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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘U.N.’

Friends of IDF Event Spurned by Stevie Wonder Raises More Than $14 Million

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces fundraiser that singer Stevie Wonder pulled out of raised more than $14 million.

More than 1,400 people attended the event in Los Angeles to aid Israeli soldiers. Entertainment mogul Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl chaired the gala. Saban is a national board member of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

Actor Jason Alexander emceed the event, which featured a performance by David Foster and Friends. Surprise musical performances were presented by by “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard and 10-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan.

Wonder had come under intense social media pressure to pull out of the event. An online petition calling on him to cancel his performance had garnered more than 3,600 signatures.

The Grammy-winning singer’s representatives cited a recommendation from the United Nations to withdraw his participation given his involvement with the U.N. Wonder as a Messenger of Peace of the world body. He had performed at a 1998 gala honoring Israel’s 50th anniversary.

Funds raised at the event will go toward Friends of the IDF’s well-being and educational programs for Israeli soldiers and the Negev Wellbeing and Educational Centers.

House Foreign Affairs Comm Chair: ‘No Money, No Political Support for PA’

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), firmly denounced  the decision made the United Nations General Assembly to elevate the status of  “Palestine” (the Palestine Liberation Organization) to non-member observer state at the UN.

In a statement issued on the day of the vote, Nov 29, Cong. Ros-Lehtinen said that Mahmoud Abbas is not a partner for peace and that his action at the U.N. will “push peace with Israel even further away.”

The Florida Congresswoman said that the decision by Abbas to ignore the U.S.’s strongly-worded and repeatedly given advice that he not attempt to achieve unilateral goals through the U.N. rather than through negotiations with Israel, made “crystal clear” that Abbas and his compatriots “do not value their relationship with the U.S.”

In addition to withholding all U.S. funds for “Palestine” the committee chair also intends to pull U.S. funding for any U.N. agencies that grant membership to “Palestine,” as is required under U.S. law.

Cong. Doug Lamborn (CO-5), co-chair of the Republican Israel Caucus and the Israel Allies Caucus also issued a statement through email denouncing the U.N. shenanigans.  He said that the action taken by Abbas could, “inflame tensions in the region and ultimately hurt their efforts to achieve statehood and a lasting peace.”

Lamborn also called for the cutting off of foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority as the result of its effort to gain statehood outside of direct negotiations with Israel.” 

Although the U.S. administration strongly opposed and voted against this measure at the U.N., Ros-Lehtinen also included a warning to the U.S. administration in her statement.

She said, “if the Administration again seeks to gut U.S. law and keep funding those reckless UN agencies, Congress’ response must be simple: No.”

Last year Abbas sought to gain full United Nations membership through the UN Security Council.  That gambit was rebuffed by a threat by the U.S. to veto any such motion.  However, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization went ahead and recognized “Palestine” as a UNESCO state member.  As a result of that decision, and in compliance with U.S. law, Congress cut UNESCO’s funding. However, after heavy congressional lobbying by the administration, the funding was restored in late April of this year through the implementation of a waiver.

Reality Check: Palestine Will Remain a Non-Existent State

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Almost to the day last Thursday, in 1988, I stood in a large hall in Algeria and saw Yasir Arafat declare the independence of a Palestinian state. And that was forty-one years, almost to the day, after the U.N. offered a Palestinian state in 1947. Twelve years ago Israel and the United States officially offered a Palestinian state as part of a compromise at deal in the Camp David summit of 2000. Arguably, despite all their errors, the Palestinian movement has made progress since those events, though it is not very impressive progress. Yet in real terms there is no real Palestinian state; the movement is more deeply divided than at any time in its history; and the people aren’t doing very well.

Now the U.N. has given Palestine the status of a non-member state. The only thing that will change is to convince people even more that they are following a clever and successful strategy. They aren’t.

Perhaps in 24 or 41 years there will actually be a Palestinian state.

There are two ways to respond to the General Assembly’s likely vote to so designate a state of Palestine. One of them is outrage at the absurdity of how the international system behaves. The other would be to dismiss the gesture as meaningless, even more than that, as something that will even further delay the day that a real, functioning state comes into existence.

Certainly, there are threats and dangers, for example the use by Palestine of the International Court. Or one could look at this as another step on the road to a final, I mean comprehensive, solution to the issue. Yet over all, I’ll go for disgusted and cynical as the most accurate responses.

Let’s start with disgusted. In 1993, the PLO made an agreement whose very basis was that a Palestinian state would only come into existence as a result of a deal made with Israel. Instead, the Palestinian side refused to make such a compromise and broke its commitments repeatedly. The ultimate result was Yasir Arafat’s refusal to accept a Palestinian state with its capital in the eastern part of Jerusalem both at the 2000 Camp David meeting and a few months later when President Bill Clinton made a better, and final, offer.

