I thought about writing a post about the guy who got convicted of trying to blow up subway cars in NYC. Or about how Desmond Tutu, the creep, is encouraging Methodists to divest from Israel. (PS if that happens, should I try to figure out which local businesses are owned by Methodists, or employ Methodists, and avoid?) Lots of people have commented on the classless way Obama has handled the anniversary of bin Laden’s death.
Twelve-year-old Noa Weinzweig decided to use her bat mitzvah earnings to buy a 3-day holiday for survivors.
“You have done something exemplary,” President Shimon Peres told 12-year-old Noa Weinzweig of Herzliya as she sat opposite him in the reception hall at the President’s official residence in Jerusalem.
Tall, poised, polite and exuding a sense of maturity well beyond her years, Noa was engulfed in appreciation and admiration. Of the sixty or so other people in the room fifty were Holocaust survivors who belong to the Amha Club in Netanya and were the beneficiaries of Noa’s caring heart.
In her family of five siblings, it’s customary to give away one’s bar or bat mitzvah money – and that’s exactly what she did. When she celebrated her bat mitzvah, Noa who is the middle child, decided to forego the excitement of unwrapping gift parcels and asked everyone to give a donation. She ended up with NIS50,000. Her mother Nirit Gilboa who was born on Kibbutz Kfar Menachem, gave her a list of worthy causes from which to choose. But the truth was that Noa, a student at the American School in Even Yehuda, had already made up her mind that she wanted to do something for Holocaust survivors. As a little girl in Canada, she had learned something of the Holocaust, had read up as she could and asked her older relatives to tell her more.
“They’ve been through a lot,” she told Peres. “I though they deserve to be happy and peaceful and to have a good life.” NIS50,000 doesn’t go very far in providing a good life, but it can provide a good time – and that’s exactly what happened. Noa’s grandmother Rikki Gilboa who was born on Kibbutz Deganya Aleph belongs to the Herzliya Women’s Circle which adopted Amchja in Netanya. So when Noa, with three generations of kibbutz values of shared burdens in her genes decided that she wanted to help Holocaust survivors, finding them was no problem. She decided to finance a three day vacation for them in Jerusalem.
THE HAGUE – Dutch Nazis who died in World War II will be commemorated this year alongside their victims, at the national memorial ceremony in Amsterdam.
The homage is to be paid in a poem written by the 15-year-old relative of a Dutch SS soldier who died on Germany’s Eastern Front.
The boy’s poem, “Wrong Choice,” speaks of his great uncle, who “sought to escape poverty and dreamed of a better life,” but “chose the wrong army and wrong ideology.” He “needs to be remembered too,” on May 4, Dutch Memorial Day, the poem states.
The boy who wrote the poem is scheduled to publicly read it on Dutch Memorial Day at the Dam Square during a ceremony attended by the Dutch army’s top brass, war veterans and members of the royal family of the Netherlands.
Representatives of the Dutch Jewish community said they would not attend the ceremony unless the national memorial committee, Nationaal Comite 4 en 5 mei, scraps the poem.
“It is wholly inappropriate to compare the consequences of a wrong choice with the death of partisans, Jews and other victims of the Nazi regime,” said Ronny Naftaniel, director of the Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel. “According to the same logic, Adolf Eichmann could also be commemorated as victim one day.”
Caroline Glick articles are intricate and difficult to summarize, but I’ll try. She begins by comparing the most popular musical events of two Independence Days: 1998 and 2012.
As he is today, in 1998 Binyamin Netanyahu was prime minister, and then as now there were prominent voices seeking to blame him for the absence of peace and every other terrible blight on the planet.
In 1998, the government invested a fortune in marking Israel’s 50th Independence Day.
The main official celebration was a massive affair called Jubilee Bells that took place at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. More than 2,000 performers participated. But rather than serve as an event that unified Israeli society in celebration of 50 years of sovereign freedom, the event exposed just how far Israel’s political and cultural elite were willing to go in attacking basic societal values.
The Bat Sheva Dance Troupe was scheduled to participate in the program and present a dance set to the traditional Passover song “Ehad mi yodea,” (Who knows one). The song contains 13 stanzas that praise God, praise Jewish law, and outline the Jewish life cycle. In the number Bat Sheva was scheduled to perform, the dancers come on stage dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and by the end of the song, all they are wearing is underwear.
