How the United Nations enables hatemongers
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has effectively endorsed the destruction of Israel. Which tells you all you really need to know. It tells you all you need to know about the UN, that's for sure. From "Zionism is Racism" to the Durban conference in 2001 to the upcoming Durban II, this body is viciously, unalterably hostile to Israel. Any interested person can find countless examples like the UN team investigating the fake massacre in Jenin in 2002, which included a guy who'd compared the Star of David to the Swastika. Or the UN Development Program in 2005 paying for T-shirts saying "Today Gaza and Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem." Or Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other UN officials that same year celebrating the "International Day Of Solidarity With The Palestinian People" by sitting in front of a map from which Israel had been eliminated.
Lots of well-meaning folks keep giving the UN extra chances, figuring it's a wonderful institution dedicated to peace, justice and world government that by some regrettable misunderstanding keeps acting ineptly vicious. Don't. You should have no truck with this body not because it goes out of its way to call for the destruction of Israel but because in its day-to-day actions it takes that goal for granted.
On those grounds this episode also tells you all you need to know about the High Commissioner for Human Rights who kicked away a seat on Canada's Supreme Court to take that job. Namely, "Good riddance." Let there be no misunderstanding here. In a statement on January 24, Ms. Arbour called the new Arab Charter on Human Rights, which comes into effect this March, "an important step forward" toward strengthening "the enjoyment of human rights." Yet that Charter, the Citizen reports, says "all forms of racism, Zionism and foreign occupation and domination" should be "condemned and efforts must be deployed for their elimination."
Taken literally, that statement seems to oblige one to work for the elimination of those Arab governments whose officially sanctioned media treat the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as legitimate, call Jews the sons of pigs and monkeys or peddle the "blood libel." At the very least, they aren't a group whose declarations one would wish to endorse.
In the face of sharp criticism, Ms. Arbour this Wednesday issued a further statement including: "Throughout the development of the Arab Charter, my office shared concerns with the drafters about the incompatibility of some of its provisions with international norms and standards. These concerns included the approach to death penalty for children and the rights of women and non-citizens. Moreover, to the extent that it equates Zionism with racism, we reiterated that the Arab Charter is not in conformity with General Assembly Resolution 46/86 ..."
It sounds reasonable, albeit feebly, until you realize that it evades the key issue, which is not the condemnation but the "elimination" of Zionism. I could also take issue with the dishonest phrase "to the extent that it equates Zionism with racism" as if doubt existed on that score. But the real problem here is not the equation of Zionism with racism, it's that word "elimination".
It will not do to claim that Ms. Arbour is too naive to grasp the context. Especially since the new UN Human Rights Council was created in 2006 largely because the old Human Rights Commission was so anti-Semitic it had become a public relations problem instead of just a moral one. She knows what these governments say at the UN, and what they applaud.
Those who seek "dialogue" with the merchants of hate sometimes claim that if we show reasonableness and flexibility it will start to break down the barriers of misunderstanding and presently they too will show moderation. But the historical record does not confirm this notion. Instead it shows starkly that you may compromise with evil, but evil will not compromise with you. You move toward it but it doesn't budge; you move again, and again; and finally the purely semantic difference between your ultimate position and its initial one serves only to camouflage its real nature.
Most of the governments that surround Israel openly seek to drive the Jews into the sea. Not the Zionists. The Jews. And not because there will be boats waiting for them. I say most such governments, but I wouldn't gamble a second Holocaust on those that don't say it out loud.
There can be no compromise with such a position, and no nuanced, backfilled, endorsement of the "elimination" of Zionism.
[First published in the Ottawa Citizen]