UN's Human Rights Confusion

January 28th, 2008

Link: http://blog.unwatch.org/?p=97

UN Watch exposes the moral inversion at UNHRC special session on the Gaza Strip.

"Let us consider the proposed resolution. To understand its purpose we are guided best not by the science that studies the conduct of governments, but that which studies the mind. In psychology, attributing one’s own malicious impulses to others is known as projection."

Hillel Neuer proceed to explain "the resolution before us constitutes a classic case of such projection. It is, after all, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations, who deliberately fire rockets—over 200 in the past week alone—at innocent civilians in Sderot and other Israeli towns. It is they who attack from populated areas, using their fellow Palestinians as human shields. It is they who reject the very notion of a distinction between combatants and civilians."

In addition to questionign the focus of the resolution, Mr Neuer also questioned the motivation behind the special meeting.

The supporters of those who fire rockets at nursery schools summoned us here to accuse Israel of violating international humanitarian law, when in reality it is they who deny—in word and deed—the very premise of that code.

Let us also consider who initiated this session: Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan—each of whom just received the lowest possible rating, Not Free, in the annual world survey by Freedom House. Another is Cuba, which just held an election where the ballots had only one candidate. Are these to be the world’s arbiters of human rights?

In response Cuba's representitive said "UN Watch is a lucrative organization amply funded by the CIA and Mossad, which is devoted to denigrating certain member states and this Council" and then proceed to threaten a campaign to have UN Watch's UN observer accreditation revoked.

A video of the exchange can be seen here:

YouTube Video

November 29th, 2007

Today is the 60th anniversary of the recognition by the UN of the right of the Jewish people to have a national home in their historic homeland (resolution 181). These were the good old days. Today like every year since 1977 (resolution 32/40 B), the UN will not celebrate the recognition of the Jewish State but instead will host ceremonies and workshops aimed at bashing and singling out Israel; today at the UN in Geneva and NYC it is the day of solidarity for Palestinians. The truth is that this event does not have any humanitarian purposes, the only goal being to launch a virulent anti-Israel campaign at the UN.

Here is the link to a very emotional video explaining the background of the voting of resolution 181 on this very important day...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=rEGUPlhtMWQ

UN Human Rights Council

November 8th, 2007

Link: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign+Relations/Israel+and+the+UN/Speeches+-+statements/Statement+by+Amb+Gillerman+on+the+Report+of+the+UN+Human+Rights+Council+6-Nov-2007.htm

Although long, Ambassador Dan Gillerman's speach deserves to be read in full. It is a power moving speach ot only on the bias of the United Nations Human Rights Council, but also a reminder of need for real human rights monitoring which UN politics have pushed out o the spot light.

Statement by Amb Gillerman on the Report of the UN Human Rights Council
6 Nov 2007

Statement by Ambassador Dan Gillerman
Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations

Third Committee
Agenda item 65
"Report of the Human Rights Council"

United Nations, New York
6 November 2007

Mr. Chairman,

Six decades ago - as the nascent United Nations was only beginning to sift through the ashes of the Second World War, the Nazi atrocities, and horrors of the Holocaust - the leaders of the world gathered together and drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration would ultimately set the stage for the world body, placing human rights and individual freedoms at the top of the world agenda for years to come. The world watched with great anticipation and hope, championing the elevation of human rights as the only way to prevent the evils of the past.

In the coming year - 2008 - the international community will celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of this milestone document, which was intended to be a bulwark against oppression and discrimination. And yet, today, nearly sixty years after the establishment of human rights as a principle pillar of the United Nations, the question must be asked: what has happened to that clarion call for human rights and what has happened to this United Nations?

Mr. Chairman,

In its early years, the Commission on Human Rights was the UN’s main organ to vitalize and advocate for the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the world. But over time, the Commission failed miserably in its mandate and expectations, and gradually degenerated into a dysfunctional body. It reached such a nadir that former Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself pointed to what he called the “declining credibility” and “legitimacy deficit” of the Commission, which, in his opinion, “cast[ed] doubt on the overall reputation of the United Nations.” So frustrating was the Commission that the General Assembly of the United Nations ultimately decided to shut it down, and to replace it entirely with a new body, the Human Rights Council.

