Commentary Magazine


Topic: UN Commission on the Status of Women

The Human Rights “Charm Offensive”

Fred Hiatt is hopeful — as so many observers have been during the Obama administration — that the president is “turning the corner” on his foreign policy, specifically in the area of human rights and democracy promotion. Hiatt recounts some of the administration’s failings:

The administration criticized the narrowing of freedom in Russia, but cooperation on Iran was a higher priority. It chided Hosni Mubarak for choking civil society in Egypt, but the autocrat’s cooperation on Israel-Palestine mattered more.

Sadly, in fact, it seemed fellow democracies often paid a higher price for real or supposed human-rights failings: Colombia, for example, where human rights was the excuse for not promoting a free-trade agreement.

But it’s worse than that, really. We stiffed the Green movement and cut funding to groups that monitor Iranian human rights abuses. We facilitated the egregious behavior of the UN Human Rights Council. Our Sudan policy has been widely condemned by the left and right. Our record on promotion of religious freedom has been shoddy. We acquiesced as Iran was placed on the UN Commission on the Status of Women. We turned a blind eye toward serial human rights atrocities in the Muslim World. We flattered and cajoled Assad in Syria with nary a concern for human rights. We told China that human rights wouldn’t stand in the way of relations between the countries. We’ve suggested that Fidel Castro might enjoy better relations and an influx of U.S. tourist dollars without any improvement in human rights. And the administration ludicrously sided with a lackey of Hugo Chavez against the democratic institutions of Honduras. The list goes on and on.

As I and other observers have noted, the Obama human rights policy has more often than not focused on America’s ills – supposed Islamophobia, homophobia, racism, and the like: “Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have found some victims of rights-transgression who are of very great interest to them — indeed, since some of them are here at home, and sinned against by America herself!”

But Hiatt thinks Obama is turning over a new leaf: “[A]couple of weeks ago, in his second annual address to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama declared that ‘freedom, justice and peace in the lives of individual human beings’ are, for the United States, ‘a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity.'” Yes, but we’ve heard pretty words before. What makes Hiatt think that this time around Obama honestly means it? He concedes that the proof will be in what Obama actually does:

If Obama’s speech signals a genuine shift, we will see the administration insist on election monitors in Egypt or withhold aid if Mubarak says no. It will wield real tools — visa bans, bank account seizures — to sanction human-rights abusers in Russia and China. It will not only claim to support a U.N. inquiry into Burma’s crimes against humanity but will call in chits from friends in Thailand, Singapore or India to make such an inquiry happen.

And maybe the administration will stop sabotaging Obama’s message on his most active foreign policy front: the war in Afghanistan. There, in its almost aggressive insistence that the war is about protecting the U.S. homeland — and only about protecting the U.S. homeland — the administration undercuts its claim to be a champion of “universal values.”

You’ll excuse me if I’m skeptical, but we’ve been down this road before. And to really be serious about human rights, Obama would need to undo and revise his entire Muslim-outreach scheme. Instead of ingratiating himself with despots, he would need to challenge them. Instead of telling Muslim audiences in Cairo that the most significant women’s rights issue was “for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit — for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear,” he would need to start challenging regimes that countenance and promote violence against women, child marriages, stonings, lashings, honor killings, etc. He would likewise need to revisit systematically our “reset” with Russia and our indifference to Chavez’s shenanigans in this hemisphere. Is this president going to do all that?

It’s lovely that the president is planning a trip “through Asia designed in part to put meat on the bones of his new rhetoric … [where] he will announce grants for nongovernmental organizations that the administration hopes will flower into the kind of domestic lobbies that can push their own governments to promote democracy abroad.” But unless there is a fundamental rethinking and reworking of foreign policy, this will be simply another PR effort that does little for the oppressed souls around the world.

Fred Hiatt is hopeful — as so many observers have been during the Obama administration — that the president is “turning the corner” on his foreign policy, specifically in the area of human rights and democracy promotion. Hiatt recounts some of the administration’s failings:

The administration criticized the narrowing of freedom in Russia, but cooperation on Iran was a higher priority. It chided Hosni Mubarak for choking civil society in Egypt, but the autocrat’s cooperation on Israel-Palestine mattered more.

