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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights Watch’

Arabs Released From PA Prison; Jews Ask Why the Left-Wing Didn’t Help

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

By Andrew Friedman/TPS

Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, Dr. Yitzhak Glick and other residents of Gush Etzion expressed satisfaction Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority released four Arab residents of the village of Wadi Nis, but they added sharp criticism for Israeli and international NGOs that remained silent throughout the crisis.

Four residents of the Palestinian Authority village Wadi Nis, adjacent to Efrat, were arrested by Palestinian Authority officials last week for attending a reception marking the Jewish Succot festival in Efrat. The gathering was hosted by Revivi and attended by senior military and police commanders in the Judea and Samaria region.

Palestinian Authority officials initially said the men would be charged with “normalization with Israel,” considered a crime in the Palestinian Authority, but later statements indicated the men were being held in protective custody.

Speaking to Tazpit Press Service (TPS) by phone Tuesday, Revivi said Israeli officials were virtually the only voices that called for the men to be released. He noted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call on the international community to work to help free the men, and added that efforts to secure the mens’ release included senior IDF officers.

Revivi also said that several members of the US Congress and State Department did act to get the men released. But he, Netanyahu, Glick and others added that repeated pleas to foreign diplomats, Israeli left-wing groups and international organizations to intercede with the Palestinian Authority on behalf of the detained men fell largely on deaf ears.

“I contacted every member of Meretz and B’tselem to get them to press the PA to release them,” said Dr. Yitzhak Glick, a resident of Efrat and member of Shorashim/Judur, a local co-existence group that brings Jews and Arabs from the Gush Etzion region together. “Zahava Gal-on was the only one to respond, and even she only wrote me a formalistic note that she would try to ‘do something’, but nothing more.

“Even Gershon Baskin, who’s got top-level contacts throughout the Palestinian world and goes around the world crowing about how he negotiated the deal for Gilad Shalit’s release, told me there was nothing he could really do. So I have to ask – where were B’tselem, Human Rights Watch and the rest of the groups that are normally so concerned with Palestinian rights?” Glick steamed.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Abbas Pardons PA Officer Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Critical Facebook Post

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas issued a presidential pardon on Wednesday, releasing officer Osama Mansour after a Ramallah military court sentenced him to a year in prison for publishing a Facebook post that was critical of Abbas. Abbas decreed that Mansour be retired from security forces instead of serving time in prison.

A PA military court in Ramallah sentenced Osama Mansour, a PA military liaison officer, to a year in prison and suspended his military rank for criticizing PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on social media for attending the Shimon Peres funeral, Ma’an reported.

Mansour’s son said earlier that his father’s sentence was awaiting final approval from Abbas. Mansour was charged with “disobeying orders” after being detained on Oct. 1 for publishing a post on his Facebook page asking Abbas not to attend the funeral.

Mansour was director of public relations and media at the PA military liaison, the unit that coordinates security with Israel. In his post, he pointed out the irony of Abbas offering his condolences for Peres, “founder of settlement activity,” while condemning Israeli settlements.

“Whether (Peres) was a terrorist or not, whether he invented the policy of breaking bones during the First Intifada or not, whether he was involved in the Jenin refugee camp massacre, the massacre of the al-Yasmin neighborhood in [Shechem], or the massacre of Qana — who is he that you are going to partake in his funeral while the majority of the people you represent oppose him?” the post read.

“There should be no personal or friendly relations with the occupier, as long as they continue with their arrogant policies against our people,” declared the post by a PA official in charge of cooperation with Israel.

In August, NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report showing PA security forces had detained activists, including rap musicians, for criticizing the PA corruption and its security cooperation with Israel.

JNi.Media

Anti-Israel NGO Al-Haq Making Inroads on Capitol Hill

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Al-Haq, a Ramallah based NGO established in 1979 has been making friends on Capitol Hill in recent months, establishing a group of 20 Congress members who are on the record in support of the PA against Israeli policies in Judea and Samaria. The list of 20 lawmakers, which Al-Haq boasts on its website, is not made up of anti-Israel Congress members, which is probably the most worrisome part of this story. They are Congress Members who have mostly bought into the seductive message that Israel has lost its way in trying to, justifiably, deal with the wave of Arab youth rioting and violence in areas under its control, and that the US should come up with ways to help the Israelis rediscover their moral compass.