And the world watched, yet again, with great anticipation and hope, championing human rights as the only way to prevent the evils of the past. Yet the moral bankruptcy and numerous shortcomings of the Commission have not become ancient history. For although different in name, the Commission and the Council, in essence, are one and the same.

The real burning - literally burning - human rights situations in our tormented world have certainly not been reflected in the Council’s deliberations, and one wonders, sadly, if they ever will.

Since inception, the Council has focused primarily on Israel, subjecting it to 12 discriminatory, one-sided resolutions and three special sessions. This reflects nothing less than the immoral, automatic majority enjoyed by some. The only other specific country situations addressed by the Council were Myanmar and Darfur, the latter where the resolutions on it not only failed to find the Sudanese government culpable for atrocities, but even had the audacity to congratulate Sudan for its cooperation.

Perhaps then it was not surprising to see the Council’s blindness when it came to the human rights of Israelis. Where was the Council’s condemnation of Palestinian terrorism against Israel in the face of daily and indiscriminate shelling of homes, schools, and kindergartens by Qassam rockets? What did the Council have to say last July during the unprovoked, massive bombardment of our northern border towns and in the heart of our civilian villages? What has the Council done - if anything - in response to the repeated incitement and calls for Israel’s destruction and denial of the Holocaust by the president of Iran? Nothing. Indeed, the Council’s silence is deafening - eerie and frightening - and, alas, though deeply disappointing, not the least surprising.

After all, the Council’s membership includes some countries whose own records on human rights fall markedly below the standards of the international community, and who cannot genuinely serve as a beacon for human rights when their respective performances are so dismal and poor. According to Freedom House, more than half of the Council’s 47 members are considered “not-free” or only “partially free” countries.

More importantly and most flagrantly, many of these same countries share a political agenda that precludes the State of Israel, and utterly dismiss our inherent right to live in peace and security in our homeland.

Mr. Chairman,

While the ritualistic and virulent campaign against Israel in the Council is abhorrent and intolerable, equally troubling is the Council’s resulting disregard for serious human rights violations in many other parts of the world, including among its own members. Under the new institution building package, the special rapporteurs on human rights violations by Cuba and by Belarus were eliminated without any serious discussion or consideration, in blatant disregard for the constituent mandate which established the Human Rights Council, General Assembly resolution A/60/251.

Like its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, the actual Human Rights Council has also adopted a separate standing agenda item on Israel, while the other human rights situations combined from all over the world, have been crammed into one, single agenda item.

Countless others suffering around the globe, living under tyrannical rule and oppression and violated by human rights abusers, do not gain this Council’s attention. Look around the world at the pain and anguish of these people. Where is the world body’s commitment to human rights, to its sacred Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to the very bodies it created - recreated - in order to protect and ensure the dignity and rights of each and every individual? The world still watches with astonishment. Yet the Human Rights Council decides to focus on one particular conflict - and for the wrong reason entirely.

The bell tolls for all those concerned with safeguarding and protecting human rights in our world today. This is our wakeup call, and it is high time to listen. Listen before its loud and lurid sound deafens us all.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation does not ask for special treatment. Israel, like any other country in this hall, should be subject to review and constructive criticism on a fair and impartial basis. All we ask is that the international community stands by its own values and lofty principles, if it is to be truly effective in achieving its goal of promoting and protecting human rights around the world.

Mr. Chairman,

Sadly, the ghosts of the past Commission haunt the present Council. The Human Rights Council is surely not an improvement on the Commission, and in some ways it is even worse. Hence, Israel - as a member state of this organization - cannot accept the institution building package as is. Israel will call for a vote on the package, and calls on the Member States to consider what message they send with their votes. Compromise - or worse, concessions and lowest common denominators, which some Member States seek as alternatives - are detrimental to the protection of human rights.

Mr. Chairman,

As the noted English statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” If the good men and women of the international community stay silent, and allow for the Human Rights Council to fail in its mission, it will have been complicit in the downfall of human rights as a core value of this organization.