Sadly, in fact, it seemed fellow democracies often paid a higher price for real or supposed human-rights failings: Colombia, for example, where human rights was the excuse for not promoting a free-trade agreement.

But it’s worse than that, really. We stiffed the Green movement and cut funding to groups that monitor Iranian human rights abuses. We facilitated the egregious behavior of the UN Human Rights Council. Our Sudan policy has been widely condemned by the left and right. Our record on promotion of religious freedom has been shoddy. We acquiesced as Iran was placed on the UN Commission on the Status of Women. We turned a blind eye toward serial human rights atrocities in the Muslim World. We flattered and cajoled Assad in Syria with nary a concern for human rights. We told China that human rights wouldn’t stand in the way of relations between the countries. We’ve suggested that Fidel Castro might enjoy better relations and an influx of U.S. tourist dollars without any improvement in human rights. And the administration ludicrously sided with a lackey of Hugo Chavez against the democratic institutions of Honduras. The list goes on and on.

As I and other observers have noted, the Obama human rights policy has more often than not focused on America’s ills – supposed Islamophobia, homophobia, racism, and the like: “Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have found some victims of rights-transgression who are of very great interest to them — indeed, since some of them are here at home, and sinned against by America herself!”

But Hiatt thinks Obama is turning over a new leaf: “[A]couple of weeks ago, in his second annual address to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama declared that ‘freedom, justice and peace in the lives of individual human beings’ are, for the United States, ‘a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity.'” Yes, but we’ve heard pretty words before. What makes Hiatt think that this time around Obama honestly means it? He concedes that the proof will be in what Obama actually does:

If Obama’s speech signals a genuine shift, we will see the administration insist on election monitors in Egypt or withhold aid if Mubarak says no. It will wield real tools — visa bans, bank account seizures — to sanction human-rights abusers in Russia and China. It will not only claim to support a U.N. inquiry into Burma’s crimes against humanity but will call in chits from friends in Thailand, Singapore or India to make such an inquiry happen.

And maybe the administration will stop sabotaging Obama’s message on his most active foreign policy front: the war in Afghanistan. There, in its almost aggressive insistence that the war is about protecting the U.S. homeland — and only about protecting the U.S. homeland — the administration undercuts its claim to be a champion of “universal values.”

You’ll excuse me if I’m skeptical, but we’ve been down this road before. And to really be serious about human rights, Obama would need to undo and revise his entire Muslim-outreach scheme. Instead of ingratiating himself with despots, he would need to challenge them. Instead of telling Muslim audiences in Cairo that the most significant women’s rights issue was “for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit — for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear,” he would need to start challenging regimes that countenance and promote violence against women, child marriages, stonings, lashings, honor killings, etc. He would likewise need to revisit systematically our “reset” with Russia and our indifference to Chavez’s shenanigans in this hemisphere. Is this president going to do all that?

It’s lovely that the president is planning a trip “through Asia designed in part to put meat on the bones of his new rhetoric … [where] he will announce grants for nongovernmental organizations that the administration hopes will flower into the kind of domestic lobbies that can push their own governments to promote democracy abroad.” But unless there is a fundamental rethinking and reworking of foreign policy, this will be simply another PR effort that does little for the oppressed souls around the world.

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RE: The West Is in Denial over Turkey

Evelyn, there is an aspect to the Turkish chemical-weapon story I’d like to pick up on. The Jerusalem Post notes that photos of eight Kurds (six men and two women) killed by Turkish chemical weapons were provided to the German media in March. Why have we not heard or seen much (any?) about this in the U.S. media? Well, you see, the 31 photos showed that the Kurds bodies were “severely deformed and torn to pieces.” It seems that the photos are so horrific “news organizations have been reluctant to publish them.”

So this is the new journalist guideline — if human-rights abominations are too awful, then they can’t be revealed? Or perhaps the rule is something different, namely that the coverage of atrocities by Muslim nations get precious little coverage by the media. Israel and the U.S. are inspected with a microscope, and when the facts aren’t there, the media and the left-wing propaganda industry (yes, the two often overlap) are happy to concoct some human-rights misdeeds or treat individual acts of misconduct as official policy.

