Time to Demand Human Rights in the Middle East

And stop the obsession with Israel.

For all the flaming liberals who scream about equal rights, discrimination and the like, where are these people when it comes to women’s rights in the Middle East?

An industry comprised of many elite liberals, concerned with “humanitarian issues,” is the industry in which I make my living in Public Relations.  And lo and behold, amidst deafening silence, the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) last week hosted “The 4th Public Relations Forum” in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Major US PR firms, including Ketchum, Hill & Knowlton, and Burson-Marsteller, have offices in the region and surely benefit from the PR growth in the region.  But why don’t they look at where they are making their living?

Recently in Saudi Arabia, seven men were executed by the government – after torture and without lawyers or the right to appeal at their trial. The nation of Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t recognize the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Saudi courts allow beheading, stoning, and the US State Department says "discrimination against women is a significant problem" in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian women are required to have a male guardian and need their guardian’s permission for marriage and divorce; travel, if under 45; education; employment; opening a bank account; and they can’t drive or vote. If Muslims convert to another religion, the penalty is execution.

Fit place for Public Relations liberals to hold conferences, huh?

Yet, review yesterday’s New York Times and witness no less than three op-eds attacking Israel.  In Israel, the recently named beauty queen, Yityish Aynaw, is a black African woman.  She’s a 21-year-old Ethiopian-born Israeli who came to the country alone at the age of 12 and works as a salesperson.  She will be having dinner with US President Barack Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres next week, and as she said, she was “very excited” about meeting him, as he had a “notable influence on her life.” Ms. Aynaw cited Martin Luther King Jr. as one of her heroes and is living in a land of opportunity – for all: women, blacks and others.

Meanwhile, Gaza had their marathon cancelled by the United Nations because women were not allowed to participate.  As the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said, "This disappointing decision follows discussions with the authorities in Gaza who have insisted that no women should participate." Of course, Jews would have been lynched had they tried to participate.  Meanwhile, in the recent marathon in Jerusalem, Israel saw Jews, Arabs, Europeans, men and women participating and having a grand old time.

In Israel, on occasion the handful of mostly American Jews of “Women of The Wall” receive extensive media coverage for their fight to be allowed to pray at all areas of the Western Wall in coed prayer with full regalia.  Despite the fact that it is in contravention of Israeli law, they do so often – and the holiest site for Jews in the world to pray is open to everyone and anyone 24/7.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the Middle East, women are viewed as a men’s property – and that is barely focused upon.  Who remembers last year’s protests by hundreds of women in Egypt in which 13 people were killed and Egyptian soldiers beat and stripped women protesters? The newly liberated Middle East ignores the fact that the (post-Qaddafi) Libyan National Transitional Council chief pledged to uphold Islamic law and ease polygamy rules.  In nearly the entire Middle East, Islamic law is the law, and women are inferior to men.

Liberals should pay more attention to the rest of the Middle East and stop worrying about Israel.  Instead of attacking Israel stupidly, focus on the terrorists and terrorizers of all those who don’t subscribe to their exact way of life.

By the way, don’t forget three years ago all those urgently needed humanitarian flotillas for the poor people of Gaza? Where are all those bleeding-hearts now when tens of thousands have been slaughtered in Syria? Still no flotilla to Syria?

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