Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Terra Incognita Genocide, Nader and Gaza boat

Terra Incognita
Issue 47
“Written to enlighten, guaranteed to offend”

A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel

Website: http://journalterraincognita.blogspot.com/

August 11th, 2008

1) Genocide, complicity, the UN and human rights double standards: In August of 2008 two Muslim Uighurs in the Xinjiang province of China drove a truck into a group of jogging policemen and then proceeded to stab a number of them to death. If it had happened in London we would call it terrorism but as the media informs us, ‘scholars’ in the West see it more as an act of ‘vengeance’. Hypocrisy when it comes to terrorism and genocide is rife and no more so than among intellectuals, NGOs and the UN.

2) Ralph Nader, Obama and racism: Ralpd Nader recently claimed that his friend were telling him about Obama; “look what would happen if we had an African-American president.'" What is interesting is that Nader then added 'it doesn't look like its going to be what we all thought it would be.” He felt that it was logical to expect great things based solely on a man’s skin color. Many Americans who support Obama feel the same way. They should heed the words of Dr. Martin Luther King: "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Judge Mr. Obama based on his content, his ‘I am African-American’ charade is a myth.

3) The Free Gaza Boat and human rights hypocrisy: A group called the International Solidarity Movement claims they have purchased two boats with which they will sail to Gaza from Cyprus to break the Israeli blockade. They claim their lives are in danger. But all this senseless bravado just shows what peace movements, protests and NGOs have become: a search for publicity with the knowledge that the government being protested will not harm the protesters. The ‘Free Gaza’ people should try sailing to Sudan and protesting the genocide there. But European and wealthy leftist western protestors don’t like the idea that they might actually be harmed and not have cameras around to record it.

Genocide, complicity, the UN and human rights double standards
Seth J. Frantzman
August 7th, 2008

Not long ago Lithuanian Police came to the door of Rachel Margolis in Lithuania. They were on the trail of a war criminal who they claimed had perpetrated a massacre during the Second World War in Lithuania. This 90 year old suspect was no elderly Nazi but a Jewish partisan. Lithuania, it turns out, has re-written its history so that the perpetrators of the Holocaust, the Nazis and their collaborators, have become the victims while the victims have become the human rights violators. This case might seem surprising and many people in the West are aghast to hear of how justice has been turned on its head. But we shouldn't be surprised. What has happened in Lithuania is not unique. It seems to happen on an even greater scale throughout Europe and the West almost daily.

On August 3rd, 2008, two men, both Uighurs, a Turkish Muslim group in China, drove a stolen truck into a group of police officers who were out jogging. They then tossed explosives and stabbed the victims, killing 16. If this were a western state, say England where a group of Muslim doctors had attempted a similar thing at the Glasgow airport in June, 2007, it would be considered an act of terror. But as the International Herald Tribune informs us, "scholars raised doubts that the attack was terrorism." Dru Gladney, of Pamona College, was quoted as saying that the attack was made by 'disgruntled individuals' and might have been an act of 'vengeance'. It is China's integrity that is thus called into question and the "viability of Chinese policy in Xinjiang", the province where the terror took place. When terrorists struck in Glasgow there was, oddly, no discussion of the 'viability' of the U.K's policy in Scotland.

Reports recently came out that the U.K's embassy in Tel Aviv will no longer allow Jewish 'settlers' to come to events. Conservative British MP Crispin Blunt, a joint chairman of Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU), complained about the presence of settlers at the Queen's birthday party in June, 2008. These 'settlers' were elected officials of the Judea and Samaria council (Yesha). It is odd that the U.K doesn't seem capable of banning the genocidal officials of the Sudan from its embassies or the Saudis, whose regime has separate roads for Muslims that non-Muslims may not drive on. Furthermore the U.K doesn't seem capable of barring its own Protestant settlers in Northern Ireland from official events.

In a recent attempt by a Dutch lawyer to sue the United Nations on behalf of victims of Srebrenica, which the U.N had promised to protect, a court said the U.N was immune was prosecution and that it could not be sued under any law, local or international. The U.N is the same organization whose soldiers have been implicated recently in countless acts of rape and smuggling in the Congo. The message is clear: if a UN worker rapes you there is no recompense to justice. But the U.N does not seem to face the same problem when setting up special tribunals in Cambodia or the Hague to try 'war criminals' such as Radovan Karadzic, who ironically is accused of perpetrating the Srebrenica massacre. This seems to send the message that the only people capable of dispensing justice are Europeans who work for the U.N, but when it is they who are implicated in war crimes there can be no prosecution.