This group of Al-Haq friendly lawmakers is led by the most anti-Israeli Congress Member, Betty McCollum, US Representative for Minnesota’s 4th congressional district. Back in 2006, she got into a huge feud with AIPAC, when her chief of staff said they had been told by an AIPAC representative that the congresswoman was supporting terrorists because she voted against the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 in committee. The bill was passed overwhelmingly by the House, and AIPAC claimed the Congresswoman was lying about that phone call. McCollum took her story everywhere, including an open letter to AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr in The New York Review of Books—not a hotbed of Zionist fervor. She demanded an apology, AIPAC refused. She told Kohr: “Until I receive a formal, written apology from your organization, I must inform you that AIPAC representatives are not welcome in my offices for meetings with my staff.”

The June 20, 2016 Congress Members’ letter to President Barack Obama, written by Rep McCollum, urged the president “to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth to travel to the west Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel to hear directly from Palestinian youth, human rights and legal experts, NGOs, Palestinian and Israeli officials, including police and military leaders. Such a fact finding mission will provide the Obama Administration with vital information necessary to actively promote human rights, but also establish a framework for the next US administration.”

McCollum’s letter also called on the State Dept. “to elevate the human rights of Palestinian children to a priority status in our bilateral relations with Israel and our ongoing engagement with the Palestinian Authority.”

And, McCollum ended with a threat, “ignoring the trauma being inflicted on millions of Palestinian children undermines our American values and will ensure the perpetuation of a conflict and occupation we all want to see ended peacefully.”

To sum up: 1. Appoint another Goldstone commission; 2. Accumulate a one-sided, anti-Israel body of “evidence,” this time with the backing of the White House; 3. Rinse, repeat.

The ambitious letter to Obama, which is touted on the Al-Haq website, attracted the endorsements of US Reps Eddie Bernice Johnson, Andre Carson, John Conyers, Earl Blumenauer, Donald Beyer, Barbara Lee, Keith Ellison, Hank Johnson, Bobby Rush, Marcy Kaptur, Chellie Pingree, Danny Davis, Peter DeFazio, Raul Grijalva, Sam Farr, Luis Gutierrez, Jim McDermott, Yvette Clarke, and Mark Pocan. Although they are all liberal, and mostly from blue states, these US Reps are not necessarily all enemies of Israel. But they were taken in by the Al-Haq propaganda, as it was sung to them by McCollum.

This fall, Al-Haq is revving up its efforts on the Hill. On Monday morning, October 17, on Capitol Hill (Room TBA), Al-Haq is offering a Capitol Hill Briefing on “Israeli Settlements: Their Impact on Palestinians Living Under Military Occupation.” The briefing will feature speakers from Al-Haq, as well as from Youth Against Settlements and from Al-Shabaka. All three NGOs are heavily funded by European countries and charity organizations.

At the October 17 briefing, the “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation” will launch its policy paper on “steps that Congress and the Executive Branch can take to make US opposition to Israeli settlements more effective.”

A light breakfast will be served, probably not kosher.

According to NGO Monitor, Al-Haq has been a leader in the anti-Israel “Lawfare” and BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) campaigns. Lawfare is the overall title of the strategy aimed at delegitimizing Israel using legal frameworks. It was adopted at the NGO Forum of the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, as a plan to single out Israel as a “racist” and “apartheid” state; isolate Israel internationally through a BDS campaign; and explicitly advance the political war against Israel. The NGO Forum Declaration called for the “adoption of all measures to ensure [the] enforcement” of international humanitarian law, including “the establishment of a war crimes tribunal to investigate and bring to justice those who may be guilty of war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing and the crime of Apartheid . . . perpetrated in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

These efforts are being led by Al Haq, as well the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan, and Badil, and aided by international NGOs including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Federation of Human Rights (France), and the Center for Constitutional Rights (New York). Israeli NGOs Adalah, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and Yesh Din also figure prominently in this scheme. All of these organizations are largely supported by European governments and foundations.

JNi.Media

Hillary’s Muslim Adviser Huma Abedin Leaving Anthony Weiner

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Huma Abedin, longtime confidante and top campaign official of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is leaving her husband, former Congressman (D-NY) Anthony Weiner over his latest scandal involving explicit text messages.

Abedin released a statement saying, “After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband. Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy.”

Abedin’s move came after a report in the NY Post Sunday showing inappropriate images Weiner sent a woman with his little son in the picture.

