Obama’s contempt for international standards
The National Security Strategy of the Obama administration says: “if nations challenge or undermine an international order that is based upon rights and responsibilities, they must find themselves isolated.”
Israel is currently resisting international pressure to accept an international investigation into the circumstances in which at least nine Turkish civilians were killed by Israeli soldiers on board the Mavi Marmara while the ship was in international waters moving away from Israel.
The UN Security Council, under pressure from the Obama administration, watered down a call for an international investigation into the massacre by saying that such an inquiry should merely meet “international standards.”
When team Obama came up with that phrase — as they surely did — did they first consult with George Bush’s former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton? It’s his kind of language. It cynically gives a passing nod to the idea that an inquiry needs international legitimacy, yet leaves it to Israel — a state that views the international community with contempt — to determine how that requirement might be met.
The answer, as far a Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned, is to toss in a couple of international figures who can observe the workings of the Israeli commission — a three-man body whose members have an average age of 85.
One of the two internationals is David Trimble, former First Minister of Northern Ireland. Are his the eyes that can ensure this commission conducts “a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation”?
On the day of the Israeli assault, the Jerusalem Post reported on the launch of the “Friends of Israel Initiative,” a new project in defense of Israel’s right to exist, led by Spain’s former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar. This group of international leaders includes none other than, David Trimble.
The initiative is being launched now, its sponsors said in a statement, because of their outrage and concern about the “unprecedented delegitimation campaign against Israel, driven by the enemies of the Jewish state and perversely assumed by numerous international authorities.”
So will a commission in which there is an international observer with a declared suspicion of international organizations, meet “international standards”?
The White House calls this “an important step forward” and says:
We believe that Israel, like any other nation, should be allowed to undertake an investigation into events that involve its national security. Israel has a military justice system that meets international standards and is capable of conducting a serious and credible investigation, and the structure and terms of reference of Israel’s proposed independent public commission can meet the standard of a prompt, impartial, credible, and transparent investigation.
Credible perhaps to an American president who serves at the pleasure of the Israel lobby, but on this matter Obama doesn’t even have the support of the New York Times.
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From the Archives
By Fida Jiryis | Ma’an | March 15, 2012
In a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, “Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians,” Ambassador Michael Oren presents Israel as a tolerant, dove-like, and peaceful democracy. This is belied by the facts.
I am one of those Palestinian Christians living inside Israel to whom Oren refers. At no time in my life have I ever felt the “respect and appreciation” of the Jewish state, which Oren so glowingly references.
Israel’s Christian minority is marginalized in much the same manner as its Muslim one or, at best, quietly tolerated. We suffer the same discrimination when we try to find a job, when we go to hospitals, when we apply for bank loans, and when we get on the bus — in the same way as Palestinian Muslims.
Israel’s fundamental basis is as a racist state built for Jews only, and the majority of the Jewish population doesn’t really care what religion we are if we’re not Jewish. In my daily dealings with the State, all I have felt is rudeness and overt contempt. … continue
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