A friend who works in the UN was kind enough to invite me to the recent UN General Assembly session to debate and vote on a condemnation of the Syrian regime’s brutal crackdown on its own population. What struck me most were the arguments made by the Syrian regime and its (few) supporters:
“We’re not fighting the people, we’re fighting terrorism. No state can tolerate terrorists in its borders!”
“Why are you picking on Syria when lots of other places commit abuses?”
“You should use more “balanced” language to describe “both sides,” otherwise you are just inflaming the situation.”
“You shouldn’t do anything, instead we should have peace talks and dialogue [endlessly, while the abuses continue].”
“But we won’t talk to them until they renounce violence [and recognize the right of the Syrian regime to exist?]”
I was thinking the whole time… Hmm… Where have I heard all of this before??
Well, OK, I wasn’t really thinking it, because it was perfectly clear: This is the same language Israel uses every time the UN tries to condemn its flagrant violations of human rights and international law.
And then, of course, Israel voted for the resolution condemning Syria’s violations. Which is right and proper, of course. But the irony defies words.