Weiner’s political career ended after he had sent explicit messages to a woman in 2011. The new messages were sent on July 31, 2015. The accompanying text suggests he included his son in the picture on purpose.

A protégé of then Congressman and now Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Weiner was elected to the New York City Council in 1991, defeating fellow Democrat Adele Cohen in the primaries by 195 votes after sending out leaflets (in Crown Heights) accusing her of ties to Mayor David Dinkins and political gadfly Jessie Jackson. In 1998 Weiner ran for Congress in Chuck Schumer’s 9th congressional district (Brooklyn), when his mentor was running for the US Senate.

Weiner was vehemently pro-Israel in Congress. In 2006 he tried to bar entry by the Palestinian Authority delegation to the United Nations, declaring they “should start packing their little Palestinian terrorist bags.” He accused Human Rights Watch, The New York Times, and Amnesty International of anti-Israel Biases. In 2007, Weiner and fellow NY Congressman Jerry Nadler fought a $20-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, saying they wouldn’t give “sophisticated weapons to a country that … has not done enough to stop terrorism,” seeing as 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were Saudis. Weiner stood outside the Saudi consulate in DC, saying, “We need to send a crystal clear message to the Saudi Arabian government that their tacit approval of terrorism can’t go unpunished.” Weiner and other Congress members later criticized President Obama’s plan to sell more than $60 billion in advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia. Weiner said: “Saudi Arabia is not deserving of our aid, and by arming them with advanced American weaponry we are sending the wrong message.” He accused Saudi Arabia of having a “history of financing terrorism” and teaching “hatred of Christians and Jews.”

Despite all of the above, however, in 2010 Weiner married Huma Mahmood Abedin, a Muslim of Indian and Pakistani descent who was raised and educated in Saudi Arabia. Abedin had been a long-time personal aide to Hillary Clinton, and the wedding ceremony was officiated by former President Bill Clinton.

Abedin, 40, serves as vice chairwoman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, having served as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff when the latter was Secretary of State. In 2008 Abedin was traveling chief of staff for Clinton’s presidential campaign.

A profile in Nirali (Hillary’s Handler: Huma Abedin) relates that Abeedin, who was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, into a “very traditional family” with a Pakistani mother and an Indian father, moved at age 2 with her family to Saudi Arabia where her father started an institute devoted to religious understanding and her mother helped create a private women’s college. What the profile does not mention are the repeated allegations that Abedin’s mother and brother have been members or, at least, sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the fact that Abedin’s 16 formative years growing up in Saudi Arabia are largely an unknown.

Vanity Fair pointed out in January (Is Huma Abedin Hillary Clinton’s Secret Weapon or Her Next Big Problem?) that the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, founded by Abedin’s late father, became the family business and was supported by the Saudi government. “Huma was an assistant editor there between 1996 and 2008. Her brother, Hassan, 45, is a book-review editor at the Journal and was a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. … Huma’s sister, Heba, 26, is an assistant editor at the Journal.”

The contents of the Journal are consistent with Muslim tradition, including all the wonderful things it offers women. One 1996 article Abedin edited, headlined “Women’s Rights Are Islamic Rights,” states that single mothers, working mothers and gay couples with children are not really families. The same article says that an immodest dress “directly translates into unwanted results of sexual promiscuity and irresponsibility and indirectly promote violence against women” — the old “she was asking for it” argument.

In June 2012, five conservative congress members wrote to the State Department warning that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the highest levels of government, specifically citing Abedin: “Huma Abedin has three family members—her late father, her mother and her brother—connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations,” they wrote. But Senator John McCain denounced the letter saying it was an “unwarranted and unfounded attack” on Abedin. “I know Huma to be an intelligent, upstanding, hard-working, and loyal servant of our country and our government,” McCain vouched for Clinton’s closest aide.

How close? Vogue cited Clinton adviser Mandy Grunwald who said, “I’m not sure Hillary could walk out the door without Huma. She’s a little like Radar on *M*A*S*H. If the air-conditioning is too cold, Huma is there with the shawl. She’s always thinking three steps ahead of Hillary.”

The Clinton’s attorney of many years, Bob Barnett, said “Huma does make the trains run on time.”

Actress Mary Steenburgen, Hillary’s close friend, said, “I don’t know if it’s a chicken-or-the-egg thing—Hillary affecting Huma or the other way around—but together they work.”