When confronted with this imbalance and blatant double standard, liberal media mavens will tell you that we simply have to expect more of western democracies. Huh? Yes, the condescension toward nonwestern states (i.e., we can’t expect anything more, so therefore human-rights abuses aren’t “news”) is an insidious form of bias. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

The other excuse commonly given for the non-coverage of Muslim human-rights abuses is that we can’t get access to “closed” societies, so not much can be reported. There are two problems with this excuse: even when information is available, why isn’t it widely reported, and why don’t we read more about suppression of the media in the “Muslim World”?

A very smart COMMENTARY reader recently made this suggestion to me: why doesn’t Fox News (the others are hopeless) select a human-rights atrocity of the week? Yes, it’s sometimes hard to choose just one, but the endeavor would shed some light on exactly how these countries operate and the pathetic passivity of our administration. It would illuminate common practices in Muslim countries like stonings, honor killings, child marriages, and executions of gays. In other words, we need some entity to do what the ludicrously constituted UN Human Rights Council and the UN Commission on the Status of Women will not (because some of the worst abusers sit on these august bodies). How about it, Mr. Ailes? It seems an entirely worthwhile journalistic project that would distinguish its network. It might even force others to perk up.

Evelyn, there is an aspect to the Turkish chemical-weapon story I’d like to pick up on. The Jerusalem Post notes that photos of eight Kurds (six men and two women) killed by Turkish chemical weapons were provided to the German media in March. Why have we not heard or seen much (any?) about this in the U.S. media? Well, you see, the 31 photos showed that the Kurds bodies were “severely deformed and torn to pieces.” It seems that the photos are so horrific “news organizations have been reluctant to publish them.”

So this is the new journalist guideline — if human-rights abominations are too awful, then they can’t be revealed? Or perhaps the rule is something different, namely that the coverage of atrocities by Muslim nations get precious little coverage by the media. Israel and the U.S. are inspected with a microscope, and when the facts aren’t there, the media and the left-wing propaganda industry (yes, the two often overlap) are happy to concoct some human-rights misdeeds or treat individual acts of misconduct as official policy.

When confronted with this imbalance and blatant double standard, liberal media mavens will tell you that we simply have to expect more of western democracies. Huh? Yes, the condescension toward nonwestern states (i.e., we can’t expect anything more, so therefore human-rights abuses aren’t “news”) is an insidious form of bias. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

The other excuse commonly given for the non-coverage of Muslim human-rights abuses is that we can’t get access to “closed” societies, so not much can be reported. There are two problems with this excuse: even when information is available, why isn’t it widely reported, and why don’t we read more about suppression of the media in the “Muslim World”?

A very smart COMMENTARY reader recently made this suggestion to me: why doesn’t Fox News (the others are hopeless) select a human-rights atrocity of the week? Yes, it’s sometimes hard to choose just one, but the endeavor would shed some light on exactly how these countries operate and the pathetic passivity of our administration. It would illuminate common practices in Muslim countries like stonings, honor killings, child marriages, and executions of gays. In other words, we need some entity to do what the ludicrously constituted UN Human Rights Council and the UN Commission on the Status of Women will not (because some of the worst abusers sit on these august bodies). How about it, Mr. Ailes? It seems an entirely worthwhile journalistic project that would distinguish its network. It might even force others to perk up.

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Obama’s Human Rights Problem

Human rights activists here and abroad had high expectations for President Barack Obama. They took his “hope and change” as more than a campaign slogan, imagining that he might use his celebrity status to promote democracy, religious freedom, and human rights. They envisioned him shining a bright light on oppressors and utilizing the array of tools at his disposal to aid, encourage, and protect the oppressed. It has not come to pass; instead, it is the oppressors who have much to celebrate — for they operate with impunity. They have learned that they can not only escape condemnation but also receive new respect from a president who seems indifferent if not hostile to the dissidents and human rights advocates.

Obama has responded to Hosni Mubarak’s crackdown on political dissidents and extension of the “emergency” laws not with condemnation but with billions in new aid. The president responded to the stolen Iranian election and brutal repression with silence, and subsequently cut aid to groups documenting human rights abuse. He has offered to engage Burma despite its atrocious human rights record but failed to take any significant step after another phony election. Aung San Suu Kyi remains imprisoned, and Burma is now pursuing its own nuclear program. His envoy to Sudan is widely ridiculed by Darfur activists, who are dismayed that he has not carried forth on campaign promises to crack down on the genocidal regime. And so it has been since Obama took office.

