Over at Powerline, Paul Mirengoff specuiates about the political steps that may have led Prez O to honor Mary Robinson with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Robinson is the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002) who led the infamous 2001 Durban Conference Against Racism that immediatey preceded 9/11. Durban, remembered for its vicious outpouring of anti-Semitism -- the US and Israel walked out -- is not the sort of resume-builder to garner America's highest civilian honor, except, of course, in times of "hope and change."
Worth noting is that it is more than a notorious anti-Semitic hatefest and, as Paul's post also lays out, animus toward Israel, a key US ally, that marks Robinson's career. As High Commissioner, the former president of Ireland was also a signal booster and key apologist for sharia (Islamic law), and furthered its official recognition and legitimacy in the international arena. Here is a sample of the sharia-cheerleading she engaged in as the world's top international human rights diplomat. This is from her official statement to a symposium organized by the Organization of the Islamic Conference on March 15, 2002:
No one can deny that at its core Islam is entirely consonant with the principles of fundamental human rights, including human dignity, tolerance, solidarity and quality. Numerous passages from the Qur'an and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad will testify to this. No one can deny, from a historic perspective, the revolutionary force that is Islam, which bestowed rights upon women and children long before similar recognition was afforded in other civilisations. Custom and tradition have tended to limit these rights, but as more Islamic States ratify the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, ways forward for women are being found and women are leading the debate. And no one can deny the acceptance of the universality of human rights by Islamic States.
I'm sorry, but in a different context, Goebbels couldn't have put it over it better.
I found this quotation in an article at National Review Online written by David Littman, a historian who represents the Association for World Education, an NGO, at the United Nations in Geneva. In essays and speeches over the years, Littman has done yeoman work, meticulously cataloguing what he calls "creeping Islamism" at the UN -- the encroachment into the international legal arena of sharia, whose Islam-derived dictates directly contradict international human rights law, namely the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This "creeping Islamism" has now advanced to the point where the General Assembly is periodically voting on whether to ban criticism of islam in accordance with the laws of Islam. To date, these measures have failed, but by decreasing margins.
For an overview of sharia's international progress as first spearheaded by Khomeini-era Iran, read Littman's comprehensively detailed 2003 piece at NRO here. Then, stew some more why Mary Robinson has been so deeply honored in the land of the free.