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August 28, 2016 / 24 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘UN Watch’

British Academy Supporting Racist Lecturer Condemned by UK

Monday, August 26th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Following is the UN Watch letter sent today:

Lord Stern of Brentford President of the British Academy

Dear Lord Stern,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In addition we note:

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

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

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

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

Jewish Press News Briefs

US Says Falk ‘Unfit to Serve,’ Chucks his Bid to Expel UN Watch

Monday, June 10th, 2013

In a scathing and unprecedented attack on a UN-accredited NGO, top UN Human Rights Council official Richard Falk publicly called on the 47-nation body to investigate and potentially expel the watchdog organization UN Watch, after it mobilized world leaders—including his own boss, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon—to condemn his comments blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”

In his just-released annual report, Falk—the controversial human rights monitor tasked by the Council with investigating “Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law” in the Palestinian territories—accuses UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group that fights antisemitism and anti-Israel bias, with “demeaning” and “defaming” his character, damaging the “credibility,” “effectiveness,” and “substantive intention” of his mandate, all of which “diverts attention from the message” and “shifts public interest away.”

UN Watch was established in 1993 “to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter,” according to the group’s website.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant, wrote Justice Brandeis, and that’s why Falk wants to shut us down—so his despicable abuses can proliferate in the dark,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

In Falk’s report, as well as in intense lobbying efforts that he conducted this week as reported by UN insiders, the Council official demands that UN Watch “be investigated” to determine whether it qualifies as a genuine NGO.

“We call on UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon to denounce Richard Falk’s McCarthy-style attempt to have rogue regimes conduct a retaliatory ‘investigation’ of UN Watch, as a punishment for successfully exposing his gross misconduct,” said Neuer.

“Falk is dangerously trying to intimidate and silence the UN’s only watchdog group, to grant himself impunity while he continues to exculpate terrorist groups and make other inflammatory remarks that contradict the UN’s founding principles,” Neuer. added

Falk’s comments come less than a month after UN Watch’s draft resolution to remove him from his position in the wake of his comments blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv” was published by the United Nations as an official document.

In his annual report, Falk slams what he calls Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinians:

“Israel continues to annex Palestinian territory; Israel persists in demolishing Palestinians’ homes and populating Palestine with Israeli citizens; Israel maintains a policy of collectively punishing 1.75 million Palestinians through its imposition of a blockade on the Gaza Strip; and Israel prosecutes its occupation with impunity, refusing to accept the world’s calls to respect international law,” he wrote.

Falk also repeats his prior call for a boycott of companies conducting business with Israel or Israelis in Judea and Samaria.

The U.S. representative to the Human Rights Council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, on Friday condemned Falk’s report and called on other member states of the council to “denounce Falk and his outrageous abuse of the position he holds.”

Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said his organization agrees with Donahoe’s conclusion that Falk “is unfit to serve in his role as a UN special rapporteur.”

“If he does not leave voluntarily, the Human Rights Council should remove him, Foxman said, adding: “Mr. Falk’s attempt to paint himself as the victim of an Israeli government-sponsored defamation campaign, carried out by UN Watch, has echoes of classical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”

“We are in good company, however, given that Falk’s report also accuses Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of being ‘complicit’ with UN Watch for having condemned his ‘preposterous’ comments, in 2011 and again last month.” Neuer said.

Falk wrote that “it seems important to encourage a greater willingness on the part of senior United Nations officials to defend special rapporteurs subject to such diversionary attacks.”

Falk’s report claims that UN Watch’s “smear campaign” is carried out in “numerous settings, including at the Human Rights Council, as well as university venues where the Special Rapporteur gives lectures.”

The “smears” have been “sent to diplomats and United Nations officials, including the Secretary-General, who has apparently accepted the allegations at face value, issuing public criticism of the Special Rapporteur… with no effort to seek the views of the Special Rapporteur.”

In his report, Falk’s ninth and final recommendation is for the Human Rights Council to “establish a mechanism to support Special Rapporteurs who are subject to defamatory attacks, especially those that divert attention from the substantive human rights concerns relevant to their respective mandates.”

Jewish Press Staff

UN Health Assembly, Syria, Slam ‘Inhuman Israeli Practices’

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

The annual assembly of the UN’s World Health Organization today adopted a resolution criticizing Israel — in the organization’s only debate on a specific country — with Syria protesting “inhuman Israeli practices” that target “the health of Syrian citizens.” Click here for links to documents.

The WHO resolution against Israel was not yet published, but was likely a copy of last year’s condemnation.

