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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Inescapable conclusion: Israel must probe the Gaza war

There is no doubt about it. The Goldstone report about Operation Cast Lead (the Gaza war of 2008) is not about "justice." It is based on an investigation initiated with the most malicious intent, by a UN body, the UNHRC, that is obsessed with the mission of delegitimizing Israel. Its major conclusions were decided before there was any "investigation," and the investigation that was undertaken was a bad joke, consisting mostly of collecting Israel-bashing libels from anti-Israel NGOs. Judge Goldstone was enlisted in this nefarious project to provide a fig leaf of respectability for the "human rights" advocacy of countries like Libya and Sudan. He did not exercise the best judgment in accepting the charge and did not conduct a fair investigation.

The Goldstone report was meant to be, and will be, the centerpiece of a vicious PR campaign and UN propaganda persecution against Israel. It gives the usual sources many opportunities to rant about "Zionist war criminals" and "Zionist war crimes" and to attempt to force a UN Security Council condemnation of Israel. Alan Dershowitz has pointed out that Goldstone went beyond the various human rights organizations with his fantastic contention that the Israeli government diabolically planned in advance to murder Palestinian civilians and destroy civilian infrastructure. (see THE CASE AGAINST THE GOLDSTONE REPORT: A STUDY IN EVIDENTIARY BIAS).

However, it is time to say what everyone knows and will not admit. Israel's army probes of the Gaza war crime allegations are not going to satisfy many critics, nor will documents like the one issued recently by the Israeli government, and other reports that are either in preparation or submitted. The Israeli MAG (Military Advocate General) reported that they investigated X number of cases raised ( about 140 at this time) by the infamous Goldstone report and closed them. But the skeptics will dismiss it all as "Zionist propaganda" because they have been convinced, rightly or wrongly, that only an independent civilian inquiry will discover the truth.

Contrary to the impression that some people seem to have, the report presented to UN Secretary General Ban was not the final Israeli rejoinder to the Goldstone report. Israel is preparing a very long report that will be a point by point refutation:

The 40-page “letter” was delivered to Ban, explaining the independence of ’s legal system, and the efficacy of the justice system in the military.

Diplomatic officials stressed that this letter is not the IDF’s answer to the Goldstone Commission report. The IDF rebuttal is currently being completed, and will number more than 1,000 pages and will answer point-by-point all the allegations in the Goldstone Report

The "40 page letter" referred to above may or may not be the 46 page document that is posed at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website - Gaza Operation Investigations - an update. That document details the structure and independence of the Military Advocate General's office and the Israeli investigation process, as well as giving finding regarding some of the cases.

These efforts, which impress Israel's friends, are not necessarily going to convince the the world, and do not change the fact that there were, and are, real problems that require both judicial and administrative or legislative remedies.

The problems are evident even in the handling of the rebuttal. According to Haaretz, newspaper, the letter sent to Secretary General Ban claimed that two IDF officers were disciplined for improper use of white phosphorus in one incident on January 15, 2009. But according to Haaretz newspaper, the IDF promptly denied that any officers were disciplined!

The Israel Defense Forces on Monday denied that two of its senior officers had been summoned for disciplinary action after headquarters staff found that the men exceeded their authority in approving the use of phosphorus shells during last year's military campaign in the Gaza Strip, as the Israeli government wrote in a recent report.

The report, which was a sensation for a day, seems to have vanished without a final resolution - either a clear official confirmation or a clear denial. This is not indicative of an orderly process of investigation, to say the least. If Haaretz is referring to the 46 page update document, there is indeed a report that officers were disciplined in section 100 and what is apparently the same report for the same incident is given in Section 108:

One of these incidents involved alleged damage to the UNRWA field office compound in Tel El Hawa.102 The special command investigation revealed that, during the course of a military operation in Tel El Hawa, IDF forces fired several artillery shells in violation of the rules of engagement prohibiting use of such artillery near populated areas. Based on these findings, the Commander of the Southern Command disciplined a Brigadier General and a Colonel for exceeding their authority in a manner that jeopardized the lives of others.

There is no mention of white phosphorus in that section. In Sections 118-120, the document states categorically that all IDF use of white phosphorus was found to be legal and there were no violations. The Haaretz article related an entirely narrative that is not taken from the document, and their source is not clear. The IDF denial that officers were disciplined for any reason that is quoted in Ha'aretz is also unexplained.

If we don't believe our own report, it is not likely that anyone else will believe it. If different branches of the IDF cannot ascertain whom the IDF punished and for what, there must be at least some procedures that require investigation and correction.

According to the report, about 150 cases were investigated and 36 were referred for disciplinary action. Details are not given for every case. In the entire Gaza operation, we are supposed to believe, almost nobody made serious errors in judgment. We are to believe that almost all the decisions were correct, even though soldiers died from friendly fire, and three little Palestinian girls, whom everyone admits were blameless, daughters of a blameless physician, Dr. Izzeldin AbuelAish, were killed by mistake..Those are three wrongful deaths that we can identify by name. Even the most pro-Israel enthusiast might think it is suspicious if the IDF says, "We investigated ourselves and we found ourselves almost blameless."

If all the IDF decisions were correct, then how did it happen that we waged an expensive and risky war, and at the end of the war there was a lot of destruction in Gaza, but the Hamas remained stronger than ever? It is unlikely that Israeli generals are war criminals as Goldstone charges, but nobody should get a prize for the planning and execution of the Gaza war. The Goldstone report or some similar kangaroo proceeding, should also have been foreseen by the planners since allegations of Israeli "war crimes" are not new. Even if there were no instances of criminal malfeasance, there was certainly a failure of decision making, and there errors of judgment and lapses in discipline. We all know about the graffiti left in Gaza by various IDF soldiers, and about the inciteful pamphlets initiated by fanatic rabbis and distributed by the IDF "through an oversight." What mechanisms were put into place to correct these problems?

We were assured, from the start, that the Gaza war would not be like the Second Lebanon war. Officers and government officials would not speak out of turn, and would not make pointless bellicose remarks. But pointless bellicosity continued long after the Second Lebanon war, and the Goldstone report used them as "evidence" against Israel. For example, In October 2008, just before General Eisenkott said, regarding Lebanon:

What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. […] We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. […] This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.”

This is the sort of primitive and needless bragging and bullying that used to characterize Arab leaders. It is in a class with the threats made by Gamal Abdul Nasser before the Six day war. Whatever policies the government adopts, they are not set by the IDF, and whatever military doctrines the IDF adopts, they are not more effective if discussed in public. Wars are not won by rhetoric. If the Israeli government wanted to warn the Lebanese against testing Israeli patience, there were other, more credible and more civilized ways to do it.

Even more pointless were the remarks of Eli Yishai, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor. He said on February 2, 2009

Even if the rockets fall in an open air or to the sea, we should hit their infrastructure, and destroy 100 homes for every rocket fired.

We can point out that these remarks were made after the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead and cannot prove intent, though they might say something about general policy and state of mind They are not evidence surely, as Yishai didn't plan the operation. They were utterly pointless because unlike General Eisenkott, Yishai is not a military authority and is not in charge of military planning. He should stick to what he knows.

Perhaps the skill of Alan Dershowitz can convince friends of Israel that it is not illegal to call for destruction of homes, as he does so well. But if you require a Dershowitz or a Clarence Darrow to defend you and to produce an exegesis of your remarks in the manner of the Rashi and the Rambam, you are in trouble. Those who are not so well disposed to our cause will take the remarks literally. As the Israeli government had to be aware of the hostile international environment, what possible excuse was there for remarks such as these, intended evidently to garner support from Shas party voters. What is a minister of a religious party doing meddling in foreign policy and military strategy in public? Yishai probably knows even less about military strategy than he knows about industry, trade or labor. What purpose did these remarks serve?

At least some Israeli authorities have understood that an independent investigation is required. Col. Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, who headed the Military Advocate General's international law department during Operation Cast Lead called for an investigation, though she is apparently convinced that all is well in the best of all possible worlds:

"There is not necessarily a need for a commission of inquiry because we essentially know more or less what happened in terms of decision making, orders and targets," she said. "As for the top brass, we have the protocols of government meetings."

Nonetheless, she added, "We are now in a situation in which we need to give our friends - who don't want to see lawsuits filed against us in their own courts - the tools to do away such claims, along with other charges against us," she said.

"If they need a commission of inquiry then that's what we'll give them," she added. "I really don't think we have anything we need to hide."

