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April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

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.

Council of Europe Says Ritual Circumcision Won’t Be Banned

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The Council of Europe has assured President Shimon Peres that Europe will not ban religious circumcision despite last week’s non-binding resolution of the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly that cited circumcision of males as a violation of human rights and equated it with female genital mutilation.

President Peres wrote on Monday to Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, to protest the resolution. Although it has no legal significance, the Council is very influential on decisions by the European Union.

Jangland said male circumcision did not violate human rights, and Daniel Holtgen, the Director of Communications at the Council of Europe, sent a tweet quoting Jagland as saying, “Female genital mutilation violates human rights. Male circumcision does not.”

The resolution angered Muslims as well as Jews. It called for European states to “promote further awareness in their societies of the potential risks of some of these procedures,” which the assembly lists as the circumcision of boys, early childhood interventions in the case of intersexual children and the coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery.

Marlene Rupprecht, the rapporteur behind the resolution, claimed the text did not aim to “stigmatize any religious community or its practices” but simply called for public debate “aimed at reaching a wide consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity.”

While Jagland’s statements were good news for Jews and also for Muslims, it is scary that we are so susceptible to the threat of a ban on circumcision that we have to be grateful to someone deciding to suspend what would be a death sentence to Judaism.

Jews have died rather than accept decrees against circumcision, but today’s trend to use “human rights”  and “animal rights” to disguise campaigns that deprive Jewish rights is more subtle and devious than the open anti-Semitism of the past.

A judge in a German province earlier this year banned circumcision, leading to an uproar that prompted the national parliament to make it clear that ritual circumcision is legal.

The anti-circumcision movement is increasingly popular in Scandinavia, where the influx of Muslims also is a factor behind the campaign to prohibit the religious rite.

Jews and Muslims are constantly threatened with a ban on local slaughtering of animals according to Jewish and Muslim laws, which prohibit the method of stunning before using the knife. There are some leniencies in Muslim law.

The most recent controversy is in Poland, which banned ritual slaughter this year but where Jews now have to be thankful to the Catholic Church for supporting the rights of Jews and Muslims to slaughter animals according to religious laws.

The Polish parliament in July rejected a bill, sponsored by the government, to legalize kosher slaughter, but Pope Francis recently has voiced concern over the ban.

“Animal rights” supporters have successfully campaigned in Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland to outlaw kosher slaughter.

The European Union’s official policy states, “European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter” generally requires stunning before slaughter, but allows member states to allow exemptions for religious slaughter.”

Holland two years nearly outlawed kosher slaughter after the Animal Rights Party managed to convince the Lower House of parliament to pass a bill, which was rejected by the Upper House, to ban the practice.

Israel is the only country that comes to mind where Jewish rights still are unquestionably more important than “animals’ rights.”

As for circumcision, the only argument might be over “Metzitzah b’peh.”

An Even More Centralized Israel: Cashless and Criminal

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Centralization in Israel is a two-headed coin (or perhaps a two-headed monster).

There’s no doubt, that so many bureaucratic activities go much smoother in Israel than they do in America, because we have ID numbers and our cards are inter-linked to everything. Of course, sometimes that doubles the frustration when obvious things need to be manually duplicated over and over for no reason.

On the other hand, that centralization provides no flexibility or a safety net. Having problems with one government office can easily spill over to an unrelated one, since you’re linked together everywhere on record.

Then there is the basic issue of personal privacy and civil liberties.

And now, the Israeli government is attempting to implement two extreme decisions that threaten civil liberties more than ever.

They’re testing a biometric ID system. God forbid that should ever become mandatory.

Right now, even though your personal bio-data is out there with different organizations, there is still some semblance of privacy and protection because of the separation that naturally exists between your health fund, the army, the government, and so on.

But once that goes away, there goes your privacy. You will have no control over your personal information at all, and you’re reliant on the government, which as we know, is not the most effective of protectors of personal data.

The other move is even scarier.

The Israeli government is actually considering trying to find a way to abolish cash.

There was a unanimous cabinet decision to explore how to do that (Hey Naftali Bennett, I didn’t vote for you to lose my civil liberties – remember that come election time).

They want to get rid of cash, and give everyone rechargeable “cash cards” that will allow the government to track every single transaction you do. EVERY. SINGLE. TRANSACTION.