The choreography enraged members of Netanyahu’s cabinet including education minister Yitzhak Levy. They insisted that the program shouldn’t contain material that insulted sectors of Israeli society. The organizers tried to forge a compromise. But the dancers chose to boycott the festival.
Israel’s cultural and media establishment expressed shock and horror at what they viewed as the government’s attempt to infringe on artistic freedom. The Association of Israeli Artists demanded that a public commission be formed to ensure that the government would be unable to interfere in artistic freedom in the future. Major cultural icons declared cultural war against religious Jews.
The question of whether the dance was appropriate for an official, state- financed celebration of Independence Day was never asked. So, too, no one asked whether a dance portraying ultra-Orthodox Jews moving sensuously to a traditional Jewish song while taking off their clothes reflected the values of society.
To understand the distance Israel has traveled since then, consider Tuesday night’s Memorial Day ceremony at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. None of the performers attacked their fellow Israelis. And the best-received artist and song was Mosh Ben-Ari and his rendition of Psalm 121 – A Song of Ascent.
The psalm, which praises God as the eternal guardian of Israel, became the unofficial anthem of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008-2009. And Ben-Ari’s rendition of the song propelled the dreadlock bedecked, hoop earring wearing world music artist into super-stardom in Israel.
IT WAS impossible to imagine Pslam 121 or any other traditional Jewish poem or prayer being performed as anything other than an object of scorn in 1998. Back then, it would have been impossible to contemplate a crowd of tens of thousands of non-religious Israelis reverently singing along as Ben-Ari crooned, “My help is from God/ Maker of Heaven and Earth/ He will not allow your foot to falter/ Your Guardian will not slumber/ Behold he neither slumbers nor sleeps – the Guardian of Israel.”
It’s not that the crowd would have necessarily booed him off the stage. He simply never would have been allowed on the stage to begin with. The 1990s was the decade that launched Aviv Gefen, the most prominent secular draft-evader, to stardom.
In other words, Israel grew up. As for the Western world, Europe, the US, etc., not so much. We would still prefer the religious people dancing in their underwear, or maybe naked. We are still angry and unserious because we have never been tested. That’s me talking, not Ms. Glick. She goes on to explain why Israel took a different path from Obama worship, from the metrosexual (again, my word, my thought) male elite.
Israel is no longer in the throes of an adolescent rebellion. It has regained its senses.
True, its celebrities look like Ben-Ari and not like Naomi Shemer [the woman who wrote Jerusalem of Gold - Aggie]. But the message is the same. Israel is a great country and a great nation. Zionism is in. Judaism is in. Post- Zionism is out. Post-Judaism is out.
When last year a group of performers announced they would boycott the Ariel Center for Performing Arts, the public reacted with anger and disgust, not understanding.
Fearing a loss of state funding, their theater bosses quickly sought to distance themselves from the performers.
Israel’s return to its Zionist roots is the greatest cultural event of the past decade. It is also an event that occurred under the radar screen of the rest of the world. No one outside the country seems to have noticed at all.
The outside world’s failure to take note of Israel’s cultural shift owes to its failure to recognize the significance of the failure of the peace process with the Palestinians on the one hand and the failure of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza on the other hand. The demise of the peace process at Camp David in July 2000 and the terror war that followed launched the Israeli public on its path away from its radical post-Zionist rebellion and back to its Zionist roots. The failure of the withdrawal from Gaza, and the international community’s response to Operation Cast Lead, marked the conclusion of the journey.
The Oslo peace process was based on the radical belief that it is possible to make peace by empowering terrorists and giving them land, political legitimacy, money and guns. To embrace this nonsense, the public had to be willing to tolerate the notion that there was something unjust about the Zionist revolution. Because if Zionism and the cause of Jewish national liberation are just, then it is impossible to justify empowering the PLO, a terrorist movement dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the delegitimization of Zionism.
Most Israelis never adopted the post-Zionist narrative. But they did accept the doctrine of appeasement. And they shared the belief that if appeasement failed, the world would rally to Israel’s side.
