| Divestment from Companies that Profit from ApartheidWHEREAS, it is UC Irvine’s duty to maintain the values of “respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, and empathy” which includes the promotion of human rights, equality, and dignity for all people without distinction;WHEREAS, it is the mission of the UCI Foundation to “ensure the appropriate use of all funds” in order to uphold the values of respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment appreciation, and empathy;WHEREAS, students have a legacy of standing against oppression and injustice at UC Irvine and across the U.S.;WHEREAS, the role of student activists in exposing South Africa’s apartheid system and supporting equality, freedom, and dignity sets an example for us to follow as students of global conscience;WHEREAS, as the example of South Africa shows, it is imperative for students to stand unequivocally against all forms of racism and bigotry globally and on campus, including but not limited to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, patriarchy, and Israel’s system of apartheid;WHEREAS, the occupied Palestinian Territory is controlled militarily by the Israeli government;WHEREAS, certain companies have promoted and been complicit in these ongoing human rights violations systematically committed by the Israeli government, which have been documented by human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International, Addameer, B’tselem, Adalah, Badil, and the Israeli Coalition Against Home Demolitions;WHEREAS, according to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), “the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law”;WHEREAS, according to the same ICJ decision, the establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem is also illegal by international law;
Friday, October 26th, 2012
U.N. Special Rapporteur Richard Falk called on the member nations of the General Assembly to boycott companies that do business with Israel.
“Rapporteur” is a French-derived word for an investigator who reports to a deliberative body. The Special Rapporteur is a title given to individuals working on behalf of the United Nations within the scope of “Special Procedures” mechanisms, with a specific mandate from the United Nations Human Rights Council—either a country mandate or a thematic mandate.
Richard Anderson Falk, 82, is an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and a renowned the author.
“My main recommendation is that the businesses highlighted in the report – as well as the many other businesses that are profiting from the Israeli settlement enterprise – should be boycotted until they bring their operations into line with international human rights and humanitarian law and standards,” Falk said in a statement Thursday after he presented his “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories since 1967″ to the U.N. General Assembly.
The report highlighted the activities of companies he said are involved in the establishment and maintenance of the Israeli settlements. He cited Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett Packard and Motorola in the United States; Ahava, Elbit Systems and Mehadrin of Israel; and the Volvo Group and Assa Abloy of Sweden, along with Veolia Environment of France, G4S of the United Kingdom, the Dexia Group of Belgium, the Riwal Holding Group of the Netherlands and Cemex of Mexico.
Earlier this week, the British government protested to the U.N. the “anti-Semitic” remarks made by Falk, and urged the U.S., France, Germany and other democracies to do the same. It turned out that Richard Falk had collectively accused “the organized Jewish community” of responsibility for war crimes, and provided the cover endorsement of a virulently anti-Semitic book, “The Wandering Who,” which has been condemned as racist by Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah and other Arab activists.
“For the U.N. human rights system to be credible in the fight against racism, its own high representatives must not be allowed to incite hatred and racial discrimination with impunity,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.
In “The Rise and Fall of Leftist Radicalism in America,” Edward Walter has this to say about Richard Falk:
“In an act of great irony, Princeton legal theirist Richard Falk, whose avowed purpose was to advance the incorporation of human rights into political institutions, supported the rightist Islamic revolution. … Turning to Iran, Falk called the Islamic Revolution an ‘extraordinary unarmed popular uprising against an extreme form of tyranny.’ … Falk asserted that summary trials and summary executions had to be considered in a regional and cultural context where human rights violations were widespread and severe.”
On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to distance his office from the report, saying its boycott call is one of the hallmarks of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to pressure companies doing business with Israel.
On the eve of a presentation to the United Nations of a misleading report targeting companies doing business with Israel, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to rescind his preliminary endorsement of the report and to distance his office from the report’s biased author, U.N. Special Rapporteur Richard Falk.
