Cutting through the bullshit.

Sunday 13 May 2007

Birds of a feather

The American Jewish Committee last week honored Colombian President Alvaro Uribe with its Light unto the Nations Award.

“President Uribe is a staunch ally of the United States, a good friend of Israel and the Jewish people, and is a firm believer in human dignity and human development in Colombia and the Americas,” said AJC President E. Robert Goodkind, who presented the award at AJC’s Annual Dinner, held at the National Building Museum in Washington.

“Despite many odds, President Uribe has remained committed to the pursuit of security, peace and broad-based economic growth for all Colombians,” Goodkind said.

According to the CIA factbook, security and peace are evidenced for example by 1.8-3.8 million internally displaced persons, that is, at least 4% and up to nearly 9% of the total population, not nearly as bad as Iraq. As I read it, the fact that they can’t pin it down to within even the nearest two million suggests something really nasty is going on. The economic growth has delivered 49.2% below the poverty line, and as for ‘all Colombians’, some might consider a Gini coefficient of 0.538 evidence of truly gross disparities in economic power and opportunity. But

“Both Colombia and Israel have been forced for decades to face challenges regarding their survival and their citizens have suffered the threat of terror on a daily basis,” he said. “Nevertheless, Colombians like Israelis continue tirelessly to build democratic and prosperous societies, and remain passionate about achieving peace.”

Little could be more convincing of a commitment to democracy and prosperity than similarity to ‘Israelis’. And it goes without saying that it is perfectly appropriate for the American Jewish Committee to confer awards on those who resemble Israelis, because as everybody knows, Israel represents all the Jewish people and, in the immortal words of the EU Monitoring Commission Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, the Jewish people are ‘collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel’.

And nothing supports democracy like human rights. According to Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, Principal Specialist on Colombia, Human Rights Watch in her 24 April briefing of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere,

Today, Colombia presents the worst human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere… Extrajudicial executions of civilians by the Colombian military are on the rise.

Colombia is currently the murder capital of the world for trade unionists. Those who are not killed are often threatened, attacked or kidnapped…72 killed in 2006 up from 70 the year before. These killings are not random casualties of Colombia’s conflict, as the Colombian government claims. Trade unionists are especially targeted when exercising their rights to organize and bargain collectively.

Colombia, Israel, the AJC…birds of a feather.

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