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Showing posts from May, 2011

'B+' on democracy, 'D'- on Israel-Arab conflict

Truth is there's something for everyone in President Obama's MidEast speech: support for reform, commitment to Israel, Palestinian state, opposition to Iran & Syria.
But at base two things must be recognized: They're beginning to understand democracy; they still don't understand the Arab-Israeli conflict.
First, the Obama administration understands the issues relating to the desire for freedom in the Middle East, including the dangers - and should get credit for supporting and promoting democracy and reform in the region. Obama has started to talk the talk - not only applauding, but demanding that regimes in power, including Syria and Iran, stop killing their people and start responding to the legitimate demands of the governed. And walking the walk - in steps, and a bit late, but still important - by giving massive aid ($2 billion in funds and debt-forgiveness to Egypt alone!). What a message to the protesters in Syria and Yemen (and Gaza and Iran): overthrow you…

Taking back the banner of Human Rights - Sharansky article in NY Times May 17

A Moment of Moral ClarityBy NATAN SHARANSKYHow many protesters must a regime murder before it is no longer fit for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council? How many thousands of dissidents must it jail? How many acts of international terrorism must it instigate?The line is invisible — but Syria, having too openly crossed it, has now been forced to vacate its candidacy in the May 20 elections to the council.It is good that Syria has been removed, just as it is good that Libya has been suspended from membership.But what was Muammar el-Qaddafi’s blood-soaked regime doing on a human-rights body in the first place? What separates it and Syria from Cuba, China and the other dictatorships that make up the council majority and brazenly sit in judgment on the human-rights record of others? Why has the free world remained largely silent? In the run-up to the elections, such questions are more urgent than ever.Something very important and very dramatic is happening in the Arab-Muslim Middle East…