It is not so clear that everything is under control and nothing can go wrong, as Sharvit-Baruch implied. If she had done her job right during the Gaza war, there might not have been a Goldstone report. Moreover, if everything is just fine, then how did it happen that her remarks, made in confidence to a closed forum, were published the next day in Haaretz? Leaks of this sort are the rule, rather than the exception. What sort of army cannot keep secrets?

Menachem Mazuz, Israel's outgoing government counsel (a title erroneously translated in English as "Attorney General") also explained why an independent investigation is needed:

"There is a danger here of a 'Serbianization' of Israel," even though the report on the Gaza war was biased and contains unsubstantiated conclusions, Mazuz said. "Therefore I believe that Israel has a clear interest in conducting a serious, expert examination that will deal with the report and produce an opposing report. It would be a serious mistake not to establish some sort of committee. We must remove the shame of accusing Israel of being a country that commits war crimes."

"Some sort of committee" is not enough. There must be a judicial committee of inquiry or judicial proceedings in regular courts regarding criminal allegations. The investigation or trials would not satisfy everyone. The Palestinians, notwithstanding the fact that they won't try any of their "alleged" war criminals and their supporters will continue to rant about Zionist war criminals, backed by the Arab world and degenerates like the Dutch socialite Greta Duisenberg. But friendly governments will at least have a solid basis to reject the Goldstone allegations and to combat the campaign of pseudo-legal war criminal proceedings being waged by Palestinians and their supporters.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi are opposed to a probe. But they are among the "suspects," because part of Goldstone's allegations, the most serious ones, claim that the Gaza operation was planned to harm civilians and to harm infrastructure in order to hurt civilians. Of course, intentional destruction of some infrastructure may have been done based on the doctrine that we must destroy "infrastructure" of terrorists. That is not criminal, but since terror groups do not have and do not need much infrastructure, it is probable that this doctrine is mistaken. But it is clear that suspects in a possible investigation should not be deciding whether or not to have an investigation.

A second investigation, non-judicial, is needed to examine the tactical and strategic and policy aspects of Operation Cast Lead. Before the next war, we must find out what really went wrong in Operation Cast Lead, and in the Second Lebanon War. Obviously, not all the lessons of the Second Lebanon war were learned, because in some respects the Gaza war was a repeat performance. This is true despite the great strides taken by the IDF in repairing itself, and despite the fact that both the Chief of Staff and the Defense Minister had been replaced, and nobody doubts the professional qualifications of the present incumbents. And the problem is not confined to military planning.

The two wars share too many negative characteristics in common: Both were long drawn out operations that generated a lot of destruction and civilian deaths on the enemy side, but did not inflict a decisive blow on the enemy. Both brought charges of Israeli "war crimes."

Israel's friends may be willing to help us, especially as the United States, Britain and others may be accused of similar war "war crimes" in Iraq and Afghanistan by the same coalition of terror groupies But friends can only help those who help themselves. And we need a real investigation, because there are real problems that exist regardless of the Goldstone report. The same sorts of problems have been dogging the IDF and Israeli government since the Yom Kippur War: poor intelligence, poor decision making, poor strategy, neglect of essential preparation, flaws in implementation. Israelis who do not believe me, should consider this example, which is easy to check. What is the status of the air raid shelters in your town. Are they all clean and ready? Were they all opened and ready for use when there was a drill?

After each war there is an "investigation" and we are assured that the problems will not recur, but they do. Condemning the Goldstone report is not enough. Friends of Israel have to understand that along with condemning the Goldstone report, we must call for independent inquiries.

What is more important than the last war or last wars, is the next one. The next Lebanon or Gaza war, if there will be one, is being planned according to the same formula: a long war of attrition featuring air and ground operations. The minister of religion and the minister of rabbit growing will issue bellicose announcements about grinding the enemy to dust and will be duly quoted in the media. The confidential remarks of every military official in closed door forums will make daily headlines. The network and media photographers and correspondents will have weeks to report about the real or imagined agony of innocent Lebanese civilians. The enemy will be able to generate a great deal of Pallywood and Hoaxbulla - dead bodies taken from morgues, staged ambulance emergencies, the same person losing a different home on different days. The anti-Israel lobby will have a PR festival, and Israel will accomplish no strategic objective other than to strengthen its enemies.

Well-meaning polemics against the Goldstone report, as bad as the report is, miss the point. It is always valid to ask for an independent civilian investigation of criminal actions when there are reasonable suspicions. Justice must be seen as well as done. When the military and civilian decision process has produced two catastrophic failures in a brief period, it is also imperative to hold a serious and probing technical and policy review as well. It is not unpatriotic to mount these investigations. It is common sense, good government and good Zionism.

Ami Isseroff

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

UN Human Rights Council's JUSCANZ group admits Israel with US help

A tiny step forward in the nightmare of UN boycotts of Israel.
U.N. Rights Group Ends Israel Exclusion
UN Watch Lauds U.S. Role, Calls on U.N. to Lift Remaining Barriers
Geneva, Jan. 27, 2010 – After decades of exclusion, Israel was granted membership in a United Nations caucus in Geneva.
Israel's admission to the Human Rights Council's JUSCANZ group -- an acronym for the non-EU democracies of Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand -- was approved last Friday by consensus, and signifies they regard the Jewish state as "like-minded." The group has expanded over time to include Norway, Switzerland and other Western countries.
"For this to happen in Geneva, and especially at the Arab-dominated Human Rights Council, is an historic accomplishment for Israel and for the principle of equality," said Alfred Moses, Chair of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization.
"It's a significant achievement in an arena where regression is the norm, one that will allow Israel for the first time to participate in a UN consultative group on human rights issues," said Moses.
"This is particularly important during a time when countries are planning for the 2011 reform of the council, a body that has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the world's victims of human rights violations."
"The diplomatic victory followed years of diplomatic efforts, which were supported by UN Watch as a necessary implementation of the UN Charter's equality guarantee for all nations, large and small. The United States is one of several countries that deserve particular credit for finally making it happen."
The change does not apply to JUSCANZ consultations in New York, nor to the Asian regional group's continued exclusion of Israel. UN Watch called on the United Nations to remove remaining discriminatory barriers to Israel's full and equal participation within UN voting and consultation blocs.
"We also urge the Human Rights Council in particular to remove its permanent agenda item targeting Israel; to eliminate its post of a permanent investigator on alleged Israeli violations, where guilt is presumed in advance; and to end the policy whereby three-quarters of all council resolutions have been devoted to the one-sided censure of Israel, and Israel made the object of more special sessions than the total for the rest of the world combined."
UN Watch is a Geneva-based human rights organization founded in 1993 to monitor UN compliance with the principles of its Charter. It is accredited as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as an Associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

The limits of PC: The forbidden group must come out of the closet

A wonderful age of tolerance has dawned in our time. For most of the inhabitants of the Western world, the bad old days of bigotry and narrow-mindedness are gone.

The multicultural pluralistic politically correct society accepts almost everyone for what they are, and listens respectfully to their opinions. Discrimination against women is forbidden and frowned upon. People of all colors and creeds and nationalities, and with all manner of political beliefs, are respected, listened to and accepted for who they are and what they do. There is only one exception.

The wave of tolerance has spread to every corner of society. The standard bearer of conservative political values in the United States today is a woman - Sarah Palin. Gay people, who once had to hide their secret or face jail terms, have come out of the closet and serve as officials in Europe and the United States. They may even as ministers in churches. African Americans, once called "n****r," are closer than ever to being accepted as true equals in American society. An African American was even elected president.

Practically every creed and every political belief has gained respectability. Adherents of Mao and Stalin can argue their points of view alongside Social Democrats and Christian Democrats. Nobody reminds them of the millions of people who were murdered in the Soviet Union or Maoist China and of all the human misery caused by their "scientific" beliefs.. Let bygones be bygones.

Islamis accepted as a respectable creed, the religion of peace. The president of the United States has said so. Discrimination against people just because they areMuslims is rightly forbidden. Nobody assumes that all Muslims are terrorists or bigots or wife beaters. News reports from Muslim and Arab governments and press are treated with respect, and the Muslim point of view is heard and respected 'round the world.

