The following is the statement released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is more important today than ever for in this period of resurgent and sometimes violent anti-Semitism, it is commemorations like this that remind us all where the oldest and most enduring hatred can lead.
Unfortunately, in Europe and elsewhere, Jews are once again being targeted just for being Jews. Around the world, Jewish communities are increasingly living in fear. We see anti-Semitism directed against individual Jews, and we also see this hatred directed against the collective Jew, against the Jewish state. Israel is targeted with the same slurs and the same libels that were leveled against the Jewish people since time immemorial.
Islamic extremists incorporate the most outrageous anti-Semitism into their murderous doctrines. We see this in Gaza; we see it in Raqqa; we see it in Tehran. And it’s not just Islamic extremists in the Middle East and Europe. Even respected Western opinion leaders have become afflicted with hatred for the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
The obsession with the Jews – the fixation on the Jewish state – defies any other rational explanation. While across the region, Islamist militants brutalize entire populations, enslave and rape women, murder Christians and gays, the UN Human Rights Council repeatedly condemns Israel. More than North Korea. More than Iran. More than Syria. More than all of them put together. Some things just don’t change.
But one thing has changed. We have changed. The Jews have changed. We are no longer a stateless people endlessly searching for a safe haven. We are no longer a powerless people begging others to offer us protection.
Today we are an independent and sovereign people in our own homeland. Today we can speak out against the voices of hatred and those seeking our destruction. Today we can protect ourselves and defend our freedom. We have changed and we stand and speak out and we defend ourselves. But where is Europe? Where is the rest of civilization?
When a state like Iran and movements like Daesh and Hamas openly declare their goal of committing another Holocaust, we will not let it happen. But Europe and the rest of the world must stand up together with us. Not for our sake; for theirs.”
The IDF has promoted national-religious Col. Ofer Winter to the rank of Brigadier-General and head of operations in the Central Command and of the effort to bring more Hareidi soldiers into combat units.
Winter won praise for integrating Hareidi soldiers into the combat unties of the Givat Brigade that he headed until his new promotion.
Winter’s name became widely known in Operation Protective Edge for two reasons:
He implemented the Hannibal Protocol to use all measures possible when Hamas tried to kidnap Givati officer Lt. Hadar Goldin;
and his invocation of the name of God in a letter he wrote to his soldiers before the ground operation against Hamas terrorists in Gaza last year.
The increasing number of religious combat soldiers in the IDF has scared the dickens out of many secular establishment leaders, particularly the left-wing media.
They only have themselves to blame, The number of national religious soldiers and officers in combat units is far higher than those from the secular community when taking into consideration that the national religious community is a small minority of the country, and in some units there are more religious officers on an absolute basis.
In addition, enlistment rates among the national religious community are far higher than among secular Jews, many of whom doge the draft just like a large number of Hareidim.
The increasing number of Hareidim in the army scares the anti-religious elitists even more. The Hareidim, like national religious soldiers, are highly motivated and generally have won high praise for their dedication and skills
Part of that is due to Col. Winter, whose promotion is particularly significant because it comes before legal officers in the IDF have concluded a review of his actions in the war in Gaza and if Winter violated laws of war when he implemented the Hannibal Protocol. His soldiers inflicted heavy casualties among the enemy, and the U.N. so-called Human Rights Council accused him of crimes.
The promotion indicates that the legal officers might close the file against Winter, just as non-legal officers did.
Winter’s letter to soldiers before they entered Gaza stated that “God has chosen us” to “eliminate the terrorist enemy that dares to curse, blaspheme and scorn the God of Israel.”
He also wrote that he read with them the Shema prayer – “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.”
This was too much for the secularists, who accused Winter of everything from mixing religion with state to proselytizing.
The same secularists didn’t say “boo” when the anti-missionary Yad L’Achim organization discovered that Christian missionaries had infiltrated IDF bases to preach their gospel.
The secularists are not afraid religion, so long as is it is not Judaism.
That is why they are so scared every time another national religious soldier becomes an officer, and especially when one becomes Brigadier-General.
They don’t see the future. After Winter’s next promotion, he might be replaced by a Hareidi officer.
On Friday, July 3, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved a Resolution condemning Israel for violating human rights during the summer of 2014 conflict with Gaza known as Operation Protective Edge.
