Antiracisme: Dur dur d’être un King ou un Mandela aujourd’hui ! (Pity our poor civil right leaders: How do you keep blaming a system you’ve long been part of ?)

https://i2.wp.com/www.drybonesproject.com/blog/D13728_1.gifDry Bones cartoon: Prisoner Release, Convicts, Negotiations, Palestinians, Abbas, Kerry, Pollard, Jonathan Pollard, Peace, Peace Agreement, terrorists, Terrorism, PLO, IsraelPhotoDo you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of its crimes? We’ve got to face that. And we’ve got to do something about our moral standards. We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (St Louis, 1961)
The world will tell us he was killed by accident. Yes, it was a social accident. … It’s an accident to allow an apartheid ambulance service in the middle of Crown Heights. … Talk about how Oppenheimer in South Africa sends diamonds straight to Tel Aviv and deals with the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights. The issue is not anti-Semitism; the issue is apartheid. … All we want to say is what Jesus said: If you offend one of these little ones, you got to pay for it. No compromise, no meetings, no kaffe klatsch, no skinnin’ and grinnin’. Pay for your deeds. Al Sharpton (Crown Heights, 1991)
Vous savez, quand Trayvon Martin a été tué, j’avais dit qu’il aurait pu être mon fils. Une autre manière de formuler les choses, c’est de dire que Trayvon Martin, ç’aurait pu être moi, il y a 35 ans. (…) Dans ce pays, il y a très peu d’hommes Américains d’origine africaine qui n’ont pas fait l’expérience d’être suivis quand ils faisaient des courses dans un grand magasin. Je l’ai été moi aussi. Il y a très peu d’Américains d’origine africaine qui n’ont pas fait l’expérience de prendre l’ascenseur et de voir une femme serrer son porte-monnaie nerveusement et retenir sa respiration jusqu’à ce qu’elle puisse sortir. Cela arrive souvent. Obama (2013)
High rates of black violence in the late twentieth century are a matter of historical fact, not bigoted imagination. The trends reached their peak not in the land of Jim Crow but in the more civilized North, and not in the age of segregation but in the decades that saw the rise of civil rights for African Americans—and of African American control of city governments. William Stuntz (Harvard Law professor)
Today’s black leadership pretty much lives off the fumes of moral authority that linger from its glory days in the 1950s and ’60s. The Zimmerman verdict lets us see this and feel a little embarrassed for them. Consider the pathos of a leadership that once transformed the nation now lusting for the conviction of the contrite and mortified George Zimmerman, as if a stint in prison for him would somehow assure more peace and security for black teenagers everywhere. This, despite the fact that nearly one black teenager a day is shot dead on the South Side of Chicago—to name only one city—by another black teenager. This would not be the first time that a movement begun in profound moral clarity, and that achieved greatness, waned away into a parody of itself—not because it was wrong but because it was successful. Today’s civil-rights leaders have missed the obvious: The success of their forbearers in achieving social transformation denied to them the heroism that was inescapable for a Martin Luther King Jr. or a James Farmer or a Nelson Mandela. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton cannot write a timeless letter to us from a Birmingham jail or walk, as John Lewis did in 1965, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., into a maelstrom of police dogs and billy clubs. That America is no longer here (which is not to say that every trace of it is gone). The Revs. Jackson and Sharpton have been consigned to a hard fate: They can never be more than redundancies, echoes of the great men they emulate because America has changed. Hard to be a King or Mandela today when your monstrous enemy is no more than the cherubic George Zimmerman. The purpose of today’s civil-rights establishment is not to seek justice, but to seek power for blacks in American life based on the presumption that they are still, in a thousand subtle ways, victimized by white racism. This idea of victimization is an example of what I call a « poetic truth. » Like poetic license, it bends the actual truth in order to put forward a larger and more essential truth—one that, of course, serves one’s cause. Poetic truths succeed by casting themselves as perfectly obvious: « America is a racist nation »; « the immigration debate is driven by racism »; « Zimmerman racially stereotyped Trayvon. » And we say, « Yes, of course, » lest we seem to be racist. Poetic truths work by moral intimidation, not reason. In the Zimmerman/Martin case the civil-rights establishment is fighting for the poetic truth that white animus toward blacks is still such that a black teenager—Skittles and ice tea in hand—can be shot dead simply for walking home. But actually this establishment is fighting to maintain its authority to wield poetic truth—the authority to tell the larger society how it must think about blacks, how it must respond to them, what it owes them and, then, to brook no argument. One wants to scream at all those outraged at the Zimmerman verdict: Where is your outrage over the collapse of the black family? Today’s civil-rights leaders swat at mosquitoes like Zimmerman when they have gorillas on their back. Seventy-three percent of all black children are born without fathers married to their mothers. And you want to bring the nation to a standstill over George Zimmerman? Shelby Steele
Any candid debate on race and criminality in this country would have to start with the fact that blacks commit an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes. African-Americans constitute about 13% of the population, yet between 1976 and 2005 blacks committed more than half of all murders in the U.S. The black arrest rate for most offenses—including robbery, aggravated assault and property crimes—is typically two to three times their representation in the population. The U.S. criminal-justice system, which currently is headed by one black man (Attorney General Eric Holder) who reports to another (President Obama), is a reflection of this reality, not its cause. (…) The left wants to blame these outcomes on racial animus and « the system, » but blacks have long been part of running that system. Black crime and incarceration rates spiked in the 1970s and ’80s in cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia, under black mayors and black police chiefs. Some of the most violent cities in the U.S. today are run by blacks. (…) Did the perception of black criminality play a role in Martin’s death? We may never know for certain, but we do know that those negative perceptions of young black men are rooted in hard data on who commits crimes. We also know that young black men will not change how they are perceived until they change how they behave. The homicide rate claiming black victims today is seven times that of whites, and the George Zimmermans of the world are not the reason. Some 90% of black murder victims are killed by other blacks. Jason L. Riley