Even terrorists and advocates of terror get a break. We must negotiate with Iran, accept Iran into the family of nations. Never mind if they sent their terrorist agents to murder US soldiers and violated the immunity of diplomats. Never mind if they are plotting to take over the Middle East. Dialogue with Iran is politically correct. Apologists explain that "militants" are practicing "resistance." Suicide bombers are billed as "altruists" by British professors. Jihadis thought to be not such a bad thing and is preached freely in the capitals of Europe. Respectable organizations recommend recognition of groups like the Hezbollah and the Hamas, who are welcome in many capitals of the world, and get a favorable press from major news media. A conference of such "resisters" was recently held in Beirut, under the auspices of the United Nations.

It is even OK to be Jewish in many circles of society, thoughJewremains a bad word. There is only one political group that is beyond the pale of "politically correct" and outside the bounds of the pluralistic multicultural society: : Zionists. Abortion rights groups and anti-abortionists can lobby for their causes, as can gun manufacturers, those opposed to firearms, Muslim groups and Palestinians. For Zionists, it is forbidden. The pro-Israel "Zionist lobby" conjures up images of a sinister conspiracy to subvert America, worse than anything dreamed up by the Cominform. An entire book and many articles, mostly fiction though not sold as such, have been written about the alleged role of the Zionist lobby in starting the Iraq war and other nefarious deeds. Not a shred of real evidence is offered in any of them, but "everyone knows" it must be true, and it is believed by respected professors and journalists and their students and audiences.

ForZionism and Zionist Israelis there is no quarter and no hope at all. Zionists are blamed for every ill of the world, and accused of every crime including eating babies, poisoning children and killing people to steal their organs for illegal transplant trade. None of this flood of baseless calumny is considered impolite, intolerant or not "politically correct." Zionists are the only group you can seriously dump on in intelligent society without being considered a boor and a bigot.

When a Zionist attempts to speak at a UN meeting, he is silenced. If a Zionist goes to an international conference at Annapolis, sponsored by the United States, he or she must enter by the service entrance, an institution created to separate domestics, menial laborers and other "inferiors" from "respectable" people. Nobody would shake their hands either. We may be about to see more of the same humiliating treatment in a different setting, again under the auspices of the United States, which claims an "unbreakable bond" with Israel. The Palestinian Arabs will not sit in the same room with Zionists, so the United States is trying to arrange "proximity talks." The evil Zionists will sit in one room, and the righteous "moderate" former (?) terrorists of the PLO will sit in another room and formulate their demands. The entire world thinks this is a great concession to the evil, racist, imperialist and colonialist Zionists. What will they talk about? Zionist concessions to the Palestinian Arabs.

If a Zionist product turns up in certain countries, there can be an international scandal. It doesn't bother anyone. In fact, "progressive" groups are working to widen the boycott of Zionists.

If a person admits to being a Zionist, nobody will listen to his or her opinion or version of the facts - it must be "Zionist propaganda." The same is true of news items that originate from "Zionist" sources. If Al Jazeera writes that Zionists committed war crimes in Gaza it is accepted as a fact, even if Al Jazeera also reported that the United States had used atomic weapons in Iraq. Time Magazine and Newsweek then headline fantastic tales of Zionist atrocities in Gaza.

If, on the other hand, the "Zionists" report that they captured a ship bearing a cargo of illicit Iranian arms, and show the arms, marked with the marks of the manufacturers in Iran and bound for the Hezbollah terrorists, it is ignored. It is "Zionist propaganda." At most, it will get a back page headline that states that "Israel claimed that the arms were manufactured in Iran" "Israel claimed that the arms were bound for Hezbollah." Nobody believes it. Nobody will listen to the "tales" of Zionists.

At parties and social gatherings, it is OK to say that you are gay, that you favor Scientology or flat earth theory, that you are a Maoist or a supporter of "rights" for Hamas. You can announce that you believe in anything at all. Say that you are a Zionist however, and the room will become silent. People will change the subject and move away from you. It's not your deodorant.

Everywhere in the world, Zionists have gone to earth, hiding in the closet, avoiding the pernicious Z-word or at most masquerading as "pro-Israel." The BDS (Boycott, Divestment Sanctions) group condemns "imperialism, colonialism and Zionism," and presumably also pedophilia and necrophilia, though the latter are not mentioned. The Friends Society approves of this program and joins the BDS in their demonstrations in support of the Hamas. It doesn't matter what Zionists really do or what they really think, just as it didn't matter who Paul Robeson was in the bad old days. He had the wrong skin color and that was enough. It didn't matter what George Washington Carver did, he could not be served in the white section of an Alabama cafe. It doesn't matter what Zionist scientists invent, or how many children are saved by Zionist cardiologists who give their time to Save a Child's Heart, or how many people regain their sight thanks to the "international Zionists" of Eye from Zion.They are still Zionists.

It doesn't matter how much aid the Zionists or the "Tel Aviv government" give to disaster victims in Haiti or Turkey or Kosovo, regardless of whether those people support Israel or Zionism. "Zionism" is a dirty word, and Zionists are thought to be in the moral category of Nazis and are in fact compared to Nazis. The very word "Zionism" conjures up the worst associations: racism, colonialism, apartheid, imperialism. A retired SS Obersturmbahnfuhrer may get fairer treatment in the foreign press than an IDF officer. Former Nazi officers are presumed innocent until proven guilty, a courtesy not afforded to Zionist "war criminals" in many publications.

It doesn't matter how many Palestinian Arabs are treated in Israeli hospitals, or how much humanitarian aid Zionists give to Gaza. It makes no difference how many Zionists demonstrate for peace. Zionists are Zionists. They must be boycotted and ostracized. A Zionist, in the popular imagination, is a person with horns and a tail, a religious fanatic who wants to bring about the end of the world (never mind that Zionism is a secular ideology either).

The president of the United States, who has made so many eloquent pleas on behalf of the religion of Islam, would not dare to urge the world to accept Zionists as human beings, to listen to what we have to say as equals. The discrimination is institutionalized and is not confined to Arab countries. Israel is probably the only major country that has never yet had a rotating seat in the UN Security Council. "Everybody knows" that "Zionism is Racism" even if the odious UN resolution on that subject was repealed. The repeal too, is ascribed to a dark Zionist conspiracy. Zionists are held responsible for the terror bombings of 9-11 and the terror attacks in Mumbai, even if Muslim terrorists confessed proudly to perpetrating them.

San Francisco, the home of gay pride and Politically Correct ideas, the supposed bastion of tolerance and multicultural pluralism, is paradoxically probably the worst place in the United States to be a Zionist. Can you imagine a "Zionist Pride" parade in San Francisco?

"Zionism," which should be a source of pride to all its supporters - Jews and non-Jews, has instead been turned into an affliction that no-one dares to speak its name, worse than the "C" word. This has happened because of the work of a small group of dedicated bigots, fanatics and terrorists, who never lose an opportunity to blacken Zionism and Zionists with every calumny. They have managed to make their bigotry and hate respectable and accepted, because you and I let them do it.

Don't you think it is time to end the witch hunt against Zionists? I am proud to be a Zionist. I am proud of the Zionist tradition of construction and renewal, of defense of the rights of the Jewish people, and of Tikkun Olam (social justice) around the world. I am proud of the country that we built from scratch, against tremendous odds, and the new lease on life that we have given to our people. I am proud of the kibbutzim as an ongoing experiment in social justice and democracy. I am proud that Israeli Arabs have more freedom and more protection under the law than Arabs do in any other country in the Middle East. Aren't you? I am proud that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where no members of any religion are treated as dhimmi - second class citizens. I am proud of the fact that Israel is the only country in the world that has more trees today than it did a century ago - a consequence of the "Zionist plot." I am a Proud Zionist. Aren't you?

If you are afraid to stand up for what you believe, you are not free. You can't hide what you are forever. I am not afraid to say I am a Zionist. How about you?

It is time to tell the world, "We are proud to be Zionists. Zionism is not what you think it is. It is not about eating babies and poisoning wells. It is a progressive national movement like any other. and it has done wonderful things!"

Please help us end the persecution of Zionism. Zionists have to come out of the closet. If we don't stand up for what we believe, nobody else will. Read the Israel Advocacy Handbook to learn the Zionist side of the story. Spread the word for "Zionist Pride." Join the Facebook Zionism Cause ( ) and invite others - help us explain to people what Zionism is really about.

