The executive director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, recently addressed the UN Human Rights Council. Here is the speech, before that august body succeeds in striking it from the record:
Six decades ago, in the aftermath of the Nazi horrors, Eleanor Roosevelt, René Cassin and other eminent figures gathered here, on the banks of Lake Geneva, to reaffirm the principle of human dignity. They created the Commission on Human Rights. Today, we ask: What has become of this noble dream?
In this session we see the answer. Faced with compelling reports from around the world of torture, persecution, and violence against women, what has the Council pronounced, and what has it decided?
Nothing. Its response has been silence. Its response has been indifference. Its response has been criminal.
One might say, in Harry Truman's words, that this has become a Do-Nothing, Good-for-Nothing Council.
But that would be inaccurate. This Council has, after all, done something.
It has enacted one resolution after another condemning one single state: Israel. In eight pronouncements — and there will be three more this session — Hamas and Hezbollah have been granted impunity. The entire rest of the world — millions upon millions of victims, in 191 countries — continue to go ignored.
So yes, this Council has done something. And the Middle East dictators who orchestrate this campaign will tell you it is a very good thing. That they seek to protect human rights, Palestinian rights.
So, too, the racist murderers and rapists of Darfur women tell us they care about the rights of Palestinian women; the occupiers of Tibet care about the occupied; and the butchers of Muslims in Chechnya care about Muslims.
But do these self-proclaimed defenders truly care about Palestinian rights?
Let us consider the past few months. More than 130 Palestinians were killed by Palestinian forces. This is three times the combined total that were the pretext for calling special sessions in July and November. Yet the champions of Palestinian rights — Ahmadinejad, Assad, Khaddafi, John Dugard — say nothing. Little 3-year-old boy Salam Balousha and his two brothers were murdered in their car by Prime Minister Haniyeh's troops. Why has this Council chosen silence?
Because Israel could not be blamed. Because, in truth, the despots who run this Council couldn't care less about Palestinians, or about any human rights.
They seek to demonize Israeli democracy, to delegitimize the Jewish state, to scapegoat the Jewish people. They also seek something else: to distort and pervert the very language and idea of human rights.
You ask: What has become of the founders' dream of Eleanor Roosevelt, of René Cassin, of John Humphrey, P.C. Chang, Charles Malik, who assembled here in Geneva sixty years ago? Mr. President, with terrible lies and moral inversion, this Council is turning that dream into a nightmare.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Here is the response from the Council's president Luis Alfonso de Alba:
For the first time in this session I will not express thanks for that statement. I shall point out to the distinguished representative of the organization that just spoke, the distinguished representative of United Nations Watch, if you'd kindly listen to me. I am sorry that I'm not in a position to thank you for your statement. I should mention that I will not tolerate any similar statements in the Council. The way in which members of this Council were referred to, and indeed the way in which the council itself was referred to, all of this is inadmissible. In the memory of the persons that you referred to, founders of the Human Rights Commission, and for the good of human rights, I would urge you in any future statements to observe some minimum proper conduct and language. Otherwise, any statement you make in similar tones to those used today will be taken out of the records.
Dhoha: I want to talk about kindergarten, I want to talk.
Interviewer: What would you like to recite for us? Have you heard the poem "Mama Rim"?
Go on then, recite it for us.
Dhoha: "Rim, you are a fire bomb."
Interviewer: Go on, recite it.
Dhoha: "Your children and submachine gun are your motto."
Interviewer: Muhammad, go ahead and recite...
Muhammad: I'm in kindergarten.
Dhoha: That's it, I'm done.
Interviewer: OK, do you want to go to mama?
From MEMRI TV, an absolutely chilling look at the exploitation and indoctrination of children.
Click here for the link to the video and its transcript.
The traditional Orientalist was someone who mastered difficult languages like Arabic and Persian and then spent years bent over manuscripts in heroic efforts of decipherment and interpretation. In Dangerous Knowledge, Irwin relates that the 19th-century English Arabist Edward William Lane, compiler of the great Arabic-English Lexicon, “used to complain that he had become so used to the cursive calligraphy of his Arabic manuscripts that he found Western print a great strain on his eyes.” Orientalism in its heyday was a branch of knowledge as demanding and rigorous as its near cousin, Egyptology. The first International Congress of Orientalists met in 1873; its name was not changed until a full century later.
But there are no self-declared Orientalists today. The reason is that the late Edward Said turned the word into a pejorative. In his 1978 book Orientalism, the Palestinian-born Said, a professor of comparative literature at Columbia University, claimed that an endemic Western prejudice against the East had congealed into a modern ideology of racist supremacy—a kind of anti-Semitism directed against Arabs and Muslims. Throughout Europe’s history, announced Said, “every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric.”
In a semantic sleight of hand, Said appropriated the term “Orientalism” as a label for the ideological prejudice he described, thereby neatly implicating the scholars who called themselves Orientalists. At best, charged Said, the work of these scholars was biased so as to confirm the inferiority of Islam. At worst, Orientalists had directly served European empires, showing proconsuls how best to conquer and control Muslims. To substantiate his indictment, Said cherry-picked evidence, ignored whatever contradicted his thesis, and filled the gaps with conspiracy theories.
Said’s Orientalism, Irwin writes, “seems to me to be a work of malignant charlatanry in which it is hard to distinguish honest mistakes from willful misrepresentations.” Dangerous Knowledge is its refutation.
From Nick Cohen (Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2002):
Why is the world upside down? In part, it is a measure of President Bush's failure that anti-Americanism has swept out of the intelligentsia and become mainstream in Britain. A country that was once the most pro-American in Western Europe now derides Tony Blair for sticking with the Atlantic alliance. But if Iraq has pummeled Mr. Blair's reputation, it has also shone a very harsh light on the British and European left. No one noticed it when the Berlin Wall came down, but the death of socialism gave people who called themselves "left wing" a paradoxical advantage. They no longer had a practical program they needed to defend and could go along with ultra-right movements that would once have been taboo. In moments of crisis, otherwise sane liberals will turn to these movements and be reassured by the professed leftism of the protest organizers that they are not making a nonsense of their beliefs.
If, that is, they have strong beliefs to abandon. In Europe and North America extreme versions of multiculturalism and identity politics have left a poisonous legacy. Far too many liberal-minded people think that is somehow culturally imperialist to criticize reactionary movements and ideas — as long as they aren't European or American reactionary movements. This delusion is everywhere. Until very recently our Labour government was allowing its dealings with Britain's Muslim minority to be controlled by an unelected group, the Muslim Council of Britain, which stood for everything social democrats were against. In their desperate attempts to ingratiate themselves, ministers gave its leader a knighthood —even though he had said that "death was too good" for Salman Rushdie, who happens to be a British citizen as well as a great novelist.
Beyond the contortions and betrayals of liberal and leftish thinking lies a simple emotion that I don't believe Americans take account of: an insidious fear that has produced the ideal conditions for appeasement. Radical Islam does worry Europeans but we are trying to prevent an explosion by going along with Islamist victimhood. We blame ourselves for the Islamist rage, in the hope that our admission of guilt will pacify our enemies. We are scared, but not scared enough to take a stand.