There is no more eloquent description of Obama’s sorry record than this:

It’s been a rough seventeen months for Americans whose calling is to fight for the rights of people who’ve been stripped of them by force—young men and women beaten to death in full view of the world by the agents of their oppressors for daring to demand that their votes be counted; others hacked to death with the complicity of the autocrats in power over them for having been born the wrong color or to the wrong tribe; girls subjected to the lash, or, worse, murdered by their own mothers, fathers, or brothers for appearing in public in the wrong company; believers imprisoned for professing faith in the wrong god or the wrong political system; non-believers sentenced to death for “wronging” a wrathful, vengeful religion.

And it is also worth considering why Obama and his secretary of state, when they do muster some concern for human rights, focus not on the world’s worst offenders but on their own countrymen, whose shortcomings on race, inequality, and the like never escape their exacting eyes.

It is not simply a case of misplaced priorities or even moral obtuseness. Hillary Clinton at times can wax poetic on human rights, proving once again that hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue. The problem stems from Obama’s conviction that the U.S. and the West more generally are the world’s problem children and that it is our arrogance, ignorance, and track record of interference in other countries’ affairs that are the source of the world’s ills. The apology tour (which covered everything from dropping the atomic bomb to our supposed lack of simpatico with the “Muslim World”) was perhaps the most heartfelt expression of Obama’s worldview and explains his cockeyed human rights record.

Because the U.S. is so flawed, so guilty of serial misdeeds, we are in Obama’s eyes (and the left-wing academic mindset from which he derives his views) disqualified from pronouncing on others’ behavior and obligated to let them pronounce on ours and our allies. Hence, we bear witness to (and do not challenge) the Human Right Council thugocracies as they condemn countries with infinitely better human rights records (especially Israel). But we temper our words and offer our hand in conciliation (and in some cases open our wallets) to the human rights oppressors. We allow Iran to join the UN Commission on the Status of Women to opine on others’ gender discrimination but avert our eyes from the brutality endured by Muslim women and girls.

There is, of course, a practical, albeit misguided, reason for Obama’s human rights record. He imagines he will incur the goodwill of the world’s despots by soft-peddling criticism of their treatment of their own people. But it is no longer possible to ignore the more fundamental problem: Obama believes his mission is to atone for America’s sins, not set the example for the world as the leader of that “shining city on the hill.” If one doubts the essential goodness of America and is unwilling to hold others to a standard of conduct that reflects our own values, you will wind up with a human rights policy that looks like Obama’s.

Human rights activists here and abroad had high expectations for President Barack Obama. They took his “hope and change” as more than a campaign slogan, imagining that he might use his celebrity status to promote democracy, religious freedom, and human rights. They envisioned him shining a bright light on oppressors and utilizing the array of tools at his disposal to aid, encourage, and protect the oppressed. It has not come to pass; instead, it is the oppressors who have much to celebrate — for they operate with impunity. They have learned that they can not only escape condemnation but also receive new respect from a president who seems indifferent if not hostile to the dissidents and human rights advocates.

Obama has responded to Hosni Mubarak’s crackdown on political dissidents and extension of the “emergency” laws not with condemnation but with billions in new aid. The president responded to the stolen Iranian election and brutal repression with silence, and subsequently cut aid to groups documenting human rights abuse. He has offered to engage Burma despite its atrocious human rights record but failed to take any significant step after another phony election. Aung San Suu Kyi remains imprisoned, and Burma is now pursuing its own nuclear program. His envoy to Sudan is widely ridiculed by Darfur activists, who are dismayed that he has not carried forth on campaign promises to crack down on the genocidal regime. And so it has been since Obama took office.

There is no more eloquent description of Obama’s sorry record than this:

It’s been a rough seventeen months for Americans whose calling is to fight for the rights of people who’ve been stripped of them by force—young men and women beaten to death in full view of the world by the agents of their oppressors for daring to demand that their votes be counted; others hacked to death with the complicity of the autocrats in power over them for having been born the wrong color or to the wrong tribe; girls subjected to the lash, or, worse, murdered by their own mothers, fathers, or brothers for appearing in public in the wrong company; believers imprisoned for professing faith in the wrong god or the wrong political system; non-believers sentenced to death for “wronging” a wrathful, vengeful religion.

