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July 27, 2016 / 21 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘UN General Assembly’

Comprehensive Anti-BDS Campaign Launched at UN

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Over 1500 Anti-BDS activists bridged political, geographic, religious and generational divides to pack the UN General Assembly Hall for an anti-BDS summit hosted on Tuesday by Israel’s Mission to the UN. The event kicked off a larger initiative aimed at consolidating efforts to contend with the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, fittingly entitled “Build Bridges, Not Boycotts”.

The day-long event grew out of a dawning realization that the State of Israel, world Jewish communities, and the numerous groups attempting to mount a response to BDS on their own, must join forces if inroads are to be made against the organization that has been attempting to pressure businesses, artists, and academics to blackball Israel for eleven years.

“YOU are the Iron Dome of the State of Israel,” Danon announced from the podium. “If we stand together, we can do this. One day you will tell your children – I was there when they stopped BDS.”

The call for unity was echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a pre-recorded message and reiterated by a roster of keynote and workshop speakers that included Israeli Supreme Court VP Justice Elyakim Rubenstein; World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder; ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow; Son of Hamas author Mosab Hassan Yousef; CEO and vice president of World Jewish Congress Robert Singer and Soda Stream’s Daniel Birnbaum, as well as Frank Luntz; David Suissa; Emily Neilson-Winkler; David Sable; Alan Johnson of Bicom UK; actress Noa Tishby, and founder of Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, Bassam Eid.

“I’m here today to get informed”, said Flo, president of student government at Brooklyn College, “we’ve had some issues on campus”. The 22 year old related the divisive effect that BDS can have on university life, “We have students who get riled up, and students who feel unsafe”.

For many of the students present the highlight – and the hero – of the day was reggae artist Matisyahu. The Jewish American singer had his own run-in with BDS last summer when was abruptly uninvited from Spain’s Sun Splash music festival following his refusal to discuss his views on Israel. After an ensuing uproar where the World Jewish Congress reached out to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the festival apologized, reinstated Matisyahu, and revealed that BDS strong-arming had been behind the decision to drop him.

When Matisyahu finally took the stage in Spain in front of a decidedly unwelcoming crowd, he belted out the song Jerusalem. The performer, who did an encore of Jerusalem at the UN on Tuesday, has since become a vocal anti-BDS activist.

“When you see someone like Matisyahu, who is so much bigger than you, and he’s standing up for what you believe in, it makes you feel like there’s someone behind you. You’re not alone”, said Rambam Mesifta student Naftali, at the UN for the day with friends from his Lawrence, New York high school.

Although so far the teens have so only encountered anti-Semitism on social media, they say are preparing for the day it will become face-to-face, which they consider all but inevitable. The boys are also fans of their host for the day. “I admire Ambassador Danon because he uses his power to take a stand and make a difference, instead of just having power for the sake of it”, explained Eli, another Rambam Mesifta student. Along with the rest of the participants, each of the friends left with a copy of A Guide for Combating Modern Day Anti-Semitism.

After a moving speech by Justice Rubenstein, who closed his remarks by proclaiming Am Yisroel Chai, several attendees were overheard expressing doubt that the BDS situation would ever improve. 62 year old New Yorker Sol was more optimistic. “Don’t give up, even miracles can happen,” he reminded those nearby.

As if to help Sol make his point, not 10 minutes later in the UN General Assembly – not normally the most embracing environment for Israel – 1500 voices could be heard singing the Israeli national anthem, HaTikva.

Stephanie Granot

Pots & Kettles: Iran Calling for ‘United Front’ against ‘Extremists’

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

(JNi.media) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday called to forge a united front to fight extremists in the Middle East, assuring the world’s nations that Iran is ready to help “bring about democracy” in Syria and Yemen, AFP reported. But he didn’t stop there, with promises of democracy in the most tortured part of the Middle East today, where Iranian forces, along with Hezbollah, the remnants of the Syrian army and now Russian forces. Making his first address to the UN General Assembly since the nuclear deal, Rouhani extended an invitation “to the whole world and especially the countries in my region to form a joint comprehensive plan of action to create a united front against extremism and violence.”

