* The President of the UN General Assembly says Israel “crucified” Palestinians
* For the first time, Hamas admits using Google Earth to help identify Israeli targets for attack
(This dispatch is mainly about the United Nations)
1. Hamas posts documentary showing use of Google Earth to prepare attack
2. Hizbullah leaders refuse to meet Carter in Lebanon
3. Israel changes flight paths because of Kassams, threat of anti-aircraft missiles
4. Egyptian MP: We won’t let Hamas form an Islamic emirate in Gaza
5. Hamas frees three reporters in Gaza
6. UN General Assembly chief tries to block Israeli envoy’s address
7. Israel “crucified” Palestinians, says UN President Brockmann
8. UN silent on persecution of black Africans and hanging of gay Iranians
9. The UN invites Libya, Cuba and Iran to lecture Israel
10. “The UN’s racist conference on racism” (By Claudia Rosett, Forbes, Dec. 4, 2008)
11. “Fighting racism, UN-style” (Wall Street Journal Editorial, Dec. 3, 2008)
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
HAMAS POSTS DOCUMENTARY SHOWING USE OF GOOGLE EARTH TO PREPARE ATTACK
The website of the Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s so-called “military wing,” today posted a 28-minute Arabic-language documentary entitled “The Field of Death,” on a Hamas “military operation” (i.e. targeting Israeli civilians) that took place in April near the Israeli border.
The film includes interviews with field commanders who took part in the operation. The Hamas military activists are seen using Google Earth to study the area of the operation.
HIZBULLAH LEADERS REFUSE TO MEET CARTER IN LEBANON
Even the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah, it seems, believe they have standards to uphold.
Officials from Hizbullah refused to meet with former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who was in Lebanon yesterday, Carter’s spokesman Rick Jafculca said.
Carter requested the meeting with the Iranian-orchestrated Hizbullah (which means “Party of Allah”) on Wednesday, when he arrived in Lebanon.
Hizbullah is recognized as a terrorist group by several countries, including the United States.
After Carter wound up his visit to Lebanon, he moved on to neighboring Syria, where he was warmly greeted by the dictator Bashar Assad. Carter was also scheduled to meet with leaders of the Palestinian terror group Hamas in Damascus.
Carter is widely regarded as the worst U.S. president of modern times. His disastrous policies in Iran helped usher in the 1979 revolution and the growth of Islamic fundamentalism (first of the Shia variety and then the counter-reaction by Sunni extremists) with which the world has had to live until today.
Carter is due to bring out a new book attacking Israel next year. His previous book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” became a bestseller the world over. Fourteen members of the Carter Center advisory group resigned from the center when it was published, objecting to the denigration of Israel in it, and saying it did not represent “the Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support.” The fourteen members are not conservatives, but had been liberal allies of the former Democratic President.
Among previous dispatches on Carter, please see:
* Hamas thanks Jimmy Carter, its “useful idiot” (July 25, 2007)
* Jimmy Carter “interceded on behalf of Nazi SS Guard” (& Saudis may ban Letter “X”) (Jan. 18, 2007)
ISRAEL CHANGES FLIGHT PATHS BECAUSE OF KASSAMS, THREAT OF ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES
For what is believed to be the first time since 1967, the Israeli air force has changed flight paths for passenger planes flying near Gaza, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported on Wednesday night.
The decision reportedly came in response to an increase in the range of rockets launched by Palestinian militia from the northern Gaza Strip, as well as new anti-aircraft missiles reportedly acquired by the “impoverished” (BBC/UN’s words) Hamas government.
EGYPTIAN MP: WE WON’T LET HAMAS FORM AN ISLAMIC EMIRATE IN GAZA
Mustafa el-Fiqi, who heads the Egyptian Parliament’s foreign relations committee, has said that Egypt won’t tolerate an Islamic state on its northeastern border.
“We won’t allow Hamas to set up an Islamic emirate in the Gaza Strip,” he said in remarks reported in a leading London-based Arabic newspaper, al-Quds al-Arabi.
Egypt is increasingly displeased with Hamas, especially after it boycotted Egyptian-mediated Palestinian reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas last month in Cairo.
El-Fiqi called on the international community to continue isolating Hamas until it moderates or gives up power.
HAMAS FREES THREE REPORTERS IN GAZA
Hamas security forces have freed three Palestinian journalists whom they had arrested last month on accusations that they had criticized the Islamist group.
The journalists worked in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for the Palestine Press, a local news agency with ties to the group’s main rival, President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.
A Hamas internal security official said the three men had confessed to their “crimes” and promised not to repeat them.
Western media and “human rights” groups have been disinterested in their case.
This is only the latest example of the crackdown by Hamas on any dissenting voices in Gaza. I have documented many other examples in the past two years on this website.