As for the rest of you, you may disagree. After listening respectfully, you may believe that Jews are not entitled to a homeland of our own- that it is too much of an inconvenience to the world, or that it causes too much strife. We cannot force you to support us.
If you disagree, blame us only for what is really our fault and what we really believe - in the right to self-determination of the Jewish people. Don't make us out to be racists or imperialists or colonialists, body snatchers or baby eaters or initiators of wars in Iraq. Don't lock us out of the room and out of legitimate public discourse. We ask only that you grant us the same rights and the same hearing, the same legitimacy and respect that you grant so willingly to advocates of flat earth theory, Jihadism, Maoism and any other group or political movement that you may or may not support.
Ami Isseroff

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Palestinians: No rights for Israel in East Jerusalem

This is the Palestinian position:

There will be no peace whatsoever unless East Jerusalem – with every single stone in it – becomes the capital of Palestine.

Yasser Arafat said to Clinton defiantly: "I will not be a traitor. Someone will come to liberate it after 10, 50, or 100 years. Jerusalem will be nothing but the capital of the Palestinian state, and there is nothing underneath or above the Haram Al-Sharif except for Allah." That is why Yasser Arafat was besieged, and that is why he was killed unjustly.

In November 2008… Let me finish… Olmert, who talked today about his proposal to Abu Mazen, offered the 1967 borders, but said: "We will take 6.5% of the West Bank, and give in return 5.8% from the 1948 lands, and the 0.7% will constitute the safe passage, and East Jerusalem will be the capital, but there is a problem with the Haram and with what they called the Holy Basin." Abu Mazen too answered with defiance, saying: "I am not in a marketplace or a bazaar. I came to demarcate the borders of Palestine – the June 4, 1967 borders – without detracting a single inch, and without detracting a single stone from Jerusalem, or from the holy Christian and Muslim places. This is why the Palestinian negotiators did not sign

This claim made below is false:

East Jerusalem is an occupied area, just like Khan Yunis, Jericho, and Nablus were. Its status in international law will never be anything else. Therefore, any arrangements regarding East Jerusalem are categorically unacceptable.

The truth is that under international law, according to UN Security Council resolution 252 of 1968, passed following the Six Day War, and reaffirming several previous resolutions, Jerusalem does not have the same status as the rest of the "West Bank" at all. Jerusalem is a corpus separatum that was to have been an internationalized area. It was occupied illegally by Jordan. It is a myth that East Jerusalem is "Arab East Jerusalem." Jews lived in the Old City of Jerusalem for hundreds of years until they were ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem in 1948. According to international law, there is no reason to favor Arab sovereignty in East Jerusalem over Israeli sovereignty.

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat: Abu Mazen Rejected the Israeli Proposal in Annapolis Like Arafat Rejected the Camp David 2000 Proposal

Following are excerpts from a TV debate with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on March 27, 2009.

Saeb Erekat: I am sitting in Jericho, in the house where I was born, four kilometers from the Jordan River, and there are Israeli flags from the Jordan River all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, we are living under Israeli occupation. But let me say that Jerusalem has not been – and will not be – lost. 300,000 Palestinian citizens live in Jerusalem.


Jerusalem has not gone anywhere. Jerusalem is here to stay – in the same place throughout the ages. The important thing is for us to return and to liberate Jerusalem.


It is true that the negotiations continued for many years, but don't you know that President Yasser Arafat was besieged in Camp David and was killed unjustly, only because he adhered to Jerusalem, and because he refused to let the Israeli measures on the ground give rise to any [Israeli] right or any [Palestinian] obligation? The Palestinian negotiators could have given in in 1994, 1998, or 2000, and too months ago, brother Abu Mazen could have accepted a proposal that talked about Jerusalem and almost 100% of the West Bank, but it is not our goal to score points against one another here. Our strategic goal, when we strive for peace, is not to do so at any price. We strive for peace on the basis of an Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 borders, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip geographically connected.


There will be no peace whatsoever unless East Jerusalem – with every single stone in it – becomes the capital of Palestine.


In my family, we are seven siblings. My six brothers and sisters are in the diaspora. But this does not deny them the right to inherit this land. Ten million Palestinians own Palestine, just like I do. Our survival and steadfastness on this land, our wresting of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital – this is what we can achieve in our generation.


Let me recount two historical events, even if I am revealing a secret. On July 23, 200, in his meeting with President Arafat in Camp David, President Clinton said: "You will be the first president of a Palestinian state, within the 1967 borders – give or take, considering the land swap – and East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state, but we want you, as a religious man, to acknowledge that the Temple of Solomon is located underneath the Haram Al-Sharif." Yasser Arafat said to Clinton defiantly: "I will not be a traitor. Someone will come to liberate it after 10, 50, or 100 years. Jerusalem will be nothing but the capital of the Palestinian state, and there is nothing underneath or above the Haram Al-Sharif except for Allah." That is why Yasser Arafat was besieged, and that is why he was killed unjustly.

In November 2008… Let me finish… Olmert, who talked today about his proposal to Abu Mazen, offered the 1967 borders, but said: "We will take 6.5% of the West Bank, and give in return 5.8% from the 1948 lands, and the 0.7% will constitute the safe passage, and East Jerusalem will be the capital, but there is a problem with the Haram and with what they called the Holy Basin." Abu Mazen too answered with defiance, saying: "I am not in a marketplace or a bazaar. I came to demarcate the borders of Palestine – the June 4, 1967 borders – without detracting a single inch, and without detracting a single stone from Jerusalem, or from the holy Christian and Muslim places. This is why the Palestinian negotiators did not sign…

TV host: Okay…

Saeb Erekat: This is the Palestinian position.

TV host: But let's return to Camp David. When you were in the meetings with Shlomo Ben-Ami… After two weeks of meetings between Barak, Arafat, and Clinton, which led to nothing, there was a meeting in which you proposed that there be [Palestinian] sovereignty, with arrangements in the Old City, including the Haram Al-Sharif. In other words, you proposed Palestinian sovereignty, with Israel playing a role in the administrative aspects. In other words, Israel would participate in the administration of the Haram area – unlike the "reduced sovereignty" demanded by Shlomo Ben-Ami at that meeting. In other words, you wanted to let [Israel] play a role, one way or another, with regard to the so-called Holy Basin.

Saeb Erekat: They will never have this. Like President Abu Mazen said in front of President Bush and PM Olmert: I am not in a marketplace or a bazaar. East Jerusalem is an occupied area, just like Khan Yunis, Jericho, and Nablus were. Its status in international law will never be anything else. Therefore, any arrangements regarding East Jerusalem are categorically unacceptable.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

'Durban II' draft resolution drops Israel criticism

If this is factual, it is good news. The question remains, whether the meeting itself will be turned into a circus.
Draft for 'Durban II' meeting drops Israel criticism
Mar. 17, 2009
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST
Muslim-backed references to 'defamation of religion' and Israel have been dropped from a draft being prepared for next month's world racism meeting, United Nations officials said on Tuesday.
The draft now speaks only of concern about the "negative stereotyping of religions" and does not single out Israel for criticism.
Muslim countries had demanded free speech be limited to prevent criticism of Islam and other faiths. They also wanted to take Israel to task for its treatment of Palestinians.
Israel and Canada have said that they will boycott the April 20-25 meeting in Geneva. The United States and Italy said that they would not attend unless countries committed to a balanced declaration. The European Union warned it may stay away unless Muslim countries back down.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hamas confiscates Gaza aid - UN Protests

Who is depriving Gaza Palestinians of aid?
Press Release
East Jerusalem                            04 Feb 2009



At 1430 on 3 February over 3,500 blankets and 406 food parcels were confiscated from a distribution store at Beach Camp in Gaza by police personnel. This took place after UNRWA staff had earlier refused to hand over the aid supplies to the Hamas-run Ministry of Social Affairs. The police subsequently broke into the warehouse and seized the aid by force. The aid was due to be distributed to five hundred families in the area.

UNRWA condemns in the strongest terms the confiscation of its aid supplies and has demanded that it is returned immediately. UNRWA has a strict system of monitoring aid delivery and ensuring that its assistance reaches only the intended beneficiaries. Our officials were on the ground overseeing the delivery of our aid and taking all possible steps to avoid its diversion.

For more information please contact:
Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-240-2659
Office: +972-(0)2-589-0267
Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-216-8295
Office: +972 (0)2-589-0724


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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lethal Politics: Anti-Semitism as Human Rights -- Anne BAYEFSKY (July 2008)

Lethal Politics: Anti-Semitism as Human Rights

ADC Gandel Oration -- Melbourne and Sydney, Australia
July 6 and 8, 2008


Human rights have become a weapon. A potent force for denunciation and defeat – not in the hands of the abused, but in the hands of the abusers. Those powerful few who know little - and want even less - of freedom or equality.

