Heart-Earned Wisdom: Human Rights or Human Life

Human Rights or Human Life

Two summers ago, Camp Koby, the camp for children bereaved by Palestinian terror named after my 13-year-old son Koby Mandell, hosted then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni and the UN Special Rapporteur On The Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967. The Special Reporteur had just returned from Sederot, where he had been introduced to the trauma of living under the reign of rocket terror perpetrated at that time and until Operation Cast Lead by the Hamas "government" in the Gaza Strip. The Foreign Ministry thought it would be appropriate to use Camp Koby as a backdrop for the meeting. In return, Livni and the UN representative addressed Camp Koby teens.

At dinner I was surprised to see Tzipi reading from a script when addressing the Reporteur. I was less surprised to hear the Special Reporteur, who worked for the notoriously anti-Israel "UN Commission on Human Rights" talk about the alleged violation of human rights perpetrated by the Israelis.

"But sir," I said, "The restrictions on the Palestinian population are a result of actions by the Palestinian terrorists who are trying to murder innocent Israelis like my 13-year-old son Koby. Sometimes it comes down to a choice between human rights and human life."

Tzipi looked at me, a bit surprised. "Yes," she said "human rights or human life, that is the question." She seemed to like the phrase, as did I, and repeated it several times. But the Special Reporteur was unmoved, and Tzipi continued to her next point.

I was reminded of this encounter when reading about an upcoming Rabbis for Human Rights conference that will, according to The Jerusalem Post, "scrutinize the moral, legal and religious dimensions of Operation Cast Lead." The Army quite rightly has decided not to participate in what will no doubt be an Israel Defense Force bashing festival of leftist de-legitimization by Breaking the Silence, B'Tzelem and others.