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Letters to the editor
The Islamist onslaught
There are eddies and there are tides, and a powerful element of Islamic culture is tidal (“Divorce, Palestinian style,” Commentary, Saturday). We would like to believe that U.S. policy, or U.N. action, or even more economic aid will turn the Islamic world toward representative government and adherence to fundamental human rights. But these are only eddies in the face of a tidal wave of passion for a theocratic empire in many countries.
It would be wrong for the Western democracies to disengage from this struggle, but it will be from within the wave itself (adherents to Islam) that the direction will be set, whether the wave breaks against the wall of a human yearning for liberty, or washes over much of the world. The impetus for change must come from strong (even self-sacrificing) Islamic voices. When we find these voices we should help and not abandon them when the going gets tough. In the meantime, we may need the occasional Charles Martel to beat back the onslaught.
The article on the United Nations Human Rights Council (“U.N. council halts permanent probes of Cuba, Belarus,” Page 1, Tuesday) rightly criticized the supposedly reformed body for abolishing the independent investigations on the dire human-rights situations in Cuba and Belarus.
It failed to mention, however, the reinstitution of the notorious anti-Israel agenda item of its discredited predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights. The new Item 7 on the council’s permanent agenda singles out Israel for selective and discriminatory treatment, while granting the violators exculpatory immunity. Regrettably, this discriminatory and one-sided approach on Israel has become not the exception but the norm. So far, the new council has held three special sessions and passed 11 resolutions against Israel, while failing to condemn any other of the 191 countries of the world.
Astonishingly, Canada’s attempt to vote against the reform package was denied by council president Luis Alfonso de Alba and his colleagues. Only at the United Nations, it seems, can consensus be achieved without consent.
That the West managed to rescue some of the key mechanisms established under the commission is important, but hardly a victory to be proud of certainly not for a body that High Commissioner for Human RightsLouise Arbour heralded as the dawn of a new era.
HILLEL C. NEUER
United Nations Watch
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