In little over half a century since the horrors that nearly vanquished an entire people, humankind has come almost full circle. The victims of the Nazis – and the Jewish homeland which is their refuge and their strength – are cast as the neo-Nazis of the 21st century. Human rights are now human wrongs.

The saga of the hijacking and corruption of universal rights and freedoms is one of profound betrayal. It is a betrayal of the victims of the Holocaust, the United Nations – the promised international beacon that rose from their ashes, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights envisioned by Eleanor Roosevelt and René Cassin as the gold standard for never again.

This plight is not a result of a sole cataclysmic event but the consequence of individual abominations, gone unnoticed or unchallenged. Ironically, the setting for this treachery has been the UN itself. An individual resolution of the UN General Assembly, a report of a UN special investigator, a decision of the UN Human Rights Commission – year after year after year. International norms are said to be nurtured through a constructive process in which the accumulation of state practice crystallizes beliefs that mirror the collective wisdom of nations. What has emerged instead – powered by a global, 20 billion-a-year megaphone – is the collective depravity of an immoral majority.


This story begins with discrimination against the Jewish state. Discrimination is the building block of hate and the UN has already erected a fortress.

Since the late 1940's until it was abolished in 2006, the lead UN human rights body was the Human Rights Commission. Over its lifetime it passed more resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on earth. It adopted nothing, ever, on serial abusers such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, or Zimbabwe.

In 2006 the Commission was replaced by the Human Rights Council. In its short life the Council has directed almost 60% of its decisions condemning specific states at Israel alone. And nothing at all on 187 of the UN's other 191 members.

The Council has had eight regular sessions which cover human rights in all countries – and four special sessions devoted only to human rights violations by Israel.

The Council – as the Commission before it – has a limited agenda of less than a dozen subjects. One is reserved only for condemning Israel. And one is called "human rights issues of concern" for all other countries.

The Commission and the Council have created only one UN human rights investigator with a job description which has no term limit – the investigator on Israel. The few other country investigators must be renewed frequently – or not. In the past 15 months, the Council has refused to renew or continue investigations on four states with some of the worst records on the planet – Belarus, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran and Uzbekistan.

The mandate of the Council investigator on Israel denies any possibility of finding human rights violations by any actor in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but Israel. Its only purpose is "to investigate Israel's violations of the principles and bases of international law."

The UN has only one standing human rights committee which has no generic theme, like civil and political rights or children's rights. The UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights is now in its 40th year of operation.

In 1975 the UN created a committee to implement its notorious Zionism is racism resolution. The resolution was rescinded in 1991. But the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People continues to sponsor events worldwide and year round.

There is only one whole UN secretariat Division devoted to a single group of people – the UN Division for Palestinian Rights. Created in 1977 it has a full-time staff of 16, while the number of UN staff for the entire Asia and Pacific Division is 22.

There is one refugee agency for Palestinian refugees. And one refugee agency assisting 26 million in the rest of the world.

The UN General Assembly has six subsidiary bodies which focus only on Palestinians. And none focusing on any other people anywhere.

There is only one UN online service dedicated to the claims of a single people – the enormous United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine. It transmits reports, resolutions, speeches, publications and press releases on a daily basis around the world.

Member states of the UN are divided into five regional groups – key vehicles for negotiating resolutions, obtaining important positions, and sharing information. Only one UN member is not permitted to become a full member of any regional group – Israel.

There have been ten emergency sessions of the UN General Assembly in its history – six have been about Israel – and the last and tenth one is effectively in permanent session having been "reconvened" fifteen times since 1987. A million dead in Rwanda and two million dead over two decades in Sudan never prompted one emergency session.

In 2007 the UN General Assembly – as is routine – adopted 20 resolutions condemning Israel for human rights violations, while adopting just a single resolution each on only six other countries. And nothing, for instance, on the egregious violation of the most basic civil and political rights of more than a billion Chinese.

The only condemnation of a country-specific violation of women's rights anywhere made by the Commission on the Status of Women is its annual resolution on Palestinian women. Nothing, for example, directed at Iran despite its practice of burying women naked to the waist and stoning them to death for alleged adultery.

Taken together, the country subject to more human rights criticism across the UN system every year is Israel. Last year, it was condemned twice as often as Sudan – where millions are displaced, hundreds of thousands are dead in Darfur, and unfettered genocide and rape are the daily norm.

The meetings are webcast – the documents are translated into six languages – and the reports are accessible globally via the internet for free.

In UN circles, it is called protecting human rights. In reality, it is discrimination – antisemitism – in which the Jewish state is subjected to different treatment and held to different standards than all other nations. Given its reach and impact, the UN is therefore the largest global purveyor of antisemitism in the world today.


Israel emerges from this so-called human rights campaign demonized – a country engaged in heinous acts with the worst of intentions.

June 20th, 2008 at UN Headquarters in New York. The occasion is a day-long event entitled "Special meeting to mark sixty years of dispossession of Palestine refugees." A film – shown also at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris a few weeks earlier – is screened before a public audience in the main Economic and Social Council Chamber.

Produced by a Palestinian, the film was designed to draw parallels between the Nazis final solution and the Zionists design for Palestinians. It is commonly billed with these words: "…the late-19th century Zionists…drew up plans, put them into practice, then…used… force, often brutal."

Here is some of the script:

"Christians and Muslims alike…unite in their hatred of Zionism…I preferred to die as a martyr rather than be governed by the Jews …We were against the Jews…The number of Jews increased constantly…The children cried …The Hagana had no mercy, no pity. Zionists! They were Zionists!… The Jews were shooting at us, they were facing us…The Jews yelled "turn around you bastards, you dogs." They machine gunned us…They started killing people who were asleep…[We]…found a poor woman…pregnant. They had killed her and the baby came out of the womb. They started slaughtering them until morning."

This is how the UN marked the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel. This is antisemitism as human rights.

Perhaps the most virulent "human rights" theme which emerges repeatedly is the allegation of Jewish racism. In a February 2007 report UN special investigator on Israel John Dugard wrote:

"The IDF inflicts serious bodily and mental harm on Palestinians…Palestinians throughout the OPT are denied freedom of movement. Can it seriously be denied that the purpose of such action is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them?"

UN reports analogize Israel to apartheid South Africa. The UN's 2001 Durban Racism Conference produced a Declaration claiming Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism. Durban II – the next so-called "anti-racism" conference scheduled for 2009 is devoted to implementing that Declaration, and is therefore certain to include Israeli racism on its agenda.

Nobody cares that one-fifth of Israel's population is Arab with more democratic rights than in any Arab state. No one wants to hear that Arab states have essentially been rendered Judenrein following the creation of Israel, 850,000 Jews having been forced to flee. Though UN resolutions denounce Jews living in Arab-claimed territory as "Judaization," nowhere do people denounce "apartheid Palestine."

The Legitimization of Violence

What follows discrimination and demonization is all too familiar. A demonized adversary is a much easier target. In the name of resistance and struggle, Israeli civilians have become fair game.

On June 16, 2008 the UN Human Rights Council discussed the latest human rights report from Dugard on Israeli practices. He said: "a distinction must be drawn between acts of mindless terror…and acts committed in the course of a war of national liberation." The acts perpetrated upon Israeli civilians by Palestinians acting "against occupation" is the second kind of terror, the "inevitable consequence of occupation" and analogous to "the German occupation resisted by European countries in the Second World War." According to this major UN human rights authority figure, therefore, terrorizing Israelis is understandable and inevitable and their murderers are comparable to the liberators of Nazi Germany.

The European Union has a word for "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" – antisemitism.

Antisemitism as human rights

This is not academic exegesis. During the Human Rights Council discussions, Pakistan responded to Dugard's hate-mongering on behalf of the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference or OIC: "We must note the wise counsel of the special [investigator] to make distinction between mindless terror and acts committed in the course of war of national liberation against colonialism, apartheid or military occupation." As recently as four years ago, resolutions of the Human Rights Commission declared "the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples against foreign occupation and for self-determination" – (and incorporated by reference to an earlier General Assembly resolution) "by all available means, including armed struggle."