Comment continuer à dénoncer un système dont on fait partie depuis des décennies ?

A l’heure où l’Europe nous refait le coup de la la différence entre son « aile militaire » et le parti de Dieu aux 18 000 fusées (ou 40 000 ?) …

Et où le dernier lauréat du concours de chaises musicales de Téhéran nous rejoue la repentance

Pendant que le secrétaire d’Etat américain nous refait le numéro des négociations avec des Palestiniens qui ne se sont toujours pas résolus à reconnaitre l’existence du pays avec lequel ils sont censés négocier …

Comment ne pas compâtir aux efforts presque attendrissants tant du premier président noir-américain que de ses amis chasseurs d’ambulances pour tenter de ranimer des flammes interraciales tellement désespérément vacillantes …

Que pour une communauté qui ne représente que 13% de la population et est impliquée dans plus de la moitié des meurtres,  à peine 10% de ceux-ci sont inter-raciaux ?

Et ce, à un moment historique où ladite communauté contrôle non seulement la présidence et le ministère de la justice …

Mais,  depuis des décennies, la mairie et la police de nombre des plus grandes et des plus violentes villes américaines ?

Sans compter qu’avec 73% des enfants nés de mères célibataires, ladite situation ressemble encore étrangement …

A celle qu’avait décrite, en pleine lutte pour les droits civiques il y a plus de 50 ans, un certain Martin Luther King ?

Race, Politics and the Zimmerman Trial

The left wants to blame black criminality on racial animus and ‘the system,’ but blacks have long been part of running that system.

Jason L. Riley

WSJ

July 15, 2013

George Zimmerman’s acquittal of murder charges in a Florida court has been followed by predictable calls for America to have a « national conversation » about this or that aspect of the case. President Obama wants to talk about gun control. Civil-rights leaders want to talk about racial profiling. Others want to discuss how the American criminal justice system supposedly targets black men.

All of which is fine. Just don’t expect these conversations to be especially illuminating or honest. Liberals in general, and the black left in particular, like the idea of talking about racial problems, but in practice they typically ignore the most relevant aspects of any such discussion.

Any candid debate on race and criminality in this country would have to start with the fact that blacks commit an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes. African-Americans constitute about 13% of the population, yet between 1976 and 2005 blacks committed more than half of all murders in the U.S. The black arrest rate for most offenses—including robbery, aggravated assault and property crimes—is typically two to three times their representation in the population. The U.S. criminal-justice system, which currently is headed by one black man (Attorney General Eric Holder) who reports to another (President Obama), is a reflection of this reality, not its cause.

« High rates of black violence in the late twentieth century are a matter of historical fact, not bigoted imagination, » wrote the late Harvard Law professor William Stuntz in « The Collapse of American Criminal Justice. » « The trends reached their peak not in the land of Jim Crow but in the more civilized North, and not in the age of segregation but in the decades that saw the rise of civil rights for African Americans—and of African American control of city governments. »

The left wants to blame these outcomes on racial animus and « the system, » but blacks have long been part of running that system. Black crime and incarceration rates spiked in the 1970s and ’80s in cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia, under black mayors and black police chiefs. Some of the most violent cities in the U.S. today are run by blacks.

The jury’s only job in the Zimmerman trial was to determine whether the defendant broke the law when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year in a gated community near Orlando, Fla. In cases of self-defense, it doesn’t matter who initiated the confrontation; whether Mr. Zimmerman singled out Martin because he was a black youngster in a neighborhood where there had been a series of burglaries by black youngsters; or whether Mr. Zimmerman disregarded what the police dispatcher told him before he got out of his car. Nor does it matter that Martin was unarmed and minding his own business when Mr. Zimmerman approached.

