Say What?!

Chermine Sleiman Haidar

Opinions Editor

At the most recent UNHCR council in Geneva, Israel was declared top Human Rights violator in the world. To many, this is no surprise. It is a well-deserved, if not inherently entitled, rank in the list.

In an opinions piece entitled “Say what?! UN Human Rights Council declares Israel world’s No. 1 human rights violator,” published on Fox News’ website on the day of the council, the author expresses why and how the UN’s claim is based on biases.

As the article reads:

Think of it this way:  500,000 dead in Syria, forced starvation and mass torture in North Korea, systematic and lethal oppression in Iran, gender apartheid in Saudi Arabia, and an elementary lack of basic freedoms affecting over a billion in Russia and China.

But at the U.N. Human Rights Council, little democratic Israel is the problem.

What should appear under the title of Satire runs under Opinions in ‘little right-wing Fox News.’

Settlements that are proven to have absolutely no legal validity and constant massive violations of international law are still overlooked in the Palestine-Israeli global human rights’ debate.

Cases like that of Israel are not to be compared to Syria, as they have very little – if any – political similarities. Syria has been undergoing a conflict since 2011. Israel is a peaceful nation by itself, that has been oppressing Palestinians by all means possible for the past few decades.

Syria’s violations are talked about all around the world; we hear of the suffering of the people everyday. Heartbreaking pictures and videos are going viral on mainstream media. And, so, the author asks herself, ‘how then is ‘little democratic Israel’ preceding Syria on the UN’s list?’

The aforementioned claim is an ill-informed statement that completely disregards the complexity of the situation in Syria. There is no denial that the Syrian government colossally violates human rights and inflicts immense suffering on the vast majority of the population.

Yet, the Syrian regime’s violations do not excuse Israel’s pertaining violations of Palestinians’ fundamental rights.

The United States publically appear to be strong believers in human rights and liberal thoughts. And yet, when it comes to the rights of some minorities, such as Palestinians, the villain is raised on a pedestal.

There is nothing “little” about one of the most powerful militaries in the world. There is definitely nothing “little” about a state that has proven once and again that by using means of force, an entire people can be oppressed and displaced.

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