Human Rights Watch Courts the Mullahs
By: John Perazzo
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, August 03, 2006
During these tense times in the Middle East, at least Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can have a good laugh over the pathetic July 26 letter addressed to him by the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, Sarah Leah Whitson. “Dear President Ahmadinejad,” the letter solemnly begins, “We [at HRW] are aware that you have recently expressed great concern about the current fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, citing in particular the large numbers of Lebanese civilian victims of this conflict.”
Your eyes do not deceive you. HRW believes, at least publicly, that it is communicating with an individual (Ahmadinejad) who actually gives a damn – for reasons other than political expediency – about the oft-lamented “civilian victims” whose sufferings presumably cause him to weep and pray for peace. Ms. Whitson seems unaware that the addressee of her letter has repeatedly, unabashedly characterized Israel as a loathsome “tumor” whose civilians and non-civilians alike “must be wiped off the map” of the planet earth.
To demonstrate her organization’s unwavering solidarity with Ahmadinejad’s commendable “concern” about the well-being of innocent noncombatants in Lebanon, Whitson takes pains to assure him of the following: “Human Rights Watch is also [emphasis added] extremely concerned about the price civilians are paying – on both sides of the border. We have questioned the lawfulness of Israel’s attacks under international humanitarian law in light of the extremely high proportion of civilians among those killed and wounded and the devastation these attacks have caused to infrastructure essential to the civilian population. We have stressed to Israel the imperative of providing safe passage to civilians seeking to flee the fighting and for relief convoys into and out of areas affected by the fighting. To that end, we are monitoring and reporting on Israeli abuses.”
Then, in a paragraph of the politest decorum, Whitson writes: “[W]e urge you to remind Hezbollah that its actions as a group [that is] engaged in armed conflict subject it to the requirements of international humanitarian law. As such, it is bound to conduct hostilities in compliance with customary international humanitarian law and common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.” What will come next? Will HRW implore Osama bin Laden to “remind” his al Qaeda foot soldiers to never lose sight of their cherished principles of tolerance, religious freedom, and Jeffersonian democracy? Whitson demonstrates beyond dispute that she possesses not a scintilla of insight into the nature of Islamofascism as embodied in the likes of Hezbollah and Ahmadinejad – both of whom, in HRW’s calculus, would be pleased to find a viable way to live in peaceful coexistence with Israel.
“Iran should seek assurances from Hezbollah,” Whitson continues, “that the organization is not locating weapons, launching attacks, and stationing combatants in civilian structures or in or close to civilian populated areas.” But the use of human shields is precisely Hezbollah’s modus operandi, as it has been throughout the many years during which Iran has supported that organization to the tune of $100 million annually. What could be more nonsensical than to prevail upon the supposedly benign intervention of the very man (Ahmadinejad) who now arms Hezbollah, and who recently declared, with eager anticipation, that “the annihilation of the Zionist regime” is close at hand.
“An intervention with Hezbollah,” Whitson continues, “provides you [President Ahmadinejad] an opportunity to demonstrate that Iran is serious about protecting civilians in this war by addressing potential violations of international humanitarian law by your country’s ally [Hezbollah].” The implication is that heretofore Iran has been an uninvolved observer watching from the sidelines, anxiously wringing its hands in hopes that its belligerent Hezbollah comrades might soon lay down their arms and break bread with Jews. From reading Whitson’s words, one would never suspect that Iran was not only responsible for Hezbollah’s creation in 1982, but that it is entirely responsible for having transformed the latter into a formidable military force today. Whitson writes as if she has painstakingly uncovered (and civic-mindedly revealed to Ahmadinejad) a previously elusive plan for achieving the good relations with Israel that the Iranian president presumably seeks above all else. There is no hint that she takes seriously his recent proclamation that Muslim armies would “soon wipe off this disgraceful blot [Israel] from the face of the Islamic world.”
Ms. Whitson ends her letter as she began it – pathetically. “Finally,” she writes, “we urge you to make clear that further Iranian support for Hezbollah, including any prospective supply of military assistance, will be contingent on its compliance with these demands.” This statement ignores the fact that no Iranian support for Hezbollah is justified according to the stipulations of UN Resolution 1559 (passed in 2004), which called for “the disbanding and disarmament of all … militias” in Lebanon.
HRW’s letter to Ahmadinejad illustrates vividly the greatest weakness of the modern Left – its steadfast refusal to recognize the existence of maniacal, genocidal evil (other than in the hearts of Western figures like President Bush or Donald Rumsfeld), and to deal with it forcefully and with moral certitude. Rather, the Left considers the mere suggestion that such a brand of evil even exists – particularly in cultures outside the West – to be prima facie evidence of Western racism, ethnocentrism, and “blaming the victim.” Thus we witness the sorry spectacle of a “human rights” organization like HRW comforting itself, as detailed above, with polite, decorous, gentlemanly communiqués to devils who have unambiguously announced their desire to exterminate the “infidels” of Israel and America. Moreover, we see HRW and its ideological kin ever-so-gently and respectfully urging the political intervention of a man who has publicly lauded the “very wise statement” of the “dear Imam” (Ayatollah Khomeini) which “ordered that the occupying regime in Jerusalem be wiped off the face of the earth.”
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