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Human rights violations should not be examined in relative terms

Some interesting posters have been put up in response to a lecture about human rights violations in the occupied territories by Israel Shahak that took place on March 1. One reads, "Can you name one Arab country that treats the Palestinians as well as Israel?"

Whether one can or not -- and I imagine most people have so little knowledge about Arab countries that they probably don't know whether Palestinians are treated better in them or not (I believe they are) -- the question poses an interesting type of logic. In short it says, if we treat Palestinians better than other countries do, then we are justified in doing whatever we want, so long as it is a little better than what they do.

Would anyone accept the fact that America is justified in discriminating against blacks because South Africa is apartheid? Or that a moderate amount of anti-Semitism is okay because a lot of it goes on in the Soviet Union?

My answer to the question on these posters is who cares? We send billions of dollars every year to Israel, and we ought not support the type of treatment people, Palestinian or not, are getting under occupation.

Pamela Taylor->

Spouse of graduate student->

Master's candidate at Harvard Divinity School->