What a hutzpa

THE REUT report has already generated a significant buzz and a wide range of incredible responses.

Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
One of the most important documents about the delegitimization process against Israel was recently published by the Reut Institute. It reported that over the past year, Israel has been the subject of a campaign of unprecendented force – which reached its peak with the Goldstone Report – against it in North America and Europe, “where Israel is slowly becoming a ‘state beyond the pale’ as its right to exist is challenged.”
It describes two types of networks – the “resistance network” comprised of nations, NGOs and individulals who reject Israel’s right to exist on the basis of ideology, and the “delegitimization network” comprised of those who reject its right to exist based on a combination of political objections, including branding Israel as the ultimate “human rights violator.”
The report states that these networks have devised seemingly effective strategies to advance their claims and that their success “stems from their ability to engage and mobilize others.”
The report goes on to mention that Israel has presented an “inadequate systemic response” and offers counter-strategies and proposes policy changes for fighting back against the posed “existential threat.”
THE REUT report has yet to be translated into English (an executive summary is available on the Reut Web site) but has already generated a significant buzz and a wide range of incredible responses.
One of these responses is that of Bouthaina Shaaban, a former minister in the Syrian government, who currently serves as a senior adviser to President Bashar Assad.
The text, titled “The Decade of the Victory for Freedom and Justice,” published in CounterPunch magazine, is incredible because it confirms the report’s claim: The struggle against Israel has shifted to the arena of “human rights,” in whose name the campaign to delegitimize Israel is waged.
Shaaban’s text is seemingly lifted straight from the hundreds of thousands of publications put forward by those in the human rights field. Israel is a terrorist, racist state which tramples on human rights and kills “peace activists” in cold blood, and even the “Jewish Justice Goldstone,” Shaaban pointedly emphasizes, affirms the claims regarding the essence of the State of Israel.
It seems that Shaaban’s article proves the central claim on the issue of Israel’s delegitimization: The struggle is not that of the enlightened and the humanists against a dark state. Precisely the opposite: It’s a struggle waged by the forces of darkness, who have taken control over the “human rights discourse,” against the free world in general and Israel in particular.
And how does her article prove this? Because the Syrian regime is one of the darkest regimes in the world. Someone should remind Shaaban, the senior Syrian official, of Aref Dalila, Anwar al-Bouni, Michel Kilo, Mahmoud Issa and many other intellectuals, who were arrested by the Assad regime, first the father’s, then the son’s, simply because they demanded more freedom.
Shaaban, in her audacity, invokes the name of Nelson Mandela. In response, I’d like to remind her of Riad al-Turk, called the “Syrian Nelson Mandela,” who spent two decades in jail and was released only as he was dying, when the regime feared he would perish in jail.
Or of the author Habib Saleh, who was jailed simply for expressing support for al-Turk. They committed no crime, they didn’t blame Syria for “slaughter” or for “crimes against humanity,” they didn’t demand that boycotts be imposed on their country, and they didn’t sign petitions opposing the right of the Syrian nation to a sovereign state.
This happens in Israel all the time and nobody gets arrested, and that’s a good thing. But in Syria, a simple demand for a tiny drop of freedom of expression is obstructed by the strong hand of a ruthless regime. And we still haven’t said a word about the prohibition on forming political parties, or the oppression of the Kurdish minority, which can only view the situation of Israel’s Arab citizens with envy. Let’s see one of them express one-thousandth of what every Arab politician in Israel says and manage to stay out of jail for even 24 hours. No chance.
This terrible reality doesn’t disturb Shaaban when she dares to write such an article. What a hutzpa. She knows that no one will tell her, “Excuse me, madame, from where do you derive your audacity, to open your mouth, when you represent one of the darkest regimes in the world, which sends people to jail on the basis of their opinions?”
Because the real coalition today consists of the human rights industry and the dark forces that have usurped control over it. This is a coalition of the industry of lies. This is a coalition of the Human Rights Council, that founded the Goldstone commission. This is a coalition that activates the delegitimization campaign, and operates between Damascus and the Berkeley campus.
So we have to thank Shaaban. If it wasn’t clear before how ridiculousthe human rights industry is, the Syrian human rights devotee has madesure to remind us. The good news is that in the Arab world, there arereal human rights activists. The bad news is that they’re in jail, andthe Western-based human rights industry, like the left-wingCounterPunch magazine, cooperates with Shaaban. Not with those theregime of Shaaban sends to jail.
The writer is a regular columnist at Maariv.