Observers of the world body in Geneva said the annual hypocrisy nevertheless reached a new low this year.

“To see the Assad regime point the finger at Israel out of professed concern for the health of Syrians is, frankly, a sick joke,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental monitoring group accredited to the UN.

“They’ve slaughtered 80,000 of their own people, and are now busy destroying the lives of millions more. The real question is this: Why is the UN allowing mass murderers to deflect attention from their crimes by scapegoating democracies?”

“A world health assembly should be about Hippocrates, not hypocrisy,” said Neuer.

Syria’s report expressed concern that “the health conditions of the Syrian population in the occupied Golan continue to deteriorate, as a result of the suppressive practices of the Israeli occupation.”

Out of 25 agenda items on the WHO’s conference agenda, all but one address global themes.

The exception, today’s Item No. 20 — entitled “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan” — turned a spotlight on one specific country: Israel. No other country in the world — not Mexico, Russia, Syria, or anywhere else — is treated this way.

Despite what’s being said at the UN, the Palestinians’ own health minister recently acknowledged Israel’s extensive medical care for Palestinian children and its training of Palestinian doctors.

The UN debate also failed to mention that only last week, an Israeli hospital saved the life of a four-year-old Syrian girl, in a successful operation for a deadly heart condition.

Jewish Press Staff

Ban Ki-Moon Caves In, ‘Rejects’ Falk’s Boston Terror-Israel Link

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

It took five days, but United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon finally said he “rejects” United Nations Human Rights Council official Richard Falk’s comments that cited “the American global domination project: and US-Israeli relations as provocations for the bombings.

Falk, a Jewish American who has long history of accusing Israel of “war crimes” and “apartheid, wrote as “long as Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment, those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy.”

Israeli officials as well as the UN Watch organization protested his remarks, but Ban’s spokesman simply stated that Falk “speaks independently” and does not necessarily represent the United Nations.

Further condemnations of Falk appeared in the media, including The Wall Street Journal, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations tweeted, “Someone who spews such vitriol has no place at the UN.”

Ban‘s spokesman finally announced five days Falk’s article, “The Secretary-General rejects Mr. Falk’s comments [which] undermine the credibility and the work of the United Nations.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

U.S. Envoy: Syria ‘Not Fit to Sit’ on UN Rights Committee

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

U.S. Ambassador David T. Killion spoke out as UNESCO’s human rights committee which was assembled in Paris this week to rule on individual human rights complaints—with Syria’s Assad regime as one of its 30 judges.

The Geneva-based watchdog group UN Watch congratulated Ambassador Killion and urged UNESCO to finally expel Assad from the panel.

“It is indefensible for the Syrian regime to be allowed to stand as a judge of other countries’ human rights records,” said Ambassador Killion in response to a question by UN Watch, which heads a global campaign of more than 50 parliamentarians, human rights and religious groups calling for Syria’s expulsion.

In a statement on Thursday, UN Watch called on France, Germany, the UK, the EU and the UN to speak out and take action to remove Syria from the UN committee.

“Having the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad as a global judge of human rights is like appointing a pyromaniac to be a firefighter,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “UNESCO is allowing the Assad regime to strut in Paris as a UN human rights arbiter. That’s immoral, indefensible, and an insult to Syria’s victims.”

Jewish Press Staff

UN to Adopt Syrian Text Damning Israel for ‘Violating Human Rights’

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

At the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, Syria accused Israel of violating the human rights of children in the Golan, while diplomats met in another chamber on the same day to discuss a Syrian-drafted resolution, to be adopted next week, entitled “Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan.”

There will be five other resolutions targeting Israel, and about the same number combined covering the rest of the world.

While this year Syria did not officially present the text, its delegate sat on the dais next to his Pakistani colleague who chaired the session on behalf of the Islamic group. Not a single diplomat called out the sheer lunacy of the exercise. Rather, the EU commented that it was “committed to the protection of all, including those in the occupied Golan.” It was willing to “constructively engage on the text,” even as it noted that its proposals last year were not implemented.

Egypt said it aligned itself with the Islamic group.



Later in the day, UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer took the floor in the plenary. Here are his notes:

Mr. President,

This Council is charged with promoting and protecting the guarantees enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Today we ask: is the Council fulfilling its mission?

Let us consider the most basic right: the right to life.

As we heard this week from Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia is preparing imminently to execute seven alleged child offenders including Sarhan Al Mashayekh—who was also sentenced to be crucified over three days. Why is the Council refusing to address this in any resolution, urgent session, or even debate? [Ed. note: the Saudis executed them today by firing squad.]

