Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The World's Conscience or Reflection?

Jon Haber
Divest This!
29 December '10

I was planning to write something on flash-mobs and bus ads next, but then again I had also planned to have been on a plane back home two days ago before 12-18 inches of snow decided to intervene.

With the latter problem solved, I’m going to postpone mobs and busses for one more entry in order to take part in an increasingly interesting conversation started in the comments section of previous postings.

I mentioned recently that someone who took part in a BDS project in California last Spring has been asking some serious questions and making some important points, most recently with regard to how Israel’s supporters can justify Israel’s actions, given the wide condemnations that routinely pour out from international bodies (such as the United Nations and International Court of Justice) directed at the Jewish state.

“Can the whole world be wrong?” was a question former UN leader Kofi Annan asked years ago when Israel challenged the legitimacy of some of the actions of the body Annan led. And this question rings out today, not just from partisans, but also from idealists who greatly desire there to exist an international system to check the excesses of the nation state and eventually (they, like many, hope) will lead to a global government which rules by international law.

Now one commenter with experience in international legal matters made an equally valid point that votes taken at organizations like the UN bear little resemblance to votes taken within various democratic parliaments upon which the UN General Assembly and other bodies were modeled. Most notably, the “voters” in the General Assembly are not elected leaders responsible and answerable to a particular constituency, but nation-states themselves. And if a majority of those nation states are not free or democratic, then the majority of votes taken within these world bodies are cast by the ruling class of each country, with no distinction between a vote by a democracy, a dictatorship or something in between.

(Read full "The World's Conscience or Reflection?")

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