Consequently, the beginning of society’s awakening to the lie of post-Zionism at the heart of the peace process was a function not only of the massive Palestinian terror onslaught that began after Yasser Arafat rejected peace and statehood at Camp David. It was also a function of the August 2000 UN Durban Conference and its aftermath in which the international community rallied to the Palestinians’ side. The latter demonstrated that just as Israel’s transfer of land and guns to the PLO had endangered the lives of its citizens, Israel’s conferral of political legitimacy on the PLO endangered the international standing of the country.
The lesson that Israelis took from the failure of the peace process was that Israel has no Palestinian partner for peace.
And until the Palestinians change, Israel has no one to talk to. While a slight majority of Israelis still support partitioning the land between Israel and a Palestinian state, the overwhelming majority of Israelis believe that Israel has no one to make peace with and therefore no possibility of successfully partitioning the land.
This is not the lesson that foreigners learned. From Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Tony Blair to Barack Obama to Nicolas Sarkozy, foreign leaders have insisted that the Oslo process had nearly succeeded and that its failure was a fluke.
THEN THERE is the aftermath of the withdrawal from Gaza.
Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was a traumatic national event. The forced expulsion of thousands of Israelis from their homes led Israeli society to the brink of disintegration.
The move represented the last hope of the peace movement.
If the Palestinians won’t sit down with Israel, so the thinking went, Israel can still appease them by simply giving them what they want without an agreement.
But not only did the withdrawal bring no peace. It brought Hamas to power. It brought tens of thousands of projectiles down on southern Israel. Israelis expected the world to recognize the significance of this string of events.
But that didn’t happen.
Instead of seeing the lengths Israel had gone to appease the Palestinians and side with it when its appeasement failed again, the international community refused to even acknowledge that Israel had withdrawn from Gaza. Condoleezza Rice forced Israel to continue supplying electricity and water to Gaza and providing medical care for Gazans in Israeli hospitals as if nothing had happened. No one accepted that Israel was no longer in charge.
As far as most Israelis were concerned, the final end of our vacation from reality came with the publication of the Goldstone Report in the aftermath of Cast Lead. Here was Israel, forced to defend itself from Hamas-ruled Gaza that was waging an illegal missile war against Israeli civilians.
Rather than stand by Israel that had done everything for peace, the UN’s commission accused Israel of committing war crimes.
Undoubtedly one of the reasons so few outsiders have drawn the same lessons as the Israeli public from the failure of the peace process and the Gaza withdrawal is because the only Israelis they listen to are the few remaining holdouts from the 1990s. People like former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Ami Ayalon can expect to have every withdrawal-from-territory and destroy-the-settlements op-ed they write published in The New York Times, whereas Richard Goldstone wasn’t even able to get the Times to publish his admission that his eponymous commission’s conclusions were false.
This open door policy for Israeli radicals was defensible in the 1990s when a significant portion of the Israeli public supported them. Now it constitutes nothing more than an anti-Israel propaganda campaign.
From Obama to J Street to the EU, international actors interested in forcing Israel to make more concessions to the Palestinians cannot understand why their attempts continue to fail. How is it possible that despite their best efforts, Netanyahu remains in power and the Left can’t get any traction with the public? For the answer, they need to look no farther than Mosh Ben-Ari, his dreadlocks, and his rendition of Psalm 121. Israel’s adolescent rebellion is over.
Impossible to improve on what Ms. Glick is saying. I thank her for saying it in English so that interested Americans can read it and understand it. That is a limited number of people, for sure. But we can take heart in the fact that Israel is doing just fine. Her economy is strong and her population is not at each other’s throats. That is a by-product of dealing with reality.
Oh, and for all the idiots that believe that Israel is a white, colonialist country, this is for you. This is the performer mentioned above, the guy that did the musical rendition of the Psalm. Notice, morons, that he has dark skin. This is because his parents fled persecution in Yemen and Iraq.
A few years ago, when Ahmadinejad made his first appearance at Columbia University, The Friends (Quakers) threw a big dinner party for him. At the time, I wondered if The Friends would celebrate a dictator who stoned “adulterers” as young as 13 and hung gays if he wasn’t also committed to the genocide of the people of Israel. I got my answer a couple years later when, on a return trip to NYC, they failed to throw a party for him.
But they do love the Jew-haters. And this article describes the remarkable situation of The Friends Seminary, a co-ed private school, inviting a notorious antisemite to play music for the kids in celebration of Martin Luther King Day and to spread hatred of Jews, Judaism, and Israel. Alan Dershowitz finally couldn’t take it any longer, even though his own daughter had been a student there when she was a kid.