And it is also worth considering why Obama and his secretary of state, when they do muster some concern for human rights, focus not on the world’s worst offenders but on their own countrymen, whose shortcomings on race, inequality, and the like never escape their exacting eyes.

It is not simply a case of misplaced priorities or even moral obtuseness. Hillary Clinton at times can wax poetic on human rights, proving once again that hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue. The problem stems from Obama’s conviction that the U.S. and the West more generally are the world’s problem children and that it is our arrogance, ignorance, and track record of interference in other countries’ affairs that are the source of the world’s ills. The apology tour (which covered everything from dropping the atomic bomb to our supposed lack of simpatico with the “Muslim World”) was perhaps the most heartfelt expression of Obama’s worldview and explains his cockeyed human rights record.

Because the U.S. is so flawed, so guilty of serial misdeeds, we are in Obama’s eyes (and the left-wing academic mindset from which he derives his views) disqualified from pronouncing on others’ behavior and obligated to let them pronounce on ours and our allies. Hence, we bear witness to (and do not challenge) the Human Right Council thugocracies as they condemn countries with infinitely better human rights records (especially Israel). But we temper our words and offer our hand in conciliation (and in some cases open our wallets) to the human rights oppressors. We allow Iran to join the UN Commission on the Status of Women to opine on others’ gender discrimination but avert our eyes from the brutality endured by Muslim women and girls.

There is, of course, a practical, albeit misguided, reason for Obama’s human rights record. He imagines he will incur the goodwill of the world’s despots by soft-peddling criticism of their treatment of their own people. But it is no longer possible to ignore the more fundamental problem: Obama believes his mission is to atone for America’s sins, not set the example for the world as the leader of that “shining city on the hill.” If one doubts the essential goodness of America and is unwilling to hold others to a standard of conduct that reflects our own values, you will wind up with a human rights policy that looks like Obama’s.

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How’s the Status of Women in Iran?

The Obama administration raised not a peep in protest when Iran joined the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The secretary of state, whose 19 million cracks in the glass ceiling have made her (in her own mind, at least) a feminist role model of some note, finds it beyond her ability to block such morally obscene developments. (Her quietude on women’s rights and human rights more generally is tragic, really, since she is “actually within her reach to become the voice of the world’s voiceless, with a whole Human Rights Bureau designated for that very job just down the hall — [but] she never has managed to get really full-throated about it.”) So how’s the Iranian regime treating its women these days? We have this report about Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 40-year-old Iranian woman:

She was initially sentenced to 99 floggings for extra-marital sex. Her sentenced was later changed to death by stoning in accordance with Sharia laws stipulating that punishment for adultery is death by either hanging or stoning. In their letter, which was distributed via the Internet, [her two children] expressed their hope that waves of protest around the world, particularly by Iranian expatriates would lead authorities to retract the brutal punishment. “Help to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality. Save our mother. We are unable to explain the anguish of every moment, every second of our lives. Words are unable to articulate our fear,” the letter stated. It was distributed in nine languages, including Hebrew. … Iran’s penal law stipulates that women sentenced to stoning are buried up to their chest and then pelted with small stones until they die. The law forbids the use of stones which may cause instant death.

If the UN were not a noxious circus and Hillary and Obama had not forfeited America’s moral standing at the altar of “engagement,” Ashtiani and her children might not need to go pleading on the Internet for assistance. There was a time when America stood shoulder to shoulder with the world’s oppressed peoples — and when regimes faced consequences for their brutality. Perhaps in the future that will be the case again. For now, Ashtiani and her children are on their own.