The resolution was based on the investigation conducted by a committee appointed by the United Nations, and headed by Mary McGowan Davis. The UN’s original choice to head the committee, William Schabas, had to resign from that position when it was revealed that Schabas had been a paid advocate for the PLO. But even the report named both Israel and Hamas as potentially having committed war crimes.
Although purportedly based on the committee report, the resolution was drafted by Palestinian Arabs and Arab states, according to Haaretz.
When the report was released last week, it was blasted by both Israel and the United States.
The United States was the only “nay” vote against the Resolution. Of the 47 member nations in the UNHRC, 41 voted in favor of the Resolution. Germany, France and Ireland were among those voting in favor of the Resolution which condemned Israel – but was completely silent about Hamas – for its conduct during the conflict.
Although only the U.S. voted against the resolution, several states abstained. Those abstaining were India, Ethiopia, Paraguay, Macedonia and Kenya.
The vote took place Friday afternoon, July 3. That same day Israel was fired at from the Sinai, on the heels of vicious attacks against Egyptians by ISIS affiliates, while violent unrest roils the region. An ISIS affiliate claimed it was responsible for the rocket from Sinai.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had this to say about the vote:
“On the day on which Israel was fired at from Sinai, and at a time when ISIS is committing vicious terrorist attacks in Egypt, as Assad slaughters his people in Syria and as the number of arbitrary executions per annum climbs in Iran — the U.N. Human Rights Council decides to condemn the State of Israel for no fault of its own, for acting to defend itself from a murderous terrorist organization.
“Israel is a stable democracy in the Middle East that upholds equal rights for all its citizens and acts in accordance with international law.Those who fear to openly attack terrorism will – in the end – be attacked by terrorism.
“The council that has hitherto adopted more decisions against Israel than against all other countries cannot call itself a human rights council.The State of Israel will continue to defend its citizens against those who call for its destruction and take daily action to achieve this goal.”
The Resolution calls on all parties to comply with an investigation currently underway but the prosecutor’s office of the International Criminal Court to determine whether a case based on the allegations in the report and the UNHRC Resolution should proceed there.
A wave of disapproval, and perhaps resigned expectation rolled across most of Jewish Israel on Monday afternoon with the release of The Schabes Report (183 pages) by the “Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.” Professor William Schabes led the Commission, which included Mary McGowan Davis and Doudou Diène.
(The complete 34-page advance executive summary of the report can be viewed by clicking here.)
A Canadian professor of international criminal and human rights law, Schabes has been called “the world expert on the law of genocide and international law.” But Schabes was forced to resign in February 2015 after Israel publicly revealed that he had once been a legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization – a clear conflict of interest. Justice Davis took up the mantle of leadership for the time remaining to the Commission.
Everywhere Israeli soldiers fought in the summer of 2014 was Occupied Palestinian Territory according to the United Nations. But even the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was forced to admit in The Schabes Report that Hamas controls the Gaza region.
As such, even the UN Commission was inspired to refer to the region’s terrorist rulers as a separate governing entity (see item five, page three of the 34-page advance executive summary of the report.) However, the Commission failed to note that it was the population of Gaza who in 2006 democratically elected Hamas* – a terror group whose charter still documents its vow to annihilate the State of Israel — to rule the enclave.
Instead, according to The Schabes Report, anything the Israel Defense Forces did in Gaza to conduct their counter terror military campaign against “Palestinian armed groups” was considered illegal.
There was no mention of the term “human shields,” nor was there any reference to the military activities by Hamas that had provoked the war. Oddly, the Commission blamed the “Occupation” by Israel on page five in item 14: “The hostilities of 2014 erupted in the context of the protracted occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and of the increasing number of rocket attacks on Israel.”
The Commission continued its rant against Israel in a similar vein on page seven, in item six:
“The most important characteristics of the hostilities of 2014 … [were those] that reflect new patterns, notably attacks by Israel on residential buildings resulting in the death of entire families; Israel’s ground operations, which leveled urban neighborhoods; and violations by Palestinian armed groups and authorities in Gaza, including their reliance on attack tunnels.”
The Commission flatly implied that Israel had deliberately set out to murder Gaza civilians and destroy as many civilian residential structures as possible; thereby swallowing terrorist propaganda hook, line and sinker if not in fact actually helping to write the script.
This, despite numerous, concrete satellite imagery and other photographic evidence to the contrary made public during the war by the IDF – all disregarded.
