Arrogance diminishes wisdom” –Arabic proverb
by: Paul Balles
Last month, Joseph A Klein wrote an article for the Canada Free Press criticising the Obama administration for joining the UN Human Rights Council. http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/29644
The Council had met and found fault with a number of human rights violations by America. For this, Klein verbally bashed the Council. Klein is author of the book Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom.”
Having “studied the United Nations for many years” Klein says he “watched it degenerate into an anti-Western echo chamber that does more harm than good.”
The point of Klein’s writing is that the UN is wrong because of its criticism of the US and Israel.
The US and Israel share two shameful traits: both abhor criticism, and both divert attention from their own faults when criticised by levelling the same criticism at others.
“In my new book, Lethal Engagement,” says Klein, “I focus on the perfect storm revolving around the increasing Islamicization of key UN bodies – particularly the ones that produce influential international norms.”
In short, criticise Israel for any of its misdeeds–destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure, imprisoning thousands of Palestinians, starving and slaughtering Gazans–and Klein will shift to an unrelated issue.
Klein complains that “Obama wants to engage with our enemies like Iran and Syria while coming down hard on one of our closest allies, Israel.”
Thus, Klein (and others) will criticize Obama, but to find fault with America or Israelis is to be dubbed unpatriotic, Islamic extremist, or anti-Semitic.
While most people’s ire is aroused by criticism from outsiders (aliens, expats, foreigners) there are often good reasons for outsiders to be critical.
Attorney, commentator and author of How Would a Patriot Act, Glenn Greenwald pointed to several understandable reasons for external criticism in his books and articles.
“We systematically torture Muslims and then cover it up and protect our torturers while preaching accountability and the rule of law; we condemn deprivations of due process while maintaining and expanding lawless prison systems for Muslims…”
That being factually accurate, it’s understandable why those who have suffered under our double standards denigrate their abusers.
Greenwald notes how our critics react predictably to our hypocrisy: “We demand adherence to U.N. dictates and international law while blocking investigations into U.N. reports of war crimes and possible ‘crimes against humanity’ by our allies;…”
If that weren’t enough, Greenwald reminds us that “we righteously oppose aggression while invading and simultaneously occupying numerous countries, while threatening to attack still more, and arming countries like Israel to the teeth to wage still other attacks….”
Americans think that any criticism of America is unjustified, primarily because much of the evidence fails to make it to the media and because they rebel at criticism.
To resist criticism and denigrate honest critics is a sign of impending downfall from the pollution of conceit.
English actress Ellen Terry appropriately observed that “conceit is an insuperable obstacle to all progress.”
To return to Joseph A. Klein’s gripe, he bemoaned the members of the Human Rights Council including, “among its own proud roster of members, such countries as China, Cuba, Libya and Saudi Arabia.”
Then, to shift the focus from American abuses, Klein groaned that “These serial human rights abusers exploit the UPR process to heap praise on each other and whitewash their own abysmal records, while scoring propaganda points against Western democracies for falling short of perfection.”
In making that comment, he just did what he complained that members of the Human Rights Council do. Heaping praise on America, he attempts to score propaganda points by denigrating others.
Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. He’s a weekly Op-Ed columnist for the Gulf Daily News. Dr. Balles is also Editorial Consultant for Red House Marketing and a regular contributor to Bahrain This Month.