To the Free Gaza Movement
David Harris, AJC Executive Director
June 6, 2010
According to your website, you describe yourselves as a "human rights movement."
You proclaim: "We respect the human rights of everyone, regardless of race, tribe, religion, ethnicity, nationality, citizenship or language."
And yet nowhere is there evidence of your respect for the human rights of Israelis, who've been the targets of massive human rights violations by Hamas and other terror groups operating freely in Gaza.
Are human rights indivisible, or only permitted for the groups you preselect?
Actually, you answer that question at a deeper level when you assert that: "We recognize the right of all Palestinian refugees and exiles and their heirs to return to their homes in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.... This is an individual and not a collective right, and cannot be negotiated except by the individual."
In other words, not only do Israelis, who want nothing more than to live free of missile and mortar attacks from Gaza, have no such right, but the country in which they live has no right to exist. That's precisely what your formula means.
So much for being a "human rights movement" and respecting "the human rights of everyone."
Clearly, if it's not about pointing the finger at Israel – or, should I say, giving Israel the finger – then you're simply not interested.
When Egypt occupied Gaza until 1967 and imposed draconian military rule, where were you to protest and organize flotillas and "humanitarian convoys"?
When in 2005 Israel left Gaza to determine its own destiny – for the first time in its history, I might add – where were you to encourage investment and job creation?
When Hamas violently ousted the Palestinian Authority from Gaza in 2007, where were you to express support for the PA?
When Hamas opted to follow a dead-end strategy to turn Gaza into a pariah state and terrorist redoubt, where were you to press for a truly "free Gaza"?
When Christians were attacked in Gaza by jihadists, where were you to demonstrate solidarity with the victims?
When Egypt sealed its border with Gaza and, later, announced the construction of a steel wall along the frontier, where were you?
And when officials today live lavishly in Gaza and humanitarian supplies are siphoned off to privileged groups and gangs, where are you?
No, it's only about Israel. Nothing else matters. Your agenda is obvious. Your motives are transparent. And surrounding yourselves with a few convenient Jews doesn't make you any more credible.
But if you still want to persuade the world that you're a "human rights movement," here's an idea.
June 12th is the first anniversary of the rigged Iranian elections.
Here's what one human rights group had to say on Iran: "Iran's latest presidential election on June 12, 2009, took place against a backdrop of discrimination, worsening repression of dissent and violent unrest. Amnesty International continues to document serious human rights violations, including detention of human rights defenders and other prisoners of conscience, unfair trials, torture and mistreatment in detention, deaths in custody and the application of the death penalty. Iran has one of the highest number of recorded executions of any country in the world.... Furthermore, Iran executes more people than any other country in the world except for China. Iran is also the only country in the world that continues to execute juvenile offenders."
Moreover, the group reported: "Iran is now witnessing sweeping restrictions on the use of communications technology, including telecommunications, satellite broadcasts and internet access, a ban on peaceful demonstrations, armed attacks on students in university premises, as well as the arbitrary arrest of political activists, students, journalists, and human rights defenders, many – if not all – of whom are prisoners of conscience."
There will be a global day of action on June 12th demanding an end to human rights abuses in Iran. You're missing from the sponsoring groups. How could that be? After all, you define yourselves as a "human rights movement."
Surely, the fact that human rights defenders in Iran – your presumed compatriots – are in jail should mobilize you, not to mention state-sanctioned murder of minors.
Oops, I forgot. Israel isn't involved. That disqualifies Iran from consideration.
In fact, if you truly were a human rights movement, and based on your well-honed methods, you'd be organizing another flotilla as we speak.
You'd recruit your "activists" to be on board. You'd proclaim your solidarity with the dissidents, the prisoners of conscience, and those on death row. And, come what may, you'd head for the Iranian coast. Luckily for you, you'd discover that Iran has 1100 miles of shoreline along the Persian (or is it Arabian?) Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Actually, you've got another option as well – logistically easier and cheaper to boot.
Lo and behold, Turkey shares a 310-mile land border with Iran. Given your cozy ties with the Turkish government and Turkish "humanitarian" groups (who, by the way, could use some education about Gandhi before being deployed again), why not plan to cross the frontier in convoys loaded with supplies for Iran's human rights activists? And don't forget to bring the signs to unfurl in front of the media you'll invite: "Free Iran," "End human rights oppression in Iran," "Women deserve equality," "Gays have rights," "Stop capital punishment," "We remember Neda," "Ballots, not bullets," "No more torture," "Persecution of Baha'i must end."
But you don't give a hoot about the well-being of millions of Iranians, whose human rights are being massively violated. You wouldn't take a single day off from your relentless anti-Israel campaign to assist the Iranian people.
Why is it that a self-proclaimed "human rights movement" doesn't care about the fate of Iranians desperately in need of outside support? Why would you never think about taking your show on the road to Iran, whatever risks might await you? Why is that you and your Turkish friends wouldn't spend a moment on the subject?
Alas, the reason is obvious. Israel isn't involved. You can't pin the blame on Jerusalem. Those waiting for you on the border don't wear an Israeli uniform (and don't abide by the same strict code of military conduct, either).
So what does that make you?
Nothing more than a Hamas booster club seeking Israel's disappearance, while posing as a "human rights movement."
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