PHOTO BY ISAAC BYKHOVSKY — The delegate from Israel gives his passionate speech to the committee.
By ISAAC BYKHOVSKY, The Jerusalem Post
BOSTON, Mass. (The Jerusalem Post) — Off to a contentious start, the LEGAL committee defaulted to debate the “Protection of Threatened Religious Minority Groups” after being unable to gain the 67 percent majority needed to choose the debate topic as a committee. After landing on this issue, though, the committee’s debate evolved into a hotbed of discussion.
A clear theme of the committee has been the necessity to create universal definitions under which groups can consider themselves “threatened religious minorities.” “We must agree on this quickly,” stated the delegate from the Russian Federation. “How can we define minority when we have a plurality of groups?”
Targeted by France for “hastening the process towards protection,” Russia was adamant about his desire to truly aid these individuals. “We want to help from the bottom up,” he said, “but to do that we all need to agree on what we are talking about.”
These sentiments were argued by the delegates from Ethiopia, Syria, and Uganda—all nations that have been crippled by religious persecution. They all drew attention to the idea that definitions do not matter. Within these nations, members of the same religious groups are killing each other. Arguing about definitions seems pedantic to them—wasting the committee’s valuable time and drawing away focus from this pressing matter.
Doing so, in fact, is not farfetched. Seemingly all the nations with a tarnished past in regard to the treatment of religious minorities have been arguing about definitions—and their arguments all align. At this point, one can only assume nations such as Russia, Greece, Japan and India are working together to draft a resolution focusing not on solutions, but on definitions.
And while this debate raged on, a moment of clarity was raised to the committee as the delegate from Israel spoke. He reminded the committee of the importance of drawing attention to the persecution of religious minorities. “Think about the history of our state,” he asked the committee, “Think about the history of my people; the suffering that was experiences for the creation of our state.”
Israel continued to speak about the creation of the state, and how without clear definitions of religious minorities, the state nonetheless continues to prosper.
The session ended fruitlessly—the argument about definitions raged on without any clear progress or substantial solutions brought to the table.