All that really mattered in that courtroom is whether Mr. Zimmerman reasonably believed that his life was in danger when he pulled the trigger. Critics of the verdict might not like the statutes that allowed for this outcome, but the proper response would not have been for the jury to ignore them and convict.

Did the perception of black criminality play a role in Martin’s death? We may never know for certain, but we do know that those negative perceptions of young black men are rooted in hard data on who commits crimes. We also know that young black men will not change how they are perceived until they change how they behave.

The homicide rate claiming black victims today is seven times that of whites, and the George Zimmermans of the world are not the reason. Some 90% of black murder victims are killed by other blacks.

So let’s have our discussions, even if the only one that really needs to occur is within the black community. Civil-rights leaders today choose to keep the focus on white racism instead of personal responsibility, but their predecessors knew better.

« Do you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of its crimes? We’ve got to face that. And we’ve got to do something about our moral standards, » Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told a congregation in 1961. « We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves. »

Mr. Riley is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

Voir aussi:

The Decline of the Civil-Rights Establishment

Black leaders weren’t so much outraged at injustice as they were by the disregard of their own authority

Shelby Steele

WSJ

July 21, 2013

The verdict that declared George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin was a traumatic event for America’s civil-rights establishment, and for many black elites across the media, government and academia. When you have grown used to American institutions being so intimidated by the prospect of black wrath that they invent mushy ideas like « diversity » and « inclusiveness » simply to escape that wrath, then the crisp reading of the law that the Zimmerman jury displayed comes as a shock.

On television in recent weeks you could see black leaders from every background congealing into a chorus of umbrage and complaint. But they weren’t so much outraged at a horrible injustice as they were affronted by the disregard of their own authority. The jury effectively said to them, « You won’t call the tune here. We will work within the law.

Today’s black leadership pretty much lives off the fumes of moral authority that linger from its glory days in the 1950s and ’60s. The Zimmerman verdict lets us see this and feel a little embarrassed for them. Consider the pathos of a leadership that once transformed the nation now lusting for the conviction of the contrite and mortified George Zimmerman, as if a stint in prison for him would somehow assure more peace and security for black teenagers everywhere. This, despite the fact that nearly one black teenager a day is shot dead on the South Side of Chicago—to name only one city—by another black teenager.

This would not be the first time that a movement begun in profound moral clarity, and that achieved greatness, waned away into a parody of itself—not because it was wrong but because it was successful. Today’s civil-rights leaders have missed the obvious: The success of their forbearers in achieving social transformation denied to them the heroism that was inescapable for a Martin Luther King Jr. or a James Farmer or a Nelson Mandela. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton cannot write a timeless letter to us from a Birmingham jail or walk, as John Lewis did in 1965, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., into a maelstrom of police dogs and billy clubs. That America is no longer here (which is not to say that every trace of it is gone).

The Revs. Jackson and Sharpton have been consigned to a hard fate: They can never be more than redundancies, echoes of the great men they emulate because America has changed. Hard to be a King or Mandela today when your monstrous enemy is no more than the cherubic George Zimmerman.

Why did the civil-rights leadership use its greatly depleted moral authority to support Trayvon Martin? This young man was, after all, no Rosa Parks—a figure of indisputable human dignity set upon by the rank evil of white supremacy. Trayvon threw the first punch and then continued pummeling the much smaller Zimmerman. Yes, Trayvon was a kid, but he was also something of a menace. The larger tragedy is that his death will come to very little. There was no important principle or coherent protest implied in that first nose-breaking punch. It was just dumb bravado, a tough-guy punch.

The civil-rights leadership rallied to Trayvon’s cause (and not to the cause of those hundreds of black kids slain in America’s inner cities this very year) to keep alive a certain cultural « truth » that is the sole source of the leadership’s dwindling power. Put bluntly, this leadership rather easily tolerates black kids killing other black kids. But it cannot abide a white person (and Mr. Zimmerman, with his Hispanic background, was pushed into a white identity by the media over his objections) getting away with killing a black person without undermining the leadership’s very reason for being.

The purpose of today’s civil-rights establishment is not to seek justice, but to seek power for blacks in American life based on the presumption that they are still, in a thousand subtle ways, victimized by white racism. This idea of victimization is an example of what I call a « poetic truth. » Like poetic license, it bends the actual truth in order to put forward a larger and more essential truth—one that, of course, serves one’s cause. Poetic truths succeed by casting themselves as perfectly obvious: « America is a racist nation »; « the immigration debate is driven by racism »; « Zimmerman racially stereotyped Trayvon. » And we say, « Yes, of course, » lest we seem to be racist. Poetic truths work by moral intimidation, not reason.

