Watch Out

Watch Out

Watch Out

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
March 30 2007 4:54 PM

Watch Out

Bloggers cheer Hillel Neuer of Geneva-based nongovernmental organization UN Watch for his fierce denunciation of the U.N. Human Rights Council. They also suss out what makes a New York apartment a romantic deal-breaker.

Watch out: Hillel Neuer of UN Watch delivered a stunning rebuke to the U.N. Human Rights Council March 23 for its lopsided condemnation of Israel to the total silence about human rights violations in other countries like Cuba, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria. Council President Luis Alfonso De Alba refused to thank Neuer for his speech—a procedural first that prompted UN Watch to assemble this video of rhetoric that evidently does warrant warm gratification from the body. Opening itself up to further scorn, the council Monday voted to abandon all inquiries into the human rights abuses of Iran and Uzbekistan.

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At British democratic socialist blog Harry's Place, commenter Nomist, says: "I was sitting there with a different delegation when [Hillel] made that speech, and I can tell you that the atmosphere in the room dropped about 10 degrees over the course of his speech. The sad thing is that he's right. Earlier that day you had the Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories declare that, because Israel is a 'Western-affiliated' state, the West cannot expect the Developing world to do ANYTHING about Darfur, Zimbabwe et al until it takes care of the Israel/Palestine situation. In other words, the human rights of everyone in the developing world are being held hostage to the affairs of a few million people between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea."

Kathy at Screw the UN points out, a touch unsurprisingly, that: "Not only did President Alba refuse to thank Mr. Neuer for his statements; but then threatened to remove any more truthful statements about the treatment of Israel by the UN Human rights council from the record. Sad, Mr. Neuer held up a mirror to the UN Human Rights council and they refused to look in. This council is a useless organization and it proved that it intends to remain that way." At Meta Rhetoric, Omri Ceren, a doctoral candidate in rhetoric, anatomizes De Alba's censorious reply: "You'll notice that the chair didn't actually rebut any of the accusations. He did the procedural equivalent of putting his hands over his ears and yelling 'I can't hear you'. How dignified. And how very typical of the United Nations."

And Elizabeth Cassidy, a member of UN Watch guest-blogging atinternational law site Opinio Juris, remarks on the council's bloodless resolution  passed on the genocide in Darfur, which somehow managed to elide the Sudanese government's responsibility for it. Cassidy adds: "In its nine months of existence, the Council has condemned only one country in the entire world for human rights violations: Israel. At this session, the Council passed yet another resolution—its ninth—against the Jewish state."

Read more about the UN Watch fracas.

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Resident evil: A New YorkTimes article about otherwise eligible bachelors who live in cramped, or squalid Manhattan apartments has got cyberspace wondering what real estate deal-breakers really matter in a city where crawl spaces are for rent on Craigslist.

Unitarian Universalist blogger PeaceBang writes: "Eau de Frat House is one of the most depressing smells on earth. I was already in college. I don't want to go back there. Nor do I want to be reminded, as I sit chatting with you, of all the babysitting gigs I had in 8th grade and all the elementary school boys I cared for on those nights whose bedrooms smelled exactly like your entire apartment."

Emily at Gawker thinks rent stabilization is the least of Albert Podell's dysfunctions. (He's one of the featured apartment rejects): "[T]he biggest problem may be his vocabulary, not his decor: "I was dating this very nice woman, I thought. I was ready and she was ready to do the big deed ... " Gahhhh squared! It's surprising, then, to learn that Mr. Podell has, in fact, found romance. Of a sort." (Podell's girlfriend lives in Moscow, though Gawker might have mentioned he's also 70.)

Gina Banina has her own list of deal-breakers (unwashed hairy dog-lovers with boundary issues, best of luck): "Hatred or aversion toward my cat. My cat is #1 in my life and anyone in my life must accept this … Hunting, wearing fur, and/or owning guns … Lack of hygiene.  Bathe, shave, brush your teeth, and do laundry, dammit … Opposition to touch and affection."

Read more about real-estate rejects.

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.