The Obama administration raised not a peep in protest when Iran joined the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The secretary of state, whose 19 million cracks in the glass ceiling have made her (in her own mind, at least) a feminist role model of some note, finds it beyond her ability to block such morally obscene developments. (Her quietude on women’s rights and human rights more generally is tragic, really, since she is “actually within her reach to become the voice of the world’s voiceless, with a whole Human Rights Bureau designated for that very job just down the hall — [but] she never has managed to get really full-throated about it.”) So how’s the Iranian regime treating its women these days? We have this report about Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 40-year-old Iranian woman:

She was initially sentenced to 99 floggings for extra-marital sex. Her sentenced was later changed to death by stoning in accordance with Sharia laws stipulating that punishment for adultery is death by either hanging or stoning. In their letter, which was distributed via the Internet, [her two children] expressed their hope that waves of protest around the world, particularly by Iranian expatriates would lead authorities to retract the brutal punishment. “Help to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality. Save our mother. We are unable to explain the anguish of every moment, every second of our lives. Words are unable to articulate our fear,” the letter stated. It was distributed in nine languages, including Hebrew. … Iran’s penal law stipulates that women sentenced to stoning are buried up to their chest and then pelted with small stones until they die. The law forbids the use of stones which may cause instant death.

If the UN were not a noxious circus and Hillary and Obama had not forfeited America’s moral standing at the altar of “engagement,” Ashtiani and her children might not need to go pleading on the Internet for assistance. There was a time when America stood shoulder to shoulder with the world’s oppressed peoples — and when regimes faced consequences for their brutality. Perhaps in the future that will be the case again. For now, Ashtiani and her children are on their own.

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Obama Enables the Iranian Misogynists

Recently, Iran was allowed onto the UN Commission on the Status of Women with not a peep of protest from the Obama administration. That distinction, I suppose, gives them immunity from scrutiny over this:

Iranian police have issued warnings to 62,000 women who were “badly veiled” in the Shiite holy province of Qom as part of a crackdown on dress and behaviour. Colonel Mehdi Khorasani, the provincial police chief, said police had also confiscated around 100 cars for carrying improperly dressed women and said that “encouraging such relaxations are among the objectives of the enemy.” … By law, women in the Islamic republic must be covered from head to foot, with their hair completely veiled and social interaction is banned between men and women who are not related.

The report explains that Ahmadinejad was opposed to the crackdown (his venom is reserved mostly for Jews these days?), but that he lost that one to “hardliners and several top clerics who have criticised him for opposing the police crackdown.” So the nation that makes pronouncements on other nations’ treatment of women has launched a crackdown on its own women:

Iran’s morality police have returned to the streets in past weeks, confiscating cars whose male drivers harass women, local media say, without clarifying what amounts to harassment. The reports say the police or hardline militiamen have been stopping cars with young men or women inside to question their relationship.

The Obama team is complicit in this farce, by treating the regime as legitimate and as capable of policing others’ human rights records. It is the same mentality that assumes that an international flotilla investigation can be “fair” or “credible” and that led us to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council. In sum, by ignoring evil and by elevating cordiality with despotic regimes over other interests, the U.S. is now a supporting player in the UN farce. That’s damaging to the credibility and standing of the U.S. but tragic for the females of the morality police.

One more thing: if an unmarried woman or a woman married to someone else is in a car with a man, what do we suppose happens to her then? Just asking, because our administration apparently doesn’t care to ask or consider the answer.

Recently, Iran was allowed onto the UN Commission on the Status of Women with not a peep of protest from the Obama administration. That distinction, I suppose, gives them immunity from scrutiny over this:

Iranian police have issued warnings to 62,000 women who were “badly veiled” in the Shiite holy province of Qom as part of a crackdown on dress and behaviour. Colonel Mehdi Khorasani, the provincial police chief, said police had also confiscated around 100 cars for carrying improperly dressed women and said that “encouraging such relaxations are among the objectives of the enemy.” … By law, women in the Islamic republic must be covered from head to foot, with their hair completely veiled and social interaction is banned between men and women who are not related.

The report explains that Ahmadinejad was opposed to the crackdown (his venom is reserved mostly for Jews these days?), but that he lost that one to “hardliners and several top clerics who have criticised him for opposing the police crackdown.” So the nation that makes pronouncements on other nations’ treatment of women has launched a crackdown on its own women:

Iran’s morality police have returned to the streets in past weeks, confiscating cars whose male drivers harass women, local media say, without clarifying what amounts to harassment. The reports say the police or hardline militiamen have been stopping cars with young men or women inside to question their relationship.