The international community cannot stand idly by. It must voice its conscience and flex its moral might. It cannot let the vision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights fall prey to hypocrisy, politics, and prejudice. For that would disastrous for the human rights cause - not only for the United Nations, but for all mankind.

Talking of good men and women, allow me, Mr. Chairman, to voice a personal note. I have been here for nearly five years. I know many of you personality. I know you are indeed good men and women. I know that deep down you feel what I feel, and that if you could, you would voice the same sentiments.

Today, more than ever, and on this issue more than any other, I urge you to do so. Even in this glass building there comes a moment to lay political considerations and expediency aside and do the right thing. If ever there was such a moment, it is now. Let us for once rise above the cynicism and the “what does it matter” and “who cares” of UN jargon.

It does matter, and we should care. The human rights victims matter and the world cares. There are names and faces behind this issue. Those faces and that world are watching us today. Those names and those faces are waiting for us to do the right thing.

Please, let us do it.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Other notable exchanges in the session included Iran's representitive being told of for refusing to call Israel by name and Iran and Syria expressing satisfact with the Human Rights council report, and particularly it's focus on Israel.

A look at history - the 1967 six day war

May 13th, 2007

In reading an article written in 1968 on the results of the Six Day War that took place six months earlier and number of striking points jumped out at me.

The article was: Lewis, Bernard.
The Arab-Israeli War: The Consequences of Defeat.
Foreign Affairs 46:321-335 January 1968.

The first point that stood out was the seldom reported influence of the Soviet Union in engineering the crisis. The defeat of the Arab states was a result of over estimation of the Arabs, under estimation of Israel and Bernard Lewis argues, of an irrational element that arose from Soviet antisemitism and classical stereotypes of the Jews and as a result of the Jewish state.

The author also noted that Israel took two lessons form the war, the first, was that it can't rely on others for its protection. A lesson already learnt in the 1948 war of independence. The other lesson he lists is that "they could not trust the United Nations, where their enemies has an inbuilt position of advantage", he adds that:

"the Soviet Veto in the security council is always available to the Arabs, even on the most trivial matters; the combination of Communist bloc, and the quaintly names "nonaligned" states in the General Assembly is sufficient to prevent any solution acceptable to Israel, if not to enforce one acceptable to the Arabs."

This theme, was pickd by my many other sources in 1968 and 1969. Lets examine a few...

This was also reflected by Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban when he said,

"If the Arabs table a motion tomorrow that the earth is flat... they can count on at least 40 votes"

.

The Times editorial on July 5, 1969 also held this view of the united nations and supported Abba Eban's comments noting that:

"Israel['s]... objection that the United Nations attitude is one-sided is valid. The sheer numerical strength in the United Nations of the Arabs and other third-world countries favourable to them, not to mention the communist block, means that there will always be an anti-Israel majority there. It is perfectly clear, for instance, that the continuing fighting across the Suez Canal is entirely the fault of the Egyptians, but a United Nations vote is unlikely ever to condemn... [the U.A.R.]. ...If...[Israel's policy on Jerusalem] is a provocation, and illegal, then so are the daily bombardments across the Canal, and the United Nations should either condemn both equally or neither."

A few months later, after Israel flew six miles into Lebanese territory to bomb a terrorist base that was launching attachs again her, an editor in the New York Times (Aug. 28, 1969) noted that:

The "United Nations Security Council has once again demonstrated its one-sidedness and dramatized its ineffectiveness on the most explosive immediate problem confronting the world. The Council's resolution, specifically condemning Israeli reprisals against Lebanon but delivering only an indirect slap at the escalating Arab guerrilla attacks on Israel, will not help to check the alarming drift toward a new Middle East war. . . . [I'ts failure specifically to condemn the guerrillas will only confirm Israel in the conviction that it can never expect fair treatment from the Council and will spread further the fear that United Nations machinery has become all but useless in this conflict."

The refusal of the UN to condemn attacks on Israel and fairly lay the blame on the Arab agressors is what gave rise to the 2006 Lebanon war between Israel and Hizbollah. A refusal to take note of the missiles raining down on Israel today from Palestinian controlled territories and to treat these as acts of agresson and terrorism, does nothing to prevent a further escalation in the Middle East.