Three other countries known to execute juvenile offenders are Yemen, Sudan and Iran—yet none of these situations is being addressed by any resolution.

And while there is a resolution on Iran, it is silent on child executions—and indeed the text is devoid of any documentation whatsoever of the regime’s other massive abuses, including against women, religious and ethnic minorities, and dissidents.

Finally, the Council must do far more about the thousands of children subjected to violence and death in Syria.

Now, today we just heard from the Syrian representative about human rights in the Golan Heights. This was a transparent attempt to change the subject from the dire, catastrophic human rights situation in Syria.

Sadly, this has been going on for decades. The United Nations has allowed Syria to present itself as a champion of human rights.

Indeed, a resolution was circulated today—presented by Syria—the same one that has been adopted each year by this Council, on purported human rights violations in the Golan Heights.

This text embodies all that is wrong with giving Syria a free pass. Year after year, the UN enabled Syria to portray itself as a champion of human rights.

– While Hafez al-Assad was murdering 20,000 people in Hama, in 1982, Syria was sitting here, as an elected member of the human rights commission. Two years later, it was reelected.

– A year and a half ago, Syria was elected to two human rights committees of UNESCO.

– A few weeks ago, Syria was elected Rapporteur of the decolonization committee dealing with human rights.

Mr. President,

Let us be clear: the situation in Syria today was allowed to develop, and the Syrian regime was allowed to remain in power, in part because the United Nations granted false legitimacy to this murderous regime.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Jewish Press Staff

Head of UN Rights Panel: Report Is ‘Weapon’ against Israel

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

The head of the UN panel that issued a one-sided report attacking Israel, has said publicly that the document could be “a kind of weapon for the Palestinians.”

French judge Christine Chanet said at a news conference that the Palestinians could use the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) report, if they wanted to, take their grievances before The Hague-based International Criminal Court.

The Palestine Liberation Organization has already announced it is planning such action and said the report, describing Israel’s settlements as “creeping annexation,” was “proof of Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing” and its desire to undermine the possibility of a Palestinian state.

Israel has said the report is biased and UN Watch, a watchdog group based in Geneva, also denounced it saying, “The council report is categorically one-sided, casting Palestinians as the sole victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict, while denying the slightest consideration to any basic human rights for Israelis.”

The HRC report says Israel is violating international humanitarian law under the Fourth Geneva Convention, since the Israeli government is persisting in building settlements in territories claimed by Palestinians for a future state, including east Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, “despite all the pertinent United Nations resolutions declaring that the existence of the settlements is illegal and calling for their cessation.”

The settlements are “a mesh of construction and infrastructure leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian State and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” the report concludes.

The report’s conclusions are not legally binding and Chanet complained that Israel did not cooperate with her investigation.

The panel went to Jordan to interview more than 50 people on the impact of the settlements, reporting violence by Jewish settlers, confiscation of land and damage to olive groves.

Pakistani attorney Asma Jahangir, a mwember of the panel, said the settlements “seriously impinge on the self-determination of the Palestinian people.”

More than 500,000 Israelis live in settlements in Judea and Samaria and in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians wish to make their capital. “All the Israeli settlement activities are illegal and considered to be war crimes according to the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention. This means that Israel is liable to prosecution,” said PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi. The settlements, according to her, are “clearly a form of forced transfer and a proof of Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry accused the council of taking a systematically one-sided and biased approach toward Israel, with the report being merely “another unfortunate reminder” of that bias.

In a statement, Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director, said he was astonished that the report members had decided to ignore a 54-page document with 257 footnotes sent to them by his organization.

“The report disregards the thousands of suicide bombings, knifings, and other terrorist attacks committed by Palestinian Arab groups, failing to acknowledge how this violence brought about Israeli security measures in the territories that did not previously exist,” he said.

“The reality is that the HRC’s fact-finding enterprise is dedicated chiefly to attacking but one country: Israel. In the entire history of the HRC, there have been seven one-sided inquiry missions on Israel, and only five on the rest of the world combined. Mass atrocities committed by Iran, China, or Sri Lanka, for example, have never been subjected to a single HRC inquiry.

“In a week when the UN legitimized genocidal Sudan, by electing the regime as vice-president of a top human rights body, it is now focusing its scarce time, resources and moral outrage on yet another biased, politicized and one-sided report against Israel.”

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/head-of-un-rights-panel-report-is-weapon-against-israel/2013/02/03/

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