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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

Iran Bows to Pressure and May Remove Reyhaneh Jabbari from Death Row

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Iran’s so-called justice ministry has postponed for a month the hanging of Reyhaneh Jabbari, who allegedly stabbed to death a former intelligence office whom she said testified tried to rape her.

Jabbari used a small pen knife to fend off the attacker, who has been described as a burly man, in the shoulder, leaving open several questions concerning his supposed inability to get up and seek medical attention, as reported here.

No Iranian official ever can admit wrongdoing, and the “death” has being interpreted as a probable commutation of her death sentence. It is not known if she will serve more time in prison, assuming her life is spared.

The case attracted worldwide attention after she was arrested in 2007 for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, the attacker who she stabbed as he tried to rape her.

The prosecution’s case against her has been highly questioned, and her lawyers said she was not given a fair trial, which is far from surprising. Human Rights Watch has been leading a drive to save Jabbari’s life, and the Iranian judiciary earlier this year agreed to review the death sentence.

Approximately 200,000 people have signed a petition in her behalf.

 

 

Amnesty International Admits Flawed Reporting on Israeli ‘Abuses’

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

An Amnesty International field reporter has unwittingly admitted that Palestinians often mislead human rights activists when they report about supposed Israeli “abuses.”

Donatella Rovera,Amnesty’s Senior Crisis Advisor, recently wrote on the Professionals in Human Assistance and Protection website, that

“In Gaza, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, and other places I interviewed civilians who described what they thought were artillery or bomb strikes being launched by far away government forces and striking near their homes – whereas in reality the loud bangs and tremors were caused by mortars or rockets being launched by opposition fighters from their positions nearby. For the untrained ear it is virtually impossible to distinguish between incoming and outgoing fire, and all the more so for those who find themselves close to the frontlines.

“Fear can lead victims and witnesses to withhold evidence or give deliberately erroneous accounts of incidents. In Gaza, I received partial or inaccurate information by relatives of civilians accidentally killed in accidental explosions or by rockets launched by Palestinian armed groups towards Israel that had malfunctioned and of civilians killed by Israeli strikes on nearby Palestinian armed groups’ positions. When confronted with other evidence obtained separately, some said they feared reprisals by the armed groups.

Responding to the article, Honest Reporting notes that much of Rovera’s faulty “reportage,” is often cited by anti-Israel groups to vilify not only Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, but in the Land of Israel at all.

“Human rights reports “spread quickly and then become widely believed – including by “unbiased” NGOs – before anyone has a chance to investigate,” said the website.

Canadian Politician Irwin Cotler ‘Honored’ to be Banned by Russia

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Irwin Cotler, a veteran human rights activist and member of Canada’s parliament,  says being banned from Russia is an “honor.”

When Russia issued its blacklist of 13 Canadians on Monday, Cotler was quick to express his pleasure at being included. ”I wear my exclusion from Russia as a badge of honor and am proud to be in such distinguished company,” he said in a statement. “I have no intention of visiting Siberia. I have no investments in Sochi. I have no desire to visit Moscow.”

This is not the first time Cotler, renowned for representing Jewish refuseniks from the Soviet era, has been banned from Russian soil.

He was expelled from the Soviet Union and then banned in 1979 while advocating on behalf of political prisoners, including Natan Sharansky. “I was arrested and accused of consorting with ‘criminals,’ among them the great Soviet human rights dissident, Andrei Sakharov,” Cotler wrote on his website. “These acts did not stop my human rights advocacy. Indeed, [Monday's] announcement only inspires me to redouble my efforts to advance the cause of human rights for all.

“I stand in solidarity with the Russian people and those fighting for human rights and democracy. Their day will come and [President Vladimir] Putin will be no more.”

This time, Cotler suspects his banishment is because he introduced a bill regarding Sergei Magnitsky. The Huffington Post reported that Magnitsky was an accountant and auditor in Moscow who uncovered a corruption scheme and testified against several senior Russian officials. He was subsequently imprisoned and died in jail in 2009 at the age of 37. Cotler chairs an intra-parliamentary group on Magnitsky, and he said that is like a “red flag” to Russia.

“My sense is that’s probably the retaliatory reason in my case,” according to Cotler.

He said some of the Americans banned by Russia were people who had worked on the Magnitsky file. Cotler added he does not need to go to Russia to advocate for Magnitsky.