ADL lambasted the report, titled “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories since 1967″ and due to be presented tomorrow to the General Assembly, as “tainted from the start in its message and by its messenger.”
“While the issue of human rights violations experienced by Palestinians is a legitimate area of concern and inquiry, Richard Falk has repeatedly abused his position as special rapporteur to unleash unrestrained hatred and disdain for Israel,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “This malevolence permeates his official reports and, at times, his personal statements, which include the use of anti-Semitic imagery and comparisons of Israeli actions to those of the Nazis.”
As Special Rapporteur, Falk has made it his mission to single out Israel as a human rights violator while using the imprimatur of the U.N. to advance a biased agenda fueled by anti-Israel animus which erodes the credibility of the U.N.
Sunday, October 21st, 2012
Freedom of speech in Europe and North America is increasingly under threat because of a growing confusion among Western leaders over how to define “human rights.” The problem is being compounded by politically correct Western governments, which seek to enforce multicultural compliance with Islamic Sharia law as a way to appease Muslim lobby groups.
These and other political and societal “drifts” were catapulted to center stage by a well-organized and highly articulate group of free-speech activists who attended the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM), a major international conference on human rights — this year held in Warsaw, Poland from September 24 to October 5 — and sponsored annually by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
In recent years, the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings and the OSCE have been the focus of an intense lobbying campaign by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim countries that are aggressively pressuring Western countries to make it an international crime to criticize Islam.
In August 1990, the Muslim member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation officially adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, an alternative document to the 1948 United Nations’ document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Cairo Declaration states that people have “freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with Islamic Sharia law.”
The Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE), in a written submission to the Human Dimensions Implementation Meetings’ Working Session on Fundamental Freedoms, pointed out that today the term “human rights” has two incompatible meanings. In the non-Muslim world, “human rights” refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms that all people — men and women — are guaranteed individual rights.
By contrast, in the Muslim world, “human rights” are defined according to the Cairo Declaration, which holds that men and women are not equal and that it is the duty of men and women to follow the will of Allah. Dignity is granted only to those who submit to Allah’s will. The Cairo Declaration divides all human beings into two separate legal persons within its defined categories, namely men and women, believers and non-believers. Any rights or freedoms are binding commandments from Allah as delivered through Mohammed, the Muslim prophet.
The BPE asked the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to clarify which definition of human rights is being referred to during discussions at the Conference. The statement says:
When BPE discusses the plight of young girls and women with respect to forced marriages, violence, and/or FGM [female genital mutilation], BPE always refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whereas the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation refer exclusively to the Cairo Declaration, which has ramifications on the status of the girl or woman. OSCE participating states that are also member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation thus refer to a different set of human rights at the HDIM. It follows that within the Human Dimension of the OSCE there are two diametrically opposed sets of human rights.
The International Civil Liberties Alliance, in a written statement to the Human Dimensions Implementation Meetings’ Working Session on Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief, said:
Since the Organization of Islamic Cooperation created the Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, commonly known as the Cairo Declaration, we have witnessed a distortion of the concepts of human rights and religious freedom. This declaration has created a new and secondary standard in human rights based on Sharia Law, which is entirely incompatible with OSCE’s human rights standards, inspired as they were by the declaration of 1948.
The International Civil Liberties Alliance statement continues:
Sharia law is a system of religious and political regulations destructive of all the principles promoted through the OSCE, i.e. democracy, human rights, freedom of religion and belief, etc. Sharia Law has been defined by the European Court of Human Rights on February 2003, as “incompatible with democratic principles…”
The International Civil Liberties Alliance concludes:
Therefore, OSCE’s commitments and works done by its various departments are devoid of sense if all the partners, state-members, NGOs or other contributors are not using the same definition of Human Rights. A definition is required that clearly rejects any interpretation originating in the Cairo Declaration.