As many recall, in early September, Rouhani’s own “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, announced that at least one country in his region, Israel, would not exist in another quarter century. “I’d say (to Israel) that they will not see (the end) of these 25 years,” Khamenei announced. “God willing, there will be no such thing as a Zionist regime in 25 years,” he continued. “Until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists.”

While bringing democracy to the area just north of Israel, presumably. Rouhani said the peace-loving nations of the region should approach regional problems through dialogue, to put a stop to the slaughter of innocent civilians, and build democracies in the region.

But Khamenei has said that Iran “needs enmity with the United States” in order to prevent its corrupting influence from weakening the Islamic Revolution. According to analyst DC-based David Daoud, Khamenei is rigidly opposed to any rapprochement with the United States, based on the Ayatollah Khamenei’s belief that combating America’s influence is a primary goal of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Rouhani spoke after Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a “broad coalition” to stamp out the Islamic State, stressing the need to involve the Damascus regime in the war. “The gravest and most important threat to the world today is for terrorist organizations to become terrorist states,” said Rouhani.

According to Daoud, Tehran coordinates and supports its proxies, mainly through the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Force (IRGC-QF), led by Qassem Suleimani. The US Treasury Department has designated the IRGC-QF and its commander for activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and support for terrorism, including providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist groups. The Justice Department cited the group as responsible for “sensitive covert operations abroad, including terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings, and is believed to sponsor attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq.”

Rouhani spoke after President Barack Obama attacked the Russian and Iranian support for Assad. Obama described Assad as a “tyrant … who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children.”

JNi.Media

Abbas Blames US for Stealing His Thunder at UN General Assembly

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas no longer plans to drop a “bombshell” in his speech scheduled for Wednesday.

And he’s blaming the United States for that.

Abbas religious affairs adviser Mahmoud Habbas told reporters in New York on Monday that his boss had “difficult talks” with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend. The two allegedly discussed the threatened “bombshell” in the address that Abbas plans to deliver on Wednesday.

According to reports quoted by various international media, some Abbas aides claimed the PA leader had planned to announce a PA state “under Israeli occupation.” Such a unilateral move would be another violation of the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, in addition to those he has already committed, but one the United Nations could not fail to act on.

In an interview with Palestine TV on Sunday, Abbas said he raised three points with world leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly: the ongoing tensions at the Temple Mount, Israel’s “failure” to implement agreements with the PA and revival of Israeli-PA peace talks.

It is unclear at this point exactly what Abbas will say in his speech on Wednesday. Various Palestinian officials are giving statements to media in the Arab world and abroad, including in New York. But given the current political climate and the fact that Abbas is barely tolerated in his own territory, let alone in the halls of the Arab nations with whom he must parley in order to survive, it is likely he will keep his cards close to his chest until he steps up to the podium, if only for his own survival.

Hana Levi Julian

Egyptian President: Time to Include More Arab Countries in Egypt’s Peace with Israel

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

(JNi.media) Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said in an interview with the Associated Press Saturday night that Egypt’s 40-year-peace with Israel should be expanded to include more Arab countries—while resolving the Palestinian issue. El-Sissi believes that solving the Palestinian question is the key to changing “the face of the region,” with “enormous improvement to the situation. … I’m optimistic by nature and I say that there is a great opportunity.”

El-Sissi, 60, was in New York to address a UN summit development and the annual ministerial meeting of the UN General Assembly starting Monday.

As to Egypt’s own relationship with the Palestinians, particularly in Hamas-ruled Gaza, El-Sisi reportedly told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas when they met in New York that the security measures taken by his country along the border with Gaza were not aimed at “harming” Palestinians.