“Our intra-parliamentary group for Sergei Magnitsky is international. It contains parliamentarians from over 20 countries.”

Richard Falk Blames Israel for Sins of Egypt and Palestinian Authority

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Richard Falk, whose official title is “U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories,” is furious that Gaza fisherman are being shot at, angry about the “blockade” on Gaza, and is upset beyond imagination at those who violate Palestinian Authority Arabs freedom of expression and assembly and who use “excessive use of force.”

Last week, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency reported, “An Egyptian naval ship opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the southern Gaza Strip early Saturday, a Palestinian union official said.”

The following day, the Chinese Xinhua news agency wrote, “Islamic Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip organized Sunday a sit-in at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, urging the Egyptian government to reopen the terminal which was closed after the ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last year….

“Since toppling Morsi, the new army-backed Egyptian government has been partly opening the Rafah crossing, allowing the entry of only patients, students in foreign countries and holders of foreign visas and passports.”

Today, the Egyptian Ahram reported, “The Egyptian army has destroyed eight more tunnels used for smuggling along the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip, an army spokesman said on Sunday.”

Earlier this month, the French AFP news agency told readers around the world, “Palestinian authorities on Thursday imposed a blanket ban on all rallies in support of Egypt and Tunisia after the security forces were accused of harsh conduct towards demonstrators.

“The move came just hours after Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning the Palestinian security forces and police for forcibly breaking up a pro-Egypt gathering in the West Bank city of Ramallah a day earlier….

“Police punched, kicked and detained participants in the demonstration, as well as at least two journalists and a HRW research assistant,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement, adding that the police “began beating demonstrators without warning.”

“The PA’s suppression is but a continuation of its crackdown on activists and anyone expressing dissent,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It is a clear violation of our basic rights.”

Palestinian Authority Security chief Adnan al-Damiri said in a statement, “The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority forbid any interference in the internal affairs of another country, be it Arab or other, and respect the will of the people to decide their destiny.”

Now, take all of those points, connect the dots and come up with this conclusion: Israeli policies in Judea, Gaza and Samaria amount to apartheid.

That is what Falk concluded Monday in order to show everyone that he failed Logic 101, otherwise known as his final report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Falk lies in answers to “who shoots at Gaza fishermen and who prevents Palestinian Authority Arabs from protesting?”

“The humanitarian situation in the Hamas-ruled enclave is dire amid fuel shortages,” he added, according to Reuters. Falk insists that Gaza still is “occupied” by Israel because it allegedly controls border, air space and coastal waters. That is two-thirds correct. Israel does control the air space and the coastal waters, in what the United Nations has said is a legal blockade. Falk ignores that any sane nation controls waters and air space used by terrorists trying to destroy it.

The borders on land controlled by Israel and Egypt. Israel allows hundreds of tons of goods, including building materials that can be used to build rocket weapons factories and missiles, to flow into Gaza. Egypt does not.

As for excessive force, Falk gave no examples, but the above quote from the Palestinian Authority’s own unofficial media says it all. Hundreds of reports have shown week in and week out that the Palestinian Authority regime is not less repressive than that of Egypt.

Saudi Court Orders Lashes for Man for Posting Insults on Twitter

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to three months in jail, 800 lashes and slapped him with a $2,666 fine for using Twitter and Facebook to falsely accuse a Kuwaiti singer from the United Arab Emirates of immoral behavior. He also posted photos of the singer.

Arab News reported, “Many have welcomed the ruling, saying it protects Internet users from online predators,” and it quoted expatriates as saying court decision will make them more cautious when using social networking.

“It is advisable for us not to post any negative comments on issues that are not clear to us. Let us establish the authenticity of the information that has reached us before sharing it,” Rasol Abbas, a community leader from the Philippines, was quoted as saying.

Arab News, which is based in Saudi Arabia, also cited an expert to tell its readers that “new research that reveals how social media sites negatively affect our sense of connection, decrease productivity, breach our privacy and lead to cyber-bullying in some instances.”

It also quoted Twitter account Judicious Arab as stating, “I hope this will put an end to irresponsible tweets and posts accusing women of adultery over differences of opinions.”

It is no wonder that a recent Pew poll showed that of all allies to the United States, American have the lest favorable view of Saudi Arabia.

