Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The UN, Israel, and War in Sudan

Rabbi David Kaufman

As an advocate for Israel, I am well aware of the fact that the United Nations is often wrong. Too often, the United Nations acts like a parent who does not care why children are crying and simply orders them to “Shut up!” It does not matter to the UN who wronged whom, who has a legitimate claim, who is defending himself and who is attacking. “Shut up and go back to your room!”

Now, in cases where the children fight over disputed property, the UN is beyond totally inept. The United Nations has a long history of trying to enforce absurd boundaries that do not at all reflect the nature of the situation on the ground in the nations affected. Often, these arbitrary border decisions promote the regular resumption of violence rather than the achievement of a stable peace because the boundaries do not provide for security and too often ignore ethnic conflicts. For decades, we have seen violence erupt all across the world because of this. This kind of parenting does not work. Worse for those seeking freedom in the world, the United Nations generally sides with or enables dictatorial regimes or oppressive theocratic ones when they claim disputed lands. This is because the majority of nations are not advocates for minority rights in their own nations and far too many are not advocates for the individuals rights of members of the majority of their own populations! The United Nations primary goal seems to be to discourage the resolution of conflict and to promote shutting up. “Sanction both sides!”

This has failed the Israelis and Palestinians time and again. We’ve certainly heard this call before, the call to sanction both sides until they find a way to agree without resolving the conflict. It is failing in Sudan at a cost of more lives per year than have perished in the entire history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and threatens right now to result in death totals in the coming year that far exceed the dead from every other conflict in the world combined.

Telling South Sudan that it must abandon Heglig and then talk peace is an utter absurdity. Telling the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army -North (the people from the Nuba Mountains – Christians and Muslims) and the Justice and Equality Movement (Muslims from Darfur) not to fight against Bashir’s genocidal regime in South Kordofan is abetting war crimes, not preventing them.

The government in Khartoum refuses to send humanitarian aid to the regions in need for fear of aiding the rebels who are combating genocide and ethnic cleansing–those horrible people! Instead the international community refuses to send humanitarian aid through South Sudan to the starving people in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions because it might offend the government of Sudan that is trying to starve them and kill them off!

If in fact it is true that a well fed people in the southern part of Sudan will continue to revolt and will achieve victory over the government in Khartoum, that is what must be. The world cannot support starvation as a battle tactic. Even less can the United States support the use of starvation against friends of the United States (those fighting Omar Bashir’s regime) by an enemy (Sudan’s government led by Bashir) that once hosted Al Qaeda and supports the most radical anti-American elements around the world.

If the persecuted Muslims in Darfur have joined the persecuted Christians of the Nuba Mountains in fighting against the genocidal regime that is trying to ethnically cleanse and kill them, it is abundantly clear which side those who have morals and ethics should be on. If South Sudan in seeking to defend itself against Sudan’s attacks took over the disputed territory of Heglig, it is abundantly clear which side is in the right. Now, will the United Nations and United States continue to be on the wrong side?

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