Late yesterday the State Department released its annual review of the human rights situation around the world. When it comes to Israel and the Middle East, the report is unreal and disgusting. The AP’s account of this year’s report is “U.S. cites Israel, Palestinians, China for human rights abuses.”
This past June we publised an op-ed column that was extremely critical of last year’s report (the column is available on the left under the heading “Arafat”). This year’s report does not fare much better and is in some respects much worse. The State Department’s site for relevant links to the various sections of the report is available as “Country Reports for Human Rights Practices 2002.” The country report on Israel is available under the heading “Israel and the occupied territories” — a heading that is itself a bad sign.
Anyone who has ever visited Israel knows from first-hand experience that it is one of the freest countries on the face of the earth, although it operates perpetually under the gravest threats to the security of its citizens. It is simply not possible to perceive this most basic fact about Israel from the department’s report. Instead, we get both sickening moral equivalence between Israel and its enemies as well as the kind of tripe that is used to indict American society by American liberals.
For example, consider this paragraph discussing the treatment of Israel’s Arab citizens — citizens who are freer than those of the citizens of any Arab state in the Middle East: “The Government did not allocate sufficient resources or take adequate measures to provide Israeli Arabs, who constitute approximately 20 percent of the population, with the same quality of government services, as well as the same opportunities for government employment, as Jews. In ddition, Government spending was proportionally far lower in predominantly Arab areas than in Jewish areas; on a per capita basis, the Government spent two-thirds as much for Arabs as for Jews.”
You get the idea. This is a subject that deserves much more attention and comment. In the meantime, if you can stand it, take a look at the linked materials yourself.
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