| The world’s blatant double standard – in #ziocolony Israel’s favour!

The world’s blatant double standard – in Israel’s favor ~ , +972.

The American Studies Association may be singling out Israel for boycott, but if you look at the serious, painful punishments the world metes out to oppressor nations, Israel is not being singled out, it’s being let off the hook.

As of Friday at noon, a Google search of “human rights sanctions” turns up over 40 million results. There are human rights sanctions and other punishments against ChinaRussiaIranSyriaZimbabweSudanYemenBelarusCubaNorth Korea and lots of other countries. And these sanctions weren’t put in place by some minor academic group like the American Studies Association, but by the United States of America, the European Union and/or the United Nations Security Council. Furthermore, these sanctions hurt those countries quite a bit more than the ASA’s boycott of Israeli colleges is likely to hurt Israel.

Yet you would think from the reaction to the recent ASA boycott that no other country in the world is being punished for its human rights violations. Everybody’s jumping on ASA president Curtis Marez’s quote on why the organization was going after Israel instead of other, far worse malefactors: “One has to start somewhere,” he told The New York Times. But while the ASA may be starting with Israel, the powers-that-be in the world have gone after any number of human-rights violating countries – yet still haven’t gotten to Israel and its 46-year military dictatorship over the Palestinians.

If you look at the serious, painful punishments the world metes out to oppressor nations, Israel is not being singled out, it’s being let off the hook.

Would Israel’s defenders like to see the world treat this country like it treats Iran – by “bringing it to its knees” with “crippling sanctions,” not to mention the clamor from some quarters to bomb its nuclear facilities?

Or would they like Israel to be treated like Syria – by freezing its foreign assets and denying entry to any Israeli involved in the occupation? Would they want the U.S. to arm some of the groups fighting Israel? Would they have preferred Israel being one step away from getting bombed by the U.S.? Would they rather that the world powers destroy Israel’s chemical weapons – or would they choose the ASA boycott?

Or if not like Syria, would Israel’s advocates want this country to be treated like China – with the U.S. vetoing its international loan applications and the U.S. and EU imposing an arms embargo on it? By the way, lots of countries are faced with arms embargoes by the U.S., EU and/or the UN, including Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Israel, by contrast, gets $3 billion worth of arms from America every year.

And how about Zimbabwe; would Alan Dershowitz have Israel trade the ASA boycott for Zimbabwe’s punishments? Not only does the African nation face an embargo on arms, it’s up against one on international loans, too. Its fearless leader Robert Mugabe has been made radioactive – anybody who has dealings with him stands to have his assets frozen and his entry barred to the U.S. and EU.

Even big, powerful Russia has it worse than Israel – 18 Russian officials said to be involved in the prison killing of dissident lawyer Sergei Magnitzky in 2009 have had their assets frozen and their entry barred to the U.S., and there are constant calls for the EU to follow suit. How many Palestinians have been killed wrongfully by Israeli soldiers, police, Shin Bet agents and settlers during the occupation; are the U.S. and EU punishing any of them or their superiors for that?

And now, because of its anti-gay laws and statements and the gay-bashing climate they’ve encouraged, Russia is facing boycotts far more powerful than the one imposed by the ASA. Gay bars around the world are boycotting Russian vodka.And the movement to boycott next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi is booming. Here’s an irony: Bibi Netanyahu himself just agreed to join other world leaders, starting with Obama, in boycotting the Games. Do Obama, Cameron, Hollande and their colleagues boycott any Israeli showcase event because of the occupation, which is an incomparably worse crime than Russia’s anti-gay laws and harassment?

The Western powers can punish Russia, they can punish China, they can lay in to Iran, Syria, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Sudan and the like – but they won’t touch Israel (the European Union’s wussy “guidelines” notwithstanding). Indeed, the strongest country in the world not only won’t punish Israel for its near half-century of tyranny over the Palestinians, it keeps feeding it arms while shielding it in the UN. America coddles Israel, the world’s last outpost of colonialism, like few countries have ever been coddled by a superpower in history.