The Obama team is complicit in this farce, by treating the regime as legitimate and as capable of policing others’ human rights records. It is the same mentality that assumes that an international flotilla investigation can be “fair” or “credible” and that led us to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council. In sum, by ignoring evil and by elevating cordiality with despotic regimes over other interests, the U.S. is now a supporting player in the UN farce. That’s damaging to the credibility and standing of the U.S. but tragic for the females of the morality police.

One more thing: if an unmarried woman or a woman married to someone else is in a car with a man, what do we suppose happens to her then? Just asking, because our administration apparently doesn’t care to ask or consider the answer.

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Where Is the Secretary of 19 Million Cracks?

Hillary Clinton periodically expresses a spasm of concern that her reputation and legacy are going down the drain with the Obami. She trotted out a defense lawyer’s case at AIPAC for her own pro-Israel credentials. She gives a human-rights speech now and then. But largely she dutifully follows the administration’s line — which is to strongarm Israel and shove human rights under the bus. It must be particularly galling to her feminist admirers to watch her passivity in the face of outrage after outrage perpetrated by the “Muslim World” against women and girls. She is seemingly unmoved to do much of anything about what one sharp commentator described as the “dual impulses to demonize and dehumanize females” that is not merely tolerated, but codified in the “Muslim World,” which Hillary and her boss so ardently suck up to.

The latest comes to us from Foreign Policy:

The sad case of Elham Assi, a 13-year old Yemeni girl who died from internal hemorrhaging after being raped by her 23-year-old husband, has certainly sparked conversation in Yemen over the longstanding practice of child marriage. But the conversations — taking place everywhere from Sanaa kitchens to the parliament building — aren’t exactly what you’d expect.

Instead of addressing the question of children’s rights in a country where a quarter of all girls are married before they’re 15 and half before they’re 18, some Yemenis are treating Elham Assi’sdeath as a rallying point against the so-called imposition of a Western agenda. Instead of catalyzing protective legislation for children in Yemen, as the tragic 1911 Triangle Factory fire did for industrial laborers in the United States, her death may actually make it more likely that others will share her fate.

Rather than rush to raise the legal age of marriage and unburden their shame — well, that would mean they experienced shame — the Yemenis take umbrage at the notion that NGOs should press them to outlaw child brides:

Over the past few months, Sheikh Mohammed Hamzi, an official in the powerful Islamist party, al-Islaah, along with hundreds of other conservative lawmakers and clerics, has issued a clarion call to “true believers” to oppose the law, arguing that it is a first step toward allowing the West to take over Yemeni affairs. “We will not bend to the demands of Western NGOs. We have our own laws, our own values,” said Hamzi, who made headlines again this week when a coalition of Yemeni rights groups announced it would take legal action against the sheikh for maligning activists as infidels and agents of the West during his regular sermons at a Sanaa mosque.

Where is our secretary of state? Why do we allow brutalizers of women to assume spots on the UN Commission on the Status of Women? Well, Hillary is now in the service of an administration which seeks to ingratiate itself with regimes whose laws and “values” include the notion that “to deprive little girls of conjugation with men old enough to be their grandfathers is to treat them ‘unfairly.'” For those who imagined Hillary — who never tires of counting the votes she achieved on the way to losing the Democratic presidential nomination — was a great defender of women and children, it must come as a great shock that they rank so low on her list of priorities.

Hillary Clinton periodically expresses a spasm of concern that her reputation and legacy are going down the drain with the Obami. She trotted out a defense lawyer’s case at AIPAC for her own pro-Israel credentials. She gives a human-rights speech now and then. But largely she dutifully follows the administration’s line — which is to strongarm Israel and shove human rights under the bus. It must be particularly galling to her feminist admirers to watch her passivity in the face of outrage after outrage perpetrated by the “Muslim World” against women and girls. She is seemingly unmoved to do much of anything about what one sharp commentator described as the “dual impulses to demonize and dehumanize females” that is not merely tolerated, but codified in the “Muslim World,” which Hillary and her boss so ardently suck up to.

The latest comes to us from Foreign Policy:

The sad case of Elham Assi, a 13-year old Yemeni girl who died from internal hemorrhaging after being raped by her 23-year-old husband, has certainly sparked conversation in Yemen over the longstanding practice of child marriage. But the conversations — taking place everywhere from Sanaa kitchens to the parliament building — aren’t exactly what you’d expect.

