Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Ranter is Back

Happy Holidays Rosh Hashana and Eid to all who celebrate at this time of year.
 For starters,

Welcome new Amnesty Secretary General 

Indeed I hope that we are entering a new era of the struggle for human rights.  I will let 
Sali Shetty, our new SG,  speak for himself and invite you to click on the link above

I am back with my blogs after a long silence caused by a conference deadline that required some work to be done and a vacation with my family in the wilds of Canada. Anyone who is interested can read the vacation blog  YandA

  I am coming back with both blogs, the nasty one bitching about the human rights situation in the world
  and in our little corner of  it and the sweet  Pollyanna blog full of science, culture and good news
  where I can find it.
OK, now back to work after a long layoff.

As we all know a terrible genocide has been going on in the  Darfur region of
Sudan for many years.  Here in Israel we have many refugees from Darfur whose
stories are hair-raising.  Our government and army have been turning them back
at the border, interning them and treating them terribly.  Our local Amnesty International
section is part of a coalition of human rights organizations that have been making
valiant efforts to help them.
The nations of Africa who should be standing up to bring the perpetrators of these crimes
against humanity to justice have been very delinquent in this task.
Amnesty International has criticized the Kenyan government for its failure
 to arrest Sudan’s President Omar
al-Bashir during his visit to the country to join celebrations ushering in
Kenya’s new constitution, viewing the refusal to arrest President al-Bashir as an
obstruction of justice for victims in Darfur.

The President of Sudan is the subject of an arrest warrant by the International
Criminal Court for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.
For the rest of the 
Amnesty rant click here.

I would like to call upon all to make this next Hebrew year one in which we take action on behalf
of victims of persecution around the world.  We all grew up  being told how the world stood by
while our people were murdered by the Nazis.  It is not quite exact because tens of thousands of Europeans risked their lives to protect and hide Jews.  Some of them have been recognized by Yad Veshem, but not all.  There is a duty to stand up and be counted.  I suggest we start with the call to activism on the Amnesty International activism Web site, register and get to work.

Before I move on to the home front, there is an issue in Russia that calls for action.  It has been raised
by AVAAZ, another most worthy organization.  Please click
on this link and act upon its call.

 I also want to call your attention to the continued discrimination against Roma in EU countries. 
Here is an example taken from France.  The most enlightened countries can show racism and xenophobia with the worst. Note the video.

The floods in Pakistan have killed over a thousand people and displaced millions.  Please take a minute, open your heart and pocket to help these victims.


Racism begins at home or maybe it is universal.  This week we witnessed a German central bank executive being
hauled before a
tribunal for remarks about a "Jewish gene" 
while in Israel, Lysenko  biology is alive and well.  Our highly educated Interior Minister Eli Yishai, a deeply religious xenophobe tells us that by Orthodox conversion a person can acquire a Jewish gene.  The exact
quote by Yishai-"A convert, if he converts through the Orthodox, he has the Jewish gene. If he doesn't convert
through the Orthodox, he doesn't have the Jewish gene. As simple as that."
This quote is taken from an interview the interior minister of the Jewish State and the Shas
party leader, Eli Yishai, gave to the editor
of The Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz (August 8, 2010 ).  A detailed
is given by Akiva Eldar. 
I think we need to face up to the fact that Orthodox Jews are not terribly pleasant people.  Yossi Gurvitz in his
Hebrew  blog gives us some insight about what life would be like
if we had a state governed by religious/halacha law instead of our secular legal system.   We would have capital punishment restored with one mode of execution the pouring of molten lead down the gullet of the victim.  To be fair, we also have stoning, dunghill hanging/garroting and a few other nice things.  On the
other hand, let me give some time to an Orthodox
Rabbi from Los Angeles who tells us that we should not judge any group by its extremists. 
Unfortunately Rabbi Fink is, in my humble opinion, a bit too charitable.  In many cases, it is the tail
that wags the dog, such as the reactions of many people in Israel to the racist and evil statements of
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef who called for a
pestilence to wipe out the Palestinian people.
Our nice liberal Prime Minister dissociated the government from the statement (why? is the rabbi in the cabinet?)
but did not condemn the sentiments expressed.

Much has been written about the destruction of the village of El Arakeeb.  We went there to demonstrate for whatever it is worth.  I cannot add much to the outrage, but there is one aspect that has not been given much publicity.  I refer to the use of juvenile vandals by the police in carrying out the horrible task of driving people from their homes.  The legal aspects are complex, but the moral aspects of how racism is applied are clear.
The role of teen age barbarians  in this crime is frightening for our future here.

There is a flap in Israel now about artists refusing to perform in the Occupied Territories.  For details, click.
Sometimes something good happens and even justice can raise its head around here.  I refer to the civil court decision in which the Army was found to be responsible for the death of the ten year old child

Abir Ibrahim who was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier while buying candy at a kiosk during a school break.  The Army has refused to investigate but now it is under High Court order to do so  The winning of the civil case is a first instance of justice here.  I recommend reading the link because it shows that we have in our judiciary people who are not afraid of uniforms and that is comforting.

There is much more to rant about such as Eden  Abergil who claims she would like to butcher all Arabs, but she is  yesterday's news..  
Let me say
farewell with a Gene Weingarten Below the Beltway.  

I will throw in an Andy Borowitz for the same price.

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