by Stephen Lendman
It rages daily. Israel considers Muslims subhuman. Militarized occupation, colonialism and apartheid reflect official policy.
So does institutionalized state terror. Rule of law principles are systematically spurned. Colonialism and apartheid are grave international law breaches.
According to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), self-determination is "one of the essential principles of contemporary international law."
All nations are obligated to respect it. Colonialism is in clear violation.
The 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (the Declaration on Colonialism), condemns "colonialism in all its forms and manifestations."
Israeli settlements have no legitimacy. They're illegal. Israel keeps expanding them exponentially. It does so on stolen Palestinian land.
The 1973 International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (the Apartheid Convention) call the practice state-sanctioned discriminatory "inhuman" racism.
It's "committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them."
Apartheid is an international crime. The above definition builds on the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court calls apartheid a crime under the Court's jurisdiction.
Israel is a flagrant violator. It's unaccountable. For decades, it's gotten away with high crimes too grave to ignore.
Israel denies Palestinians self-determination multiple ways. It violates the integrity of their land.
It prohibits meaningful self-government. Subservient Palestinian Authority officials enforce Israeli policy. They betray their own people in the process.
Palestine's economy is lawlessly integrated into Israel's. Palestinian resources are stolen.
Free movement, expression and cultural heritage are denied. Equal justice under law is nonexistent.
Institutionalized racism, ethnic cleansing, collective punishment, cruel and unusual treatment, targeted assassinations, bulldozed homes, stolen land, dispossessions, arbitrary arrests, kangaroo court justice, incarcerations and torture reflect official policy.
The Apartheid Convention and Rome Statute criminalize apartheid-related acts.
They condemn inhuman ones committed for establishing and maintaining domination by one racial or ethnic group over another.
They denounce systematic oppression. Israel affords rights solely to Jews. Arab citizens are comprised. Occupied Palestinians have none.
In late March, Richard Falk will step down as UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. Ahead of doing so, he asked "Why Do I Persist?"
Why work hard for things he believes in, he asked? Why "knowing (he'll) die in the next several years...?" He's 83 years old.
Why being "almost certain not to be around for the catastrophic future that seems to cast its dark shadow across the road ahead...?"
Why knowing it "can only be removed by a major transnational movement of the peoples of the world?"
Why does he "accept the defamation and related unpleasantness that accompanies(his) efforts to be a truthful witness of the sufferings endured by the Palestinian people in the course of their struggle for freedom and in violation of their fundamental rights?"
Philosophy Professor Samuel Scheffler addressed these type issues. His book titled "Death and Afterlife" contains three related lectures he gave, said Falk.
His core argument is that people "care more about the collective survival of humanity than they do about either their own personal immortality or even about the survival of those that they love and befriend, that is, those who are closest to us in our present life," Falk explained.
Scheffler reflects on human extinction. Either a "doomsday scenario" or an "infertility" one, said Falk.
Either would undermine cherished human values. Why try to cure cancer if people won't be around to benefit, asked Scheffler?
Falk takes issue saying:
"I find very little illumination relevant to genuine existential questions from the elaborate back and forth between these ratiocinating philosophers who make many fine points of assessment, but seem to miss altogether the question of why caring for the future of humanity motivates someone such as myself, or for that matter might be quite irrelevant to my motivation."
Why he persists is "more simplistic, less sophisticated," while at the same time "more satisfying" as "explanations...connect(ing) (him) with (his) experience."
They include "lifetime habit, being on the right side of history, and the inherent pleasures of intellectual reward."
He might have added doing the right thing is its own reward. It's priceless. It's fundamental.
The alternative is dystopian darkness. It's loss of all rights that matter. It's societies unfit to live in.
It's cruel and unusual punishment. It's poverty and deprivation. It's pain and suffering without end. It's short, cruel, harsh lifespans.
It's tyranny over democratic freedom. It's misery over life, liberty and security.
It's defending the indefensible. It's precluding equal justice under law.
It's war preventing peace. It's harder than ever hard times. It's darker than ever dark times. It's lives not worth living.
Falk surprisingly called himself "a mediocre high school student." He "barely surviv(ed) a first year college...'academic probation,' " he said.
He "loved classroom learning." He accidentally became "a one year replacement teacher for an ill" Ohio State law faculty member.
"When younger," he said, he "was more troubled by...the hope for a world where everyone could live a life of dignity and his own failure to devote the resources (he) possessed beyond those needed for subsistence to relieve the sufferings of those enduring extreme poverty."
At the same time, his academic life fulfilled him. He's an outspoken critic of lawless US and Israeli policy.
He's appalled at how much human suffering it causes. He knows so-called Israeli/Palestinian peace talks have zero chance for success.
Netanyahu doesn't give a damn about Palestinian rights and self-determination. He goes all-out to prevent them.
He uses ongoing peace talks to suspend criticism of expanding settlements. He wants daily Israeli crimes passing conveniently under the radar.
Throughout his tenure as UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, Falk was viciously attacked.
UN Watch is a militant pro-Israeli organization. It's Zionist run. It's closely linked to hardline Likudniks. For many years, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) provided generous funding.
Commentary is its flagship journal. Hardline neocons Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol are former editors.
UN Watch focuses on vilifying Israeli critics. It denigrates Muslims. It supports war. It deplores peace. It ignores Israel's worst crimes.
It has no credibility whatever. It maliciously assails Falk. It lied claiming he's anti-Semitic. It outrageously accused him of endorsing a book praising Adolph Hitler.
It denounced his "9/11 conspiracy theories." It attacks anyone against longstanding Israeli high crimes too grave to ignore.
It defends the indefensible. It's well funded to do so. Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe is Obama's UN Human Rights Council ambassador.
Her views reflect official administration policy. Hardline neocons influence it. Donahoe marches in lockstep. She shames the office she holds.
She's affiliated with Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation. Members include figures involved in Washington's defense establishment. Others include hard-right neocons.
In mid-2013, Donahue called for Falk's resignation. She did so after his annual report. He justifiably criticized Israeli human rights abuses.
They're too flagrant to ignore. Falk highlighted them responsibly. He did so throughout his Special Rapporteur tenure.
He operates by no other standard. His report said:
"Israel continues to annex Palestinian territory. Israel persists in demolishing Palestinians' homes and populating Palestine with Israeli citizens."
"Israel maintains a policy of collectively punishing 1.75 million Palestinians through its imposition of a blockade on the Gaza Strip."
"Israel prosecutes its occupation with impunity, refusing to accept the world's calls to respect international law."
Donahue supports what demands condemnation. She irresponsibly denounced Falk's report.
She ludicrously said it "would threaten the independent voice of civil society at the United Nations" if given legitimacy.
"His views and behavior, both official and unofficial, are offensive and provocative and do nothing to advance peace in the Middle East or to further the protection and promotion of human rights. We again call for his resignation," she said.
Falk maintains a blog site (richardfalk.wordpress.com). He titles it "Global Justice in the 21st Century." Precious little exists.
Washington and Israel bear most responsibility. Rogue state imperialism defines their agenda. So does out-of-control ruthlessness.
Falk's principled activism confronts it. Many others support right over wrong. It bears repeating.
Doing the right thing is its own reward. It's priceless. It's fundamental. It's on the right side of history.
Doing it every day matters most. Imagine if everyone felt this way. Imagine equity, justice and peace.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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