Instead of addressing the question of children’s rights in a country where a quarter of all girls are married before they’re 15 and half before they’re 18, some Yemenis are treating Elham Assi’sdeath as a rallying point against the so-called imposition of a Western agenda. Instead of catalyzing protective legislation for children in Yemen, as the tragic 1911 Triangle Factory fire did for industrial laborers in the United States, her death may actually make it more likely that others will share her fate.

Rather than rush to raise the legal age of marriage and unburden their shame — well, that would mean they experienced shame — the Yemenis take umbrage at the notion that NGOs should press them to outlaw child brides:

Over the past few months, Sheikh Mohammed Hamzi, an official in the powerful Islamist party, al-Islaah, along with hundreds of other conservative lawmakers and clerics, has issued a clarion call to “true believers” to oppose the law, arguing that it is a first step toward allowing the West to take over Yemeni affairs. “We will not bend to the demands of Western NGOs. We have our own laws, our own values,” said Hamzi, who made headlines again this week when a coalition of Yemeni rights groups announced it would take legal action against the sheikh for maligning activists as infidels and agents of the West during his regular sermons at a Sanaa mosque.

Where is our secretary of state? Why do we allow brutalizers of women to assume spots on the UN Commission on the Status of Women? Well, Hillary is now in the service of an administration which seeks to ingratiate itself with regimes whose laws and “values” include the notion that “to deprive little girls of conjugation with men old enough to be their grandfathers is to treat them ‘unfairly.'” For those who imagined Hillary — who never tires of counting the votes she achieved on the way to losing the Democratic presidential nomination — was a great defender of women and children, it must come as a great shock that they rank so low on her list of priorities.

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RE: The UN Human Rights Circus Plays On

As I noted, Iran made its bid to join the UN Commission on the Status of Women. And Joseph Abrams of Fox News tells us that the mullahs did it — they now get to instruct the international community on the importance of gender equality. But it seems as though the UN didn’t want to advertise this exciting new addition to their august body:

Buried 2,000 words deep in a U.N. press release distributed Wednesday on the filling of “vacancies in subsidiary bodies,” was the stark announcement: Iran, along with representatives from 10 other nations, was “elected by acclamation,” meaning that no open vote was requested or required by any member states — including the United States.

The U.S. couldn’t muster a word of opposition — not even call for a vote. That would be because . . . why? Because our policy is not to confront and challenge the brutal regime for which rape and discrimination are institutionalized policies. No, rather, we are in the business of trying to ingratiate ourselves, and making the U.S. as inoffensive as possible to the world’s thugocracies. We’d no sooner object to Iran on the UN Commission on the Status of Women than we would leave the UN Council on Human Rights. It is what this administration does and how they envision raising our status in the world. The status of women? Hmm. I suppose with Iran on the commission, we’ll neither be investigating nor documenting the handiwork of Neda Agha-Soltan’s murderers.

As I noted, Iran made its bid to join the UN Commission on the Status of Women. And Joseph Abrams of Fox News tells us that the mullahs did it — they now get to instruct the international community on the importance of gender equality. But it seems as though the UN didn’t want to advertise this exciting new addition to their august body:

Buried 2,000 words deep in a U.N. press release distributed Wednesday on the filling of “vacancies in subsidiary bodies,” was the stark announcement: Iran, along with representatives from 10 other nations, was “elected by acclamation,” meaning that no open vote was requested or required by any member states — including the United States.

The U.S. couldn’t muster a word of opposition — not even call for a vote. That would be because . . . why? Because our policy is not to confront and challenge the brutal regime for which rape and discrimination are institutionalized policies. No, rather, we are in the business of trying to ingratiate ourselves, and making the U.S. as inoffensive as possible to the world’s thugocracies. We’d no sooner object to Iran on the UN Commission on the Status of Women than we would leave the UN Council on Human Rights. It is what this administration does and how they envision raising our status in the world. The status of women? Hmm. I suppose with Iran on the commission, we’ll neither be investigating nor documenting the handiwork of Neda Agha-Soltan’s murderers.

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