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Obama and human rights

This was a relatively short response to a question in a small meeting room in Florida style, but he said more about President Barack Obama’s lack of concern about human rights in its foreign policy. The question came from a hostile Republican opponent, but by a young college student who had volunteered for the Obama campaign. She spoke directly to an issue that has alienated many of Obama’s Democratic base since the president took office: continued U.S. support for Israeli and Egyptian abuses of human rights. Israeli and Egyptian governments, both of which are extremely poor rights records, are the two largest recipients of U.S. security assistance.

student was a simple question: Given that Obama had spoken of “America’s support for human rights” she asked, “Why do not we condemning Israel and Egypt violations of human rights of the occupied Palestinian people [by continue to support] such pressure with billions of dollars from our taxes? ”

Obama did not even try to answer her question. He did not utter the words “human rights” at any point in his rambling response four-and-half-minutes (though he did praise Israel as “a vibrant democracy”).

Maybe he can be forgiven in some respects. Obama looked exhausted. There was a formal press conference at the White House or one-on-one interview with a journalist known, but a town hall meeting, with an audience to which he may have felt that they should form the major subject. Maybe he was scared by-election the right audience, who booed the student’s question at first.

Yet Obama fumbled response seemed to underscore the administration dismissive attitude towards human rights in general. Indeed, in the end, Obama hinted that the question the student was inappropriate, saying, “I think it’s important when we’re talking about this issue to ensure that we do not use language which is encouraging. ” What the President apparently found more inflammatory was the suggestion that United should be the object of human rights committed by the Allies its “strategic.”
In the UN

Obama led the U.S. delegation to the United Nations last week to vote against a General Assembly resolution, which urged Palestinians and Israelis to make “independent, credible” investigation for war crimes by their forces during Gaza War December 2008-January 2009. The United States was one of only seven countries to vote no.

Earlier, administration officials denounced Obama Goldstone report as “unacceptable” and “very flawed.” Meticulously researched 575-page report, chaired by eminent lawyer Goldstone of South Africa, Richard and a blue-ribbon panel of investigators, documenting possible war crimes by both Israel and Hamas. A similar report by Amnesty International called for an international moratorium on arms transfers in both Israel and Hamas. After the report was released, the administration announced increased U.S. military aid to Israel.

Obama has also failed to show any great concern for abuses of human rights from Egypt, when Egyptian security forces charged and beat hundreds of Americans and other internationals seeking to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza Strip last year. In an interview with the BBC, Obama dismissed the journalist’s characterization of Hosni Mubarak as an authoritarian ruler, and praised the Egyptian dictator as an ally of “powerful” and “a force for stability.” He escaped after a question to thousands of political prisoners being held by the Egyptian regime, saying the United States should not impose its values on other countries.
Tongue-tied

question young woman appeared in the municipality Florida usually travel to articulate Obama from the beginning. He began his response with a tautology recalls Vice President Dan Quayle former “Middle East is definitely an issue that has plagued the region for centuries.” After determining the public to this point, he goes on to say that “both sides will have to make compromises,” ignoring the basic asymmetry between each side, which is an occupying force, and on the other side, which is under foreign military occupation. If Obama was president at the end of 1990, it will not be Iraqis and Kuwaitis said that “both sides will have to make compromises.” Obama seems to share his predecessor’s view that issues of occupation and self-determination should not be based on universal legal principles, but if the owner is seen as an ally or an opponent. Calling on both parties to compromise is also rather odd, considering that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recognize Israeli control of 78 percent of historic Palestine, while Israel has insisted that Palestinian demands for an independent state on the remaining 22 percent are, and that it should control how much of that territory.

“As a first step, Palestinians must unequivocally renounce violence and recognize Israel,” Obama also insisted. However, he also failed to insist that Israelis unequivocally renounce violence and recognize Palestine – as a “first step” or at any other time. The ratio of Palestinian civilians killed in Israeli civilians killed in recent years has been approximately 200:1, which makes its application particularly strange one-sided. He also ignored the fact that the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization – the ruling bodies recognized the Palestinian territories – have already renounced violence and recognized Israel. He seems to mean that Hamas, which illegally seized control of the Gaza Strip three years ago, even unilaterally renounces violence and recognizes Israel, which will not do so in Israel is willing to reciprocate – “Israel can continue to deny citizenship to the majority of Palestinians living under the PA-administered West Bank.

The only thing that Obama insisted that Israel needed to do was to “recognize the legitimate claims and interests of the Palestinians. It is unclear what that brings, apart from a brief reference to the right to education and employment. He did insist, however, their right to be free from the threat of massive bombing against civilian population centers, as an Israeli in Gaza that killed more than 700 civilians, nearly 300 of whom were children.

Such lack of concern for human rights not only raises serious ethical and legal, but makes the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace even more remote. It is also bad policy. Thousands of young people, as a student who poses questions, volunteered for Obama and other Democrats in part because they thought the party would provide a foreign policy based on strong ethical principles and legal, such as respect for law international humanitarian law.

So Obama administration is willing to live up to that promise, and governments like Israel and Egypt know they can not get a blank check from the U.S. government no matter how horrible human rights record, U.S. participation in war crimes and other abuses would be obvious to everyone. As a result, many who worked for Obama and the Democrats in 2008 – as this young woman from Florida – will question how different they are from Republicans, and if they deserve their continued support.

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