“The measures taken by Egypt to secure its eastern borders are in full coordination with the Palestinian Authority and cannot have the aim of harming our Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip,” Sisi’s office said in a statement. “The measures seek to protect the Egyptian borders and maintain Egyptian and Palestinian national security,” the statement added.

The Egyptian leader told the AP his country’s relationship with the US is “improving,” and the two countries’ ties are “strategic and stable.” He added: “The last two years were a real test of the endurance and strength” of the ties with the US.

As to his crackdown hard on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, with hundreds killed and thousands arrested, including deposed President Morsi, El-Sissi said: “The problem with the Muslim Brotherhood is not a problem between the government of Egypt and these people. The real problem is between the Egyptian people and the Muslim Brotherhood,” which has left “a very bad impression” which Egyptians “are not able to forgive and forget.”

El-Sissi warned that if Syria were to collapse, all its weapons and equipment would fall into terrorists’ hands, which would “pose a serious threat to the rest of the region, and this is what we fear.”

JNi.Media

Putin, Obama to Meet Sept. 28 at UN General Assembly

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama are set to meet September 28 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters at a briefing on Thursday, according to Reuters.

On the agenda for the two world leaders will be issues relating to Ukraine and Syria. Iran has not been mentioned, although it is possible that Tehran may be discussed as well.

But there are already two completely different versions of how the agenda for that meeting is supposed to go.

Reporters on each side of the planet heard two separate agendas from the spokespersons for each of the two world leaders.

“When the president sits down with President Putin, the top item on his agenda will be Ukraine,” White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters at Thursday’s news briefing in Washington DC.

Peskov, meanwhile, told reporters in a conference call from Moscow that the crisis in Ukraine would be discussed “if time allows.”

Earnest told reporters that the exact time and date had not yet been decided.

Peskov said the meeting had been scheduled to take place following Putin’s address to the UN.

The Russian spokesperson added that the meeting between the two presidents could last between 50 minutes to a full hour, and it was Peskov who gave the date of the meeting: Sept. 28.

Those who have already purchased their tickets for this event should be sure to bring fire extinguishers as well…

Hana Levi Julian

Iran Issues New Demands on the Nuclear Deal (It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over…)

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

The Iranian government is now demanding the finished nuclear deal be re-opened for negotiation, again.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei demanded earlier this month that sanctions be lifted entirely, rather than simply suspended as agreed in the nuclear deal signed in July.

This past weekend, the demand was repeated by a top Iranian official ahead of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, where informal negotiations often take place on the sidelines. On September 28, Iranian officials plan to meet with the entire P5+1 delegation that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, according to Iran’s FARS news agency.

However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly plans to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in the coming days in New York over the issue. According to Fox News, a State Department official said there will be no further negotiation.

“We’ve long said that we’re not going to comment on or react to every statement attributed to the Iranian leadership,” the official told FoxNews.com. “Our focus is on implementing the deal, and verifying that Iran completes its key nuclear steps under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). There is no renegotiation, and the nuclear-related sanctions relief that Iran will receive once the IAEA verifies that it has completed its nuclear steps is clearly spelled out in the text of the [agreement].”

The ayatollah has said, however, that unless sanctions are lifted entirely, “there will be no deal.” According to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Khamenei warned if sanctions are only suspended, Iran too will only “suspend” the nuclear activities listed in the agreement.

In the text of the agreement, there is a reference to “lifting” the sanctions, but the White House has promised that sanctions “will snap back into place” if Iran violates its end of the deal.

According to MEMRI, it’s not that simple. The talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly may provide a forum for new negotiations over further concessions to Iran. Outright “lifting of sanctions” would constitute a “fundamental change” to the deal, MEMRI pointed out, because “lifting the sanctions, rather than suspending them, will render impossible a ‘snapback’ in case of Iranian violations.”

