David Harris

To the weekend protesters

This weekend, there have been large protests on the streets of London, Cape Town, and Santiago, and smaller demonstrations in Paris and New York.

Were they marching in support of the tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians in Iraq who face imminent murder and starvation on a mountaintop at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?

Were they marching in support of the non-Muslims in the path of ISIS, who are confronted with a hauntingly similar edict to what Russian Jews faced under Czar Alexander III, namely, one-third will convert, one-third will be compelled to emigrate, and one-third will be killed?

Were they marching in support of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians who’ve already been forced by ISIS from their ancestral homes in cities like Mosul, including those who were reportedly beheaded and crucified?

Or were they perhaps marching in support of the beleaguered Syrians?

Were they marching in support of an end to the Assad regime’s campaign, begun over three years ago, that has resulted in as many as 170,000 fatalities – and counting?

Were they marching in support of the millions of Syrians living today as refugees outside their country or as internally displaced persons?

Were they marching in support of naming and shaming those countries that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Syria in this murderous rampage, from Iran to Venezuela?

Or were they perhaps marching in support of human rights victims in Iran?

Were they marching in support of minors awaiting capital punishment in Iranian prisons?

Were they marching in support of those millions of Iranians who yearn for freedom, but have been brutally suppressed since they took to the streets in protest in 2009?

Were they marching to demand an end to Iran’s support for global terrorism, and the extradition to Argentina of those Iranians on Interpol’s list linked to the attack in Buenos Aires 20 years ago that killed 85 people?

Or were they perhaps marching for a real Arab Spring?

Were they marching for an end to female genital mutilation, full legal rights, and equal educational and career opportunities for women in the Arab world?

Were they marching for gays to live as they wish, and not to be hounded, persecuted, and arrested?

Were they marching for religious minorities to live free of fear, and for individuals to choose their religion without running the risk of the “crime” of apostasy?

Or were they perhaps marching in support of the victims in Sudan? Were they marching for the estimated 500,000 people from Darfur displaced this year alone by the ongoing Sudanese offensive?

Were they marching to demand that the Sudanese president, wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, give himself up?

Or were they perhaps marching in support of Ukraine?

Were they marching to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity and right to determine its own destiny?

Were they marching to tell Moscow to stay out of Ukraine, and to stop providing deadly weapons that shoot down passenger planes and destabilize a big chunk of the country?

Or were they perhaps marching in support of Israel, the one democratic nation in the Middle East?

Were they marching to demand that Hamas end its firing of thousands of rockets, putting at risk millions of Israeli citizens, and that Hamas revise its charter calling for the annihilation of Israel and espousing anti-Semitism?

Were they marching to insist that Hamas use imported cement and other items for civilian infrastructure rather than the construction of infiltration tunnels to wreak havoc in Israel?

Were they marching to expose Hamas’s use of civilians, including children, as human shields, and to demand that civilians be protected, not exploited as “protectors”?

Were they marching to remind the world that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, giving it the first chance ever to govern itself, and that Israel’s only goal in respect to Gaza is a quiet border, something unattainable until now?

No, these protesters in London, Cape Town, Santiago, Paris, and New York weren’t doing anything of the sort.

They weren’t uttering a word about any of these timely and gross violations of human rights and human dignity.

Their outrage is highly selective. It’s only awakened if Israel is involved, even if it’s defensive action on Israel’s part. Nothing else seems to trouble them.

Their response is to suggest that people like me are just trying to divert attention from what’s going on in Gaza. Rubbish!

To be clear, what’s happening in Gaza is tragic, but the responsibility for it must be laid, first and foremost, at the doorstep of Hamas. To do otherwise is to ignore the obvious truth.

Is it too much to ask the protesters why only Israel leads them to the streets?

Is it because they believe in Hamas and its genocidal charter?

Is it because they want Israel to disappear from the world’s map?

Is it because it’s one thing if, say, Muslims do the killing – that’s no reason to get upset – but entirely different if Jews dare to defend themselves against those who wish to destroy them?

One thing we do know: It’s not genuine concern for human rights that leads these protesters to the streets of London, Cape Town, and Santiago.

If it were, they’d be protesting a lot more right now, beginning with the dire fate of the Yazidis and Christians in Iraq, the unspeakable tragedy in Syria, and the right of Ukraine to be free of foreign interference.

About the Author
David Harris is the CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
Related Topics
Related Posts