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY CHIEF TRIES TO BLOCK ISRAELI ENVOY’S ADDRESS
On Wednesday, the President of the United Nations General Assembly tried to prevent Israel’s ambassador, Professor Gabriela Shalev, from speaking at a special commemorative plenary session marking 60 years since the UN adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The General Assembly President, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, tried to cancel speeches that were to be given by representatives of the unofficial regional group known as “Western European and others,” after he learned that Israel’s ambassador was to represent the group as its rotating chairperson.
However, European representatives rejected the motion to cancel the meeting, and voiced strong opposition at his attempt to prevent Israel from speaking.
In response, Brockmann announced that he would add a representative of the Arab bloc and a representative of unaffiliated nations, two blocs known to be hostile toward Israel, to the list of speakers at that session.
Brockmann is a Nicaraguan diplomat, politician and radical Catholic priest who previously served as Nicaragua’s foreign minister during the Sandinista regime in the 1980s. He hugged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the end of his address at the opening of the 63rd General Assembly earlier this year.
BROCKMANN CONDEMNED FOR SAYING THAT ISRAEL “CRUCIFIED” PALESTINIANS
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and other groups have condemned UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann for saying Israel practiced “apartheid” and “crucifixion,” and calling for divestment and sanctions against Israel.
“Our Palestinian brothers and sisters are being crucified” by Israel, Brockmann said during the annual UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Anne Bayefsky, an international law and human rights scholar (who is also a longtime subscriber to this email list), said “Brockmann’s assault is a gross abuse of the position of Assembly President. He knows full well that his outrageous personal views will be translated into six languages and webcast around the world.”
“His remarks are especially offensive since the facts indicate the complete reverse. One-fifth of Israel’s population is Arab with more democratic rights than in any Arab state. Arab states have been essentially rendered Judenrein since the creation of Israel. UN resolutions denounce Jews living in Arab-claimed territory as ‘Judaization,’ and no mention is ever made of ‘apartheid Palestine’.”
ZOA President Mort Klein (who was born in a displaced persons camp in Gunzberg, Germany shortly after the war, a child of Holocaust survivors) said, “General Assembly President Brockmann’s words remind us that, tragically, the United Nations has become the most prominent forum for the expression of hatred and anti-Semitism. Statements about Jews ‘crucifying’ anyone are part of a long, horrid history of anti-Semitism in which Jews are held guilty of the charge of deicide. It is part of the demonization of Jews that makes anti-Semitism a uniquely pernicious, durable form of hatred, not simply another form of bigotry, serious enough as that would be.”
Israel filed a formal complaint with the UN on Tuesday over Brockmann’s statements.
UN HAS NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT PERSECUTION OF BLACK AFRICANS AND HANGING OF GAY IRANIANS
Writing in The Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby (who is also a longtime subscriber to this email list) asked why Brockmann had nothing to say about any other Middle Eastern nation.
About Saudi Arabia, where public facilities (and much else) are segregated by sex?
About Jordan, where the law explicitly bars Jews from citizenship and where the sale of land to a Jew was for decades punishable by death?
About Iran, where homosexuality is a capital crime – at least 200 Iranian gays were executed last year – and whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asserted at Columbia University that there are no homosexuals in Iran?
About Sudan, where tens of thousands of black Africans in the country’s southern region, most of them Christians or animists, have been abducted and sold into slavery by Arab militias backed by the Islamist regime in Khartoum?
About these, Brockmann and the General Assembly have nothing to say, notes Jacoby.
He continues: “More than 1 million Israeli Arabs enjoy civil and political rights unmatched in the Arab world – yet Israel is accused of repression and human-rights abuse. Successive Israeli governments have endorsed a “two-state solution” – yet Israel is blasted as the obstacle to peace.
“Make no mistake: In likening Israel to apartheid-era South Africa, the UN is engaged not in anti-racism but in anti-Semitism. In the 1930s, the world’s foremost anti-Semites demanded a boycott of Jewish businesses. Today they demand a boycott of the Jewish state.
“When the UN adopted its odious ‘Zionism is racism resolution’ in 1975, US Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan minced no words. ‘The United States,’ he declared, ‘does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act.’ Where is such a voice of moral outrage today?” asks Jeff Jacoby.
THE UN INVITES LIBYA, CUBA AND IRAN TO LECTURE ISRAEL
I attach two articles below. The first is by Claudia Rosett, a subscriber to this email list, writing in Forbes magazine. She wonders what the Rev. Martin Luther King, who in a 1968 speech at Harvard said, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews; you are talking anti-Semitism,” would have made of the UN’s current drive to reprise “that festival of prejudice, in the form of a ‘Durban Review Conference,’ scheduled for April 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland.”