I have just this minute come from an interview with a very nice journalist who asked me, “But doesn’t Israel want everything and offer nothing in return.” What was most impressive is the fact that he had no personal hostility or any political agenda. (You’d understand if I identified the person and his newspaper but I’m not going to do that.) This conclusion was simply taken as fact. He was astonished to hear that another perspective even existed.

My first response was to point down the street two corners to the place where a bus was blown up in 1995 and right next to it where a suicide bomber had killed about a dozen pedestrians around the same time. This was the result of risks and concessions that Israel had voluntarily undertaken in trying to achieve peace. And, I added, it was possible to supply a long list of other examples.

So despite Israel taking risks and making concessions, the Palestinian Authority rejected peace. Thursday, the same group was recognized by the U.N. as a regime governing a state. Moreover, this is a body that is relentlessly begging Hamas, a group that openly calls for genocide against both Israel and Jews, to join it.

Hamas, of course, ran for office without accepting the Oslo agreement (a violation of it) and then seized power in a coup. Since then it has rained rockets and missiles on Israel. In other words, although it is unlikely to happen, in a few months Hamas might become part of the official government of this non-member state of the U.N.

Yet complaining about the unfairness of international behavior or the treatment of Israel, like complaining about one’s personal fate, doesn’t get you anywhere. It is cathartic to do so but then one must move on to more productive responses.

The second issue is whether it will really matter. Yes it entails symbolism, yes it will convince the Palestinians they are getting something when the course they have followed ensures they get pretty close to nothing. But, to use a Biblical phrase, it availeth them not. On the contrary, to coin a phrase, this move “counter-matters,” that is it is a substitute for productive action that actually detracts from the real goal.

The Non-Member Observer ‘State’ of Palestine

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

If you would peruse the U.N. Charter to discover what right and benefits are due to a non-member observer at the United Nations, you wouldn’t find anything.

According to the United Nations’ website,

“The status of a Permanent Observer is based purely on practice, and there are no provisions for it in the United Nations Charter. The practice dates from 1946, when the Secretary-General accepted the designation of the Swiss Government as a Permanent Observer to the United Nations.”

Current Non-member observers at the U.N. include the Holy See (the Vatican) which is labeled by the U.N. as a state and “Palestine,” as an entity. The Palestine Observer Mission is run by the Palestinian Liberation Organization. International Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with non-member observer status include the European Union, the Arab League and many many other organizations.

History of the PLO/Palestine Observer Mission at the U.N.

The PLO was granted observer status by the General Assembly in November 1974.

On November 15, 1988, the PLO/the Palestine National Council proclaimed the existence of a Palestinian state in what became known as the “Algiers Declaration.” (See Daniel Pipes’ article on how the Palestinian Declaration clearly mimics the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel).

In December 9, 1988, the General Assembly gave the PLO the right to have its communications “circulated directly, and without intermediary, as official documents of . . . conferences” which were “convened under the auspices of the General Assembly.”

A few days later, on December 15, 1988, the General Assembly “acknowledge[d] the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council,” “Affirm[ed] the need to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their sovereignty over their territory occupied since 1967,” and ordered that the the PLO observer mission should be renamed the “Palestine” observer mission.

In July 1998, the General Assembly granted “Palestine”  the right to participate in its meetings, but not the right to vote, elect or be elected to any positions in the General Assembly.

Last year, Mahmoud Abbas submitted a request to be admitted as a member-state to the U.N. If that resolution had passed, it would not have meant that a state of Palestine existed anymore than it had before, but practically it would given the General Assembly, the international community, and other international organizations a pretext to treat it as a state.

Admission as a member of the U.N., however, required not only a 2/3rds vote of the General Assembly but also the assent of the Security Council, which would require a positive vote by all permanent members of the Security Council including the United States, which threatened to veto (or simply not vote in favor of) the resolution.

Because of U.S. opposition, the resolution was not brought up for a vote and the “diplomatic tsunami” which Ehud Barak predicted would engulf Israel and which the Israeli media practically prayed for simply did not materialize.

The Palestinians’ Current Request

The current resolution will reportedly change Palestine’s observer status as an non-member “entity” to a non-member “state” like the Holy See. Practically, this may mean that whatever special privileges the General Assembly has confer on the Holy See by virtue of the fact that it considers it a “state,” it can also confer on “Palestine.” But these would not include the rights of membership described in the U.N. Charter.

