Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Amnesty International and the Self-Serving Avarice of the Left

“If the fire department in your town thought the way Amnesty International does they would send all the trucks and ambulances down to take care of the burning toaster in the mayor’s kitchen and keep them there to make sure the fire is out while a 727 crashes next to the elementary school and burning children run into the street igniting five high-rise apartment buildings where mothers are forced to throw their babies out their windows to passers-by.”

I knew I needed to write about Amnesty International when I saw this post on Solomonia . It cites a report from NGO Monitor in which they analyzed the content and subject matter of Amnesty International’s publications and statements over the past year. The study plainly shows how biased and politically partisan AI really has become. The evidence is voluminous and damning. Solomonia also cites a Ynet article about the NGO Montor study.

It was not so much the NGO Monitor report that made it necessary for me to write about AI as it was a quote in the Ynet article Sol cites in the same post. Ynet’s Yaacov Lappin quotes Amnon Vidan, the Director General of Amnesty International’s Israel Department as saying this, when asked about the results of the NGO Monitor analysis:

“There is an expectation of Israel and other democratic states to abide by a higher standard than Sudan. I would suggest NGO Monitor address the content of documents, rather than count their words. That way they will be able sympathize with the suffering of non-Jews," Vidan said.”

The implications of the statement are stunning. Here is a highly placed official in the organization that represents itself as the world’s pre-eminent guardian of Human Rights specifically admitting that they employ a double standard. The use one set of criteria for democratic countries and another for the rest of the world.This confirms what advocates for Israel and defenders of western civilization in general have been saying for some time. It explains why Amnesty focuses excessively on the difficulties and occasional tragedy caused by the reasonable law enforcement and self-protective military actions of Israel and the US than on the offensive and intentional horrors of the rape, murder and enslavement of Darfour or the horrific, government sanctioned repression and murder of women throughout the Islamic world.

His chief problem with the NGO Monitor study seems to be that he feels that it lacks the proper focus and distribution of sympathy. That’s odd because the Amnesty International mission statement doesn’t mention anything about sympathy allocation being part of the job. Here is the mission, right off the web page

“Amnesty International's vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.

In pursuit of this vision, AI's mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.

AI is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. It does not support or oppose any government or political system, nor does it support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights it seeks to protect. It is concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights.”

See that? Not a single mention of telling the world for whom it should have sympathy. In fact they specifically say, “the impartial protection of human rights” not the preferential protection of human rights of those impacted by democratic countries. Perhaps Mr. Vidan thinks that Amnesty International should change its name to Sympathy International and spend its time telling us who to feel sorry for and why, if so he should state that instead of attempting to convince us he is being fair. My guess is that he has, simply dropped the veil momentarily and given us an inadvertent glimpse into the hypocritical ideological/psychological make up of the leftist/socialist cabal that rules Amnesty International.

Of course, readers of Breath of the Beast will not be surprised that a highly placed Director in AI should betray such a blatantly subjective, hysterically emotional bias. We’ve discussed the underlying kitsch, emotion and Agélastic bathos that dominates the left.

Amnesty has been an enormously powerful force on the international scene and although its own bias and arrogance has begun to eat away at that power, it is still the most recognizable franchise name in The Human Rights Business. This power is part of what drives people like Vidan mad.

I am referring to frankly leftist activists who populate such groups and their liberal enablers who fall for their marketing campaigns. The very core of their belief system is fear and disdain for those who wield power in the real world. Their entire identity is that they are the champions of the “under-classes”. Least you think I am exaggerating about the leftist orientation and agenda here is a description of the Poverty and Human Rights campaign found on the AI website. It says, in part:

Everyone, everywhere has the right to live with dignity. That means that no-one should be denied their rights to adequate housing, food, water and sanitation, and to education and health care.
Amnesty International is increasingly documenting how human rights violations drive and deepen poverty. People living in poverty have least access to power to shape the policies of poverty and are frequently denied effective remedies for violations of their rights.
AI is working to hold governments, big business and other powerful actors to account for human rights violations which target the poor, and which deepen poverty.