I can’t even begin to describe the civil liberties and privacy violations that implementing this system will create.

And if they actually believe this will get rid of cash, or the black market, they’re even stupider than I thought.

Bitcoin, gold, barter… you name it. Smart (and dumb) people will find their way around it. Not to do illegal transactions, mind you, but simply to protect their privacy away from the government’s snooping eyes.

And then we’ll all be criminals, because of a dangerous legislation which is an intrusive attempt to suck more tax money out of us and spy on us, and not just spy directly, but with data mining too, to study our purchase and transaction behavior, and find every last penny they can suck out of us and understand what we do with it.

I guarantee one thing. If this legislation passes, if the party I voted for, and the ones I didn’t, don’t stop this in its tracks, I will do everything (legal) to make sure those people do not get elected again, and be replaced with people who do care and understand the importance of civil liberties and fear the tyranny of government.

British Academy Supporting Racist Lecturer Condemned by UK

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The British Academy is supporting a lecturer who has been strongly condemned for racism by British Prime Minister David Cameron and by the Foreign Office’s anti-discrimination division, reported UN Watch.

The Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group today urged the head of the British Academy, Lord Stern of Brentford, to immediately remove all support for the scheduled September 11 Canberra appearance by Richard Falk, a UN Human Rights Council official recently denounced by world leaders for suggesting that the Boston bombings were the fault of the U.S. and Israel.

Falk was condemned by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, and by the US, UK and Canadian governments, for blaming the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”

The Sept. 11 timing of the conference is doubly offensive because Falk was also condemned by the UN chief for spreading 9/11 conspiracy theories.

A copy of UN Watch’s letter was sent to Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, the UK’s envoy to the UN, and to the London anti-discrimination division, both of whom recently condemned Falk for racism.

UN Watch today also sent a similar protest letter to Gareth Evans, chancellor of the Australian National University, which is hosting the conference. Evans, a former Australian foreign minister, served on a 2004 UN panel that led to the creation of Falk’s Human Rights Council.

Following is the UN Watch letter sent today:

Lord Stern of Brentford President of the British Academy

Dear Lord Stern,

UN Watch is shocked that the British Academy, whose purpose is to support excellence in the humanities, is funding a September 11th platform for Mr. Richard Falk, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who was just condemned by your own government for racism, and who was denounced by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and world leaders for his vile comments blaming the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”

According to a website called Human Rights in Palestine, the Australian National University in Canberra will soon host a “groundbreaking conference” on Palestinian human rights, on September 11. Mr. Falk is listed as a keynote speaker at this event.

This highly problematic event prominently displays a large British Academy logo throughout the website.

Notwithstanding a barely legible footnote on one of the pages containing a disclaimer written in tiny, faded grey letters, the website clearly implies the endorsement and support of the British Academy on its “Home”, “Program”, “Speakers”, “Exhibition” and other pages.   

We understand that this British Academy endorsement may be related to your 2009 grant of £29,836 to Dr. Victoria Mason — a convener of the Canberra conference whose avowed specialties include “Israeli State Terror” — in order to study “Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the West Bank.”

In that regard, please note that while the conference program claims to address human rights, Mr. Falk is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing who uses the language of human rights to absolve terrorists of culpability. He is the only UN expert in history to have been condemned for racism by Britain, or any other member state of the European Union.

We are sending a copy of this complaint letter to the attention of UK Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant — and to Ms. Philippa Thompson, Deputy Team Leader of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Team within the Human Rights & Democracy Department of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who recently examined and addressed Mr. Falk’s racism.

The UK Non-Discrimination Team determined that Falk’s recent writings are “resonant of the longstanding antisemitic practice of blaming Jews (through the State of Israel by proxy) for all that is wrong in the world.”

As the British Academy, you may also wish to take note that:  

1. British Prime Minister David Cameron “strongly condemned” Falk’s 2011 publication of an antisemitic cartoon, showing a dog wearing a Jewish head-covering urinating on a depiction of justice and devouring a bloody skeleton. Falk was also condemned by British MPs David Burrowes and Theresa Villiers.