“In the UN’s Orwellian twist,” she says, “this conference is configured not to end racism, but to stir up hatred.”
She notes that the preparatory committee is chaired by Libya and aided by Cuba (where wholesale repression continues against Afro-Cubans) and Iran.
“Durban II is not solely a mob move against Israel. It is a dishonor to real heroes of the war on prejudice, such as Martin Luther King. It is an assault on the genuine tolerance of free societies.”
In the second article below, The Wall Street Journal says that “one of Colin Powell’s best moves as Secretary of State was to pull out of the 2001 United Nations Durban confab against racism once it became an anti-Semitic rant.” The Journal hopes Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will pull out of next year’s “Durban II”.
“The entire West will be in the dock for allegedly persecuting Muslims,” it says. While “the real Islamophobes, the Islamic terrorists who have killed hundreds of thousands of their co-religionists, get a free pass.”
Canada and Israel have already pulled out. Will the U.S. and European Union follow?
-- Tom Gross
THE UN DISHONORS REAL HEROES OF THE WAR ON PREJUDICE
The UN’s racist conference on racism
By Claudia Rosett
December 4, 2008
When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism –The Rev. Martin Luther King, 1968
The remarks above, which the Rev. King reportedly made at a Harvard University dinner, shortly before his assassination, are quoted in a U.S. State Department report released this past March in response to “rising anti-Semitism worldwide.”
I came across them while seeking background on a notoriously anti-Semitic United Nations conference held in 2001 in Durban, South Africa. Billed as an effort to fight racism, that Durban conclave focused instead on vilifying Israel – whipping up hatred to such an extreme that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell ordered the U.S. delegation to walk out.
I wonder what the Rev. King would make of the UN’s current drive to reprise that festival of prejudice, in the form of a “Durban Review Conference,” scheduled for April 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland. Even more to the point, because Durban II looms as an early foreign-policy test of the next U.S. administration, what will President-elect Obama do about it?
As in 2001, the UN pretext is to end racism. Or, in UN lingo – take a deep breath – the aim is “the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”
Sounds great, right? Except the UN’s Orwellian twist, once again, is that this conference is configured not to end racism, but to stir up hatred. In a series of preparatory meetings over the past 16 months, the organizers have already taken aim at Israel as their prime target. Increasingly, the organizers are also priming the conference for a broader attack on other democratic nations, especially the U.S. Some are pushing for a UN-backed gag order that would enlist Islamic anti-blasphemy laws to stifle free speech worldwide.
Who are these organizers? The 20-member preparatory committee, operating out of Geneva, is chaired by a Libyan ambassador, Najat Al-Hajjaji. Back in 2003, she chaired the UN’s former Human Rights Commission, which discredited itself not only by picking Al-Hajjaji, envoy of Libya’s despotic regime, to run the show, but also by slamming Israel 27 times from 2001 to 2006. As the State Department anti-Semitism report notes, this was more than twice the number of UNHRC criticisms leveled during that same period at North Korea, Burma and Sudan combined.
In 2006, as part of a package of UN “reforms,” that farce of a Human Rights Commission was dissolved. It was replaced by the current sham of a Human Rights Council, which in its first 16 months spent most of its time issuing 15 criticisms of Israel, and then singled out Israel to become a permanent item on its agenda.
This same Human Rights Council is now providing the official umbrella and support staff for the Durban Review Conference. Among the vice-chairs of the preparatory committee are emissaries of such unfree countries as Iran, Russia, Pakistan and Cameroon (which, according to New York-based Freedom House, still tolerates slavery in its northern reaches). Cuba – where wholesale repression includes the additional frill of job discrimination against Afro-Cubans – fills two seats at this Durban II table, which features both a Cuban vice-chair and Cuba as Rapporteur.
Epitomizing the hypocrisy of this exercise is a statement submitted to the UN earlier this year by Iran, which also helped organize the original, 2001 Durban conference. Tehran proclaims that “The Islamic Republic of Iran, according to its formal and practical policies, is opposed to any policy based on racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and has fought against this phenomenon at national, regional and international levels.” This comes from the Iranian regime, which along with supporting terrorists, threatening to wipe Israel off the map and violating five UN Security Council resolutions meant to stop its nuclear bomb program, pursues domestic policies of forcing women to wear the veil and executes homosexuals.
Or consider another one of the organizers: vice-chair Pakistan. The Pakistani government is right now denying any involvement in last week’s terrorist assault on Mumbai – in which hundreds were murdered, but where the targets most deliberately hunted down were Americans, Britons and Jews. As the Durban II preparations take aim at those same groups, vice-chair Pakistan has been doubling on the preparatory committee as the mouthpiece for the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The OIC is the Saudi-headquartered 57-member-state outfit that forms the core of the dominant lobbying bloc in the UN General Assembly, which authorized this Durban repeat.