The most blatant act of such double-standards is the recent case whereby the Rwandan Justice Ministry has accused former government officials in France, including Francois Mitterrand, of complicity in the Rwandan genocide. The 500 page report details how France knowingly supplied weapons to the genocide regime up through 1994. France's response has been to call the report 'unacceptable'. France has enlisted none other than Kenneth Roth and the Human Rights Watch. Roth has claimed that "at a moment when international pressure to pursue the RPF [the rebel movement whose members were victims of the genocide] trials is at its height, this is an effort to change the subject and put the international community on the defensive."

This 'international community' is the same one that failed the Jews during the Holocaust and failed people like Rachel Margolis. Roth is playing the part of the Lithuanian authorities. While the international community sat by and did nothing during the Rwandan genocide, it is now trying to prosecute the victims of the genocide and the rebel movement, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, that drove the Hutu genocidal regime from power. Roth and France are clear in their assertion that it is 'unacceptable' to accuse the 'international community' of wrongdoing. Perhaps if the international community stopped its hypocrisy and had the same standards for Europeans, UN workers and others as it does for Jews, Chinese and Rwandans then it wouldn't have to be accused of complicity in genocide. Unfortunately the track record speaks for itself. In substance, the decision by the Lithuanians to accuse former partisans of 'war crimes' is the same as claiming that an act of terror in China is just 'disgruntled individuals', that 'settlers' may not attend U.K functions and that the victims of the Rwandan genocide are the perpetrators.

Ralph Nader, Obama and racism
Seth J. Frantzman
August 7th, 2008

As Barack Obama has taken on the media spotlight it has become clear that there are many people who support him primarily out of sense of feeling that 'it is time' to have
an African-American in the white house. These are the people who cheer wildly when shown clips of Obama saying that he doesn't 'look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills'. Even for those who vehemently deny that race has played any role in the Obama campaign they cannot deny that in many circles, primarily among college educated Americans on the political left, there is a great deal of excitement over the Obama ticket not because of his youth, not because of his upbringing, not because of his policies, not because of his accomplishments, but because of his skin color.

Ralph Nader encapsulated this line of thinking best when he noted in April, 2008 that "People who have fought the Civil Rights battle would often talk about 'look what would happen if we had an African-American president.'" What is interesting is that Nader then added 'it doesn't look like its going to be what we all thought it would be." This characterization is becoming more and more widespread. There is an increasing awareness that irrespective of the fact that Obama doesn't 'look' like the other presidents he will probably end up acting just like them. In fact Nader himself has acknowledged as much by making comments such as "Obama talks white."

These feelings regarding Obama, on the one hand that he will should be supported primarily because of his skin color and that he is somehow betraying all hopes for him by 'acting white' point to a very disturbing trend in the American conception of race, especially among those who claim to be progressive. The idea of race in society has taken a very different turn than many of those who originally campaigned for Civil Rights would have imagined. Nader harkens back to the 'Civil Rights battle' and admits that those who support civil rights seem to think that skin color is what the fight over civil rights was all about. They thus make statements such as 'look what would happen if we had an African-American president'. They assume that skin color thus determines how one acts and is the most important characteristic of a person. This is a very odd thing for someone who champions 'civil rights' to say. It seems they have forgotten what 'civil rights' was all about. They seem to have even forgotten the most famous enjoinder of the most famous civil rights leader of the 20th century.

During his 'I have Dream' speech, Martin Luther King said "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." The Civil Rights movement was originally about tearing down the barriers in society that were based on race. These were the barriers that judged men different based solely on the color of their skin.

What has become of this? Barack Obama is not being judged based on the content of his character but rather based on the color of his skin. Moreover he is being judged this way not by the unenlightened but rather by those who claim to believe in civil rights and those who are educated. The fact that the most intellectual people in society cannot see passed the color of a person's skin, some 40 years after Dr. King's speech, speaks to what has not been learned about race in the aftermath of the Civil Rights era. Racism has been turned upside down. Rather than abolish the notion that people are different because of their skin color we have decided that people are inherently different based on their skin color and that some skin colors are inherently better and more interesting. Evidently few people took away from Dr. King's speech the central thesis of it. It will be an unfortunate election day in the United States when millions of Americans vote for someone based good intentions which mask a virulent racism, choosing a candidate based only on the color of his skin and not the content of his character. The likes of Ralph Nader and his friends should be ashamed.

