Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Israel Signs Ironic Human Rights Declaration

In a precedent-setting move, Israel signed the UN's anti-discrimination declaration that calls for decriminalization of homosexuality. The declaration was sponsored by France and Holland and signed by 66 countries. Syria sponsored an opposing declaration, which 60 countries signed. Conspicuously absent from either declaration was the U.S.

But no matter.

The interesting thing here is not Israel recognizing the human rights of homosexuals- Tel Aviv, in particular, has been an accepting city for gays and lesbians for quite some time. The newsworthy bit about this is that this is the first time any country has formally recognized the human rights of sexual minorities before recognizing the human rights of racial minorities.

Approximately one million Israeli Arabs are treated as second class citizens- many have reported housing discrimination, job discrimination, violent attacks, and property damage- and millions more are treated worse than animals in Gaza and the West Bank.

Ha'aretz writes:
The declaration strongly condemns “all forms of stereotyping, exclusion, stigmatization, prejudice, intolerance and discrimination and violence directed against peoples, communities and individuals on any ground whatsoever, wherever they occur, and especially use of the death penalty and the practice of torture and other forms of cruelty for reasons of sexual identity.”
Yet the Israeli government tacitly and explicitly supports this sort of treatment of Palestinians, both living inside Israel as Israeli citizens, and those living in the West Bank and Gaza. I do not post here every injustice I see, hear about, or read about, because they are too numerous. My blog would become a laundry list of human rights abuses if I were to cull from the Internet every single violation of international law by Israel. Government-sanctioned racial violence and humiliation happens every day, everywhere that Palestinians live, work, or shop.

For just a sampling of this week's abuses in Israel and the occupied territories go here, here, and here.


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