Not as simple as good v evil

My following letter appears in today’s Australian newspaper:

Campaigning for universal human rights means condemning occupation and brutality wherever it occurs, whether in a US-backed client state such as Israel or a dictatorship like Iran. A moral blind spot won’t suffice.

Greg Sheridan (“West’s hypocrites betray Iranians”, Opinion, 2/7) accuses me of ignoring gross abuses in Iran and obsessing over Israeli “apartheid”. This is patently untrue. I visited Iran in 2007 to document the role of dissidents and the internet in challenging the authoritarian state. I have written constantly about the draconian behaviour of Iranian goons against peaceful protesters and spoken across the Australian media in the past month documenting the complex relationship between Islamism, democracy and human rights. The situation is not black and white, good versus evil. It’s not our place to dictate what Iranians should want; the vast majority of them want to maintain the Islamic system but demand internal reforms. Very few are calling for the complete dismantlement of the 1979 Revolution.

In Israel, I, along with countless politicians and human rights organisations, recognise the deepening apartheid occupation of Palestine. It is not a reality seen by journalists who choose to look the other way.

Antony Loewenstein
New York, US

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