In the Zimmerman/Martin case the civil-rights establishment is fighting for the poetic truth that white animus toward blacks is still such that a black teenager—Skittles and ice tea in hand—can be shot dead simply for walking home. But actually this establishment is fighting to maintain its authority to wield poetic truth—the authority to tell the larger society how it must think about blacks, how it must respond to them, what it owes them and, then, to brook no argument.

The Zimmerman/Martin tragedy has been explosive because it triggered a fight over authority. Who gets to say what things mean—the supporters of George Zimmerman, who say he acted in self- defense, or the civil-rights establishment that says he profiled and murdered a black child? Here we are. And where is the authority to resolve this? The six-person Florida jury, looking carefully at the evidence, decided that Mr. Zimmerman pulled the trigger in self-defense and not in a fury of racial hatred.

And here, precisely at the point of this verdict, is where all of America begins to see this hollowed- out civil-rights establishment slip into pathos. Almost everyone saw this verdict coming. It is impossible to see how this jury could have applied the actual law to this body of evidence and come up with a different conclusion. The civil-rights establishment’s mistake was to get ahead of itself, to be seduced by its own poetic truth even when there was no evidence to support it. And even now its leaders call for a Justice Department investigation, and they long for civil lawsuits to be filed—hoping against hope that some leaf of actual racial victimization will be turned over for all to see. This is how a once-great social movement looks when it becomes infested with obsolescence.

One wants to scream at all those outraged at the Zimmerman verdict: Where is your outrage over the collapse of the black family? Today’s civil-rights leaders swat at mosquitoes like Zimmerman when they have gorillas on their back. Seventy-three percent of all black children are born without fathers married to their mothers. And you want to bring the nation to a standstill over George Zimmerman?

There are vast career opportunities, money and political power to be gleaned from the specter of Mr. Zimmerman as a racial profiler/murderer; but there is only hard and selfless work to be done in tackling an illegitimacy rate that threatens to consign blacks to something like permanent inferiority. If there is anything good to be drawn from the Zimmerman/Martin tragedy, it is only the further revelation of the corruption and irrelevance of today’s civil-rights leadership.

Mr. Steele is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Among his books is « White Guilt » (HarperCollins, 2007).

Voir également:

The Zimmerman Verdict

WSJ

July 15, 2013

New federal civil-rights charges would smack of double jeopardy.

An American criminal defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that’s the standard to keep in mind when considering the jury’s not guilty verdict Saturday for George Zimmerman in the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The case has been fraught with racial politics from the start, but inside the Sanford, Florida courtroom, the jurors had to wrestle with the standard that is a hallmark of American justice. No one but Mr. Zimmerman knows what happened that early evening in 2012 when he followed Martin, an unfamiliar young, African-American male visiting the neighborhood. A scuffle ensued, Zimmerman shot Martin in what he says was self-defense, and prosecutors never produced an eyewitness or even much evidence to disprove Mr. Zimmerman.

The verdict compounds the tragedy for the Martin family, but no one can claim that their son was not represented in court. The state threw everything it had at Mr. Zimmerman. Gov. Rick Scott replaced local prosecutors with a special team from Jacksonville, the judge often ruled favorably for the prosecution, including the addition of the lesser manslaughter charge (in addition to second-degree murder) at the end of the trial.

Still the state could not prove its case to the satisfaction of the six jurors, all women, for whom the easiest decision in terms of public approval would have been to convict. No less than President Obama had commented on the local case after Mr. Zimmerman was not originally charged by local authorities.

« If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon, » Mr. Obama said. He was echoed by hundreds of politicians and commentators who wanted to put racial profiling on trial as much as they did Mr. Zimmerman. But a criminal trial is not a legislature, or a venue to debate social policy.

Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP is already lobbying Attorney General Eric Holder to indict Mr. Zimmerman on federal civil-rights charges. To do so and win a conviction would require proof that Mr. Zimmerman was motivated by racial animus when the record shows little more than a reference by Mr. Zimmerman to « punks » in a comment to a police dispatcher.

Millions of Americans would see such federal charges as an example of double jeopardy, and a politicized prosecution to boot. In this context, it was good to see Mr. Obama’s statement Sunday that « we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. »

The larger issue of how American society, and especially the police, treat young black males deserves attention and often receives it. There is no doubt that many law-abiding black men are eyed suspiciously in some quarters because they are black. The motivation may sometimes be racial. But such a discussion also cannot exclude that the main victims of crimes committed by young black men are other blacks. A policy like New York City’s « stop and frisk » rule prevents more crime in minority neighborhoods against minorities than it does in white areas of Manhattan.

Mr. Zimmerman made many mistakes that February evening, not least failing to heed police advice not to pursue Martin. Despite his acquittal, he will pay for those mistakes for years as he defends against a possible civil suit and must wear a bullet-proof vest to protect himself from threats of violent revenge that he has to take seriously.