If you want to understand why anti-Semitism seems to be increasing among young people—especially young people on the hard left—consider a recent invitation extended by a left-leaning school in New York to a self-proclaimed Jew hater.
The Friends Schools around the country are legendary. Presidents’ children attend them, my own daughter and nephew were students, and they are regarded as one of the most elite schools in the world. That is why it is so shocking that the Friends Seminary in New York has lent its imprimatur to a notorious anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. Friends Seminary has a reputation for propagandizing its students against Israel, but it has now crossed a red line into legitimating anti-Semitism.
Author and jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, who was invited to be a featured performer in a celebration of Martin Luther King at the Friends Meeting House, has written an overtly anti-Semitic book entitled The Wandering Who?, which, he acknowledges, draws…much of his “insights from a man who…was an anti-Semite as well as a radical misogynist.”
Among the “insights” Atzmon seeks to share with students are the following:
While the Holocaust “was not at all an historical narrative,” and Auschwitz was not a “death camp,” the “accusations of Jews making matzo out of young Goyim’s blood” may be true.
“The Jews” caused the recent credit crunch, which the author calls “the Zio-punch.”
If Iran and Israel fight a nuclear war that kills millions of people, “some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all.’”
The “new Jewish religion…could well be the most sinister religion known to man…”
The author of the book containing these statements has told students that he cannot “say whether it’s right or not to burn down a synagogue. I can say that it is a rational act.” He has also apologized to the Nazis for having earlier compared them to Israel: “Israel is in fact far worse than Nazi Germany.”
He has written that we “must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously,” and that “with Fagin and Shylock in mind, Israeli barbarism and organ trafficking seem to be just other events in an endless hellish continuum.”
It is not as if Friends School is unfamiliar with Atzmon’s anti-Semitic rants. Atzmon was previously invited to make a guest appearance in a class last year and one of his essays was distributed to the students. The essay came from his website, which is replete with anti-Semitic “insights.”
When I heard about this bizarre invitation, I wrote the following letter to the school’s headmaster:
Your school is now legitimating anti-Semitism by inviting a self-described Jew hater, Gilad Atzmon, to participate in events at the school. This sends a powerful message to your students, and to other students around the world, that Atzmon’s views are legitimate and an appropriate subject for discussion in academic circles….If you believe these views are appropriately discussed, considered and possibly accepted by your students, then you are doing the right thing by associating your school with the man who expressed them. If not, then you are doing a terrible disservice to your students and to the values for which the Friends School purports to stand.
I cannot overemphasize how serious this matter is. Legitimating the oldest form of bigotry is a moral and academic sin. I cannot remain silent in the face of complicity with bigotry. Nor should you.
The Headmaster did not respond to my letter, but he had the director of development (the fundraiser) send me an email saying that Atzmon was invited “solely for his musical accomplishments” and that the invitation was extended by “the Meetinghouse Jazz Orchestra.”
Atzmon performed on January 13 to honor a man—Martin Luther King—who despised anti-Semitism and would have been appalled by Atzmon’s hateful words. Students cheered his performance and conversed with him.
I cannot imagine an overtly homophobic, sexist or racist musician being invited by any group in any way associated with Friends “solely for his musical accomplishments.” (I hear that David Duke, the white supremacist perennial candidate, plays a mean saxophone). Atzmon is famous (really infamous) not because he is a distinguished musician, but rather because he is a notorious anti-Semite whose blogs are featured on neo-Nazi websites all over the world. He never would have been invited but for his well publicized bigotry.
Friends Seminary is well known for inviting artists whose politics and ideology are consistent with the values of the school. Indeed, the poster advertising his featured appearance at the “22nd Annual Martin Luther King Concert” at the “Meetinghouse at Friends Seminary” included a description of him as a “writer” and “political activist.” Moreover, when he was previously invited by the school to address a class, the teacher distributed one of his bigoted essays from his anti-Semitic website.
However the school may try to spin this invitation, the end result will be that Atzmon’s bigoted views will have been given the imprimatur of the Friends Seminary. Shame on Friends.
