A matter of convenience
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A matter of convenience

Notice how all eyes are turned toward Israel in the aftermath of the flotilla incident.

How convenient. It diverts attention from more serious issues and allows countries with questionable human rights records to masquerade as humanitarians.

Take Turkey, for example, a country that certainly protests too much about perceived Israeli misbehavior. This is the same country that during the years 1915 to 1923 annihilated some one and a half million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire – and denied doing it.

This space has long questioned the refusal by the United States and Israel to hold Turkey publicly accountable for that genocide. Now, having long tolerated Turkey’s “big lie,” we are paying big time.

Once again, Turkey has denied fomenting violence (in this case, on a ship headed for Gaza), and, once again, seems to be getting away with it.

Significantly, while the Jerusalem Post reported on June 11 that the captain of the Mavi Marmara had tried to convince dozens of Turkish activists not to engage in violent clashes with the Israel Defense Forces, it quotes a Swedish security expert as saying that the operation could not have been carried out without “high-level government sanction.”

The organized Jewish community seems to have decided that Turkey is too important an ally, in many senses, to alienate. It also wants to protect Jews living in Turkey and to mend, as far as possible, Israeli relations with that country. (See page 33.)

We understand the delicacy of the situation, but truth and history compel a sharper assessment.

Iran, of course, has led the chorus of voices blasting Israel for its perceived heartlessness. This from a country where serial arrests and bloody crackdowns on dissidents continue unabated.

A recent U.N. statement – agreed to by 56 nations, less than a third of all U.N. members – called for that country to make good on its pledge to improve human rights, including “the violent suppression of dissent, detention, and executions without due process of law, severe discrimination against women and minorities including people of Baha’i faith, and restrictions of expression and religion.”

With all due respect to the framers of that statement, don’t hold your breath.

Human rights abuses deserve – demand – outrage. Right now, for example, the collective eyes of the world should be on the fierce ethnic fighting in southern Kyrgyzstan, where some quarter-million people are fleeing the violence between members of the ethnic Uzbek minority and Kyrgyz from surrounding villages.

Sadly, that’s not likely to happen. Consistency anyone?

L.G.

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