In a report entitled, “The Battle Has Begun,” Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese advocate for free speech, summarized her impressions of the Human Dimension’s 2012 conference:
This is one of the important observations we made: The tide has shifted. The freedom lovers are no longer on the defensive; the opposite is true. The OIC side was isolated; the Counterjihad received many supportive thumbs-up gestures. We made new allies.
She also wrote, however:
Lastly, I was more than surprised to see a member of MPAC [Muslim Public Affairs Council, a Los Angeles-based lobbying group] take the floor on behalf of the U.S. delegation. Since when has MPAC represented the U.S. government? And with diplomatic status! This is wrong and an outrage. We ask our friends in the U.S. House of Representatives to weigh in.
She was referring to Salam al-Marayati, a radical Muslim whom the Obama Administration named as its official representative to the OSCE’s premier conference on human rights. Al-Marayati is the controversial founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
Sunday, October 14th, 2012
A coalition of religious groups is calling on the Washington DC Metro to donate proceeds from an ad campaign suggesting Muslims are savages to an organization supporting human rights.
The Metro was sued by the American Freedom Defense Initiative – makers of the ad – last month, after officials delayed in putting up posters stating “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad ”, due to concerns that the posters would inflame Muslims and threaten the security of passengers.
The coalition is comprised of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim representatives.
Friday, October 5th, 2012
On Friday morning, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, Dean of the Petach Tikva Hesder Yeshiva, said on the Kol Israel morning program “Meeting Point” that any argument against Jewish prayer on Temple Mount is unacceptable and he does not understand how no human rights organization has acted to rectify the situation.
“Anyone who doesn’t fight for freedom of worship on Temple Mount – is not a true advocate of human rights,” Cherlow said.
Rabbi Cherlow was among the founders of the Tzohar Foundation, a central Modern Orthodox foundation working to build bridges between the religious and secular in Israel, among other things by offering secular Israelis easier access to religious services than the chief rabbinate provides.
According to Cherlow, we should find a middle ground between the vision of connecting Heaven and Earth and the danger of an erupting World War III, but it “simply cannot be that in the name of security concerns Jewish prayer may be prohibited on Temple Mount.”
Cherlow cautioned that, on the other hand, we must not take irresponsible actions that may ignite a blazing fire, “which will not produce an increase in faith.”
Cherlow said that it is possible that the great concession of Temple Mount began with the late IDF General Motta Gur and his paratroopers, who rushed to the Western Wall through the Temple Mount, “that is, they turned the Temple Mount into a secondary destination, using it as merely a path to the Wall.”
Rabbi Cherlow noted that, some 10 years ago, the producers of a reenactment of that 1967 operation changed the words of Motta Gur from the historically correct “Temple Mount is in our hands,” to the politically correct “Jerusalem is in our hands.”
Former UN ambassador Dore Gold said on the same program that it is unthinkable to leave control over Temple Mount in the hands of the Waqf agency or the Islamic movement, and that Israel’s goal for the coming years should be to open up Temple Mount to members of all religions.
Gould noted that since the 1967 victory, every single Israeli government has faced the situation that followed a move by then Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, who handed the Waqf the keys to the mountain. He said that situation must be changed now, albeit gradually.
In that context, Gold said in this context that the “price tag” activities weaken Israel’s position in Jerusalem and harm the interests of the State of Israel.
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
For two weeks every year, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe holds what it refers to as the world’s largest human rights and democracy conference, called the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. Organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, this year’s meeting is taking place in Warsaw, and it began last week. Special attention is focused this year on freedom of religion and belief, the rights of Roma (formerly called gypsies) women and the rights of national minorities in OSCE countries.
The head of the U.S. delegation to the conference this year is Ambassador Avis Bohlen, a retired foreign service officer whose career included serving as Ambassador to Bulgaria from 1996 – 1999.
There are three public members of the U.S. delegation. Nida Gelazis, of the Woodrow Wilson Center, is a scholar of international human rights, international law and citizenship policies and protection of national minorities.