Beautiful. Now I expect the usual haters to write and say that Gilad Atzmon grew up Jewish. Hitler grew up Christian, boys and girls. There are nut jobs everywhere. Alone neither he nor Atzmon could have done much damage. It is when the rest of us jump on the bandwagon, especially those who claim a higher moral ground, like the Quakers, that we have real trouble.
Renowned British Author Ian McEwan arrived in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah Friday to take part in a protest against Jewish settlement in the area.
The rally was attended by hundreds of protestors, including Israeli author David Grossman.
McEwan and Grossman, who in the past already joined such protests, spoke as they marched with the demonstrators to a square at the center of the neighborhood. The British author told Ynet that attending the protest was a “great honor.”
“Ian McEwan today joined a long list of figures – including former President Jimmy Carter, writer Mario Vargas Llosa, and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahanman – who honored the protestors with their presence,” group member Avner Inbar said.
You’d think someone as smart as McEwan would think twice about objecting to a “Jewish presence” in Jerusalem. And if he’s not that smart, you’d think he’s smart enough to avoid being joined, even rhetorically, with Jimmy Carter.
But apparently he’s not even that smart.
Or maybe he’s plenty smart.
He took heat for having anything to do with Israel at all. Maybe this is his way of paying back his left wing luvvies back in Blighty. Sure, I’ll take their filthy lucre—but then I’ll spit in their faces and side with those who find the presence of a single Jewish family unacceptable, with those who deligitimize Jewish history, with those who profess to love death more than we love life.
The past couple of years have been turbulent for Malmö’s Jewish community. A spike in anti-Semitic attacks in 2009 prompted a number of Jews to leave the city altogether, concluding they would never feel accepted there.
Controversial comments by the town’s long-serving Social Democratic mayor Ilmar Reepalu also put Malmö in the spotlight, drawing criticism from within his own party, as well as from influential Jewish organisations aboard.
And in December 2010, the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a warning urging Jews to exercise “extreme caution” when traveling in southern Sweden.
I was about to lose my patience with this story—we know, we know, Malmo is one of the most hostile cities to Jews in all of Europe—when I ran face first into this:
Last October a group of about 20 teenagers attacked the Jewish community’s residential education centre during a youth retreat.
“The first night they shouted vicious, nasty slurs. The next night it escalated and they broke down the fence and were banging on windows and doors,” Sieradzki explains.
“It was quite frightening.”
Sieradzki, who applauded the nearby municipality of Vellinge for its swift response to the incident, also points out that the teenagers in the attacking group were not Muslim as many are quick to assume.
“These boys were not Arabs. They were all Swedish. And I assure you the Jewish people are not attacking anybody.”
It had been my understanding that almost all of the Jew bashing in Malmo had been carried out by its sizeable Muslim population. I had thought that true of Europe in general. Whether these boys were skin-heads, neo-Nazis, whatever, they were ethnically Swedish, not Arab.
Though perhaps I can be forgiven for jumping to conclusions:
“I can understand that Jewish people feel threatened in Malmö,” hate crimes specialist Gosenius explains.
“We have a huge population from the Middle East, West Bank and Gaza and most (Jewish) victims describe their perpetrators as young Muslim men.
I don’t blame Jews for leaving any country where they are mistreated. But I think the country is poorer for having chased them out. If “the Jewish people are not attacking anybody”, and they are still persecuted, who is safe? In all of Europe, who is safe?
There have been rumors that the US would support a UN resolution condemning Israel for being Jewish (that’s what we in the business call editorializing). Even that we would make a deal with the Palestinians, supporting one sort of resolution, but not another, and the Palestinians refused.
Now we have the facts. Given the choice between vetoing yet another UN resolution critical of Israel and joining in the beat down, we did both.
It’s a new spin on voting “present”.
Our opposition to the resolution before this Council today should therefore not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity. On the contrary, we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. For more than four decades, Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 has undermined Israel’s security and corroded hopes for peace and stability in the region. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace…
It is the Israelis’ and Palestinians’ conflict, and even the best-intentioned outsiders cannot resolve it for them. Therefore every potential action must be measured against one overriding standard: will it move the parties closer to negotiations and an agreement? Unfortunately, this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides. It could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations and, if and when they did resume, to return to the Security Council whenever they reach an impasse…
While we agree with our fellow Council members—and indeed, with the wider world—about the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, we think it unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. We therefore regrettably have opposed this draft resolution.
