"Hypocrisy on Parade"

Read Huffington Post op-ed by Rabbi Abraham Cooper


June 29, 2011

In an interview in London, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince has eased human rights concerns about religious authoritarianism in the Middle East by explaining: "It's fun being in Islamic countries, to know there's only one religion. There's order. You wear a burqa. There's no choice. People are happy with that."

Less clear is whether Prince also approves of the Kingdom's systematic discrimination against Christians and Jews, treated either as second-class aliens with no right to worship or banned from stepping foot on Saudi soil altogether.

Now, Delta Airlines has added Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam Alliance of corporate partners. By extension, this puts Delta Airlines in a position to facilitate the Saudi ban on Jews, holders of Israeli passports and anyone who even has an Israeli stamp indicating a visit to Israel.

Delta, of course, denies all discrimination while kowtowing to discriminatory Saudi regulations. No one forced Delta to choose such an international partner with a track record of religious apartheid. But Delta's spokesmen are right about one thing: Ultimate responsibility lies with governments, not companies. Our government's response? In a break with the past, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned the Saudi refusal to issue driver's licenses to women, but in keeping with previous U.S. policy has apparently been silent over the Kingdom's embedded rules of religious apartheid.

It's this context of Saudi apartheid that renders so blatant the hypocrisy and double standards of so many of the world's gatekeepers of civil society. NGOs have zero tolerance regarding Israel naval blockade against Gaza arms smuggling. The Second International "Gaza Freedom" Flotilla, including the American ship, "The Audacity of Hope," is enroute to Gaza. Their goal: breaking Israel's sea blockade of Hamastan, thus depriving Israel of the right of every U.N. member state to defend itself against threats to its sovereignty and survival. In the case of Gaza, the Jewish state is confronted with the growing threat posed by a Hamas government determined to re-arming with new Iranian missiles and enhancing their capacity to wreak mass destruction on the Jewish state.

Let there be no mistake about it: "The Audacity of Hope" is a ship of fools, dupes and agents provocateur. The New York Times, no friend of the Jewish state, is forced to admit that the reality on the ground in Gaza is not "a humanitarian crisis" caused by "the Israeli blockade," but instead a building boom and unprecedented prosperity: "Two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month. Thousands of new cars are plying the roads. A second shopping mall -- with escalators imported from Israel -- will open next month. Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools are about to go up. A Hamas-run farm where Jewish settlements once stood is producing enough fruit that Israeli imports are tapering off," The Times reported.

So it seems the only place where the Arab Spring appears to have produced better economic times is precisely the place where Israel is accused of brutally stifling it.

Now Turkey, the prime mover behind the first Gaza Flotilla manned by "peace crusaders" armed with pick axes and knives, has backed off from participation in the brazen Flotilla II, given Ankara's angst over the bloody Syrian regime's behavior around Turkey's borders. Turkey's leader is incensed that Bashir Assad's desperate attempts to suppress Syrian dissenters have caused a specter of Syrian refugees suddenly pouring over the border seeking Ankara's protection.

But nothing -- not improved conditions in Gaza; not Assad's thuggery and murder of its own citizens; not the duplicity of Iranian Revolutionary Guards supplied by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to abet Assad's butchery -- is enough to change fundamentally the master narrative embedded among so many elite among human rights NGOs, media and church "activists." Israel can do no right and its enemies, who are also the enemies of human rights, can do no wrong.

As a result, it's a safe bet that the 50+ international media outlets embedded in the Gaza II Flotilla will most benefit not the Palestinians but two tyrants: Gaddafi and Assad. They'll be able to breathe a temporary sigh of relief. With any luck, the "Audacity of Hope' will yield enough dramatic footage and sound bytes to knock the tyrants of the Arab Spring off the top of the news on Al Jazeera for a couple of days.

This essay was co-authored by Dr. Harold Brackman.