Dr. Ethel Brooks, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, is the second representative of the U.S. at the conference. Brooks has published many articles on her research areas which include child labor in third world countries, globalization and political economies.
The third public member chosen to attend the human rights conference as a representative of the U.S. is Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
While two out of three of the U.S. representatives are scholars whose fields suggest expertise in human rights and democratization, and are entirely consistent with the themes of the OSCE and, specifically, human rights and democracy, Al-Marayati’s appointment raises serious questions.
Counter-terrorism expert Steve Emerson told The Jewish Press that
Al-Marayati’s appointment is not just scandalous but also does incalculable damage to our values as a nation whose core principles categorically reject the legitimization of a racist supporter of terrorism, and an incendiary proponent of paranoid conspiracies that provides the motivation for radical Muslims to carry out terrorism.
Al-Marayati is not a scholar. His only graduate degree is in business and his undergraduate degree is in science. He has been involved with MPAC since its founding in 1986. Without any scholarly article to his credit, his expertise is in matters concerning the role of Islam and Muslims in America and elsewhere.
In fact, Al-Marayati is better known, at least to members of the American Jewish community, for his defense of those who are on the scrutiny end of the human rights examining lens. Perhaps his most infamous statement was during a radio interview immediately following the attacks by Muslim terrorists against the United States on September 11, 2001.
On that day, as the buildings were still smoldering, Al-Marayati told radio interviewer Warren Olney on KCEW-FM’s “Which Way, LA?” in response to questions about who might be behind the terrorist attacks,
If we’re going to look at suspects, we should look to groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on this list because I think this diverts attention from what’s happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies.
While Al-Marayati is generally more in control about publicly expressing his views regarding Israel and comporting himself in an even-keeled manner when with civic and political leaders, there have been many other instances in which his support for Muslims seems to override his concern for the human rights and safety of others.
For example, at a 2005 conference held by the Islamic Society of North America, Al-Marayati told his fellow Muslims not to respond to requests from the FBI to work with them, saying, “we reject any efforts, notion, suggestion that Muslims should start spying on one another.”
Even as he publicly engages in many interfaith efforts, Al-Marayati continues to sow the seeds of division between religious groups. In 2009 he spoke at a J Street conference, telling the audience of ”Palestine Now At Any Price” liberals that the absence of a Palestinian State was the major cause for Muslim unrest in Pakistan, and that it was “the central issue critical to the hearts and minds of all 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.”
Al-Marayati spoke before the OSCE conference on Tuesday, October 1, about the situation of Muslims as a religious minority in America. He quoted President Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech, in which he said, “‘it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit – for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear,’” and called for “governments to ‘stop targeting Muslims through legislation or policy, and instead enshrine the ground of religion or belief as a prohibited ground of discrimination in all realms.”
When asked to comment about Al-Marayati’s appointment to represent the United States at a global human rights and democracy conference, Steve Emerson, one of the premier counter-terrorism experts, and someone who has conducted extensive research into Al-Marayati’s background, told The Jewish Press,
For this administration to appoint to an august human rights organization Salam Al-Marayati, who has openly supported Hizbollah, claimed that the FBI has illegally incited Muslims on terrorism charges because of FBI sanctioned policies of “racial profiling,” has defended as innocent the most notorious members of Hamas who were found guilty of laundering millions of dollars to a terrorist group, and someone who has complained of ‘having the Holocaust shoved down [his] throat,’ is an outrage.
Emerson suggested that the appointment of Al-Marayati as a representative of the U.S. at one of the world’s largest human rights conference,
cries out for a congressional investigation of the larger and more heinous scandal of the unprecedented degree to which the Obama administration has embraced and collaborated with radical Muslim groups in the U.S. whose lineage derives directly from the world wide totalitarian Muslim Brotherhood movement.
The conference concludes at the end of this week.
