Gerald Steinberg 2 (2)Click here to read full article.


In a moral and just world, where universal human rights was more than a slogan to be exploited when politically convenient, the kidnapping of three Israeli teens would have produced immediate and widespread outrage, demands for action, and even demonstrations at the United Nations demanding their release.

But in the real world, three days after the kidnapping became public knowledge, those who claim to promote moral causes are largely silent.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has not called an emergency meeting or appointed an investigation to be headed by a highly respected international figure.

Similarly, the network of powerful non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive hundreds of millions of dollars annually, ostensibly to advocate for human rights, again show their disdain for the rights of Israelis. The only significant exception is the International Committee of the Red Cross, which issued an immediate and clear statement demanding “the immediate and unconditional release of the three teenagers.”

The others, including London-based Amnesty International, The International Federation for Human Rights (Paris), Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (Brussels), and Defense for Children International (Geneva), Human Right Watch (HRW, New York), and Defense for Children International (Geneva), have remained silent. While always quick to issue condemnations, publish glossy reports, hold press conferences and launch international campaigns for accusations directed at Israel, no such actions have been taken to draw attention to the kidnapped Israelis.

Even if they lack any empathy for Israelis, these champions of human rights might have condemned the Palestinian use of kidnapping as a means of freeing terrorists. These organizations frequently invoke the language, if not the substance, of the rule of law and due process as necessary guarantees for human rights. But when it comes to attacking Israel, these norms are suspended.

Israel’s many human rights proponents, such as Yesh Din, Adalah, PCATI (the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel), the local branch of Amnesty, etc., are also suddenly invisible. These groups, which get millions of euros, pounds and krona from their European government patrons (and some dollars from the US government) under the banner of “human rights,” are exclusively focused on attacking Israel.

If the powerful human rights community, with its massive resources and immediate access to media and to politicians, would act morally, this would not prevent Palestinian terror attacks, or the kidnappings to trade for the terrorists. But it would remove the hypocrisy from the human rights movement, show Israelis that they count as humans with rights, and perhaps increase the costs for would-be kidnappers. But this imaginary scene depends on a moral and just world, which is far removed from today’s reality.