Bein Adam Lchavero

Bein Adam Lchavairo is a blog dealing with interpersonal relations within the Jewish community and the interactions of the Jewish and Gentile worlds. We're new. Be gentle.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Amnesty International Gives out Human Rights Report Cards.

And so, without much fan-fair, I turn my attention to politics for a bit. Why? I suppose I'm a bit of a masochist.

Amnesty International has issued a report (which I can only find excerpts of online, so I've no link handy) wherein they chide Israel rather strongly. They also issued a report on Hamas, something I am not seeing mentioned much online, wherin:

Amnesty charged that the security forces were also being allowed to evade justice and its system of justice was riddled with problems.

"The security and judicial institutions remained dysfunctional, beset by factional fighting and power struggles, and unable or unwilling to restore law and order," it said

As they're also calling Hamas to the carpet for their inability to manage the chaos, I don't think one can accuse Amnesty of partisanship here. It would be easier for me to decide that if I had access to both reports for a fair comparison.

However, I have to say I'm proud of the Israeli Government's reaction to the report:

The Israeli government said it was studying Amnesty's report "very carefully".

"Defending human rights is central to Israeli democracy," said foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev. "We take any allegations as to possible violations of human rights extremely seriously and investigate them thoroughly."
(Source: Same link as above).

Let's compare that to how the US handled a negative report by AI:

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack dismissed allegations by the Nobel Prize-winning rights group

Wow. So there's no torture in US Prisons? Abu Ghari was just a bad dream?

The best part is how he then tries to turn it around on Amnesty:

He went on to point out Amnesty's role in documenting rights abuses during the 24 years of Saddam's rule before he was deposed by the Americans in 2003 and later captured and charged with crimes against humanity.

"But when it came time to put Saddam Hussein on trial, which is happening right now, they (Amnesty) are absent. They've done zero, zip, nothing, to assist in those efforts,"

Again, wow. So documenting those human rights abuses (which is AI's job) does nothing to help the actual trial? How so, exactly? Isn't having actual evidence an important part of a trial? I could make snarky jokes about manufacturing evidence like some say the POTUS did with the WMDs, but that would be inappropriate. Oops. Too late.

Anyway, back on topic:

I'm impressed by Israel's response. They own up to the possibility that there might be a Human Rights issue, instead of ignoring it or stating that they're just doing what they feel is necessary to prevent terrorism and it's none of Amnesty's business. I felt just as proud when the Israeli Judicial System said the Security Wall had to be altered so as to prevent cutting off those outside the wall from needed water and grazing land.

I think all of us, not just the US Government, could stand to learn something from the Israeli response.

It's easy to dismiss criticism, especially when it comes from the outside. It's easy to dehumanize your opponents. It's a lot harder to admit that you yourself may be contributing to the situation.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Please Pardon The Lack of Posts.

Work and family are taking up my time at the moment. Nothing bad, thank G-d. Just eating my time.

I have ideas for some posts. I just need to get them typed out.

B'ezrat HaShem I'll have something tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Where are they now?

I was recently reading a story about one of the "Lamed Vav" Tzadikim (36 hidden righteous people). For those who have never heard of the "Lamed Vav" I will try to explain who/what they are.

It is written in many places in Jewish literature that in every generation there are 36 hidden tzadikim. (We call them Lamed Vav because the numerical value of the Hebrew letters Lamed and Vav add up to 36.) These people are so righteous that in their merit alone the world exists! They support the world with their good deeds and their learning.

You may ask that if they are "hidden" how do we have stories about them?

Some of the Hidden Tzadikim have been revealed right before they died. The most famous of these was named Baruch Mordichai. Whose story is for another time.

The purpose of my post is to ask a question: Where are they now? What happened to the Lamed Vav?

I read an article, I forgot who wrote it, that addressed this question. Here is the answer given.

Part of the nature of the Lamed Vav is that no one knows who they are, NOT EVEN THEY KNOW!! Therefore, it is possible that ANYONE is one of the Lamed Vav and he/she (yes she!) won't know it. If that is the case then everyone should look at themselves as if THEY were one of the Lamed Vav Tzadikim, and act accordingly.