JNi.Media

Jewish Human Rights Watch Suing 3 Councils in High Court over BDS

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) has taken Swansea, Gwyneedd and Leicester councils to the High Court in London, alleging their boycott of Israeli goods is anti-Semitic and violates the 2010 Equality Act.

The group noted on their Facebook page: “We’re in the #‎HighCourt today and tomorrow about The Labour Party’s Leicester City Council & City and County of Swansea & Gwynedd Council’s #‎Antisemitic #‎Boycott motions. We’ll keep you updated as soon as we hear anything.”

Several local councils across the UK voted to boycott Israeli goods after 2009, when Israel refused to embrace the Hamas’ need to shoot rockets at its civilian population.

In 2010, Swansea council was seeking contracts with Veolia, a company connected to a project building a light railway in eastern Jerusalem. But then a motion was put before the council stating the project “not only contravenes UN demands but is in contravention of international law,” since the UN “has demanded that Israeli settlement activities and occupation should not be supported.”

Several council members called on the council to not do business with “any company in breach of international law or UN obligations or demands, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant legislation.” The motion was approved.

Andrew Sharland, an attorney for Leicester’s council, which in 2014 approved a similar boycott of Israeli goods, said the JHRW is trying to “stifle criticisms of Israel.”

“What this challenge really concerns is criticism of the State of Israel, and the claimant’s desire to suppress it,” he said.

Following the 2014 vote, JHRW issued a statement saying, “Leicester City Council has taken steps down an anti-Semitic path under the guise of helping community relations in Leicester. Frankly this amounts to a get-of-out-town order to Leicester Jews.”

In 2014, Gwynedd council also passed a motion calling for a trade embargo against Israel, condemning the “attacks by the Israeli state on the territory of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.” Just to make sure they did not come across as anti-Semites, Gwynedd council added, “It must be made clear that the proposal condemned the Israeli state and not the Jewish religion.”

The British government earlier this year issued guidelines for public authorities which say these boycotts are “inappropriate” without formal legal sanctions or embargoes by the national government. In fact, the Cabinet Office has said these boycotts “undermine good community relations, poison and polarize debate, weaken integration and fuel anti-Semitism.”

But Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party has been ridding itself of an industrial-size stash of anti-Semitic members in recent days, criticized the government’s warning against BDS as an “attack on local democracy.”

David Israel

AP Disses ‘Whistleblower’ But a New Whistle Blows

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

It began with a “tell-something” tale by a former reporter. But as with so many small tempests, the shrill response of the alleged victim has fanned the winds to tornado strength.

A former AP reporter, Matti Friedman, publicly detailed allegations of biased coverage of the Israel-Arab conflict and claimed that Gerald Steinberg, a non anti-Israel expert, was banned by the AP. Friedman was immediately and with great force contradicted by Paul Colford, AP’s director of media relations.

Colford claimed Friedman’s articles were filled with “distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies.” And he wrote, point blank, there was “no ban on AP’s use of Prof. Gerald Steinberg.”

So, it’s “he said – he said,” right? But as it turns out, we have a tie-breaker. A second former AP reporter explicitly confirmed to The Jewish Press that, despite Colford’s denial, there was indeed a ban in place in AP’s Jerusalem bureau on quoting Steinberg, and that he could state this with confidence. How? Because that ban was explained to him by the AP’s then Jerusalem bureau chief.

BACKGROUND

The original stories were written by a former Associated Press reporter, Matti Friedman. The first was in the online Tablet magazine, followed by another in The Atlantic.

Friedman provided substantial detail on what close followers of Middle East reporting already understand: the mainstream media has bought the Palestinian Arab story line about the Arab-Israeli conflict: the Palestinian Arabs are the Davids, the Israelis are the Goliath.

While this story is often hard to square with the facts, that only matters when the truth matters. And as Professor Richard Landes eloquently puts it: “you pay a high price for telling the truth about the Palestinian Arabs and no price for telling lies about Israel.”

Friedman’s pieces in the Tablet and The Atlantic offered numerous examples of what he described as AP staff looking the other way when Arabs violated laws of war or when Israel made peace offerings, including submitting to intimidation by Hamas.

In our last pass at this story, readers will recall that The Jewish Press zeroed in on a startling new fact Friedman had in his Atlantic article: that the AP had “banned” interviews with Bar Ilan Professor Gerald Steinberg and the use of materials by the non-governmental organization watchdog which Steinberg founded and heads, NGO-Monitor.