If there is any satisfaction in his acquittal, it is that the jurors followed the law’s requirements that every defendant deserves a fair trial, even one who becomes a symbol of our polarized racial politics.

 Voir encore:

The Zimmerman Verdict and the Broader Perspective

Letters to the Editor

WSJ

LETTERS July 21, 2013

The Zimmerman Verdict and the Broader

Perspective

Zimmerman verdict shows our system working as designed.

Regarding your editorial « The Zimmerman Verdict » (July 15): The outcry over the Zimmerman not-guilty verdict reveals the general public’s ignorance of the U.S. criminal justice system. A guilty verdict means the government presented evidence against the defendant proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A not-guilty verdict means the evidence could have been 70% to 85% against the defendant, but still subject to a reasonable doubt. To win a civil damages case the party bringing the suit need only present a weight or preponderance of evidence, meaning 51% or greater, to prevail.

Trayvon Martin’s family could very well sue Mr. Zimmerman in civil court and win a damages award under the lower « weight of evidence » standard of proof. O.J. Simpson’s victims did just that and won big. Whether they actually collected anything is another matter. Despite having sat through civics classes in high school and perhaps American government in college, Americans still naively view the criminal justice system as a « High Noon » good versus evil shootout, which it is not and never was, but still is the best in the world.

David P. Carter

Seminole, Fla.

After weeks of Mr. Zimmerman’s trial, we are now inundated with negative reactions, including demonstrations, against his not-guilty verdict. More amazing is the possibility that the federal government might try him a second time. Meanwhile, completely unnoticed, the Chicago Tribune reported 74 shooting victims and 12 deaths during the same Fourth of July period in President Obama’s hometown.

Dick Ettington

Palos Verdes, Calif.

What a refreshingly honest and courageous article by Jason Riley (« Race, Politics and the Zimmerman Trial, » op-ed, July 16). I hope that any « national conversation » about these issues would, similarly, use facts and data to make arguments, rather than the emotional distortions that more typically drown out rational discussion. By accepting the real risk of being labeled a bigot, he has provided a factual guide to help focus the broader discussion. The disproportionate rate of crime in and against black communities cannot be effectively addressed without honest and frank assessments based on the available data.

Richard Zahren

Pittsburgh

Mr. Riley’s piece is proper but misses the injustice done to the defendant by the prosecution.

Though Mr. Zimmerman won the trial, he lost everything of value to him and his parents. They cannot live in their own home. They must be in hiding from the fear of death threats against them.

Mr. Zimmerman cannot get a job easily. He will have to pay legal fees for his defense. If this were a civil case, the plaintiff would have to pay his attorney fees for losing the unwarranted trial without weighing the facts of the case.

If the Justice Department continues on the same journey by bringing charges, it would further ruin Mr. Zimmerman.

Shantu Shah

Portland, Ore.

Mr. Riley writes that « young black men will not change how they are perceived until they change how they behave. » All citizens deserve equal rights, including the right to freedom of movement. By appearing to hold law-abiding individuals responsible for wrongdoers in their (perceived) group, statements like this amount to an apology for interference with these rights.

Jonathan Levine

Ann Arbor, Mich.

Voir par ailleurs:

EU’s Moral Confusion on Terrorism

Emanuele Ottolenghi

Commentary

07.22.2013

Today, the European Union decided to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its terror list. This is a welcome, if belated, step, given that it took the EU a whole year after Hezbollah conducted a murderous operation on European soil to take action.

It is also a sign of the moral confusion reigning over EU Middle East foreign policy.

You will be shocked to know that a Google search for “red brigades” and “armed wing” will not yield much. Same for “IRA” and “armed wing.” Or Baader-Mainhof group and the same. Can you imagine, for example, a 1979 headline from an Italian daily announcing that the European Economic Community (the precursor to the European Union) had finally deliberated, a year after the Italian Red Brigades had kidnapped and murdered a former prime minister, that only their armed wing deserved to be called a terrorist group?

Granted, the EEC powers were more limited back then. But Europeans never found it as difficult to look at terror organizations and call them by their name. They did not waste time in intellectual contortionism and rhetorical hair splitting about what these organizations were–or what their members engaged in. The IRA, ETA, the Red Brigades, and the entire array of murderous groups from the extreme left and the extreme right of the European political spectrum became terrorists the minute they impugned a weapon and sought to achieve their political goals by murdering their adversaries and occasionally killing civilians indiscriminately. That those who gave the orders may have sat in an elected body, worked as members of a respectable profession, or served as the heads of a charitable foundation mattered little.

It took no great wisdom to see that the hand that held the gun and the mind that guided it were one and the same thing–that there was an inseparable, organic link between the ideologues who provided moral, intellectual, and political justification for violence, which in turn guided the violent executioners’ actions.