Remember, the entire concept of non-member observers has no bearing on international law. The resolution should just be seen as another attempt by the Palestinians to create more General Assembly resolutions which pressure Israel and bolster the self-fulfilling prophecy of artificial statehood.

UN Official Calling to Boycott Firms Doing Business with Israel Chided for Openly Anti-Semitic Views

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.

Arab Teachers’ Rejection of Holocaust Education Highlights Arab Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard once commented that, sometimes, the only proper reaction to a particular event is despair. The following represents such an example.

According to a recent report, rumors of a U.N. decision to introduce Holocaust studies in schools in Palestinian refugee camps run by UNRWA  have outraged Jordanian teachers, who say they will refuse to teach history that “harms the Palestinian cause.”

Roughly two million Palestinian refugees are registered with UNRWA’s Jordan offices, and they operate 172 schools in 10 refugee camps across the kingdom.

The Executive Committee of UNRWA teachers in Jordan responded to news that Holocaust studies would be added to the curriculum on ‘conflict resolution’ by issuing a statement stating that, ”We condemn this decision, which equates the butcher and the victim,” (emphasis added).

The teachers’ statement demanded instead classes on the Palestinian “right of return” to Israel.

The statement continued, objecting to the fact that “Teaching UNRWA students about the so-called “Holocaust” as part of human rights harms the Palestinian cause … and changes the students’  views regarding their main enemy, namely the Israeli occupation.

“We shall monitor the curriculum being taught under the title ‘concepts of human rights’ [which is] aimed at reducing [Palestinian] students’ awareness of the right of return…”

The reaction by Jordanian teachers follows a decision last year, by the association of UNRWA employees, to ban the introduction of Holocaust studies in UNRWA schools.

Remember that these are not Islamist extremists we’re talking about, but middle-class Jordanian educators, ordinary men and women who evidently are outraged by “rumors” of a U.N. decision to teach children about the Nazi slaughter of one out of every three Jews on earth.

Identifying with six-million victims of Nazi genocide is evidently seen as harming the Palestinian cause.

Moreover, it’s important to understand that though the Holocaust did not come close to putting an end to anti-Semitism across the world, news of the unspeakable horrors in extermination camps such as Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka and Majdanek did attach to expressions of Judeophobia, in most of the enlightened world, a significant moral stigma.

Holocaust memory in our times creates a bulwark of sorts against the most virulent expressions of antisemitism, as it demonstrates the potential deadly consequences of unchallenged racism against Jews – and, indeed, against other minorities.

It is indeed telling that the central address of anti-Semitism in modern times is the Arab and Muslim Middle East, where the cultural antibodies against Jew hatred have failed to materialize.

If the citizens of the Middle East were to internalize the lessons of the Holocaust they would be forced to confront their own society’s often homicidal  anti-Semitism – a self-reflective habit of mind which the honor-shame culture of the Arab world does not promote.

The reaction by Jordanian teachers to the suggestion that they educate Palestinian children about the unspeakable crimes committed against Jews is, therefore, not surprising, as such a curriculum would necessarily turn a mirror on their own extensive moral and cultural shortcomings.

Finally, how can anyone seriously contemplate Palestinian peace with living Jews if they are often unable to reconcile themselves with even the humanity of murdered Jews?

The only healthy response to such stories is simply despair.

Originally published at the CifWatch blog.

Victimhood as Foreign Policy

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Would Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. have called on the world body “to tell the 850,000 untold stories of Jewish refugees from Arab countries…” had the Palestinians not made the return of their “refugees” to Israel a foundational point for the securing of a comprehensive peace agreement with the Jewish state?

“We are 64 years late, but we are not too late,” said Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon last Friday.

So why now?

Sadly, it appears that the Israeli foreign policy establishment has given up on convincing the international community as to the essential rightness of the Zionist enterprise. Rather, by attempting to push the issue of Jewish “refugees” from Arab lands to the top of the U.N.’s agenda, Israelis abdicating the moral high ground in favor of sinking into a battle of victimhood narratives with the Palestinians.

Such a lack of conviction bespeaks a general sense of malaise emanating from Jerusalem, where Israel’s leaders have evidently thrown up their hands and embraced the belief that the best defense against anti-Israel bias is a compelling story of mass expulsion.

Now, Minister Ayalon is absolutely correct in asserting that “this issue was never emphasized enough…We have decided to bring it up, to flush out the truth.” It’s a crying shame, not to mention a blight on the records of successive Israeli administrations, that the greatest single demographic upheaval in the modern history of the Middle East was a story largely left untold inside of Israel.

As such, it is altogether appropriate that the Israeli national zeitgeist make room for the largely-forgotten history of Jewish refugees who were summarily expelled from Arab lands.

