Friday, March 26, 2010

In A World Full Of Human Rights Violations, This Is Why Israel Is Singled Out

Eran Shayshon, senior analyst at the Reut Institut, writes about a growing trend among those who take it upon themselves to criticize Israel:
"Kleinism" represents a simplistic, artificial view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has led many who consider themselves human-rights activists to focus their criticism nearly exclusively on Israel. It brands Israel as the new apartheid state, so it can do no right and its adversaries no wrong. It frames Israel as uninterested in peace or in ending the occupation. It ignores any structural obstacles to peace unrelated to Israel, the most obvious being the sharp divisions among the Palestinians.

Thus, "Kleinists" seem to have concluded that one-sided criticism of Israel is the best way to promote peace, and that pressurizing the state with all available means, including BDS, is both legitimate and effective.

As a result, Israel's branding as a violent, aggressive and discriminatory state is increasingly gaining traction.
Since there are certain inconsistencies in such an approach, it is not unexpected that there are absurd situations arise:

Whether intentionally or not, the upshot of these processes is that some human rights activists are aligning with fundamentalist Islamists against Israel. One particularly bizarre example of how these groups' values conflict - differences that melt away when it comes to Israel - is the annual gay rights march against "the Israeli Apartheid," which has taken place twice now in Toronto, while homosexuals are being hanged in Tehran and forced to flee Gaza for Tel Aviv.
Read the whole thing.

Shayson's conclusion is also important:
It may be that many BDS supporters are genuinely looking to change Israel's policies from a human rights perspective, and do not seek to delegitimize Israel. Indeed, such criticism is important and legitimate, even when harsh and sometimes even when unfair. Yet, the idea of precipitating Israel's capitulation using the model that brought down South Africa's racist regime - which is the conceptual and strategic core of the BDS campaign - is simplistic and unfounded and is likely to cause more human misery, chaos and bloodshed.
Of all countries rightly or wrongly accused of human rights violations, these "activists" pick on Israel because bottom line, for a variety of reasons it is the country their efforts are most likely to have an effect--just as demands for concessions are made exclusively of Israel as opposed to the Palestinian Arabs, because it alone is capable of making them.

The question is whether "genuine change" and "criticism" is actually part of the goal of many of these people.

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