Three Iran leaders announced already last July, however, that Iran intended to openly violate at least part of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

“Just as we refrained from complying with UN Security Council resolutions, we can do so with regard to 2231,” explained senior negotiator Abbas Araghchi in an interview on Iranian Channel 2 broadcast on July 20, 2015, picked up and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

The three leaders, President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and Araghchi, who also serves as deputy foreign minister, emphasized in the interview that Iran has no intention of abiding by the UN resolution, which includes both the JCPOA and Annex B – the list of points with which Iran disagrees, including the issue of sanctions on the Iranian missile development project. Rather, Iran seeks to abide only by the JCPOA.

Following the passage of UNSCR 2231, the Iranian foreign ministry issued a statement noting, “Iran does not attach legitimacy to any restriction and any threat. If UNSCR 2231 will be violated by Iran, it will be a violation of the Security Council resolution and not of the JCPOA, similar to what happened 10 years ago when we violated Security Council resolutions and nothing happened.

“The text of the JCPOA notes the fact that the content of the JCPOA and of the UN Security Council resolution are two separate things,” the statement read.

During the interview, Araghchi said that there had been tough bargaining between the Iranian and American delegations over the issue of the arms embargo on Iran and the sanctions related to Iran’s missile development project.

Hana Levi Julian

The Disappointing 4+6 Abbas Anniversary

Monday, October 6th, 2014

October 1, 2014 began the 100 day-countdown to a peculiar anniversary on the world stage. January 10, 2015, is the tenth anniversary of Mahmoud Abbas winning a four-year term as President – and then never leaving.

Abbas’s first four years (while actually sitting and ruling) watched him lose all control of the territories he was supposed to govern:

One year after his election, in 2006, his Fatah party was trounced in governmental elections. The rival Hamas party took 58% of the 132 seats in parliament. A year later, in 2007, Hamas evicted Fatah from the Gaza Strip. Abbas and Fatah have had virtually no presence there since then. Abbas showed no ability and/or willingness to stop missile attacks from Gaza into Israel (1777, 2807 and 3716 projectiles in 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively). Those rockets killed 12 people and injured 1500. In 2008, Israel finally took action. Abbas complained about Israel’s action even though he was then elected leader of the territories that did nothing to halt the attacks.

No matter. The world seemed to love this “moderate” leader. After his term expired in January 2009, no new elections were held.

For six years, the world has continued to pretend that Abbas had any legitimacy as an elected leader. For six years, the world ignored the will of the Palestinian people who had repeatedly shown in every poll, their preference to elect Hamas, a rabidly anti-Semitic rival party to Abbas’s Fatah party. The world has been complicit in holding up elections which would confirm that there is no possibility for peace at this time. For six years Abbas did nothing to deliver peace. Rocket fire from Gaza only slowed down because of Israel’s 2008 Operation Cast Lead (858, 365 and 680 projectiles fired from Gaza at Israel in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively). When missiles jumped to 2273 in 2012, Israel needed to step in for Abbas’s failure, with Operation Pillar of Defense. Rocket fire dropped 95% in 2013 after the Israeli action. However, missile fire, the murders of teenagers and terror tunnels into Israel brought Israel to “quiet” the situation with Operation Protective Edge in 2014 – again, due to Abbas’s either failure or unwillingness to provide security for Israel and Gaza. For six years, the world has pushed Israel to sit and negotiate with Abbas, the straw man with neither legitimacy nor power to deliver peace. The United Nations gave Abbas the main podium to address the General Assembly, even though he was simply an acting-President for a non-country. He used those opportunities to repeatedly lie about Israel, lie about Jews in the Holy Land and lie about his performance. And why not? The world actively engaged in the charade.

Perhaps the United Nations would like to produce a 10th anniversary stamp to honor the accomplishment of holding onto a four-year presidential title for so many years, in the face of a public that does not want him. Perhaps a fitting image would be a combination of the UN’s 1981 Palestinian stamp, together with a scarecrow: the inalienable right to be a Palestinian President.
scarecrow-stamppalestine-stamp

Paul Gherkin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/firstonethrough/the-disappointing-46-abbas-anniversary/2014/10/06/

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