For while much thought, research, ink and media coverage has been dedicated in recent years to the European Holocaust, the wave of anti-Semitism and violence that swept Arab states in the wake of Israel’s establishment has long been given short shrift.

However, the politicizing of this dark chapter in Jewish history is but a rather lame attempt to stem the growing tide of pro-Palestinian sentiment that has seemingly swept across our world.

For Israel to make any kind of headway by way of ‘hasbara’ (public relations efforts for Israel) it need only remember and repeat these immutable facts regarding the genesis of the Palestinian “refugee” issue:

Settling for approximately one-quarter of the land mass that had been promised by the original partition plan, Jewish leaders made strenuous efforts to encourage their Arab neighbors to stay on and help build up the new state of Israel.

A large majority of local Arabs responded to the call for coexistence by violently rejecting it.  Egged on by a bellicose leadership that darkly warned that its bullets wouldn’t distinguish between Arabs and Jews, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs summarily packed up and took off, having been reassured that they would be able to return once the foreign Zionist entity had been snuffed out.

What followed was an invasion by seven Arab countries. Had the Arabs accepted the two-state solution, as formulated by the UN in 1947, it is quite likely that war would have been avoided and a separate Palestinian country would have come into existence.

That a refugee problem arose as a result of the invasion is an irrefutable fact. Yet, the births of many sovereign nation have resulted in mass displacement and other social upheavals. Unique to the saga of the Palestinian refugee, however, is the phenomenon of the magically multiplying refugees. From close to 750,000 in 1948, today Palestinian refugees number over 5 million.  Is there any other displaced group on earth that passes their refugee status on genetically?

And while Palestinians around the Middle East have subsequently been used as pawns in a decades-long attempt to destabilize and delegitimize the sovereign state of Israel, Jewish immigrants – that’s right, “immigrants” – from Arab lands were absorbed into Israeli society, where many of their progeny would go on to assume prominent roles within Israeli society.

By referring to Jewish immigrants from Arab lands as refugees, Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is inadvertently providing fodder for extremists across the Arab world who argue that all Jewish immigrants should return to their “home” countries since Israel is neither their country nor their ancestral homeland.

UN’s Orwellian ‘Right to Peace’ Resolution Sanctions Terrorism

Friday, September 7th, 2012

The U.N. Human Rights Council’s recent 20th session saw the police state of Communist Cuba, a key backer of the Assad regime, successfully introduce a resolution for “the Right to Peace.”

Endorsed by such peace-loving states as Sudan, Belarus, China, Sri Lanka, Iran, North Korea—even Syria—the resolution, according to journalist Joel Brinkley, offers “pointless blather” that “will beguile you so you won’t notice on page six that they also want the U.N. to endorse the idea that ‘all peoples and individuals have the right to resist and oppose oppressive colonial, foreign occupation.’”

In other words, the U.N. legitimized the terminology used by Middle East terrorists to kill Americans and Israelis. The political culture of the council is such that the U.S. was the only one of 47 nations to vote no.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer took the floor during the meeting to expose the council’s Orwellian actions and language. We enclose his comments.

“Orwell and the U.N. Human Rights Council”

Thank you, Mr. President.

This year we mark the 64th anniversary of two monumental texts.

The first is the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Three years after World War II, the founders of this council created the Universal Declaration, in response, as stated in the preamble, to atrocities that shocked the conscience of mankind. They reaffirmed that every human being has the right to life, the right to be free from torture, persecution and discrimination.

The United Nations must live up to that declaration.

Regrettably, too often in this body we are reminded of another great document from that same year: George Orwell’s classic on totalitarianism, 1984.

The novel portrays a dystopian universe where truth is turned on its head. War is Peace was the slogan.

We were reminded of Orwell most famously when the government of Libyan Col. Muammar Qaddafi was elected chair of the U.N. Human Rights Commission; and then again, only two years ago, when, despite our appeals together with the appeals of Libyan victims, Qaddafi’s regime was elected a member of this council.

We were reminded of Orwell yesterday, in this session. In the book 1984, everyone was forced to undergo a daily Two Minute of Hate.

Yesterday, contrary to the principles of universality and equality, and contrary to the plea of the Secretary-General, one nation was once again singled out for an entire day of vitriol.

And we are reminded of Orwell this week, in the proposal that is before us for a declaration on “the right to peace.” The draft report would recognize a “right to resist and oppose oppressive colonial, foreign occupation.”

That is the language used by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Mr. President,

The notion that War is Peace was an Orwellian slogan. It should not be the law of this council, or of the United Nations. Human rights should not be turned on its head.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/uns-orwellian-right-to-peace-resolution-sanctions-terrorism/2012/09/07/

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