As for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, he was quick to express horror over the hate that fueled the terrorist assault on Mumbai. But he has done nothing to defuse the ticking bomb of Durban II. Instead, Ban’s office has been dutifully processing the multi-million dollar funding requests of the Durban organizers. The U.S., which contributes an out-sized 22% to Ban’s budget, is planning to withhold a small portion of that money in hope of pressuring the UN into better behavior. Good luck. The UN dodge has been to re-frame the total conference tab, now estimated at about $5.1 million, as coming mainly from resources already available, plus donations. China has committed $20,000, Russia $600,000 and a number of as-yet-unnamed member states are expected to pony up.
All of which begs the larger point, that U.S. taxpayers are the chief sugar daddies for the entire UN system, which – with its logo, premises and diplomatic perquisites – will give this conference a world stage and stamp of authority it would not otherwise enjoy.
Durban II is not solely a mob move against Israel. It is a dishonor to real heroes of the war on prejudice, such as Martin Luther King. It is an assault on the genuine tolerance of free societies. It is an attempt to commandeer the UN – yet again – as a vehicle for the kind of hate that leads to such horrors as the slaughter in Mumbai, or for that matter, Sept. 11. Among the UN’s 192 member states, only two have had the backbone to announce that they will boycott the Durban Review: Canada, and for obvious reasons, Israel. In the U.S., President Bush has deferred any final decision to the next administration. President-elect Obama, what will you do about Durban II?
GIVING A FREE PASS TO THE REAL ISLAMOPHOBES
Fighting Racism, U.N.-Style
Durban II mixes the same old Israel-bashing with new attacks on free speech.
The Wall Street Journal (Editorial)
December 3, 2008
One of Colin Powell’s best moves as Secretary of State was to pull out of the 2001 United Nations Durban confab against racism once it became an anti-Semitic rant. One of the best moves the new U.S. administration and Europe could make is to stay away from the follow-up meeting altogether.
“Durban II,” planned for April in Geneva, promises to be an encore of the same old Israel-bashing. The draft declaration says Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians amounts to no less than “a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, a form of genocide and a serious threat to international peace and security.” We’ll spare you the rest of the diatribe.
Israel will be the conference’s main object of obsession, but it’s not the only target. The draft declaration also goes after the West’s freedom of speech and antiterror laws under the guise of protecting religion – read: Islam – from “defamation.”
The entire West will be in the dock for allegedly persecuting Muslims. “The most serious manifestations of defamation of religions are the increase in Islamophobia and the worsening of the situation of Muslim minorities around the world,” the draft reads.
“Islamophobia” is a vague term used to brand any criticism of Islam as a hate crime. The real Islamophobes, though, Islamic terrorists who have killed hundreds of thousands of their co-religionists, get a free pass.
Instead, the draft calls for a media code of conduct and “internationally binding normative standards... that can provide adequate guarantees against defamation of religions.” If this sounds like censorship, that’s because it is.
The conference is being organized by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which, like its discredited predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, has been taken over by several of the world’s main abusers of human rights. The Organization of Islamic Countries, the most powerful voting bloc at the U.N., managed to put Libya in charge of preparing Durban II. Tripoli is being assisted by such other pillars of the international community as Iran and Cuba. Last week a key U.N. General Assembly committee passed a draft resolution, sponsored by Islamic states, that calls for national laws against the “defamation of religions.”
If the Durban II drafters have their way, any challenge of Islamic teachings, including teachings used to justify violence, would be taboo. Reprinting the Danish Muhammad cartoons, exploited by Muslim agitators in 2006 to incite riots around the world, would be a criminal offense. Even gross human-rights violations in Islamic countries – such as the stoning of adulterers in Iran – could be immune from criticism as these practices are rooted in religion.
Although couched in the language of religious rights, the draft isn’t concerned with the right to practice one’s religion. If so, it would have focused on the plight of religious minorities in many Muslim states. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the public worship of any religion other than Islam is forbidden.
The drafters further demand that the fight against terrorism must not “discriminate” against any religion. They specifically complain about the “monitoring and surveillance of places of worship, culture and teaching of Islam.” Since these are exactly the places where Islamic terrorists tend to recruit new followers, stopping such common-sense policing would render the West defenseless.
Israel said last month it will stay away from Geneva. Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper deserves kudos for having made that call already back in January. “We will not be party to an anti-Semitic and anti-Western hate fest dressed up as antiracism,” he said.
The decision about whether to send a delegation to Durban II will be an early test of Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton and the new Obama Administration. Western states would best serve the antiracism cause by joining Ottawa and Jerusalem in a boycott of this hate fest.