When I tell people I do human rights work, they immediately assume I am some sort of leftist. (Now, if people also know that I have a Ph.D. from an Ivy League University, live in Chicago, am a vegetarian, and am also Jewish; it seems impossible for me to be anything else.) Their assumption is wrong, however, as I like to characterize my work as “human rights from the right.” The assumption exists, however, because the left claims a monopoly on human rights work, has appropriated its language for its dubious purposes, considers conservatives—the way our First Lady described the US—as “downright mean”; and the media and other opinion makers promote those assumptions. The self-styled human rights standard bearers—Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the UN Human Rights Commission—act on the belief that the United States is the “evil empire” and that Israel’s sole raison d’être is to oppress Muslims. The human rights deception is not only false but destructive as well because it recognizes collective rights when asserting individual rights is the way to oppose oppression and pull out of abject poverty. It also self-servingly defines human rights activism in terms of handouts (read: redistribution) and anti-US, anti-Israel screeds. A verdict last month in an Indian courtroom on one of the left’s and Islam’s biggest human rights shibboleths, however, exposed this deception.
In 2002, Hindus in the Indian state of Gujarat attacked local Muslim communities, resulting in death and destruction. Now, to be clear and before people cry that my piece justifies the collective attacks, there can be no justification for deliberately targeting innocents, regardless of people’s anger or the events that sparked it. I will leave that sort of dubious morality to those who ignore Arab attacks on innocent Israelis in Sderot and elsewhere. What is also not justified, however, is the way the “usual suspects” have defined the actions as “Hindu extremism” and used it to throw rocks at every effort from the Indian Right. Their definition has now become “common knowledge” and another bit of evidence that seems to support the Muslim community’s attempt to paint itself as an international victim. The aforementioned verdict exposes that lie.
Gujarat, however, was not an anti-Muslim event, so much as it was an inter-communal event with blame enough for both Hindu and Muslim communities. In the left’s rants about the riots, it conveniently forgets to highlight the grisly event that sparked them: the crime of arson on a train of Hindus returning from a religious pilgrimage that also caused death and destruction. On February 21, 2011, an Indian court ruled that the arson was deliberate and the work of Muslim community leaders. Demonstrating that the court was not biased, it actually acquitted two-thirds of the defendants, convicting 31, ten of whom received a death sentence. Moreover, while it took nine years for India to admit that the inter-communal violence was the result of a planned event by Muslim leaders, while it long ago arrested others for their part in the riots that followed—including a Member of Parliament and other prominent individuals. But it did not stop the left from demonizing Hindus and the Indian Right.
What’s the point? After almost a decade of biased reporting, no verdict will remove from the public minds the false claim that Gujarat is evidence that Muslims do not enjoy equal rights in India; another screed that demonizes the Indian Right as deadly and bigoted. Just as Muslims, the left, and the uniformed still believe that Israelis killed Muhammad al-Dura and in the phantom Jenin massacre; even though both accusations have long ago been proven false.
Call them co-conspirators or simple useful idiots, but through its blind adherence to ideology over people, those elements in the international human rights industry that are wedded to leftist ideology and the petrodollars that fund them have become an indispensible cog in the wheel of international jihad—instead of representing the best in all of us.
Posted on 03/10/2011 7:54 AM by Richard L. Benkin