2. The British Foreign Office last year condemned Falk for providing the cover endorsement of a book that asks whether “Hitler might have been right after all.” The UK Mission in Geneva protested to the UN human rights office, expressing London’s “serious concerns.” The book endorsed by Falk, “The Wandering Who,” also accuses “the Jews” of being “the only people who managed to maintain and sustain a racially orientated, expansionist and genocidal national identity that is not at all different from Nazi ethnic ideology.”

3. The British Mission to the United Nations condemned Mr. Falk’s April 19, 2013 remarks on the Boston bombing as “anti-Semitic,” highlighting it was the third time the British Government had to do so.

In addition we note:

•  That Falk is so extreme in his support for the Hamas terrorist organization that even the Palestinian Authorityas revealed in a Wikleaks cable, and which Falk himself admitshas sought to remove him, on grounds that he is a “partisan of Hamas;

•  That Falk recently published an article attempting to downplay, reinterpret and justify the latest call by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to destroy Israel;  

•  That Falk accused Israel of planning a Palestinian Holocaust,prompting a bloc of dictatorships, including Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, to sucessfully nominate him as the UN Human Rights Council’s expert on Palestine; •  That Falk is one of the world’s most high-profile supporters of the leading 9/11 conspiracy theorists, lending his name to those who accuse the U.S. government of orchestrating the destruction of the Twin Towers as a pretext to launch wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;

•  That Falk actively promotes the writings of David Ray Griffin, a disciple and close friend of Falk who has produced 12 books describing the World Trade Center attack as “an inside job”; •  That Falk not only contributed the Foreword to Griffin’s 2004 “The New Pearl Harbor”—praising the author’s “patience,” “fortitude,” “courage,” and “intelligence”—but Griffin credits Falk for getting the book published, and also specially thanks Falk’s wife, Hilal Elver, someone who remains a member of Human Rights Watch’s Santa Barbara Committee, and who is also speaking at the upcoming Canberra conference;

Roger Waters Open Letter Calls on Musicians to Boycott Israel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

British rocker Roger Waters published an open letter calling on fellow musicians to join a boycott of Israel.

“I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel,” Waters wrote in the letter dated Aug. 18. The letter was previously drafted in July.

The former Pink Floyd front man said he was inspired to release the letter after British violinist Nigel Kennedy at a recent promenade concert at the Albert Hall in London called Israel an apartheid state. The BBC said it would remove his remarks in rebroadcasts of the concert.

Waters, who has been active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement for at least seven years, referred to the boycott of apartheid South Africa, saying that first a trickle of artists refused to play there, leading to a “flood.”

He singled out Stevie Wonder’s canceling of a performance for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces as a recent success story. Wonder quit his participation in the December fundraiser at the last minute under pressure from many corners.

“Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights,” Waters wrote.

Waters recently came under fire for using at in his concerts a huge inflated balloon in the shape of a wild boar with a prominently visible Star of David, as well as a hammer and sickle, crosses and a dollar sign, among other symbols. It is a gimmick he has used for several years.

UN Human Rights Chiefs Ask Hamas to Halt Executions

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged the Hamas terrorist organization to halt plans for more executions without a fair trial.

Navi Pillay added she is concerned over the torture of two men, both in their 20s, who later were sentenced to death and are to be publicly executes two prisoners, both men in their 20s

Forty others are on death, and most of them are accused of collaborating with Israel, of drug trafficking and murder.

“One absolute requirement is that the death penalty can only be imposed after a fair trial. This is currently not possible in Gaza, neither legally nor practically,” Pillay said.

 

 

Human Rights Watch: Turkey Pushing Back Thousands of Refugees

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Iraqi, Jordanian, and Turkish border guards are pushing back tens of thousands of people trying to flee Syria, Human Rights Watch charged on Monday.

“Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey have either closed numerous border crossings entirely or allowed only limited numbers of Syrians to cross, leaving tens of thousands stranded in dangerous conditions in Syria’s conflict-ridden border regions. Only Lebanon has an open border policy for Syrians fleeing the conflict,” the statement from the human rights body said.

Turkey denied the allegations, which if true, are a violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which prohibits sending anyone back to – or pushing back anyone trying to leave – a country where their life or freedom would be threatened or where they would face a serious risk of torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/human-rights-watch-turkey-pushing-back-thousands-of-refugees/2013/07/01/

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