Israel can handle itself against implacable Jew-hating enemies. It can handle itself against the anti-Semitic viper’s nest of the UN. It can even handle itself against hostile elements in American government.
But it can be undermined by the dishonest use of language.
I drive by “settlements” all the time—only we here call them “housing starts”, or sometimes “economic activity”. Is there another nation or another people in the world condemned by “fellow Council members—and indeed, with the wider world” for housing natural population growth? Is it the wider world’s policy that baby Israelis be homeless? (If it was good enough for Jesus…)
Now, hold on, BTL, you say. It’s not that they build, it’s where.
Really, why? What some call the West Bank, others call Judea and Samaria. Jews have lived there for millennia. What is it about 2011 that’s changed that fact? Or 2010 or 2012?
Certainly not the original UN resolution 242. It was quite specific (as its drafters later confirmed) that final borders were to be negotiated, not imposed (and certainly not by the UN). As Israel has returned the Sinai and Gaza to Egypt and the Palestinian entity (I don’t know what else to call the authority over the Gaza Strip), it has handed back over 90% of the land it occupied after repelling the invading armies of the Arabs. Why shouldn’t Jews build on stateless land traditionally Jewish, retaken by Jews, bordered by a Jewish state? Was France prohibited from building maisons in Alsace? The Polish city of Gdansk used to be the German city of Danzig. Are there UN resolutions citing Lech Walesa as a war criminal? I bet we could put our collective minds together and find dozens of similar examples in recent history alone.
Yet here we are, the United States of America, condemning Israel in all but vote, for exercising the right of any nation to house its people, and to support the ethnic cleansing of Jews from any land, let alone land with a historically and culturally undeniable Jewish presence.
Would anyone have imagined a few years ago we would ever come to this place? Will we look back a few years from now and wonder how we let it get this far? Arabs across their lands are demanding freedom, giving their lives for it, and yet we condemn the freest land in the region, among the freest in the world, for both Arab and Jew.
The world is a mean and crazy place, and this narcissistic self-described citizen of the world currently leading us has brought us down to its level.
There is one main reason why the Obama administration misjudged Egypt entirely – they cannot get their facts straight. For the last two years they have been busy defending the U.N. as an effective vehicle for promoting U.S. interests, in the name of engagement.
But for the three decades of Hosni Mubarak’s reign the U.N. has dedicated its human rights apparatus to demonizing the state of Israel and ignoring the human rights victims in Egypt and across the Arab world. As dissatisfaction and unrest have grown in the region over his presidency, the Obama administration failed to recognize the U.N.’s gross negligence or to take responsibility for ensuring an alternative vehicle to promote democracy. Instead, it legitimized the U.N.’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council (HRC), by joining it.
Notwithstanding the meltdown in Egypt, Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs picked Tuesday to give her evidence for the success of the Obama foreign policy of engagement with the U.N. and its human rights world.
At a speech to the Brookings Institution she said: “Since the United States joined the Human Rights Council, it has not held a single special session on Israel.” Except that the U.S. took its seat on the Council September 14, 2009, and the Council held its sixth special session on Israel on October 15-16, 2009. It was a rather unforgettable session, actually, since it was the occasion the Council endorsed the notorious Goldstone report.
It is a mystery why the person in charge of international organizations in this country has no clue what the actual record is of the Council, but here is a short synopsis for her edification:
No, I can’t do it again. You know the litany.
I want to look at the other side of the coin:
Now consider the U.N.’s record on Egypt and what it has meant for any hope of a peaceful and realistic transition to democracy. There has never been a single resolution of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Egypt, the Council having been in operation since 2006. Not a single resolution on human rights in Egypt was adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the Council’s predecessor in operation from 1946- 2006. Neither the Commission, nor the Council, ever appointed an investigator to report specifically on human rights violations in Egypt.
On the contrary, Egypt was a welcome and powerful member of the U.N. human rights apparatus. It was a member of the U.N. Human Rights Commission for almost half of its half-century in operation, and a member of the Council until just last year.
The best you can say of the UN—and you would have to be a wide-eyed ingenue, a babe in the woods, a pie-eyed optimist [enough, ed.]—is that it is irrelevant to all world events, not least human rights.