Similarly, there is no trace in newspaper clips or court proceedings for an “armed wing” of the mob or an “armed wing” of the drug cartels, which are somehow distinct, in terms of “command responsibility” from the rest of the organization. Mob hit man Giovanni Brusca, one of the Corleone clan’s most ruthless killers, did not somehow belong to the “armed wing” of the mafia, where he killed people unbeknownst to the otherwise charitable dons. The Mexican Zetas certainly have a military wing–more like an army of gruesome murderers–and it is certainly integral to the entire organization and its aims. Whether the Zetas or the mob provide a pension to their family members or send them to good doctors is immaterial to the way we understand these groups, their aims, and their methods. Nor are their business interests somehow classified into “legitimate” and “illegitimate.” Whether it’s drug trafficking or money laundering through art and real estate, we call it criminal, because … well, it is criminal.

But the EU sticks to its own imagined distinction when it comes to radical Islamic groups engaged in terrorist activities. Though you will be hard pressed to find reference to an armed wing of Hezbollah within Hezbollah, such references abound in the Western press. It is a convenient way to avoid having to tackle the problem of Hezbollah–a proxy of the Iranian regime whose ideology justifies the use of violence for political ends and whose entire structure thus serves the purpose of carrying out such violence.

All this, of course, is not to make the perfect the enemy of the good–better sanctions against a legal fiction than no sanctions at all, if the former have more real consequences than the latter.

But longer term, the EU will prove itself yet again ineffectual in the Middle East unless it is prepared to exercise moral clarity and recognize that the “armed wing” of Hezbollah is not a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand does–more like a case of a division of labor within an organization where the military wing executes the vision of its political leadership.

Voir de même:

The High Price of Kerry’s Pyrrhic Victory

Jonathan S. Tobin

Commentary

07.19.2013

After weeks of looking silly chasing his tail in what appeared to be a futile attempt to revive Middle East peace talks, Secretary of State John Kerry is looking like a winner this afternoon as he was able to announce that he had been able to “establish a basis” for a new round of negotiations of between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Assuming the Palestinians actually show up next week in Washington as Kerry thinks they will, this will be something of a victory for a secretary who has gone from humiliation to humiliation during his brief term in office. Even if all it amounts to is a photo op, Kerry can claim it is evidence of the diplomatic prowess he thinks he possesses. But before he starts writing his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech (if it isn’t already composed at least in his head), we need to understand that it is highly unlikely that anything good may come of this initiative. Even worse, the price the United States has paid for getting even this far may be far higher than any possible good that could come from this event.

It should be understood that the tentative and highly conditioned agreement to return to negotiations was only won by an American agreement to accept Palestinian preconditions that President Obama had already rejected and that would, in no small part, tilt the diplomatic playing field against Israel:

Ahmed Majdalani, a PLO executive committee member, told the Associated Press that Kerry has proposed holding talks for six to nine months focusing on the key issues of borders and security arrangements. He said Kerry would endorse the 1967 lines as the starting point of negotiations and assured the Palestinians that Israel would free some 350 prisoners gradually in the coming months.

This came after President Obama phoned Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday to pressure him to cooperate with Kerry. Israel had already agreed to talk without preconditions, but apparently the president wanted Netanyahu’s assurance that he would not protest the way the secretary had buckled to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s conditions. But having arrived at negotiations in this manner, neither Kerry nor Obama seems to have considered what comes next. The Palestinians have already made it abundantly clear that they won’t actually negotiate in good faith but will only show up expecting the U.S. to deliver Israeli concessions to them on a silver platter. Even if he wanted to sign an accord, Abbas hasn’t the power to speak for all Palestinians. Since that is a certain formula for failure, it is incumbent on Washington to understand that another breakdown in talks could serve as a new excuse for Palestinian violence.

The reason why rational observers have been so wary of Kerry’s initiative is not just the fact that the Palestinians had no interest in returning to negotiations they’ve been boycotting for four and a half years. Both Israel and the Palestinians didn’t wish to obstruct Kerry’s desire for talks. He might have left off once the Palestinians demonstrated their lack of interest, but since he persisted in this manner, they felt they had no choice but to show up.

But Abbas and the PA are too weak to agree to any deal that would conclusively end a conflict that neither Hamas nor much of Fatah actually wants to end. Recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn, is something that no Palestinian leader can afford to do at this point in history. The culture of Palestinian politics that has revolved around the delegitimization of Israel and Jewish history makes it impossible. That’s why they’ve already rejected three Israelis offers of a Palestinian state including almost all of the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem. So even if Netanyahu were foolish enough to agree to withdrawals that would, in effect, recreate the independent Palestinian terror state that already exists in Gaza in the West Bank, Abbas still can’t say yes.