Here’s a snippet from page 12, items 50-52, from the executive summary of the report:
1. The extensive use by the Israel Defense Forces of explosive weapons with wide-area effects, and their probable indiscriminate effects in the built-up neighborhoods of Gaza, are highly likely to constitute a violation of the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks. Such use may, depending on the circumstances, qualify as a direct attack against civilians, and may therefore amount to a war crime. 2. In addition, the fact that the Israel Defense Forces did not modify the manner in which they conducted their operations after initial episodes of shelling resulted in a large number of civilian deaths indicates that their policies governing the use of artillery in densely populated areas may not be in conformity with international humanitarian law. 3. The commission examined several additional incidents, including attacks on shelters, hospitals and critical infrastructure, in which artillery was used. The use of weapons with wide-area effects against targets in the vicinity of specifically protected objects (such as medical facilities and shelters) is highly likely to constitute a violation of the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks. Depending on the circumstances, indiscriminate attacks may qualify as a direct attack against civilians, and may therefore amount to a war crime.
For the record, according to international law, residential buildings become legitimate military targets when used for military purposes.
The Reuters news agency reported the absence of the United States at a scheduled United Nations Human Rights Council debate came as part of President Barack Obama’s “reassessment” of Israel at the international forum. The report, which flashed around the world on the news agency’s international wire network, made headlines in Middle Eastern and other nations whose time zones are six or more hours ahead of the U.S.
However, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the report is patently false.
In fact, the absence of the United States from the forum was indeed a deliberate act indeed, but one coordinated in advance with Israel to protest Agenda Item 7. Israel had asked its friends in the Council not to appear during debate of the Agenda Item, in order to boycott the issue.
A U.S. spokesperson in Geneva confirmed the reason for the delegate’s absence to Israeli officials, who reassured inquiring media.
Both the U.S. and Israel were boycotting the debate, which focusedon ‘Israeli violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories.’
The UNHRC has passed a mandate to use Agenda Item 7 at every session to debate this specific topic.
For hours, Middle Eastern Arab and African nations ranted on the Israeli violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories. Algeria even accused Israel of genocide.
Although the members of the European Union attended the session, the EU delegates did take the floor to defend Israel during the Agenda Item 7 debate, insisting it should be treated as other nations, and its violations discussed under Agenda Item 4.
Not one other country is deliberately singled out for mandated censure at each and every session of the UN Human Rights Council – including Saudi Arabia, which still allows slavery and beheads criminals, nor Iran, which indulges in public whippings and hangings, nor Sudan, where torture is commonplace, and the list goes on.
In a speech to the Council in Geneva at the start of this month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused the UNHRC of obsessions with claims of Israeli violations.
“We will oppose any effort by any group or participant in the UN system to arbitrarily and regularly delegitimize or isolate Israel, not just at the UN Human Rights Council, but wherever it occurs,” Kerry vowed.
“It must be said that the UNHRC’s obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization. It has the potential to limit the good that we have to do,” he added.
Kerry’s well-intended promise may have been forgotten, at least in the White House, however: President Barack Obama is doing everything possible to yank the rug out from under Jerusalem, using rhetoric by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his election campaign as the excuse to claim a lack of commitment to peace by Israel.
“We take him at his word when he said [creation of a Palestinian state] wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region,” Obama told The Huffington Post last Friday.
Gone were the assurances Obama himself made in a speech to AIPAC during his own political campaign for president in 2008. That was when he vowed to commit, as president of the United States, to “help committed (peace) partners avoid stalemate and the kind of vacuums that are filled by violence.” Any agreement with the Palestinian people, he said, “must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” he promised.
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor addressed the U.N. Security Council, which was meeting to congratulate itself and “reaffirm” its international commitment to the principles outlined in the UN Charter.
Prosor could not permit the occasion to pass without drawing attention to the ways in which the institution falls far short of the grand ideals which, 70 years ago, drove representatives of 50 nations to draw up the Charter upon which the U.N. was created.
The U.N. Charter enshrined several fundamental principles:
first, to maintain international peace and security and take effective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace; second, to advance relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights; third, to promote and encourage respect for human rights; and fourth, to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations. Prosor deftly excised the verbiage to reveal the myriad ways in which the U.N. undermines those lofty ideals, replacing them, instead, with cowardice and appeasement towards those who most betray the U.N. principles, and discrimination and vilification of at least one nation committed to upholding those principles: Israel.