This, of course, is a thinly veiled call for the redistribution of wealth in classic “From each according his ability; to each according to his needs” Communist style. It sounds compassionate and reasonable when swathed in human rights yard goods but history has proven that it does not work and leads to far greater tyranny than it proposes to replace. As C. S. Lewis wrote, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”- a perfect description of the socialist totalitarian terrors of Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot.

They claim to stand up for the powerless but they are betrayed by their own human frailty. They love power. Vidan gets to say who is and who isn’t a human rights violator. He doesn’t have to answer to anyone. He “reports” on violations as he sees them and when there is a considered and intelligent challenge to his judgment, he arrogantly dismisses it by decree. He doesn’t feel obligated to answer the questions raised in good faith but, rather, flings them back, accusing anyone who would question his “moral” authority of callousness toward “non-Jews”.

The mantle of power rests uneasy on such a creature, though. Even leaving aside the question of what his motivation might be as an Israeli who would engage in the biased and unfair singling-out of his own country when the forces arrayed against it are committed to its destruction and are far worse violators of human rights, he is caught in an inescapable spiral of self-loathing. You see, when do-gooders like Vidan get themselves into organizations such as Amnesty International and rise to high positions, they get a glimpse of themselves as the very thing they loath and become that most pitiable species of anomaly, a Leftist, Fat Cat, Powerbroker. There is nothing so loathsome as self-loathing.

The hypocrisy and self-loathing doesn’t end there. Several paragraphs ago, I used the word “franchise” to describe Amnesty International. This might be jarring to some; others might have understood it as a metaphorical use of the words that is a specific term of a commercial nature. I used the word more precisely than that. Amnesty International is, for all its being a “non-profit” institution, is actually a marketing and money driven enterprise. It is true that the organizing principal is “Human Rights” as set forth in the mission statement quoted above but Vidan and all of his associates are well-paid professionals. Their continuance in that profession is dependant on a substantial flow of cash. This is where they really get themselves tied in knots. Both Solomonia and Little Green Footballs have blogged this little beauty of a fundraiser:

The ghastly jape of a poll is bad enough but then the text of the appeal are almost unbelievable:

All joking aside, the U.S. government, once perceived as a beacon of hope and justice, no longer leads the world on Human Rights.

The continuing allegations of U.S. torture, use of secret prisons, ghost detainees, and indefinite and unconstitutional detention at Guantanamo calls into question the U.S. commitment to fight torture and adhere to international law. The U.S. now lacks the credibility needed to improve human rights abroad.

By violating some international laws, the United States undermines all international law and promotes the idea to other countries that some laws are acceptable to ignore in the pursuit of “security.”

Check out Amnesty’s annual report to learn more about rights abuses in 2006 and find out what you can do to improve human rights in 2007 in the United States and elsewhere.

This is naked Marketing obfuscation. They imply in the first paragraph that here was a time in the past that Amnesty acknowledged America as “a leader on Human Rights”. This is designed to trick the liberal and uninformed reader that the actions of recent leadership are responsible for losing the approval of the Human Rights arbiters. This is a canard, as will be obvious to anyone who has followed Amnesty International’s reports over the years. Here is just one example from the World Socialist Web Site of an article published almost 2 years before 9/11 and a year before the current president came to power. They have never considered America a beacon of hope, that phrasing is there only to hook new visitors (or visitors with no long-term memory) and to inspire them to think that a donation to AI would help to restore the status of “beacon of hope”. The truth is that, in the upside-down world of Human Rights franchising, there can be no such thing as good. As soon as “good” exists the Human Rights Crisis is over and the donors and their money will be on to the next crisis. No, it impossible for them to be positive or even hopeful about Human Rights- their livelihood depends on it. So this admission of the late, lamented leadership of the US is just as fake as the poor record they accuse her of. They never admitted that the US was the beacon in Human Rights and never will because to do so would be to forgo a great lever for separating soft-hearted, uncritical American liberals from their money.

When Vidan implied that we have not enough sympathy for non-Jews he implies that he either thinks that Jews are, for some reason, intrinsically unworthy of any more sympathy than has already been expended on us, presumably because we have had far more than our share of sympathy already and don’t require any more. It is obvious that the liberal and leftists in democratic countries are the primary marketing target here Sudanese nomads and Palestinians (whether they launch Qassam rockets themselves) or not are not going to be big donors to AI. On the contrary it is only by tweaking the interest of the west will they raise enough money to paid their own salaries.

