Monday, February 11, 2008

Beryl Wajsman, editor of the Montreal independant weekly 'The Suburban", puts Louise Arbour in the dock, where she belongs:

Louise Arbour's 'crimes of prejudice'

Crimes of prejudice take many forms. Some are manifested through classic violence and are categorized as hate crimes. Others, while more subliminal, produce equally damaging and equally dangerous threats to the commonweal. Each must be responded to with unyielding vigour and resolve. UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour’s support for last week’s freshly unveiled pan-Arab “Human Rights” Charter, one of whose provisions equates Zionism with racism and calls for Zionism’s “eradication”, is scurrilous and incendiary and as much of a crime of prejudice as any.

Her “clarification”, which came a day after her endorsement last week, that the document did not conform to the United Nations 1991 renunciation of the infamous 1975 Zionism/Racism resolution did not state where she stands on the issue. Given the fact that her only public interventions in her current post have been to condemn Israeli self-defense and criticize the United States prosecution of Saddam Hussein, there is ample proof of what she really believes. She is an insidious example of what the Italian legal philosopher Beccaria called the "…the tyranny of the mindless…" Her crime of prejudice - prejudice to what is true and just - does as much violence to the spirit as the other does to the body.

We recently commemorated what should have been the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 79th birthday. This is what he had to say about anti-Zionism in his collection of letters entitled “This I Believe”. ". . . You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely 'anti-Zionist.' And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God's green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews--this is God's own truth. And what is anti-Zionism? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism.”
This isn’t the first time Arbour has shown her true colours. During Israel’s war against Hezbollah she stated that Israel’s defensive military actions against Hezbollah terror may constitute a war crime because Lebanese civilians had been killed. She said nothing similar about the thousands of rocket assaults killing and maiming Israeli civilians.

Aside from her personal prejudices, Arbour’s position then, as now, demonstrates an appalling pre-medidated disregard for international legal standards. Collateral civilian deaths in a defensive military action have never been considered war crimes. But the genocide in Darfur is as were the deliberate attacks on Israelis by Hezbollah which is a component of both the political and military elements of the Lebanese state. Arbour has never uttered a word about the responsibility and complicity of the Sudanese or Lebanese governments. Her politically revisionist voice was as silent as it has been vocal as an apologist for UN inaction in all the other cases of true war crimes.

Her initial unequivocal support for the Arab “Rights” Charter manifested the same disregard for normative standards of international justice. Even if we were to set aside the Zionist issue, how could she possibly endorse a rights charter that even Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists are fighting on the issues of the status of women as non-citizens and the application of the death penalty to children? Are women and children not worthy of human rights in the pan-Arab universe?

Perhaps the most trenchant judgment of Arbour was given by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz who wrote that "…her knowledge of international law is as questionable as her understanding of morality…"

We cannot abide an international civil servant like Arbour speaking with impunity casting victims as victimizers. We can no longer acquiesce in silence to a United Nations held hostage by tinpot dictators; overseen by a powerless Secretary-General and represented by senior officials spouting diatribes that exhibit, at best, woeful ignorance and, at worst, deliberate distortion. Arbour is less a political moralist than a political opportunist. In her attacks on Israel, and indeed in her support for attacks on the nations of the free world, she engages in dangerous moral relativism and historical revisionism. Arbour, and her allies and colleagues, are unworthy heirs of the founders of the United Nations who dreamed of determined united defiance against tyrants and tyranny.

For those of us who have chosen to be involved in the public affairs of our world - to be engaged in the temper of our times - remaining silent on Louise Arbour would be an act of complicity in the UN’s continuing retreat from reason and allow it to wallow in its pallid orthodoxies of false pieties that will inevitably result in the slow undoing of the natural liberties of free nations and free peoples. I cannot forget the frustration of Canadian human rights campaigner Nazanin Afshin-Jam, whom my Institute for Public Affairs supported in her successful struggle to free rape victim Nazanin Fatehi from Tehran’s infamous Evin prison where she faced death for stabbing the man who raped her. Afshin-Jam had collected over 300,000 signatures on an international petition yet it took five months for Arbour to grant her a hearing. But Arbour did not hesitate to go to Tehran to state-sponsored conferences granting them legitimacy to many by her presence as a UN Commissioner.

The future of the free cannot be allowed to be compromised or cudgeled by today’s fey and feckless United Nations functionaries like Arbour always ready to protect failed states and retrograde regimes right to be wrong so that their career can advance.
If Louise Arbour cannot understand that, she, and the UN, should find another world to be part of.

We can be proud that the Harper government called on Ms. Arbour to wash her hands completely of the charter. "Eradicating Zionism would mean the eradication of the Jewish state," Tory MP Pierre Poilievre told the Commons. But we must remain vigilant.

Arbour is merely a symptom of a spreading malignancy. Her hypocrisy makes her, and her modern-day colleagues, unworthy heirs of the founders of the United Nations who dreamed of determined united defiance against tyrants and tyranny.


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