Friedman made this claim on the basis of his experience as a new reporter in AP’s Jerusalem bureau during Operation Cast Lead (December 2008 to January 2009) between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza.

In particular, Friedman was struck by the pedestal upon which self-proclaimed human rights organizations were placed by AP, and their claims, particularly condemnations of Israel, accepted without reservation. It was in this context that Friedman learned about the ban on Steinberg.

Friedman stated, without any qualifications, that in a region “with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor.”

The Jewish Press story was published in the early hours of Monday, Dec. 1, Israel time.

Paul Colford, the AP’s media relations director, began contacting The Jewish Press during the early hours of the business day on Monday, U.S. time. The subject line was: “Email address needed by AP.”

Colford informed the New York-based Jewish Press print editor that there were “inaccuracies” in our story and sought contact information for the reporter who wrote it.

It took some time for the New York editor to convey the request to the Jerusalem editor of the JewishPress.com, and then a little longer for the reporter to get the message. In the interim, the New York editor explained to Colford the relationship between the print and online versions of The Jewish Press (the online version is autonomous, although each has permission to run the other’s stories), and asked to know what inaccuracies were in the story.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Anti-Israel Pile-on at State Dept. Press Briefing

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The Daily press briefing given by one of the State Department spokespeople was an even nastier version of itself when it came to a discussion about the conflict between Gaza and Israel on Wednesday, July 16.

Although Said Arikat, the Washington, D.C. bureau chief of the Palestinian Arab Al Quds newspaper, typically goads whoever is leading the briefing in an attempt to force the U.S. into denunciations of Israel, today there was a virtual pile-on by various members of the press.

It started with the ever dogged, although as often as not critical of Arab tactics as of Israel, Matt Lee of the Associated Press. Lee peppered spokesperson Jen Psaki with questions about a Human Rights Watch report which charged Israel with violating international law with some of its airstrikes on Gaza. Lee then linked the HRW report to the day’s incident on a beach in Gaza in which four Gazan teenagers were killed by what Hamas claimed was a hit by the Israeli Navy.

Put aside the fact – which never came up – that the Israeli Navy immediately stated it was not firing in that area at the time the beach was struck, Lee completed his “testimony” and ended, finally, with a question: “Do you endorse or do you echo the call of Human Rights Watch here for Israel to stop these attacks?”

Psaki didn’t immediately respond in a coherent way, and Lee followed up by asking her if she believed Israel was targeting either civilians or civilian structures.

The spokesperson then launched into her pre-packaged statement that the secretary of state has called on both parties to de-escalate the hostilities, and explaining that civilian deaths, whether of children or otherwise, is of course always a great concern of the United States.

Lee, not satisfied with the non-responsive answer, resumed peppering Psaki with demands that she answer whether or not the state department agreed with the Human Rights Watch report that Israel was “killing civilians in violation of the laws of war.”

When Psaki refused to agree, Lee moved on to another part of the HRW report, which stated that “Palestinian armed groups should end indiscriminate rocket attacks launched towards Israeli population centers.” Psaki, recognizing something the secretary has said, said “we agree with that statement.” Then Lee pounced, declaring that “So you agree with Human Rights Watch when they say that the Palestinians should stop their shelling, but you don’t agree with them when they say that Israel should; is that correct?”

It went even further downhill from there, with Lee continuing to badger Psaki along the same lines. Finally, Said Arikat jumped in with, “Shouldn’t Israel be held to the same standards in this case?” Psaki dismissed him by saying she had already answered the question. She then went to the next journalist who, unfortunately for Psaki, continued with the same line of questioning.

This journalist again discussed the deaths of the four Arabs on the beach, and concluded with the accusation, “How is an Israeli airstrike on what can only be described as a civilian target in full view of international journalists be acceptable to the U.S. Government?”

Psaki again discussed the U.S. being very concerned always by the death of civilians, but refused to allow herself to be drawn into a discussion of what exactly had happened on the beach, and resorted to the U.S. focus on de-escalating the violence.

Again, this third reporter attempted to draw out Psaki to have her condemn Israeli actions: “Why wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect that civilians who, for whatever reason, happen to be living in Gaza would not become more hardened in their view of the Israeli Government, of the Israeli people, when their own children can’t ostensibly go play in the surf, and instead, the next time they see their children they’re on funeral biers?”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/anti-israel-pile-on-at-state-dept-press-briefing/2014/07/17/

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