The occupation is not, by any means, a human rights violation on the scale of Assad’s butchery, or the Congo’s, or Sudan’s, or Zimbabwe’s, for example. But it is a greater one than, for example, Iran’s nuclear program, or Cuba’s communism, or Russia’s killing of Sergei Magnitzky and its anti-gay policy – yet Israel gets off scot-free.  The world doesn’t punish this country unfairly – it doesn’t punish this country at all, while America rewards it lavishly.

The ASA boycott, like the rest of the BDS movement’s achievements, are not examples of the world’s double standard against Israel – they’re  Quixotic, rearguard actions against the world’s blatant double standard in Israel’s favor.  If this country were treated with a minuscule fraction of the severity the West ordinarily visits on human rights violators,  the occupation would have ended long ago.

Related:
The academic boycott of Israel: No easy answers
Peter Gabriel to UK: Condition Israel ties on respect for human rights
What can we learn from the Israel apartheid analogy?

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| Tony B’Liar denies asking Thabo Mbeki to ‘help invade Zimbabwe!’

Tony Blair asked me to ‘help invade Zimbabwe’, says Thabo Mbeki ~ David Blair, Chief Foreign Correspondent, The Telegraph.

South Africa’s former president claims that his country was asked to help Britain topple Robert Mugabe

Prime minister Tony Blair (L) and South African deputy President Thabo Mbeki in 1999

Prime minister Tony Blair with South African deputy President Thabo Mbeki in 1999 Photo: AFP

Tony Blair’s Government asked South Africa to help Britain invadeZimbabwe and topple Robert Mugabe by force, Thabo Mbeki, the former president, has claimed.

When Zimbabwe began sinking into economic collapse and political repression in 2000, South Africa and Britain held starkly different views over how to respond to the crisis. Mr Mbeki favoured a negotiated settlement; Mr Blair wanted Mr Mugabe to go, by force if necessary.

“The problem was, we were speaking from different positions,” said Mr Mbeki, who served as South Africa’s president from 1999 until 2008. “There were other people saying ‘yes indeed there are political problems, economic problems, the best way to solve them is regime change. So Mugabe must go’. This was the difference. So they said ‘Mugabe must go’. But we said ‘Mugabe is part of the solution to this problem’.”

Mr Mbeki recalled an interview given by Lord Guthrie, who was Chief of the Defence Staff and Britain’s most senior soldier throughout Mr Blair’s first government. In 2007, Lord Guthrie disclosed that “people were always trying to get me to look at” toppling Mr Mugabe by force.

He did not say whether these requests had come from the Prime Minister himself. In any event, Lord Guthrie said that his advice was: “Hold hard, you’ll make it worse” – suggesting that the idea was never a serious proposition.

But Mr Mbeki noted: “There is a retired chief of the British armed forces and [he] said that he had to withstand pressure from the then prime minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, who was saying to the chief of the British armed forces, ‘you must work out a military plan so we that can physically remove Robert Mugabe’.”

Mr Mbeki said this came as no surprise. “We knew that, because we had come under the same pressure, and that we need to cooperate in some scheme – it was a regime change scheme – even to the point of using military force, and we said ‘no’,” he said in an interview with al-Jazeera.

Mr Mbeki explained that the idea was rejected on principle because Britain had no right to decide who leads African countries. “You are coming from London, you don’t like Robert Mugabe for whatever reason – people in London don’t like him – and we are going to remove him and we are going to put someone else in his place? Why does it become British responsibility to decide who leads the people of Zimbabwe?” asked Mr Mbeki. “So we said ‘no, let Zimbabweans sit down, let them talk’.”

In 2000 and 2001, Mr Mugabe repeatedly accused Britain of plotting not only to overthrow his regime, but also to re-colonise Zimbabwe. At various points, he claimed that Britain had sent “hit squads” to assassinate his cabinet – and deployed warships to intercept Zimbabwe’s fuel supplies on the high seas.

