Tuesday, April 19, 2011

HRW's Sarah Leah Witson Plays the Race Card

It sort of slipped under our nose last week, but Human Rights Watch's Sarah Leah Witson has published an article on the Huffington Post and...wait for it...criticizes Israel! What a surprise. Her main discussion in the article is supposed about racism and discrimination, but is really about Israel being mean to the Palestinians. Her article has the following three beats:

1. Take an example of an Israeli policy.
2. Accuse Israel of acting in that way because of racism and/or discrimination.
3. Ignore contrary evidence.

Elder of Ziyon has already documented her absurd claim that only settlers have nice houses, and Yisrael Medad has also proven that the "Jew only roads" is not true either, but unfortunately her article is one lie and half truth after another. I'll go through some of them here.

Some lies are small, like that "Israel has moved half a million settlers," implying that the settlers didn't choose to come and that none were born there. Some lies are large, like that the Palestinians are deprived "of the most basic needs." Naturally Ms. Leah Witson is too cool to cite her sources, unless they are newspaper articles about Israel building settlements. I guess she thinks that her big claims are too obvious to back up.

One of her most egregious distortions, though, is the following:
"In the 60 percent of the West Bank known as "Area C" and in East Jerusalem, Israel maintains exclusive control over the lives of settlers and Palestinians. In these circumstances, Israel must, under international human rights law, treat the two populations equally."
Now although she claims that 60% of the West Bank is Area C, she neglects to mention that only 4% of the Palestinian population lives there (thanks to califlefty for pointing this out). As for the claim that the two populations must be treated equally, she neglects to cite a source for the usual "international law" card. The only reference to equality that is related to this article that I could find in the 4th Geneva Conventions (which deals with occupied territories and populations) is Article 39, which is about employment. So I cannot help but wonder if this is one of those uncited claims which we are just supposed to believe because someone on the Huffington Post told us that.

The half-truths continue, such as the claim that Israel prevents Palestinians from going close to settlements not because settlers often have been murdered, but because they are just so darn racist. That unhappy truth about murders is not mentioned in the article by the way, I guess Ms. Leah Witson just wants us to forget that there might be a good reason for why Israel does what it does.

She does cut Israel some slack once, though. Check it out (emphasis mine):
"Israel justifies its policies on security grounds: it must protect the security of settlers. Israeli authorities indeed have an obligation to safeguard citizens -- all citizens, whatever their ethnicity or religion. But security concerns do not warrant treating every last Palestinian man, woman and child as a threat. And security concerns do not justify systematically separating Palestinians from Jews, with shanties and dirt roads provided for the one, and spacious villas with swimming pools and paved highways provided for the other."
First of all, if the Palestinians wore uniforms Israel would just fight those who did. And if they didn't embed terrorists among the civilian population Israel would leave them alone. And if they didn't use children and women as suicide bombers and weapons carriers than the IDF wouldn't have to search them. And Israel tried living alongside the Palestinians in peace but, once again, the violent aggression of the Palestinians forced that exact same separation that Ms. Leah Witson is not complaining about. This paragraph in many ways epitomizes the leftist attitude toward Israel: To complain about Israel's actions first and never think about why they are happening. And certainly never let it cross your mind that the Palestinians might have some kind of a hand in it. That's completely unacceptable. Here are a few more interesting things from the article.

Some of Ms. Leah Witson's complaints are legitimate, such as the denial of certain building permits. Others are also legitimate, but betray a lack of understanding about Israel's politics:
"In recent polls, 63 percent of Israeli Jews supported continued settlement expansion and 34 percent of American Jews opposed dismantling settlements. Yet how can Israelis, so proud of the democratic values of their state, tolerate a settlement system that has thrived on outdated and discredited discrimination against the people who live alongside them? And why should American Jews, who have a history of deep engagement with the U.S. civil rights movement, support settlements built on these kinds of laws and policies in Israel?"
I feel like criticizing the settlements is legitimate, but this way is a bit ridiculous. The purpose of the settlements is not to discriminate against the Palestinians. In fact the main complaint that is made toward the settlers and those who support them is that they just don't care about the Palestinians at all, and that they pursued their political goals without a second thought about the people who live in the West Bank already. Ms. Leah Witson is trying to make it sound like the settlers just want to live in the West Bank so they can mess up the Palestinians' lives (for no real reason) and that's just flat out dishonest.

Let's conclude with a paragraph that pretty well sums up Human Rights Watch and this article:
"This is why Human Rights Watch, which extensively documented these discriminatory practices in a report, has called on the EU to clearly label settlement-produced goods, on businesses to review their activities in the settlements, and on the US to cut aid to Israel equal to what Israel spends on the settlements and to investigate tax exemptions for settlement charities."
Yep. If you don't like what's going on in the Middle East, don't work for peace. Don't encourage anyone to compromise. Just force Israel to comply with our demands, and then the discrimination will end! Sure, Israelis might be getting blown up in the streets again, which in turn will lead to more violence, but at least a Palestinian can build a solar panel on his roof! Who's with me?

1 comment:

  1. This is just more legalise gibberish from huffpo. The Geneva convention refers to forced population transfers only. The Oslo Accords are a bilateral agreement defining Area A/B/C and how they’re governed, it isn’t an occupation.
    Considering there are negotiations over a withdrawal “from territories” (not all), they’re legally disputed territories. Either no one lives there or anyone can and seeing how Israel governs Area C, they decide.

    One article from the Geneva 4 accords that HRW always forgets.
    Art. 28. The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.

    Also Geneva 3 lawful combatants:
    4.1.2 Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, provided that they fulfill all of the following conditions:
    -that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
    -that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance
    -that of carrying arms openly;
    -that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

    Considering the modus operandi of all terror groups is to not follow any of these conditions they’re liable for any civilian suffering. Not the people defending against them.

    Hama celebrating Daniel Viflic’s Murder.

    I see Avirahim is talking about stunted pal children, oh dear, WB and Gaza health figures are the second best in the ME. Maybe compare Gaza’s life expectancy of 74 years with Calton Glasgow’s 54 years. Also African American areas of Baltimore are all under 60 years as well.




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