When he said that democratic nations should be held to a higher standard than non-democratic ones, he discounts the suffering of human rights victims of any country he does not consider “democratic”; but he appeals to the largest, most likely pool of donors.

At some level Vidan and the other Human Rights Marketers (read: charlatans) at Amnesty International must feel the cognitive dissonance that their double standard and use of Human Rights for their self-promotion and career enhancement causes but their emotional, intellectual and economic self-interest blinds them to it. They will never understand how much harm their deconstructive moral relativism does both to the world and to themselves because, in the words of Upton Sinclair, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

As a result, while hundreds of thousands are raped, murdered and sold into slavery by undemocratic Sudan, their suffering is somehow accounted as less acute and noteworthy than the day-to-day inconveniences and economic deprivations imposed on Palestinians as Israel attempts to protect her innocent civilian population from the murderous terrorists that those “poor Palestinians” provision, harbor and aid in their attacks. Like wise the true horrors perpetrated in Iraq, where heads are hacked off with butcher knives, victims are tortured with blow torches and power tools and suicide bombs are killing 20-50 people at a whack every day by al Qeada and an assortment of other “undemocratic” groups Amnesty International focuses on the idiotic but admittedly humiliating antics of some prison guards at Abu Graihb. Does this make sense?

Only if you understand that AI is driven by fund raising first, socialist/progressive agenda second, the personal advancement of the "Human Rights Professionals" who run it and a deformed mutation of concern for human rights somewhere down the list.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Seeing all justice through the prism of power is inherited from Marxism, and like that theory, contains enough truth to be dangerous. The poor are generally less powerful, the rich generally more. Yet not in all instances is this so, and certainly not the same in all situations.

I don't think the temptation to power comes on to rescuers only after they have tasted it, however. The peculiar power of the rescuer is often learned young, and there is a sweetness in seeing oneself to be the defender of the downtrodden. The tyrant of portrays himself as vox populi and even believes it.

Motives are never fully good nor fully evil in any person, and there is a measure of goodwill and concern for the oppressed among leftists. But there is a darker underside: taking up the cause of the powerless is itself a proven avenue to power. I do not note this idly, as I was once a socialist and know quite personally some for whom various causes are simply tools for bringing their own tribe to power. Trial attorneys and denominational leaders should come to mind here, in addition to the usual marxists.

I do not say that this is the dominant motive for many, but it is for some, and it is a partial motive for the majority on the left. They want their tribe to rule, the Arts & Humanities tribe who they believe see farther and more wisely. They ally themselves with minority and union tribes for electoral purposes, but believe even more strongly that they should quietly rule these.

This may also be why communism does fail, however good it looks on paper. It may be possible for a single human to have sustained concern for others over himself, but it is not possible for a group. The self-interest asserts itself eventually, but now covered in the mantle of self-righteousness. Even for individuals this much goodness may be beyond us, though some may manage it.

AI wants the Arts & Humanities tribe to rule the west, and their seemingly contradictory beliefs are fully explained by that equation. Hence the belief that some groups could not possibly have concern for non-Jews, and must be educated to it.

Huh: the Turing-word is "iceycld." There must be a meaning in that, eh?

Jewish Odysseus said...

Yaacov, that was without a doubt the best dissection of the useful idiots at IA that I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

Yep, moral relativism at its purest: the West has to be 10 times better to be considered half as good as those third-world totalitarian nations. And, conversely, they have to be 10 times worse to be considered half as bad as we are. And there seems to be NO act that is right or wrong by itself. Beheading civilian hostages is understandable because those poor terrorists are so aggrieved. Sending polio vaccine to Africa is bad because paranoid mullahs protest we're poisoning Muslims.

Anonymous said...

AI is mostly extremely insane today, this Khan lady has to go, but she's a ME Muslim woman, so she can never be fired of course, even if her terrorist appeasing, western-hating bosses wanted to.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
stay silent about evil

change original mission
push anti-west bias

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
start a human rights group

enjoy tax-free status
hire friends earn a nice living