Notwithstanding Kofi Annan’s anxious disclaimers, U.N. special envoy to Iraq Lakhdar Brahimi’s tendentious proclamation that Israel is “the great poison in the region” is no aberration. Assigning blame to Israel for the nonexistence of Arab democracy, the impoverishment of Arab populations, and the human-rights deficit throughout the Muslim world is standard U.N. policy. Indeed, in a subsequent interview, Brahimi affirmed his original incitement, saying “this is a fact ? not opinion.”
The annual six-week ritual of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, which ended on Friday, makes the point all too clearly….
Not only were five resolutions adopted condemning Israel, but the commission took three hours out of its schedule to mourn the death of Hamas terrorist leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin. Yassin personally instigated and authorized suicide bombing and exhorted his followers to “armed struggle” against Israelis and Jews “everywhere.” A special sitting for Yassin was convened on March 22, 2004, despite the fact that the commission was already in session, and about to consider the only country-specific agenda item at the commission for the past 34 years ? on Israel.
Although Israel’s action was denounced by the commission and the secretary-general as an “extrajudicial killing,” the conclusion is not only inflammatory, but incorrect. Both Yassin, and Abdel Aziz Rantissi, were combatants in a war. The legal term “extrajudicial,” by definition, applies only to individuals entitled to judicial process before being targeted. Combatants ? including the unlawful combatants of Hamas who seek to make themselves indistinguishable from the civilian population ? are not entitled to such prior judicial process. International Committee of the Red Cross manuals state that civilians who take a direct part in hostilities forfeit their immunity from attack. Furthermore, judicial process was not an option for Israel since it would have placed both Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian civilians at much greater risk. The legal limit in targeting combatants like Yassin is the rule of proportionality, or “incidental loss of civilian life” which is not “excessive” (in the language of the Geneva Conventions). In these cases, the outcome was proportionate since civilian casualties were kept to a minimum.
What makes the U.N.’s professed interest in the subject even more unconvincing was the commission’s total lack of response to a simultaneous report on recent extrajudicial killings in Brazil. The U.N. Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions attempted to raise the alarm on more than 3,000 civilians murdered in Brazil at the hands of military and civil police. Details of “poorly disguised extrajudicial executions…[in which] the lethal shots had been fired from behind and at close range” were provided. Two people brave enough to talk to the rapporteur were shot and killed shortly after the U.N. representative left the country. No mention was made by the Human Rights Commission of Brazil.
Some time ago, I linked to Nelson Ascher explaining the concept of European anti-semitism as a symptom of guilt over the Holocaust, among other things. It’s easy to claim (perhaps too easy) that an anti-Israel stance is based on hatred of Jews because, well, it’s the case more often than not. So, Europe has guilt. What the fuck is the rest of the world’s excuse? Can somebody tell me that? The non-stop, never-ending snipe after snipe after fucking snipe against Israel from the UN and almost every country in it points any reasonable mind toward one conclusion: most of the world hates Israel, loathes Jews, and would see them destroyed. That includes me, my 18 month-old niece, my cousin Simcha, and the rest of my family. They hate us for what we are. There is nothing Israel can do short of self-immolation that would make the “international community” happy. This is the august body of individuals to whom we should go in order to authorize military force in self-defense? We want our legal system trumped by its International Criminal Court? We should put it in charge of building democracies in the hope that it will foster representative governments based on ethics? From the Oil-for-Food debacle to its appalling failure in Srebrenica, I can see little that is worthwhile in the UN these days, and much to be despised.
Where is Israel’s greatest and strongest ally? The U.S., with President Bush at the helm. I’d be the first to admit that Bush’s illegal amnesty program and irresponsible domestic spending record are quite troubling. But weighed against his handling of the War on Terror and firm support of Israel, I consider a second term for him to be, quite literally, a matter of survival.