Denial of the Right of Self-Defense

The human right universe denies the Jewish state the existential entitlement to self-preservation. After all, why should the abuser have a right of self-defense against his victim?

Denying Israel an effective right of self-defense has become a centerpiece of international human rights and humanitarian law. Almost nothing that Israel does against its enemies is legitimate in the eyes of the human rights world. In UN and human rights NGO circles, the carefully targeted killing of combatants is extrajudicial execution. The building of a security fence on disputed territory, with a significant numbers of lives saved, violates international law. Checkpoints and barriers limiting movement among a population infiltrated by enemy combatants in a war zone are humiliating racist insults.

Targeting civilian infrastructure in response to thousands of rockets (which forced one million Israelis into bomb shelters for over three weeks and displaced 300,000) was not a legitimate action with a military objective in the middle of a war, but collective punishment. Incidental civilian casualties caused by Israel, of any number, in any context, whatever the target, are always disproportionate. Incidentally destroying crops in southern Lebanon in the course of responding to Hezbollah rockets violated international humanitarian law. In effect, despite a continuing state of war and the genocidal intent of the enemy combatants, Israel can't hit people, can't hit inanimate objects, can't even hit the ground.

Consider the case of Hamas leaders Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantissi. The governing instrument of the elected representatives of the Palestinian people – the 1988 Hamas Covenant – states: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad." With genocide as a frame of reference, Yassin and Rantissi exhorted their followers to violence, instigated suicide bombings, and in Rantissi's words "freed the hand of the brigades to do whatever they want against the brothers of monkeys and pigs." By the time Israel killed each of them with a missile attack upon their vehicles, there had been at least 425 Hamas attacks killing 377 Israelis and wounding 2,076 in less than three and a half years. Four civilians were killed with Yassin, none with Rantissi.

The UN response? UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned Israel's actions as "assassinations" and illegal "extrajudicial killings" – a charge which is potent – and totally false. Yassin and Rantissi were combatants in a war and not entitled to judicial process before being targeted. They were also unlawful combatants, seeking to make themselves indistinguishable from the civilian population. International Committee of the Red Cross manuals state that civilians who take a direct part in hostilities forfeit their immunity from attack. In addition to the fact that Yassin and Rantisi were not entitled to judicial process, such a process was not an option for Israel without risking many more Israeli and Palestinian lives. The real legal limit in targeting combatants, according to the Geneva Conventions, is the rule of proportionality – the "incidental loss of civilian life" must not be "excessive." This test was satisfied in the case of Israel's actions, civilian casualties having been kept to a minimum. And yet in today's world of human rights, killing antisemitic leaders at the apex of their genocidal campaign, which had successfully terrorized 5.5 million people, was a violation of the human rights of the homicidal antisemites.

There is another sense in which the Geneva Conventions are misread only when applied to Israel. The freedom of movement and associated rights of Palestinians are limited, but the question is: by whom? If an armed robber takes a hostage and in the course of the crime the hostage is killed by police, the law states that the death of the hostage has been caused by the robber, not the police. For if there had been no armed robbery, the hostage would not have been harmed. If there were no terrorism, there would be no need for barriers and checkpoints. The Palestinian civilian population is hostage to the terrorists and killers among them. Israel's actions, like those of the police officer, are taken in fulfillment of its legal responsibilities to protect its citizens from violent and illegal behavior. And the Geneva Conventions specifically refuses to grant immunity to terrorists or military targets using civilians as human shields.

This is the law of self-defense – except in the case of Israel. In 2004 the UN's International Court of Justice decided that Israel's security fence violated international law by a series of contortions written for a party of one. They held that there is no right of self-defense under the U.N. Charter when terrorists are not state actors, when they operate across disputed borders, and when the measures are not forcible such as the building of a wall. The Egyptian judge even affirmed a "right of resistance" on the grounds that "violence breeds violence." In short, the Court emasculated Israel's right of self-defense, notwithstanding that the U.N. Charter was not intended to be a suicide pact.

The Absence of Human Rights

The bottom line is that for all practical purposes Israelis don't have human rights.

On June 16, 2008 the Human Rights Council discussed whether the mandate of the special investigator on Israel should be expanded to permit him to consider violations of the human rights of Israelis. The Jordanian Ambassador objected. He explained:

"there is a false impression here of a kind of symmetry that we are dealing with human rights….but we …[ought] not to fall into this symmetry… of… equating the victim and the victimizer or the oppressed and the oppressors…[or] the root causes and … the symptoms. The violation of human rights by Palestinian groups…is used as a pretext… or to confuse the issue…"

The newly appointed UN investigator Richard Falk is a man who has accused Israel of "genocidal tendencies," "associate[s] the treatment of Palestinians with th[e]…criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity" and is unconvinced that the events of 9/11 were not a Bush Administration plot. Falk therefore reassured the Jordanian Ambassador:

"…we are dealing with the suffering of the Palestinian people and secondarily of the victimizing of…Israelis..."

The absence of symmetry (the notion that Israelis have human rights too) is found across the human rights world.

Through suicide-bombing, kidnapping, rocket attacks, murder, and butchery of all kinds, Palestinian and other terrorists touch the lives of Israelis while praying, studying, working, shopping, eating, driving, sleeping – living. If the human rights of Israeli Jews were part of the equation, the list of rights violated by terrorism and war would be a long one:

* the right to life,
* the right not to be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment,
* the right to equality and freedom from persecution, ??security of the person,
* the right to health and well-being,
* the right to safe working conditions,
* the right to work,
* freedom from incitement to violence or war,
* freedom of religion,
* the right to the protection of the family,
* the right to the protection of the child,
* the right to education,
* freedom of movement,
* freedom of association,
* the right to an adequate standard of living, and
* the right to self-determination.

Add to this list: genocide – the commission of "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group," ethnic cleansing – the effort to "render…an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area" and the suicide-bomber's crime against humanity.

And yet, in judging the legality of Israel's security fence the World Court never attempted to balance these individual rights of Israelis against the list produced of Palestinian rights. Their trick – no doubt a common one – was to place a lengthy list of Palestinian rights on one side and Israeli "military exigencies," "national security" and "public order" – all faceless beneficiaries – on the other. Having weighted one half of the scale, the human rights weapon of the 21st century becomes a monstrous swindle.

Over and over again, the human rights of Israeli Jews seem to vanish. UN headquarters hosted an exhibit last November with a contribution depicting Israel's security barrier adorned with flowers and accompanied by the words "the flowers climb and hide its ugliness." The aesthetics of Jewish men, women and children blown apart in the absence of a barrier was nowhere to be found.

The Human Rights Council recently commissioned a report on the limitations placed on Palestinian access to religious sites in the territories, but refused to permit consideration of Israeli access to Jewish holy sites in the same places.

On every November 29th, the anniversary of the day on which the General Assembly voted to adopt the partition of the British Palestine Mandate and celebrated in 1947 by Holocaust survivors everywhere, the UN holds an Annual Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Secretary-General Annan called it "a day of mourning and a day of grief." Just two flags are flown inside UN headquarters in commemoration – the flag of the United Nations and the Palestinian flag.

Denying Antisemitism

Rights which do not exist cannot be violated. So it is, that in its entire history the United Nations General Assembly has never adopted a resolution dedicated to condemning antisemitism or called for the production of a report dedicated to antisemitism in contrast to special reports on discrimination against "Muslim and Arab peoples" and "Islamophobia." On the contrary, in human rights circles the definition of antisemitism is hotly disputed.

The reasons are not subtle. Jew-haters have a vested interest in denying Jewhatred.

On April 22, 2008 the Algerian ambassador told the Durban II preparatory committee: "antisemitism…targets…Arabs who are also Semites, and by extension, the whole Muslim community." Pakistan said "Islamophobia is also a crude form of antisemitism."

After all, if the phenomenon can be appropriated, Jewish victimhood will disappear.

But Muslim states are not the only ones feigning confusion about antisemitism. Human rights authorities are nervous about addressing antisemitism primarily because they want to avoid any connection with Zionism and those troublesome human rights of Israelis.

Driving a wedge between Jews and Israel is now a prime activity for antisemites and their human rights cohorts. 'Some of my best friends are Jews. It's just Jewish self-determination I have a problem with.'

Ironically, the current method of avoiding a connection between demonizing Israelis and antisemitism, is to focus on the Holocaust. The general idea is to manifest concern – half a century too late – for Jews that died 60 years ago and then to deny the antisemitism of murdering Jews in a Jewish state today.