The Israeli ambassador explained that the greatest threat to global security comes from the terrorist radical Islamist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram. He described their battle against the civilized world as one “between civility and barbarism, between pluralistic and totalitarian society, between tyranny and freedom.”
Those extremists are destabilizing communities, nations and entire regions of the world, yet the U.N. has “been reluctant to take decisive action,” Prosor said, and on occasion, the U.N. has “surrendered to those nations that harbor, fund and support terrorist groups.”
Hezbollah, in particular, was held out by Prosor as an example of the U.N.’s inclination to coddle, not curb, terrorism, pointing out that the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group has held Lebanon hostage for nearly three decades, while it continues its “reign of terror.”
The U.N. has also failed in its stated dedication to the principle of equal rights, with member nations that impose the death penalty for loving the “wrong” people or believing in the “wrong” faiths. Prosor pointed to the recent beheadings by ISIS of 21 Coptic Christians as merely the latest in a decades-long process of badgering and discriminating against Middle Eastern Christians, until their number has dwindled to small minorities.
Prosor also pointed an accusatory finger at various member nations who sit on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, such as Venezuela, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Algeria. The lack of a free judiciary and a free press in those countries makes their membership a mockery of the Council.
Last year Iran was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the U.N.’s legal committee. Prosor pointed out the absurdity of making such a choice when Iranian citizens are denied due process and fair trials, and they are not even permitted to participate in Iranian national affairs.
Prosor told the Council:
The fact of the matter is that this institution has been hijacked. The ruthless autocracies that jail journalists rush to lecture us on the virtues of a free press. The repressive dictatorships that persecute political opponents filibuster on the sanctity of free and fair elections. And the mass-murdering tyrannical regimes preach to us about human rights.
Finally the Israeli ambassador addressed the treatment of the tiny country he represents at the hands of the U.N. Prosor patiently recounted just some of the ways in which Israel has been treated as a pariah nation by the U.N.
For example, last year alone the General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions singling out Israel for condemnation. All other nations were reprimanded by punitive resolutions a total of three times. In 2014, the Syrian civil war raged with chemical weapons and barrel bombs directed at its own citizens, Boko Haram slaughtered thousands, Russia invaded Crimea, North Korea continued its totalitarian regime oppressing its citizens, and Saudi Arabia executed dozens of its citizens, yet Israel was singled out for criticism time and again.
Since 2006, more than half of all resolutions adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in criticism of a particular country have been directed at Israel. This isn’t logical, it isn’t moral – it is simply prejudice.
media credit: Israel Mission to the UN, New York
Prosor then took the occasion to link the proceedings in the U.N. with last night’s Academy Awards. He suggested what would happen if the U.N. decided to give out Oscars for “Maintenance of International Peace and Security.”
Media Credit: Israel Mission to the UN, New York
The U.N. would give the Best Actor award “for acting like a peace loving country while developing nuclear capabilities, denying the Holocaust, and threatening the destruction of another member state to…..Iran.”
Prosor suggested the U.N. would give the Best Supporting Actor award to Hezbollah for its “unrelenting support to the Assad Regime in killing hundreds of thousands of civilians.”
The Israeli ambassador had several other predictions for winners in the U.N.’s version of the Academy awards. To watch him deliver them, watch the video of his speech, below.
Just a day after William Schabas quit as head of the UN’s anti-Israel Gaza investigation, the UN Human Rights Council has quickly managed to replace him, and they didn’t have to search very far to find exactly who they needed.
Mary McGowan Davis, a member of the Goldstone Report team, the previous anti-Israel UN report, has been appointed to succeed Schabas.
Schabas’s anti-Israel bias was open for anyone to hear, though it was a surprise to many when Schabas revealed in his resignation letter that he had worked as a consultant for the PLO in the past. Apparently Israel had discovered and exposed that fascinating tidbit, forcing Schabas to step down.
Mary McGowan Davis is a former New York Supreme Court Judge.
Her former investigative partner Richard Goldstone, after whom the Goldstone Report was named, retracted the main accusations of his own anti-Israel report, after it was published.
McGowan Davis on the other hand, continued with her separate report based on the assumption that the report was factual, despite it’s primary author’s retraction.
McGowan Davis said, “Our mandate was to take his report as given and start from there.” – don’t confuse her with the facts.
Obviously if you begin with a false premise you’re going to likely reach false conclusions.