But if your eyes are not wide but bloodshot, as mine are, you have to agree that the UN is an accessory before, during, and after the fact—an accessory to genocide, rape, starvation, and all other manner of atrocities neatly tied up in the pretty light blue ribbon of “human rights violations”.
President Obama has been in office only two years (years One and Two in the new Hussainian calendar), so his complicity must be measured in quality, not quantity.
And quality it is:
[A]fter joining the Council, the Obama administration’s first major act was to boost Egypt’s human rights bona fides. In September 2009 it chose Egypt as its partner to produce a resolution on freedom of expression and then included references to “special duties and responsibilities” on the exercise of free speech and “voluntary codes of ethical conduct” on the media. State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh heralded the new “universal understanding of freedom of expression.” Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Democracy and Labor Michael Posner cooed: “our effort with the government of Egypt…at the Council is emblematic of a new kind of an approach, new kind of alliances, a new level of engagement and participation.”
It is not difficult to figure out why the people of Egypt had nowhere else to go. The U.N. human rights authorities devoted their time, attention and (American taxpayer resources) to attacking Israel and enabling Egypt, while the Obama administration spent its capital claiming Jews living on any Arab-claimed land were the key obstacle to Middle East peace and stability.
The Egyptian people were abandoned by the U.N. They were left to their own devices by an Obama administration mired in pro-U.N. rhetoric and basing its judgment about the efficacy of the institution on ill-informed advisors. Today, we are all paying the price for that neglect and ignorance.
My liberal friends tend to acknowledge the UN’s sins individually—how could they not?—but still support it in general. Somehow. It’s like the old kreplach joke I cite from time to time as emblematic of a great truth in life. They run screaming from the inescapable truth of the UN as kreplach.
FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER NAMED IN CLASS ACTION SUIT FILED IN NEW YORK COURT ALLEGING DECEPTIONS AND FRAUDULENT MISREPRESENTATIONS IN BOOK ATTACKING ISRAEL
An historic class action suit has been filed against former President Jimmy Carter and the Simon & Schuster publishing company alleging that Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, contained numerous false and knowingly misleading statements intended to promote the author’s agenda of anti-Israel propaganda and to deceive the reading public instead of presenting accurate information as advertised. The suit, captioned Unterberg et al. v. Jimmy Carter et.al (11 cv 0720), filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
The plaintiffs, who hope to have the case certified as a class action, are members of the reading public who purchased Carter’s book expecting that they were buying an accurate and factual record of historic events concerning Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. The lawsuit contends that Carter, who holds himself out as a Middle-East expert, and his publisher, intentionally presented untrue and inaccurate information and sought to capitalize on the author’s status as a former President to mislead unsuspecting members of the public. The complaint alleges that the defendants’ misrepresentations, all highly critical of Israel, violate New York consumer protection laws, specifically New York General Business Law § 349, which makes it unlawful to engage in deceptive acts in the course of conducting business. While acknowledging Carter’s right to publish his personal views, the plaintiffs assert that the defendants violated the law and, thus, harmed those who purchased the book.
It may be a stretch that he broke the law, but the facts of the case are not in dispute. Carter’s “opinion” is biased and based on lies, illogic, and bigotry. But he’s welcome to have it and even share it. Simon & Schuster, on the other hand, may not wish to be associated with a biased, lying, illogical bigot. Who gets sued. It’s bad for business.
In any case, these people are free to give it their best shot, and I hope they leave him penniless and peanutless.
Israel has to rely on a Frenchman (albeit a Jewish one) to explain civility to the anti-Semitic hordes:
[W]e are faced here with a skillfully orchestrated but calumnious, bellicose, anti-democratic and, in a word, despicable campaign.
First, because one boycotts totalitarian regimes, not democracies. One can boycott Sudan, guilty of the extermination of part of the population of Darfur. One can boycott China, guilty of massive violations of human rights in Tibet and elsewhere. One can and should boycott the Iran that is oppressing Sakineh and Jafar Panahi ? a country whose leaders have become deaf to the language of common sense and compromise. One can even imagine, as we once did with regard to the fascist generals’ Argentina or Brezhnev’s USSR, boycotting those Arab regimes whose citizens’ freedom of expression is forbidden, and punished, if necessary, with blood.