If it were not for hostility it causes Israel, the fact that so few are aware of the mechnics that have led to so many anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations would be funny. I have heard it claimed that Israel MUST be at fault, just look at the number of UN resolutions against it. Israel was not the cause of the 1967 Six Day War, and it is not the cause of instability in the region today. The sooner the world puts a stop to terrorism and applies proper presure to those countries like Iran and Syria who promote and fund it, the sooner we may see peace in the Middle East.

I'd like to leave with one more quote. After a terrorist hijacked an EL AL flight on 23 July 1968 (the only successful hijacking on an Israeli plane), Abba Eban was asked why Israel did not take the matter to the United Nations. He replied:

I am sometimes asked... why did we not go to the Security Council after the Athens attack. Well, I would like to tell you what our decision-making process is. We did the exercise, we present our complaint. It is considered. It would have been rejected because they have Algeria and Pakistan and the Soviet Union and Hungary and even if you did not, you have the [Soviet] veto. What would be the effect of Israel complaining about her attack on her airlines, complaining to the highest international organ and being rebuffed? Would this not be interpreted as the legitimisation of the attack on the Israeli aircraft in the name of what is called the Palestine struggle? This is why we didn't go to the Security Council after the Algerian affair [of the hijacking of an El A1 airliner in July 1968. Because of the power structure we would have failed and then it would have been said that the international community approves the kidnapping of aircraft provided that the reason is the Palestinian reason.

Two thoughts arise from this quote, is the United Nations really equiped to handle Iran and her nuclear ambitions and desire to destroy Israel? And should Israel really have had to protect passenger planes with six armed guards on each flight, multiple layers of security before bording, and cabin staff trained in martial arts? Perhaps the answer to the second question is, yes, after all it was Israel the US turned to for help after the September 11 hijackings. And it was Israel the UK turned for help in better securing Heathrow airport, an airport where another terrorist attack against Israel was foiled. In the failed attempt, a pregnant Irishwoman unknowingly carry three pounds of plastic explosives with her as she tried to board an El Al flight. The explosives has been planted on her by her fiancé who was taking a seperate flight. Israeli security checks uncovered the explosives. Now you know why they ask if you packed your backs yourself. In this case too there was evidence of "Syrian involvement" - one can hardly be surpised.

Returning to the Six Day War... a new website full of historical facts, personal accounts, and resources ranging from videos to source documents was recently launched to mark the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. The site, which can be visited at: www.sixdaywar.co.uk is well worth a look and packed with so much material you are sure to learn something new. Not only has the site organised material already on the web, it has contributed an amazing amount of new material not found else where, including material that is yet to appear in print. A massive effort, and a brilliant result.

Andre Oboler
Zionism On The Web

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U.N. May Address Terrorist Incitement

April 22nd, 2007

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-terror30aug30,1,7304683.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=1&cset=true

Britain and Russia plan to jointly introduce a Security Council resolution today urging countries to ban the incitement of terrorist acts, and they hope world leaders will adopt the high-profile measure during a U.N. summit in September.

Supporters say the measure could help stem hate speech and rein in inflammatory media, and would address international terrorism while a more comprehensive global treaty on the matter languishes at the U.N.

Inevitably, 'human rights groups' (who can sometimes seem more concerned about the rights of terrorists than their victims) are concerned that this could restrict free speech and the right to political asylum.

The resolution also calls on all countries to deny safe haven to those who engage in incitement. Although previous counterterrorism resolutions have created committees to monitor terrorist networks, freeze their financing and remove their protection, the new measure attempts to stop the seeds of hate from germinating, its sponsors say.

"When someone gives the floor to terrorists, he must also be responsible for the possible fallout, because it is not just someone's view, but a chance for a terrorist to use the podium to propagate violence," said Russian Ambassador Andrey Denisov. "Terrorism must not be seen as just a political act, but as a social and political phenomenon which must be addressed. It is a broader way to look at terrorism and combat it."