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In response to: Germany lauds unanimous UN declaration of int'l Holocaust Day

dan [Visitor]
The first comment is an unbelievable example of the determination of some to use any opportunity to slam Israel for the mistakes it has made with regard to the Palestinans. The Holocaust was an unprecedented systematic tragedy to wipe out a people that are still hounded by hatred today. Rather than support Jews in seeking a national secure homeland at last, Niall rallies to the cause of terrorist orginisations and enemies of life and democracy.

Hopefully the rememberence day in the UN will help Israels weak position in the UN (even if only slightly)
PermalinkPermalink 10/01/06 @ 21:33
Niall Gerrard

In response to: Germany lauds unanimous UN declaration of int'l Holocaust Day

Niall Gerrard [Visitor]
Holocaust, smallocaust quit trying to justify the present sufferings and oppression of Palestinians with the tragedies of the past!! I hope the Palestinians fight tooth and nail using whatever methods for their freedoms and land. And they'll get it too!!

Niall Gerrard

PermalinkPermalink 17/11/05 @ 08:57

In response to: British diplomats push Annan for a 'no excuses' definition of terrorism

wendy [Member]
This item is a bit dated--it was published earlier this year in the Washington Jewish Week--but it illustrates how diplomacy can, incrementally, improve Israel's standing by allowing countries to vote for Israel.

Grenada turns a page Reverses Mideast stands at U.N.; much of Caribbean still voting against Israel

by Paula Amann

News Editor
[intro snipped]

Twice last month, Grenada marched to its own tune, voting against 11 out of a total of 15 resolutions [criticizing Israel].

"If we have shifted, it is because we have a new perspective on the need for peace" in the Middle East, Grenadan Ambassador Denis Antoine said in a telephone interview.

"It we can do anything to create an environment of dialogue in the search for peace, then all will benefit," said Antoine, who lamented that poverty and "other such pressing issues are neglected" in the U.N.'s disproportionate focus on the Palestinian problem.

Rabbi Jeffrey Wohlberg of the District's Adas Israel Congregation is one of a few local Jewish leaders who have met with Antoine to discuss U.N. diplomacy.

"Often countries get involved in political issues by happenstance," Wohlberg said, explaining Grenada's shift in the General Assembly. "It's not because they have a particular philosophy on this issue, but sometimes [because of dialogue], they see this in a different light and that's what happened here."

The U.N. General Assembly's emphasis on the Palestinian question has no other parallel, say Jewish activists.

"So much of General Assembly attention has been focused on Palestinian issues, to the exclusion of other issues," Wohlberg said. "It's totally out of balance."

No less than four different entities within the world body focus solely on Palestinian rights, notes Amy Goldstein, B'nai B'rith International's director of U.N. affairs.

"The Palestinians have been very adept at manipulating the U.N. system for their own purposes ... and they do it at the expense of the greater humanitarian agenda for the world," said Goldstein, citing women's rights, children's rights and sustainable development as matters shunted to the back burner as a result.

One longtime Jewish observer of the United Nations draws a distinction between resolutions that simply rail against Israel and those that provide for "a propaganda apparatus under the auspices of the U.N. paid for by the U.N. apparatus."

This includes, in the view of many Jewish activists, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, the Special Information Programme on the question of Palestine of the Secretariat's Department of Public Information and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

Those four pro-Palestinian arms of the U.N. not only take time away from other problems on the world body's agenda, but together consume upwards of $5.9 million dollars in resources annually, Goldstein said.

"The way to change it is not to take any country for granted," she argued, adding that dialogue on the anti-Israel resolutions must draw on ideas valued by Third World nations, such as self-determination, life, liberty and the rights of persons.

"Not to get blown up on buses, not to get shot in the head in Amsterdam" as happened to an Orthodox Jew recently, she said, "is not a Jewish issue -- it's a humanitarian issue."

When 15 pro-Palestinian resolutions came up at the world body in December, most of the Caribbean -- aside from Grenada -- came out in favor of the measures.

* Barbados and Jamaica cast their ballots for all 15 resolutions.

* The Bahamas voted for 14 of the 15, and was absent for a Dec. 1 resolution on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Dominica also supported 14 out of 15, with one absence in the vote on the Palestinian Rights Division.

* Mexico backed 14 out of 15, opting to abstain only on the Dec. 10 resolution on the special committee to investigate Palestinian human rights.

* Costa Rica (with nine yes votes, five abstentions and one no vote) and the Dominican Republic (with eight abstentions, seven yeses) had mixed records. Both cast abstentions on resolutions for four of the U.N. bodies -- the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights, the Palestinian Rights Division and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories -- that champion the Palestinian cause.

* Grenada took a stand against 11 of the 15 resolutions, abstained on three and was absent for one other.

Every vote, even from small countries, makes a cumulative difference, say Israel backers.

"If you're looking at the pattern, if the number of yes votes drops below the combined number of no votes and abstentions, this casts a shadow over these resolutions," said one observer.

An apparent gap exists, meanwhile, between generally cordial relations between Israel and the Caribbean region, on the one hand, and most Caribbean votes on the Mideast at the U.N., on the other.

Mexico signed a free trade agreement with Israel in 1998 and shared some $244 million in bilateral trade in 2003, notes Embassy of Israel spokesperson David Siegel.

Asked about his nation's voting pattern at the U.N., Mexican embassy official Alfonso Nieto Zermeno maintained that his country is keeping an open mind.

"The present Mexican administration (that of President Fox) has been open to hearing Israel's position and that of Jewish groups, both in the United States as well as in Mexico," Nieto wrote in an e-mailed statement in Spanish. "In this sense, the government of Mexico has shown openness about revising its positions. As a result, in the last two years, it has changed two votes on resolutions. This has been recognized by the government of Israel itself."

Against the backdrop of diplomatic hostility, MASHAV (the Israel Foreign Ministry Center for International Cooperation), the Israeli counterpart of the U.S. Agency for International Development, has provided training to Barbados, Costa Rica, Haiti, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti and Jamaica, as well as Mexico.

Now, with renewed hopes for Mideast peace as new Palestinian leaders take charge, Israel and its friends hope to change some minds at the General Assembly.
[remainder snipped]
This story was published on Thu, Jan 20, 2005.
PermalinkPermalink 31/07/05 @ 17:13