One does not boycott the only society in the Middle East where Arabs read a free press, demonstrate when they wish to do so, send representatives to parliament, and enjoy their rights as citizens. Regardless of what one thinks of the policies of its government, one does not boycott the only country in the region and, beyond the region, one of the unfortunately limited number of countries in the world where voters have the power to sanction, modify and reverse the position of said government. To such an extent that finding, like Mr. Hessel, in his recent best-selling book, the source of his “main indignation” in the workings of a democracy that, like all democracies, is by definition imperfect but perfectible ?(yet, on the contrary, having nothing to say about the millions of victims of Africa’s forgotten wars, about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, or about the massacre of Bosnia’s Muslims?) is at best profoundly stupid and at worst, disgraceful.
Oh yeah, and another thing:
It is unaware of, nor does it care to know, what Israeli citizens themselves think, for example, of the resumption of settlement construction in the West Bank. It doesn’t give a hoot about demands, parameters, actual conditions of peace between the citizens in question and their Palestinian neighbors. Of the latter, their aspirations, their interests, their possible hopes and the way the Hamas regime has smashed those hopes in Gaza, it doesn’t give a tinker’s damn and never says anything, either.
No. Regardless of what its promoters and its useful idiots say, the only real, accepted, hackneyed goal of this boycott campaign is to delegitimize Israel as such. That is what the comparison with the South Africa of apartheid implicitly expresses. That is what the anti-Zionist rhetoric that serves as the common denominator of all the groups constituting the BDS movement explicitly says, and, if words have any meaning, what signifies their intent to undermine the very idea that today, like it or not, binds the Israeli nation. And that is why this campaign, in fact, contravenes the customs, rules and laws of international and, in this case, French or American national law.
Stupid, disgraceful, idiotic, in contravention of customs, rules, and laws—and those are only their good qualities.
We bitch and moan so incessantly here not because we’re sourpusses. Well, Aggie isn’t; I’m probably an irredeemable SOB. No, we kvetch because we care, and the world is so thoroughly screwed up most of the time.
But when we read a story that makes our hearts sing, that is so attuned to what is good and true, we’re like a freaking Coke commercial, with wide, orthodontially-correct smiles and vapid songs to share:
A key House Republican wants to scale back U.S. funding for the United Nations anti-Israel “Human Rights” council.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Washington news site The Hill that the Committee will engage in oversight, particularly regarding funding to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) that is “a waste of taxpayer dollars.”
“I’d like to make sure that we once and for all kill all U.S. funding for that beast,” she said last month. “Because I don’t think that it advances U.S. interests, I don’t think that that’s a pro-democracy group, it’s a rogues’ gallery, pariah states, they belong there because they don’t want to be sanctioned.”
Ros-Lehtinen will host a panel of U.N. critics and advocates Tuesday. The 10 a.m. briefing, ahead of the committee session, is titled, “The United Nations: Urgent Problems that Need Congressional Action.”
UN critics scheduled to appear include Claudia Rosett, who unveiled the oil-for-food scandal in 2004 and 2005 in The Wall Street Journal; Brett Schaefer, who regularly takes on the UN at the conservative Heritage Foundation; and Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, which monitors the controversial HRC.
[Sharp intake of breath.]
Not since John Bolton stormed the halls and rattled the walls has the UN heard such honesty. I mentioned this hearing a couple of weeks ago, but it was postponed. No matter, today’s the day. Love will not be denied.
Just one wee cavil, so you know this site hasn’t been hijacked by pixies and fairies. If the UNHRC can be fairly described as a “rogues’ gallery” of “pariah states”, who are not “pro-democracy” and don’t “advance U.S. interests”, why is this administration engaged with them at all? You’d think its bigotry and corruption would be an ideal target for the high-minded, clean, and articulate regime we got here.
British novelist Ian McEwan has rejected anti-Israel activists’ demands to reject the Jerusalem Prize. He explained that although he opposes a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, the prize “is from the Jerusalem Book Fair, not the Israeli Foreign Ministry.”
McEwan told the London Guardian, I would urge people to make the distinction – it is about literature. I certainly will accept the prize. It is a highly distinguished award and I am honored to join the backlist of writers who are previous winners.”
His decision to accept the prize spells a defeat for anti-Israeli groups that urged him to turn it down. “His acceptance will be used as a public relations exercise by the Israeli government,” said Palestine Solidarity Campaign official Betty Hunter.