But by forcing this confrontation at a time when conditions simply don’t exist for a resolution of the conflict, Kerry is not just occupying himself with an issue that is clearly less pressing that the other crises in the Middle East like Egypt, Syria or the Iranian nuclear threat. Since failure is foreordained and the Palestinians are likely to bolt the talks at the first opportunity, what will follow will be far worse than merely a continuation of the present stalemate. The Palestinians will treat any outcome—even one created by their intransigence—as an excuse for either an upsurge in violence against Israel or an effort to use their status at the United Nations to work to further isolate the Jewish state.

Just as damaging, by again putting the U.S. seal of approval on the Palestinian demand for the 1967 lines as Israel’s borders, Kerry and Obama have also worsened Israel’s position once the talks collapse. Any outcome other than total Israeli acquiescence to Palestinian demands would also serve as justification for more European Union sanctions on Israel, even, as is likely, if such a surrender were to fail to be enough to entice the Palestinians to take yes for an answer.

Netanyahu will be criticized by many in his party for going along with what is likely to be at best, a farce, and, at worst, a dangerous trap. But having already rightly said that he was willing to negotiate with Abbas under any circumstance, he must send representatives to Washington. But neither he, the people of Israel, nor the Jewish state’s friends in this country should be under any illusions that what will ensue from Kerry’s diplomatic experiment will be helpful.

As much as Israel wants and needs peace, the conflict is at a stage when the best that can be hoped for is that it be managed in such a way as to minimize violence and encourage Palestinian development. Though Kerry is offering the PA lots of cash, there is little chance it will be used appropriately or get the desired result.

Next week’s talks may be heralded as an unprecedented opportunity for peace, but the odds are, we will look back on this moment the way we do foolhardy efforts such as President Clinton’s Camp David summit in 2000 that set the stage for a bloody intifada that cost the lives of over a thousand Jews and far more Palestinians. The agreement to talk about talking is a pyrrhic victory for Kerry. Those who cheer this effort should think hard about who will bear the responsibility for the bloodshed that could result from Kerry’s folly.

Voir enfin:

Caught in the Flytrap of Tehran

The new president of the Islamic Republic, a reputed reformist, has invited exiles to return to Iran without fear. The last such offer had tragic results.

Bret Stephens

WSJ

July 22, 2013

« The Shanghai Russians expressed their delight. They were told they could take with them as many possessions as they wanted and whatever they wanted. . . . They were told they could settle wherever they wanted to in the Soviet Union and, of course, work at any profession or trade. They were transported from Shanghai in steamships. »

This is from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s « The Gulag Archipelago. » It describes a postwar episode when Joseph Stalin lured expatriate Russians—many of them exiles (or children of exiles) from the Russian Revolution—back to the Soviet Union with patriotic appeals to rebuild their shattered motherland. Russians from Shanghai to Paris heeded the call, seeking to show, as Solzhenitsyn wryly noted, that « they had not been lying previously about their love » of their ancestral home.

The history comes to mind following a speech last week by Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president-elect and reputed moderate. Addressing a group called the « Assembly of the Pioneers for Jihad and Martyrdom, » Mr. Rouhani made an overture to Iranians living abroad who wanted to make their peace with the regime.

« Those [Iranians] who are ready to return should have the way paved for them, since repentance is for everyone, » he said, according to a report by Radio Farda.

In 1945. . . a plenipotentiary from the Soviet government went to Shanghai and announced a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet extending forgiveness to all émigrés. Well, now, how could one refuse to believe that? The government certainly couldn’t lie! . . .

This isn’t the first time a supposedly reformist president of the Islamic Republic urged the estimated three million exiled Iranians to come home. Beginning in the early 1990s, and especially after Mohammad Khatami’s election as president in 1997, the regime made the same pitch. « Today, Islamic Iran opens its arms to you, » Mr. Khatami said in a message to exiles, adding that they were needed to help rebuild the country. Promises were made that no returnee would face prison time.

It’s impossible to say how many exiles returned to Iran for good. But many did begin traveling back and forth from the country, often for long stints, to work or study or visit relatives. Mr. Khatami’s outreach also had the effect of dividing the exile community politically between those who thought the regime could never be trusted and needed to be toppled, and those who believed in engaging it for the sake of reform.

It was the latter camp that wound up having the greatest influence in the West, not least by providing intellectual cover and moral standing to U.S. and European policy makers eager to reach out to Iran and make concessions. But it was also this camp that often paid the greatest personal price for trusting the regime.

Consider Ramin Jahanbegloo, a well-known Iranian philosopher and advocate of cultural dialogue. He was teaching at the University of Toronto when he decided to return to Iran in 2001 to take up an academic post. In 2006 he was imprisoned for four months on suspicion of being « one of the key elements in the American plan for the smooth toppling of the Islamic regime, » according to the Iranian Jomhuri Eslami newspaper.

