Larry Derfner writes:
This week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared: “We must expose the hypocrisy of human rights organizations that turn a blind eye to the most repressive regimes in the world, regimes that stone women and hang gays, and instead target the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.”
He was reacting to the publication of a pair of long, comprehensive reports on the occupation, one by the IDF reservists’ organization Breaking the Silence, the other by Human Rights Watch.
Netanyahu’s statement, however, contained two lies. First, organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Oxfam don’t turn a blind eye to the world’s most repressive regimes; just the opposite. They report continually on dictatorships across Asia and Africa, documenting persecution of women, gays, dissidents, minorities and other victims. In fact, it’s largely because of human rights reports about such persecution that Netanyahu and the rest of us are aware of it.
Second, while Israel is a democracy at home (though not a liberal one, certainly not with the political atmosphere of the last decade), it isn’t anyone’s idea of a democracy in the West Bank and Arab east Jerusalem (nor on the border, seacoast and in the airspace of Gaza).
In the democratic world, Israel’s armed domination of the Palestinians is unique. It didn’t used to be, but now it is one-of-a-kind. This country’s occupation of Palestinian territory is the last bastion of colonialism in the free world.
People forget that. Which is why we need human rights reports like “Israeli Soldier Testimonies, 2000-2010” from Breaking the Silence and “Separate and Unequal” from Human Rights Watch – to force people to remember the simple, awful truth.