Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Ugly Iceberg of Bigotry

Most people who harbour prejudicial thoughts know enough not to let such thoughts slip out in their full glory. There are hints, there are euphemisms, and there are tones and nuances.

It is reasonable to expect that bigots would choose such behaviour until they learn more about their audience and about how their views might be received. Amnesty International provides an excellent example:
Consider, for example, a recent report by Amnesty International on violence perpetrated against Palestinian women by Palestinian men in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The report purported to be “part of the global AI [Amnesty International] campaign to stop violence against women.” Such violence is a serious problem, especially in the Arab and Muslim world, because so few leaders within these groups are prepared to condemn it and so many even justify it as a necessary means of maintaining family honor and male dominance.

The report documents honor killings of women who had been raped. In one such case a 17 year old was murdered by her own mother after she was “repeatedly raped by two of her brothers.” In another case, a 21 year old “was forced to drink poison by her father” when she was found to be pregnant.

The report places substantial blame for these and other killings on – you guessed it – Israel. Here is AI's conclusion, listing the causes of the violence directed against Palestinian women, presumably in the order of their importance: “Palestinian women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are victims of multiple violations as a result of the escalation of the conflict, Israel's policies and a system of norms, traditions and laws which treat women as unequal members of society.”

The “escalation of the conflict” (which AI blames primarily on Israel) and “Israel's policies” rank higher than the “norms, traditions and laws which treat women as unequal.”
Alan Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard, wrote this piece [h/t to BenS]. He added (among other things):

THE AI report was brought to my attention by one of the pioneers of the human rights movement, a founder of Human Rights Watch, who is now somewhat alienated from his own movement. As a result of “their obsessive focus on Israel,” he told me, “these human rights organizations are becoming part of the problem.”
Update: Coincidentally, Rondi Adamson has an item about cultural differences and racism on her blog, too.
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