When the European Union refused to support a General Assembly resolution on antisemitism (on the alleged grounds that it wouldn't garner consensus), Israel pushed for a Holocaust resolution. It was adopted in November 2005, minus the word "antisemitism," though it did mention the Jewish people along with "countless members of other minorities."

Since January 2006 there has been a Holocaust Remembrance Day at the UN on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Setting aside the constant struggle to ensure that the Day and related activities commemorate the uniqueness of the war against the Jews – the real battleground is over disassociating Israel from the lessons of the Holocaust.

Today, there is a permanent display on the Holocaust at UN Headquarters which contains a timeline from 1933, and Hitler's ascendancy to power, to May 2007 and the appointment of a UN Special Representative for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities. Nowhere is the creation of the state of Israel mentioned in either the timeline or the exhibit – as if the birth and well-being of Israel is not the central remedial lesson of the Holocaust.

The Destruction of the Jewish State

Rendering asunder Jews and Israel brings this human rights playbook to its inexorable conclusion – the call for the destruction of the Jewish state in the name of human rights.

The argument for demolition is twofold. First, the Jewish state is corrupt. In the words of an invited expert to a public meeting at the UN in New York just two weeks ago:

"Israel demands that the international community recognize Israel as a Jewish state…The implications are…that Palestinian citizens of Israel will never enjoy equal rights because they're not Jews…The imperative of Zionism…is to create a land without a people and replace it with the Jewish people…[We must] recognize the untenable nature of the system of dispossession and discrimination that Zionism has introduced…The days of a Zionist Israel are numbered."

This wasn't just the "expert's" view. The Chairman of the UN Committee hosting the event, the Ambassador of Senegal, thanked the speaker for her "captivating statement" and "valuable knowledge." The end of Israel is allegedly a corrective necessity of the state's inherently corrupt raison d'être.

Second, Israel has a corrupting influence on others. The 2008 annual report of Amnesty International, states:

"The international human rights system has been slow to develop in the Middle East and North Africa…[where] the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' references to non-discrimination…jar…with legal and customary systems…Such concerns, however, might have been overcome were it not for…the creation of the state of Israel and the resulting dispossession of the Palestinian population. The building of a Jewish state in the midst of the Arab Muslim world had a cataclysmic effect, setting off effectively a continuing state of war between Israel and its Arab neighbours."

In other words, the presence of a comparatively tiny number of Jews with control over their own destiny is responsible for the failure of the vast Middle East and North African nations to end their egregious treatments of their own peoples.

This game is obviously impossible for Israelis to win. The mere existence of a Jewish state is the real problem. This is antisemitism masquerading as human rights.

What follows this alleged corruption is a cacophony of players who are provided a UN platform to clamor for the political and economic strangulation of Israel through boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.

Never mind that the real corruption is that of the UN Charter itself – whose very essence is defiled by mounting the destruction of a member state under UN auspices.

Changing the Status Quo

At every step in this story, from discrimination to the clamor for the destruction of the state of Israel, it would have been possible for decent people, non-governmental organizations and democratic states to refuse to turn the page. Instead, a series of fallacies have stood in the way of the necessary confrontation with the human rights gamers.

Fallacy #1: Israel deserves the attention and the criticism, even if other states are wrongly ignored. The discrimination and double-standards are unfortunate but not fatal.

The Response: At the end of March 2007 British soldier and kidnap victim Faye Turney was in Iran - stripped to her underwear, caged in a tiny, freezing cell and led to believe her death was imminent. At exactly the same time, the UN's lead human rights agency – the Human Rights Council – made two moves. It adopted yet another resolution calling for "the dispatching of…urgent fact-finding missions" to Israel. And its President made the following statement: "the Human Rights Council has in closed meetings examined the human rights situation in…Iran…[and] decided to discontinue the consideration of the human rights situation in…Iran…Members of the…Council should make no reference in the public debate to the confidential decisions and material concerning" Iran.

The inequality of Jews cannot be quarantined. It perverts priorities and purposes.

Fairness, equality and human dignity cannot be built on the inequality of the few.

According to the UN Charter, international peace and security are premised on the equality of all nations large and small, while human dignity is inseparable from the equality of all men and women. Equality is an end in itself. The discrimination and demonization of the Jewish state and the Jewish people is not just an extraneous flaw. It subverts the very foundation of the human rights movement.

Fallacy #2: Israel does not deserve the discrimination and the nature and extent of the condemnation, but poor treatment of Israel is a price worth paying for progress on other fronts.

The Response: The Global Advocacy Director for the NGO Human Rights Watch, Peggy Hicks, and I had an online debate sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations after the first two sessions of the Human Rights Council. Hicks wrote (in July 2006 and the middle of the Lebanon war): "There are legitimate concerns at the Council's handling of the situation in Gaza, and its decision to focus on that crisis to the exclusion of other pressing situations. It would be a mistake, however, to judge the Council on the basis of its actions on the occupied Palestinian territories…" In other words, treating the Jewish state differently than all other countries is a problem only for a small proportion of the world's population. For Jews to denounce the whole just because they are given the short end of the stick would be narrow-minded, callous and parochial.

Human Rights Watch's behavior at the Durban I racism conference took this argument to its logical conclusion. As the representative of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists at Durban, I personally beseeched the representative of Human Rights Watch – to support a vote against the NGO Zionism is Racism declaration. They refused – for the alleged greater good then too.

The same approach was never suggested by human rights organizations to South African blacks and the anti-apartheid movement – for good reason. The road to hell is paved with the cries of the insignificant, the marginal and irrelevant.

Fallacy #3: Jewish complaints are an attempt to protect Israel from any criticism. Jews shout antisemitism to avoid legitimate scrutiny.

The Response: Ken Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch told the Jerusalem Post: "there is a cottage industry of people out there who try to accuse of bias those who criticize Israel's human-rights record not because the criticisms are unwarranted but as a way of simply defending Israel from any criticism." Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said: "…some regard any criticism of Israel as anti-semitic." But "Israel's supporters" should not "use the charge of antisemitism to stifle legitimate discussion." And the Deputy Director of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Craig Mokhiber recently wrote about my criticism of his racist Israel allegations: "I assume that the picque…comes from her ideological conviction that any discussion of Israel's human rights record is simply unacceptable."

Such gibberish is the proverbial straw man. That Israel can do no wrong and deserves no criticism is a fiction never uttered by anyone, anywhere. There is a difference between legitimate criticism and the application of standards applied nowhere else.

Fallacy #4: Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. There is a constant effort to urge the Jewish diaspora to forsake their brethren in favor of the global brotherhood of man.

The Response: The anti-Zionism in human rights circles is not enigmatic. As we have heard: Judaization is a crime; the Jewishness of a Jewish state is wrong; Zionists stole the land by gratuitously slaughtering pregnant women; murderous Israeli soldiers seek to oppress; Jews want racial domination over Palestinians; Israel is engaged in apartheid; and the ultimate slander, Israelis are analogous to Nazis. Martin Luther King recognized hate when he heard it, and stated in a now famous 1968 appearance at Harvard: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism."

Zionism, or Jewish statehood, is the realization of the self-determination of the Jewish people. In their historical homeland. Continually inhabited, in fewer and greater numbers due to circumstances beyond their control. For thousands of years. In today's human rights universe, however, Jewish statehood and self-determination is an inherent evil destined to oppress and harm the well-being of those amongst them, and debilitating to the advancement of the people of other nations. That Jews are a people incapable of self-government compatible with democratic rights and freedoms – the only people on earth suffering from this inescapable affliction – is a lie. It is also antisemitism.

Fallacy #5: The outcomes of UN human rights mechanisms may not be to our liking, but that is international democracy at work. It is not for the West to dictate right answers to the rest of the globe.

The Response: In the course of his failed reform efforts, Secretary-General Kofi Annan complained: "we all have to admit that the [security] council can be more democratic and more representative…There is a democracy deficit in the UN governance that has to be corrected." What he didn't advocate by way of reform was that Council members actually be democratic. On the contrary, what democracy means at the UN is idealizing the General Assembly, where less than half of the 192 members are fully free democracies. The Chinese explained such bogus global democracy in a 2005 paper this way: "the General Assembly is an important body of democratic decision-making" and the "UN [must] observe the following principles…non-interference in internal affairs." In other words, tyranny is as likely to emerge from the UN majority as right answers.

