It's an upside-down world, as the old saying goes. At the
conference on racism, in Durban, Arab delegates and their allies accused
Israel of racism and human rights violations--yet it is the Arab world that
is rife with government-sanctioned racist practices, human rights abuses,
and mistreatment of women.
Jews are continually victimized by Arab racism. The Palestinian
Authority, with the active support of the Arab countries, bombs, shoots,
stabs and stones Jews for one reason only--because they are Jews. The PA
and the Arab regimes insist that the residents of every Jewish community in
Judea, Samaria, Gaza and much of Jerusalem must be expelled, for one reason
only--because they are Jews. And Jewish holy sites such as the Tomb of
Joseph and Jericho's ancient Shalom al-Yisrael synagogue have been
destroyed by the Palestinian Arabs for one reason--because they are Jewish.
Anti-Jewish racism is the theme of the culture of hatred and
violence that is promoted in Arafat's official media, school text books
("One must beware of the Jews, for they are treacherous and disloyal,"
according to the text Islamic Education for Ninth Grade), speeches by PA
officials, and sermons by PA-appointed clergymen (in one recent sermon,
"Allah decreed that in our lives, we are to humiliate the Jews sooner or
later...the Jews are the enemies of Islam"). In PA summer camps, Arab
children are taught how to slit the throats of Jews. Rabbi Eric Yoffie,
leader of Reform Judaism, recently denounced the PA's "neo-Nazi language"
and warned that the PA is raising an entire generation of children to hate
and murder Jews, for one reason only--because they are Jews.
Black Africans are also the victims of Arab racism. The Arab
government of Sudan, for example, sponsors militias that massacre and
enslave blacks. The Arab government of Mauritania likewise permits blacks
to be enslaved.
And while the Arabs falsely accuse Israel of human rights
violations, in fact such violations are rampant throughout the Arab world.
Torture of political detainees is "widespread" throughout the Arab
world, according to a July 2001 report by the Cairo-based Arab Organization
for Human Rights. The PA itself has tortured to death at least 16
Palestinian Arab dissidents. In addition to torturing prisoners, the Arab
regimes engage in "repression of peaceful protest, massive arrests,
restriction of freedom of the press, closure of newspapers, and detention
and imprisonment of journalists."
Not one Arab regime has a free press. Not one Arab regime has
free, democratic elections. Not one Arab regime permits complete freedom
of speech. Convicted criminals are routinely subjected to cruel and unusual
punishment in the Arab world. In Saudi Arabia and Libya, thieves are
punished by having one hand cut off. Public whippings or beatings are
common in many Arab countries.
Christians are systematically persecuted by the Palestinian
Authority; U.S. courts have even granted asylum to Palestinian Arab
Christian refugees on the grounds that they would be oppressed if they
return to the PA areas. In PA-controlled Bethlehem, Muslim mistreatment of
Christians has caused a steady stream of emigration, with the city's
Christian population having dwindled from 80% to just 20%. U.S.Senator
Connie Mack and a delegation of Zionist Organization of America leaders met
in 1999 with Palestinian Arab Christians who described, first hand, how the
PA routinely harasses Christians, arrests them on false charges, and
prohibits them from building or renovating churches. Christian cemeteries
are frequently desecrated by Palestinian Arab Muslims.
The Coptic Christians in Egypt are subjected to
government-sanctioned discrimination in employment and university
admissions, as well as occasional massacres by Muslim terrorist groups.
The Maronite Christians of Lebanon have been slaughtered and suppressed by
Yasir Arafat's terrorists and the Syrian Army. Saudi Arabia prohibits
Christian worship and even objected to crosses being worn by the American
soldiers who defended Saudi Arabia against Iraqi aggression during the 1991
The treatment of women in the Arab world is likewise appalling. In
Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Palestinian Authority areas, women suspected of
violating Muslim fundamentalism's moral code are often murdered by
relatives seeking to avenge their "shame." Such "honor killings," as they
are known, "are regarded with leniency by the law" in PA territories,
according to Daoud Kuttab, a prominent Palestinian Arab journalist.
Throughout the Arab world, women are routinely treated as second-class
citizens, or worse. In Saudi Arabia, women are prohibited by law from
driving cars. The Palestinian Arab newspaper Jerusalem Times recently
reported that sexual harassment of women in the PA territories is worse
than in many other parts of the world because of "the wide spread of the
phenomenon, the lack of laws against it, and the feebleness with which laws
that do exist are implemented."
Throughout the Arab world, "workers face serious violations of
internationally recognized worker and trade union rights," the Jewish Labor
Committee reports. For example, unions are illegal in Saudi Arabia, Qatar
and Oman; collective bargaining is prohibited in Libya, Iraq, Somalia, and
Yemen; and taking part in a strike is punishable by death in Sudan.
Yes, racism and human rights abuses are terrible problems in the
Middle East--not in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, but in Gaza, Amman, Cairo and
Damascus. It's time for the leaders of all civilized countries to speak
out about where the real racism is to be found--in the Arab world.