New Jersey Man Claims He Lost Job for not Firing Jewish Employee

Monday, December 30th, 2013

A New Jersey man said he was fired after refusing to fire a man his boss called a “no-good New York city Jew.”

Thomas Greco, a Middleton, New Jersey father of five, said after he was hired in May 2011 as a superintendent at the U.S. Custom House in Lower Manhattan, his boss, Howard Anastasi, ordered him to fire the Jewish worker, The New York Post reported.

“He says, ‘You got a guy working for you — Chuck Brenner — he’s a no-good New York City Jew,’ ” Greco told the Post. “ ‘You know what that means: He’s no good. You gotta get rid of him.’ ”

Greco did not fire Brenner.

A year later, while Greco was on a leave of absence following an injury, Anastasi fired him and said, according to Greco, “I told you to take care of something, and you didn’t.”

Greco, 51, has filed a complaint with New York City’s Human Rights Commission and with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the newspaper.

US Losing Middle East Coalition

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Ever since the seventies, the world has become accustomed to the split in the Middle East, between those countries that support the West – Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Israel, and we might add Turkey to this list as well, and those countries that were members of the opposing, Soviet, coalition: Syria, Libya, Iraq and South Yemen. Lebanon was then between the democratic hammer and the Syrian anvil.

Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of the eighties, there were no big shifts in political orientation, and the countries that were faithful to the Western bloc led by the United States remained faithful to it until recently, mainly because a new hostile bloc was formed, led by Iran and supported by Russia and China. The stronger the Iranian threat became, the more the pro-Western countries depended on America for support.

Lately, however, the pro-Western coalition has begun to crumble, and two key countries – Saudi Arabia and Egypt – are searching for a new political crutch, ever since it became clear to them that the American crutch is nothing but “a broken reed” (Isaiah, 36:6). A few more countries can be added to this list, mainly Turkey and the Gulf Emirates.

Saudi Arabia

In an unprecedented move, the Saudi kingdom has refused to become a member of the most powerful body in the world, the Security Council of the UN, a body authorized to deal with the world’s security problems and, with the power of the authority vested in it, can even declare war as a world body on a country that violates its resolutions. The question that immediately arises is: why did Saudi Arabia refuse to become a member of the body that is perhaps the only one capable of dealing with Iran’s military nuclear project? Why did Saudi Arabia reject the opportunity to influence events in Syria from within the Security Council? Why doesn’t Saudi Arabia take advantage of the most important stage in international policy in order to take action against Israel?

The superficial reason is that which the Saudi foreign office published, expressing an ethical position: the kingdom will not agree to enter the Security Council until the Council undergoes reforms that will enable it to fulfill its role, which is to maintain world peace. The obsolete apparatus, the wasteful practices, and double standards used by the Security Council all prevent it from fulfilling its role. There are many examples of this: the Palestinian problem has not been solved despite it having been created 65 years ago, and despite the fact that the wars stemming from it have threatened the peace of the entire region and the world several times. The Council allows the Syrian dictator continue slaughtering his citizens for almost three years without imposing effective sanctions, and the Council has failed to achieve the goal of turning the Middle East into an area free of weapons of mass destruction because it has not managed to create an effective method of oversight for military nuclear projects.

Despite the fact that the Saudis do not speak specifically about Iran in their official announcement, it is clear that their reference is not to Israel, from whom they fear no danger, but to Iran, whose nuclear plans do keep them awake at night. However, it is specifically the Iranian nuclear issue which should have pushed Saudi Arabia to become a member the Council; membership could have granted them an active role in making decisions against Iran, so why not join?

In part, the reasons relate to the way that the Saudis see the international alignment of countries recently but is also connected to the customary culture of honor in the Middle East, without which it would be impossible to understand the behavior of the Saudis, proud sons of the desert.

First of all, a person of honor does not join a club where he is considered a class ‘B’ member. In the Security Council there are class ‘A’ members – the five permanent members (the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China) who have nuclear weapons and veto power, and there are class ‘B’ members – the ten countries with temporary membership, who are not allowed to attain nuclear weapons and do not have veto power. Saudi Arabia would in no way agree to be a class ‘B’ member of any organization, and would prefer not to join because honor is more important to it than anything else.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/dr-mordechai-kedar/us-losing-middle-east-coalition/2013/10/25/

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