What has in fact surfaced, from the majority of countries who have in common a desire to avoid external scrutiny, is an aversion to universal rights. Self-styled global "democrats" flaunt instead, moral, cultural and religious particularities. The practical implications of such priorities are exemplified by Saudi Arabia, a current member of the UN Human Rights Council. The Saudi Vice-Minister for Human Rights told the Council in March "…human rights principles ensured the respect for peoples identities, peoples who refused to be dictated and who held on to their special cultures." Saudi human rights reports therefore say: "Lawmaking in an Islamic state proceeds from the Islamic Shariah...Islam holds that full likeness between men and women is contrary to the reality of their being..." Accordingly, last year a Saudi court sentenced a 19-year old woman to prison and 200 lashes after she had been gang-raped, for the crime of having been found by the rapists in a car with a male friend who was not her relative. This is "cultural particularities" at work.

On June 16th at the Human Rights Council an NGO pointed to practices in Islamic states, such as honor killings, marriage of very young girls, and the stoning of women, and urged Islamic religious authorities to play a leadership role in ending these practices.

Representatives of Islamic states – Egypt, Iran, Pakistan – immediately objected to the statement as an "attempt to link bad practices" to Islam. The President then ruled that henceforth any "evaluation of a religious creed, law or document" would never be permitted at the Council.

Global democracy in action is the tyranny of non-democracies.

Fallacy #6: Western democracies – including Israel – are the real enemies of human rights.

The Response: The foes of human rights know that the best defense is a good offence – so rather than addressing those who violate human rights in the name of Islam, they allege the real problem is the bigotry of non-Muslims. They are not talking about isolated and certainly wrong incidents of xenophobia – they speak of a deliberate global Western-inspired plot against the whole of Islam. They call it Islamophobia. As Egypt told the Human Rights Council last September, with regards to the Danish cartoons affair:

"…the offensive publication of portraits of the Prophet Mohamed…lead to, not only hurting the religious feelings of more than a billion people, but also their freedom of religion and their right to respect of their religion."

The freedom of religion of a billion people has been gravely harmed by a few cartoons in a remote newspaper? These kinds of remarks – now daily fodder in the human rights world – are nothing short of lethal demagoguery.

The human rights offensive reaches a high-water mark when it comes to Israel. Pakistan articulated the mindset before the Human Rights Council on June 16th:

"Israel's forcible occupation is the root cause of all human rights issues in the Palestinian territories."

Not the terrorists who deliberately operate in the midst of a civilian population, using their family and friends as human shields. Not the bigots who feed their children – in schools, on television, in textbooks – the daily bread of intolerance and hate for their neighbors. Not the Arab nations that have cynically kept Palestinians as refugees for three generations instead of offering them citizenship and its benefits. Not the war launched by Arab states that rejected the UN partition plan and the creation of Israel in 1948. And not all the wars and attempts at annihilation that rejectionist forces have launched ever since.

But then one might expect the killers to blame their victims for their own demise.

Fallacy #7: The glass is half full and not half empty. There is progress in the human rights world. Look how far we've come since the Nuremberg Tribunals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was first adopted.

The Response: How far indeed. Genocide in Rwanda and Sudan without intervention. Millions of women suffering genital mutilation. Billions without elementary democratic freedoms. And Jews without human rights.

The Nuremberg Tribunals taught us crimes are not committed by abstract entities, but today just naming and shaming abusers is widely criticized as uncooperative and counter-productive.

The stranglehold of cultural relativism ensures that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights could never be adopted today.

Fallacy #8: The UN is a harmless talking shop. At worst it is a place to blow off steam. Dialogue is always good.

The Response: Iranian President Ahmadinejad would agree. In the late 1990's Iran initiated the idea of a "Dialogue among Civilizations." Naturally, Iranian authorities consider their own regime – in which stoning, public hanging, and cross-amputation of feet and hands are legally-sanctioned punishments – as one of those civilizations.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour experienced the idea of a cost-free dialogue with Iran first-hand. Last September she visited Tehran to attend a "Human Rights and Cultural Diversity" conference. She sat in the front row for Ahmadinejad's speech, during which he said:

"…it is a right for the most righteous to be considered as the best humans….[S]ome powers…think of nothing but destroying the traditions and customs of different nations in the world in order to keep them under their illegal sway…The…story of Palestinians has been going on for the last 60 years. The usurper Zionist regime has continued to exist through murder…[B]y the grace of God Almighty…the nuclear issue is closed…[T]he Non-Aligned Movement's struggle against…racism, Zionism…has to be praised and lauded."

The day after she listened attentively and held dialogues with his officials, the regime executed 21 people, stringing up the bodies on cranes in public places. Arbour had lent an enemy of human rights credibility and thereby encouraged his pathological behavior, rather than inhibited it. In other words, talk isn't cheap at all.

Moreover, many international actors evidently cannot talk and walk at the same time. It has been over five years since the International Atomic Energy Agency first reported that Tehran had failed to comply with its obligations under the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty. Since that time there have been a few baby steps by the Security Council, while the jawing continues between European Union representatives and Iran.

In the meantime, the genocidal plans of Ahmadinejad loom ever larger. A civilized dialogue with an anti-civilization regime has brought us closer to a military confrontation, not farther away – as the military option fast becomes the only means to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Fallacy #9: And last, but not least: The corruption of the human rights world may leave Israel the worse off, but the rest of us have been spared.

The Response: The lessons of the Holocaust have in fact never been learnt. The fate of Israel does, and will, affect all freedom-loving people.

When the World Court found the UN Charter's self-defense provisions did not apply to non-state actors, the ability of every democratic society to combat terrorism was diminished.

In 2007 the UN human rights regime put Israel at the top of its list of offenders, but the United States was fourth – tied with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Australia was 20th, criticized more frequently for human rights violations than Syria at 21 and Libya and Zimbabwe at 22.

Because the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference believe blowing up Israelis and Americans in the name of self-determination is not terrorism, they have successfully blocked the adoption of a comprehensive convention against terrorism and prevented the UN's lead counter terrorism agency – the Counter-Terrorism Committee – to this day from naming a single terrorist, terrorist organization, or state sponsor of terrorism.

When the centerpiece of the UN's anti-racism agenda – the Durban conference – was hijacked to promote a Zionism-is-racism campaign, the credibility of all anti-racism efforts at the UN suffered. Durban II will not only be bad for Jews; it will be an attack on freedom of expression, period.

Pakistan declared this past April at the Durban preparatory conference: "the most serious manifestation of racism is the democratic legitimization of racism and xenophobia." The inversion of human rights has come full circle, having manufactured not only the Israeli Nazi but also the democratic fascist.

UN investigator Dugard made the Orwellian nature of the human rights world particularly plain when he said in a 2007 report:

"For years the occupation of Palestine and apartheid in South Africa vied for attention…In 1994 apartheid came to an end…the OPT has become a test for the West, a test by which its commitment to human rights is to be judged. If the West fails this test, it can hardly expect the developing world to address human rights violations seriously in its own countries…"

In other words, why should Sudan stop genocide? Why should Zimbabwe stop murdering its own people? Why should China grant anybody freedom of speech? According to the human rights intelligensia, unless and until the Jewish state is rendered defenseless or defeated, the protection of the human rights of the 6 billion people in the developing world is on hold.

Israel – as Jewish scapegoats have been over the centuries – is the ultimate diversionary tactic.


Antisemitism has become the bread and butter of the human rights movement – as much to the detriment of the movement as to Jews. The enemies of human rights have taken control of the global mechanisms created to oppose them. The global institution intended to lead and inspire has been morally neutered. And solutions for vast numbers of victims of human rights abuse are in abeyance until a Jewish state disappears.

Jews, however, cannot change the ending of this saga alone. Democracies must be convinced to reject moral relativism; name, shame, and sanction the real villains; deny global platforms to the opponents of equality and dignity; use the label antisemitism every time it fits; and stand with Israel against the antisemitism that masquerades as human rights.

Human rights are the most powerful ideological currency of our time. Unless the free people of this earth take back the nomenclature, the institutions and the implementation tools of human rights, I fear we will witness the destruction of Israel, if not by lethal force, then by lethal politics.


* Ann BAYEFSKY is Director, Touro Center for Human; Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; Professor, York University. Rights and the Holocaust.
* ADC is the Anti-Defamation Commission of B'nai B'rith in Australia.

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