why they need to be challenged with the truth. They should be challenged to public debates and dialogues on the issues. Many will shy away from that (Alan Dershowiz refuses to debate Norman Finkelstein for example). I urge all readers to write to the media and write to the pundits themselves and question why they will not debate post-Zionist or anti-Zionist Jews or even knowledgeable Palestinians.

To go back to Human rights, why don’t we all write to the media and ask why Human Rights (and International Law) have been missing from the “road map to peace” and from the Iraq Study Group Report. Why don’t we ask why it only matters to free the Israel prisoner and not the 10,000 Palestinian Political Prisoners held by Israel? (A regrettable indifference, writes Amira Hass in Haaretz) How can we restore human rights (and constitutional protections) recently stripped by the administrative and legislative branches of government (and likely now to be endorsed by a reformulated supreme court)? Can we mobilize enough people to speak truth to power (and realize that collectively we do make a difference)? Freedom and human rights of course will not be granted to anyone by the oppressors, there must be a struggle for these. Can we struggle together? [Hat tip: Mazin Qumsiyeh]

ACTION 1: Contact the White House NOW by phone 202-456-1111, by fax 202-456-2461, and by E-Mail :comments@whitehouse.gov and ask the President to veto S.2370, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act. Tell the President that the United States should not be sanctioning people for exercising their right to vote.

ACTION 2: Buy Palestine Products this holiday

Have a good Global Human Rights day (and year)!

in Palestine, USA, Israel, Human Rights, Zionism, Racism

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