Ambassador Bohlen did not respond to a request for comment by the Jewish Press.
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
During a recent trip to Rwanda, former president Bill Clinton lamented his failure in 1994 to intervene in that country’s genocidal massacres. “I don’t think we could have ended the violence, but I think we could have cut it down. And I regret it.”
Clinton, perhaps in atonement, has helped raise money to build the Kilgali Genocide Memorial Center.
Clinton’s hindsight regret is relevant to a debate I recently had with another genocide memorial institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The debate concerned my book about the epic battle in 1943 between the Treasury and State departments over a plan by the World Jewish Congress to rescue tens of thousands of Romanian Jews trapped in the hellish land of Transnistria in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine.
The patrician diplomats in the State Department blocked the rescue while the middle class lawyers in the Treasury Department (all Christians) fought for it. The battle led directly to the formation of the War Refugee Board in early 1944, which is credited with rescuing 200,000 Jews, including surviving Transnistrian Jews.
In a critique, the museum’s historians disputed my book’s criticism of the State Department. Ordinarily, authors don’t direct readers to a negative review but because this one was so heavily dependent on a hindsight analysis to justify a failure to rescue (the opposite of President Clinton’s hindsight regrets), that is just what I am doing.
Now, the museum’s website displays remarks by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the 2012 National Day of Remembrance ceremony in Washington. He described how “State Department officials were systematically undermining efforts to save Jews in Europe” including in Transnistria, and “blocking the spread of information about the Holocaust.”
Without contesting these facts, the museum’s critique argued that the rescue would never have succeeded because, at least based on more recent information about “machinations” in Europe, the “Germans were stringing the Allies along . . .without any intention of freeing the Jews.”
Further, “the overwhelming majority of Jews who died in Transnistria were already dead” by the time rescue was proposed; there were limited “available resources,” such as ships, with which to transport the Jews from Transnistria; and an “evacuation by sea” would have exposed “Jews who would survive the war to lethal danger from German or Soviet submarines in the Black Sea.”
My response was that when the War Refugee Board finally was established, its agents overcame German resistance and rescued more than 50,000 surviving Transnistrian Jews. Enough shipping was available because the Board, as Secretary Geithner pointed out, “helped purchase boats to ferry thousands of refugees out of Romania.”
Jews, warned of the risks in advance, were ready to board any ship to get out of Transnistria (or anywhere else in the hell that was occupied Europe). Not all of the “Jews who would die” were already dead. At least 7,500 more died in 1943 during the Cabinet battle over rescue and the survivors endured much suffering. When Jewish orphans finally were rescued, they raised their hands to protect their faces as if expecting beatings.
The museum’s historians are well-credentialed scholars dedicated to Holocaust studies. But, as I argued, their hindsight analysis was flawed because the necessity of rescuing Jews from the Holocaust was not a sliding scale that rose or fell on a Jew’s odds of survival, even if such odds could have been calculated then. Nor should the difficulty of rescue have relieved the State Department of its humanitarian obligations, an inherent implication of the historians’ analysis.
That’s why the museum’s critique sounded eerily like the State Department’s do-nothing arguments in 1943 at one meeting with a Treasury lawyer that “It would be probably be impossible to work out satisfactory arrangements with the Romanian authorities. German consent would not be forthcoming. The Turkish government has refused entry to Jewish refugees.”
In the final analysis, no humanitarian intervention would ever be undertaken if it required proof in advance that, absent rescue, the victims will die (or, at least, more than 7,500 will perish), deems suffering short of death irrelevant, and requires an absence of risk and certainty of success. Of course, those conditions never existed in Nazi-occupied Europe. The Treasury lawyers battled the State Department over rescue because they understood that, since both lives and core American values (if not American honor) were at stake, no matter the obstacles, this country had to at least try to rescue Jewish victims of genocide.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/debating-americas-response-to-the-holocaust-with-the-u-s-holocaust-museum/2012/09/25/
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