The Free Gaza Boat and human rights hypocrisy
Seth J. Frantzman
August 3rd, 2008

In the first week of August, 2008 dozens of left-wing anti-Israel activists began converging on Piraeus in Greece and Larnaca in Cyprus where they plan to board two boats (the 62 foot Free Gaza and the 54 foot Liberty) destined to sail for the Gaza strip on or around August 5th, 2008. They include, supposedly, “Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, Europeans, Africans and Asians. There will be rabbis, imams, Christian and Buddhist clerics, British MPs, entertainment celebrities, and internationally known journalists. Nakba and Holocaust survivors.”

The movement is called the Free Gaza Boat Movement of August. Some $300,000 has reportedly been raised to fund the venture. Paul Larudee of El Cerrito, California is one the organizers as is the International Solidarity Movement, a protest group founded during the Second Intifada to protest Israel's actions in the Gaza strip and West Bank (the group became famous when one of its members, Rachel Corrie was accidentally run over by an Israeli bulldozer). The primary goal of the campaign is to be intercepted by Israeli authorities so that a protest and an incident can result in which balloons will be let off from the boats and protestors can have their pictures taken beside 100 hearing aids they claim to be carrying for Palestinian children. The only attempt to stop the boat so far has been made by Sherut HaDin, an pro-Israel group, which has accused it of violating the U.S Nuetrality act by raising funds in the U.S which forbids raising funds for military and naval expeditions abroad.

This is not the first time the ISM has attempted a stunt like this. In July of 2005 a hundred and thirty ISM activists were prevented from entering Israel from Jordan as part of their 'Caravan for Palestine'. Although the ISM has repeatedly claimed to be struggling using whatever non-violent means are necessary, Paul Larudee has also noted, in an interview with Al-Jazeera, that “we recognize that violence is necessary and it is permissible for oppressed and occupied people to use armed resistance and we recognize their right to do so.” Towards this end the movement seems to anticipate that weapons will be aboard the ship “Israel wishes to harm our mission, we expect them to try to plant arms on board…we will not allow Israeli authorities to perform inspections.” An attorney and piano tuner by trade Paul Larudee is also the former supervisor of a Ford Foundation project in Lebanon, a Fulbright-Hays lecturer to Lebanon and a contract U.S. government advisor to Saudi Arabia. He claims to have been one of seven volunteers of the International Solidarity Movement wounded by Israeli gunfire on April 1,2002.

What the Gaza boat initiative shows is not merely the use of stunts to gain media attention for the Palestinians but also illustrates the moral failing of protest movements in general. The fact that the ISM and other European volunteers are willing to spend their money to purchase a boat and sale it to the Gaza strip is because of their knowledge that no harm will come to them. No similar protest movement has ever attempted such a stunt in response to actual genocides, such as that taking place in the Sudan. This means that protests disproportionately target those countries where law and order, democracy and human rights are respected. This problem was first noticed in the 1970s when Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was serving as U.S ambassador to the United Nations. During the 'Zionism is Racism' debate at the U.N Moynihan noticed that “the amount of violations of human rights in a country is always an inverse function of the amount of complaints about human rights violations heard from there. The greater the number of complaints being aired, the better protected are human rights in that country.” This has come down through history as ‘Moynihan's law.’ This understanding of how human rights campaigning works serves as an illustration of why there will be no Free Darfur protest boat landing on the coast of Sudan anytime soon. Human rights campaigners seem to prefer easy targets where the most that will happen to them is they will be temporarily detained and released. Israel is therefore the prime target for such charades and grandstanding as this Free Gaza boat campaign. The ISM and its former Ford Foundation leader will get the media spotlight. In order to receive the spotlight the campaign has determined that it is not enough to sail to Gaza but will needlessly challenge Israel's exclusion zone around the strip so as to provoke Israel to respond. In his blog Dr. Bill Dienst, a 'rural family and emergency room physician from Omak, Washington, claims he will be aboard as the ship's doctor and that “It is possible that many of us could be killed and injured all at once; or over several attacks.” This needless bravado is part of the charade. If Mr. Dienst truly wanted to risk his life he would be in Darfur giving aid to actual starving and dying people.

Israel faces two good options. It can allow the boat to reach Gaza un-opposed, thus not providing the protestors with an ‘Exodus-like’ standoff where the media will surely photograph them. It can also board the boat after dark, which is possible because the voyage from Cyprus will take more than a date, and remove the protestors and deport them through Ben-Gurion or another border crossing. Furthermore the Israeli government could then turn over any of the humanitarian contents of the boat to the Palestinian Authority, showing that Israel is not interested in interdicting humanitarian aid, merely preventing grandstanding by wealthy protestors out to create a spectacle.

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