Similar prison ordeals awaited Iranian expatriates such as Woodrow Wilson Center scholar Haleh Esfandiari, journalist Maziar Bahari, businessmanAli Shakeri, urban planner Kian Tajbakhsh. Far worse was the fate of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who was arrested, tortured, raped and beaten to death in July 2003.

Then there is Hossein Derakhshan, a left-wing blogger who in 2006 made a case in the Washington Post for Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. But he also visited Israel that year, writing that while it might be illegal for him to do so as an Iranian, as « a citizen of Canada I have the right to visit any country I want. » He was arrested in Iran in 2008, held in solitary confinement and tortured. In 2010 he was sentenced by an Iranian court to 19.5 years in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison.

Which brings us back to Mr. Rouhani’s invitation to Iranian exiles to return and repent. Last week, I asked dissident Saeed Ghasseminejad, a leader of the Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates who was jailed in Evin before coming to the U.S., how he would respond to the president-elect’s offer.

« The one who should repent his sins is Mr. Rouhani himself, » Mr. Ghassaminejad wrote me in an email. « He is part of a regime which has killed, raped and tortured thousands and expelled and displaced millions of Iranians. »

It would be nice if the West could treat the arrival of yet another alleged regime reformer with the same hard-earned skepticism. In the meantime, it’s worth recalling what happens to those who put their faith in the word of a totalitarian regime:

« The fate of the passengers varied. . . . Some of them were actually delivered to inhabited places, to cities, and allowed to live there for two or three years. Others were delivered in trainloads straight to their [Gulag] camps and were dumped out somewhere off a high embankment into the forest beyond the Volga, together with their white pianos and their jardinieres.

« In 1948-1949, the former Far Eastern emigres who had until then managed to stay out of camps were scraped up to the last man. »

5 commentaires pour Antiracisme: Dur dur d’être un King ou un Mandela aujourd’hui ! (Pity our poor civil right leaders: How do you keep blaming a system you’ve long been part of ?)

  1. […] Do you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of its crimes? We’ve got to face that. And we’ve got to do something about our moral standards. We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. […]

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  2. […] Do you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of its crimes? We’ve got to face that. And we’ve got to do something about our moral standards. We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. […]

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  3. […] Do you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of its crimes? We’ve got to face that. And we’ve got to do something about our moral standards. We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. […]

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  4. […] Today’s black leadership pretty much lives off the fumes of moral authority that linger from its glory days in the 1950s and ’60s. The Zimmerman verdict lets us see this and feel a little embarrassed for them. Consider the pathos of a leadership that once transformed the nation now lusting for the conviction of the contrite and mortified George Zimmerman, as if a stint in prison for him would somehow assure more peace and security for black teenagers everywhere. This, despite the fact that nearly one black teenager a day is shot dead on the South Side of Chicago—to name only one city—by another black teenager. This would not be the first time that a movement begun in profound moral clarity, and that achieved greatness, waned away into a parody of itself—not because it was wrong but because it was successful. Today’s civil-rights leaders have missed the obvious: The success of their forbearers in achieving social transformation denied to them the heroism that was inescapable for a Martin Luther King Jr. or a James Farmer or a Nelson Mandela. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton cannot write a timeless letter to us from a Birmingham jail or walk, as John Lewis did in 1965, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., into a maelstrom of police dogs and billy clubs. That America is no longer here (which is not to say that every trace of it is gone). The Revs. Jackson and Sharpton have been consigned to a hard fate: They can never be more than redundancies, echoes of the great men they emulate because America has changed. Hard to be a King or Mandela today when your monstrous enemy is no more than the cherubic George Zimmerman. The purpose of today’s civil-rights establishment is not to seek justice, but to seek power for blacks in American life based on the presumption that they are still, in a thousand subtle ways, victimized by white racism. This idea of victimization is an example of what I call a "poetic truth." Like poetic license, it bends the actual truth in order to put forward a larger and more essential truth—one that, of course, serves one’s cause. Poetic truths succeed by casting themselves as perfectly obvious: "America is a racist nation"; "the immigration debate is driven by racism"; "Zimmerman racially stereotyped Trayvon." And we say, "Yes, of course," lest we seem to be racist. Poetic truths work by moral intimidation, not reason. In the Zimmerman/Martin case the civil-rights establishment is fighting for the poetic truth that white animus toward blacks is still such that a black teenager—Skittles and ice tea in hand—can be shot dead simply for walking home. But actually this establishment is fighting to maintain its authority to wield poetic truth—the authority to tell the larger society how it must think about blacks, how it must respond to them, what it owes them and, then, to brook no argument. One wants to scream at all those outraged at the Zimmerman verdict: Where is your outrage over the collapse of the black family? Today’s civil-rights leaders swat at mosquitoes like Zimmerman when they have gorillas on their back. Seventy-three percent of all black children are born without fathers married to their mothers. And you want to bring the nation to a standstill over George Zimmerman? Shelby Steele […]

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