This became a central pillar of his rhetoric as he tried to rally support against a new opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change.

State television reported in 2000 that a British invasion force had been deployed in neighbouring Botswana, implausibly claiming that a naval flotilla was present in the landlocked Okavango Delta.

But Mr Blair’s memoirs have no mention of Mr Mbeki, or of any planned operation in Zimbabwe – and only fleeting references to Mr Mugabe.

Given that Lord Guthrie declined to look at the idea – and no military preparations appear to have been made during that period – it seems highly unlikely that any British intervention was ever a real possibility.

UPDATE:

A spokesman for Mr Blair later said: “Tony Blair has long believed that Zimbabwe would be much better off without Robert Mugabe and always argued for a tougher stance against him, but he never asked anyone to plan or take part in any such military intervention.”

Additional reporting by Peta Thornycroft

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Tony Blair denies asking South Africa to help overthrow Robert Mugabe ~

David Blair, Chief Foreign Correspondent, The Telegraph.

 

Tony Blair says that he believed Zimbabwe would be better off without Robert Mugabe, but he never asked anyone to ‘plan or take part in’ military action.

 

Tony Blair has denied ever planning to intervene in Zimbabwe and topple Robert Mugabe after Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s former president, claimed that he was asked to help such an operation.

The former Prime Minister took the unusual step of denying Mr Mbeki’s version of events, recounted in an interview with al-Jazeera.

When Zimbabwe sank into economic collapse and political repression in 2000, South Africa and Britain had starkly different views over how to respond. Mr Mbeki favoured a negotiated settlement; Mr Blair wanted Mr Mugabe to go.

“The problem was, we were speaking from different positions,” remembered Mr Mbeki. “There were other people saying ‘yes indeed there are political problems, economic problems, the best way to solve them is regime change. So Mugabe must go’. This was the difference. So they said ‘Mugabe must go’. But we said ‘Mugabe is part of the solution to this problem’.”

Mr Mbeki recalled that Lord Guthrie, who was Chief of the Defence Staff throughout Mr Blair’s first government, said in 2007 that “people were always trying to get me to look at” the option of toppling Mr Mugabe by force.

Lord Guthrie did not say whether these requests had come from Mr Blair himself. In any event, Lord Guthrie said that his advice was: “Hold hard, you’ll make it worse” – suggesting that the idea was never a serious proposition.

But Mr Mbeki noted: “There is a retired chief of the British armed forces and [he] said that he had to withstand pressure from the then prime minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, who was saying to the chief of the British armed forces, ‘you must work out a military plan so we that can physically remove Robert Mugabe’.”

Mr Mbeki said that was no surprise. “We knew that, because we had come under the same pressure, and that we need to cooperate in some scheme – it was a regime change scheme – even to the point of using military force, and we said ‘no’.”

However, a spokesman for the former Prime Minister said: “Tony Blair has long believed that Zimbabwe would be much better off without Robert Mugabe and always argued for a tougher stance against him, but he never asked anyone to plan or take part in any such military intervention.”

In 2000 and 2001, Mr Mugabe repeatedly accused Britain of plotting not only to overthrow his regime, but also to re-colonise Zimbabwe. At various points, he claimed that Britain had sent “hit squads” to assassinate his cabinet – and deployed warships to intercept Zimbabwe’s fuel supplies on the high seas.

This became a central pillar of his rhetoric as he tried to rally support against a new opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change.

State television reported in 2000 that a British invasion force had been deployed in neighbouring Botswana, implausibly claiming that a naval flotilla was present in the landlocked Okavango Delta.

Mr Blair’s memoirs have no mention of Mr Mbeki – and only fleeting references to Mr Mugabe.

Given that Lord Guthrie declined to look at the idea of intervening, Mr Blair denies asking for any such plans – and no military preparations appear to have been made – it seems unlikely that any British operation was ever a real possibility.

Additional reporting by Peta Thornycroft

Phoney Tony