Monday, October 28, 2013

James Zogby Exploits Human Rights Rhetoric (Again)

The Middle East has moved on from the Palestinians. I don't think that's a particularly controversial point of view. Egypt is undergoing a period of transition, Iranian nuclear negotiations are starting up again, the war in Syria continues to rage (not that anybody cares) and Saudi Arabia is starting to reassert itself. Not to mention the whole wiretapping scandal between the USA and Europe. So no one is paying much attention to the Palestinians.

Fortunately we can rely on the Huffington Post blogosphere to continue to wave that oddly-similar-to-the-Ba'ath-party's flag of Palestine. In this case it's James Zogby who declares that in order to get a "just peace" (because regular peace isn't good enough, apparently) the key is to "respect Palestinian human rights." Apparently the human rights of the Palestinians' victims is not a priority. But shockingly, rather than just whine for 1500 words, Zogby is here to tell Palestinian supporters to stop concerning themselves with a "deal" but rather with the aforementioned "human rights." But only human rights of themselves, obviously. I think this quote basically sums up the article:
"Instead of exhausting ourselves arguing about what we can't control, we should be focused on what we can do to shine a light on the daily injustices visited upon Palestinians and mobilizing support for those whose human rights are being abused. "
Every Palestinian supporter who uses the term "human rights" uses it wrong. There, I said it, and you know that it's true. They are only interested in human rights abuses when it fits their political agenda and Zogby's article is a perfect example of this. Once again it's proven by what he doesn't say. After all he is President of the Arab American Institute and the author of a book named "Arab Voices." There are more Arabs in this world than just Palestinians, yet apparently only the "daily injustices" that Palestinians have to deal with is worth Zogby's time. He doesn't appear to be quite so interested in the human rights of Syrians, Lebanese or Egyptians.

But more damning, while he claims to care about human rights abuses and injustices directed at Palestinians, he only cares when he can blame Israel for them:
"There are human rights groups in Israel and Palestine that are engaged in this effort. They are documenting: cases of land confiscation and home demolitions; prisoners held without charges or trial; instances where vigilante gangs of settlers have desecrated mosques, cut down olive trees, beaten or killed Palestinian youngsters; and where the military has used collective punishment, excessive force, or acted to humiliate Palestinian civilians."
I'm going to assume that he means the Israeli military in that final clause. So once again politics reigns supreme. Zogby straight up, flat out does not care about any human rights abuses that might be inflicted on the Palestinians by their fellow Arabs, whether that means locking them up in refugee camps in Lebanon, using them as human shields in Gaza, or throwing them in prison for criticizing the government in the West Bank. Hundreds if not thousands of Palestinians have been killed by their own governments and this fact gives Zogby's rhetoric that extra tinge of hypocrisy:
"The victims of these illegal and immoral behaviors deserve our attention. Their cases should be adopted, their names need to be known, and they should be supported until the injustice ends."
Apparently not all victims of injustice are created equal. I think Zogby would be happy to just let the memory of people like Vittorio Arrigoni or Juliano Mer-Khamis fade from the national stage, not as long as he can complain about olive trees. Zogby, if the human rights of everyone aren't being respected, then no one's should. Which is exactly why the Palestinians' propaganda isn't going anywhere. Because people have caught on by now that when they whine about "human rights" it's just another code word to bash Israel. This has been demonstrated in thousands of tweets and Facebook posts and now Zogby is proving it here.

So let's skip ahead a little. Zogby claims that his organization (which he calls "we") put a human face on the Palestinians. Not so. They just put another abstraction in place of the one that they believed already existed. Portraying the Palestinians solely as dirty children crying inside of a crater is just as dehumanizing as portraying them all as terrorists, yet once again lying is acceptable if it furthers Zogby's particular political goals.

This seems to be proven when he goes after what should be the Palestinians' best ally, liberals:
"And back then, much of the American liberal left was largely silent on Palestinian issues. Those that were engaged, focused their efforts on setting up "dialogues" in the vain attempt to promote reconciliation between Arabs and Jews....More than three decades later, the situation is much the same. The debate over one or two states rages on the one side, while liberals, who by now have embraced the notion of a two state solution, continue to shy away from any controversy and refuse to address Palestinian human rights. The former effort is wasted time and energy. The latter is an abdication of morality. Meanwhile Palestinians are still unknown and their rights are still violated."
What a stab in the back. Has it occurred to Zogby that liberals think the best thing for the human rights of Palestinians is to make peace? This paragraph indicates perfectly why the Palestinian "cause" hasn't gone anywhere and why it's best supporters do so much damage. Because nothing is ever good enough. Liberals seek a fair solution that allows both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace? Not sufficient, says Zogby! How dare they not completely march to my tune! What, did they think they were independent individuals for a moment there?

Left-wingers have done more for Palestinian human rights than any professional victim NGO. But the trouble is that from a liberal perspective, whining that the Palestinians have it hard is a means to an end, not an end unto itself. Zogby claims that "only when Palestinians are known and their rights are fully recognized will the US feel the need to press for balanced peace that recognizes the rights and needs of Israelis and Palestinians alike." This is once again a meaningless collection of talking points since he refuses to define what a "balanced peace that recognizes the rights and needs" of the people are. Would such a balanced peace be a two solution, a solution that Zogby just bashed? Who knows! By the way, you gotta love how Palestinians, for all of their "suffering" refuse peace unless it is "just" and now "balanced." One might almost conclude that they don't want peace at all.

But anyway, liberals seek peace and this is what is why most of them will refuse to be wind-up toys for the Palestinian "cause." Liberals know that when they say "human rights" they really mean human rights, not made up rights for one group of people who insist on calling themselves "the victims." And that is exactly why even the Israel hating readership of the Huffington Post proceeded to tear into Zogby in the comments section, in a welcome change from the usual drivel:

1 comment:

  1. Is this comment policy publicly shared? How do we know it is not filtered through the emotion criteria such as this article displays?


Hey guys we've started to employ a slight comment policy. We used to have completely open comments but then people abused it. So our comment policy is such: No obvious trolling or spamming. And be warned: unlike the Huffington Post we actually enforce our comment policy.