Tag Archives: united nations

U.S. Abstention on UN Security Council Resolution 2334 on Israel’s Settlement Activities Distances Peace

‘UN Security Council Resolution 2334 reflects the modern rise of Palestinian lawfare: using law “to achieve…warfighting objective[s]” against Israel, according to a confidant of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Having failed over the last half century to shift the balance of power through negotiations and armed resistance, the PA has turned to new battlefronts – including the Security Council and the International Criminal Court (ICC) – where it deploys international law to advance its territorial claims and further Israel’s political isolation.’

Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power (The Media Line)

‘Prior to 2334, the U.S. had consistently opposed PA lawfare. Its abstention on 2334 constitutes an unwelcome reversal, likely to entrench PA maximalism and thwart America’s stated aim of “mov[ing] the parties closer to an agreement.” By abstaining on 2334, the U.S. countenanced Palestinian irredentism. The result was to render peace an ever-distant dream.’ (Harvard Law Review)

Contributed by Joshua Halpern, originally published in Harvard Law Review

On Golda Meir’s Birthday, Her Words Ring Strikingly Relevant Today

May 3rd marked Golda Meir z”l’s birthday, the fourth Prime Minister of Israel. Born as Golda Myerson in 1898, she began her political career at the young age of 20, as a delegate from Missouri to the American Jewish Congress in the USA, and she never looked back. She was highly involved in the struggle for Israel’s independence, and is a signatory to Israel’s declaration of Independence.

In the newly established state, she served in a number of roles in the government, before becoming Prime Minister in 1969. She was also the third female to be Prime Minister in the world!

She was loved, even adored, around the world. Eleanor Roosevelt said that Golda Meir was “a woman one cannot help but deeply respect and deeply love.” But she will also be remembered for a number of significant and historic speeches.

In January 1948, the War of Independence was beginning to intensify. Golda Meir was sent by David Ben Gurion to America, to raise $25 million for military equipment to help defend the nascent Jewish community. In Chicago, on January 2nd 1948, she gave an unscripted speech about the historic moment that the Jewish people found themselves in, so close to realizing their dream of a state. The speech was so good, that she raised $50 million, and Ben Gurion said, “Someday when history will be written, it will be said that there was a Jewish woman who got the money which made the state possible.”

Another significant speech she gave came after Israel captured Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi war criminal, in 1960. The daring operation was carried out by the Mossad, who tracked Eichmann down to where he was living in Argentina, where they captured him. However, despite Eichmann being one of the greatest criminals of the 20th century, the government of Argentina accused Israel of breaking Argentinian law, and breaching its sovereignty. Golda Meir, then the Foreign Minister of Israel, made a speech at the United Nations, giving a blistering response to the accusations.

“This (the UN Security Council) is a body that deals with threats to the peace. Is this a threat to peace–Eichmann brought to trial by the very people to whose total physical annihilation he dedicated all his energies, even if the manner of his apprehension violated the laws of the Argentine? Or did the threat to peace lie in Eichmann at large, Eichmann unpunished, Eichmann free to spread the poison of his twisted soul to a new generation?”

Golda Meir made a number of significant speeches at the United Nations

But maybe her most powerful speech was the speech she made in the United Nations in 1957. This speech was given 60 years ago, but when one reads it, it reads as if it was written today.

“Mr. President, I should like from this rostrum to address to the Arab States of the Middle East a solemn appeal: Israel is approaching her tenth anniversary. You did not want it to be born. You fought against the decision in the United Nations. You then attacked us by military force. We have all been witnesses to sorrow, destruction and the spilling of blood and tears. Yet Israel is here, growing, developing, progressing. It has gained many friends and their number is steadily increasing. We are an old tenacious people and, as our history has proved, not easily destroyed. .

In the light of these facts, what is the use or realism or the justice of policies and attitudes based on the fiction that Israel is not there, or will somehow disappear? Would it not be better for all to build a future for the Middle East based on cooperation? Does hate for Israel and the aspiration for its destruction make one child in your countries happier? Does it convert one hovel into a house? Does culture thrive on the soil of hatred?

Her appeal to the Arab nations, and to the United Nations, is a powerful and relevant one. Preaching hatred towards Israel will neither make Israel go away, nor will it help the Arab people of the region. Working together with Israel will create a better future for all the peoples of the Middle East. Golda Meir’s words from 1957 are as relevant as ever in 2017.

Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern

United Nations International Day of Democracy

Today is the UN’s International Day of Democracy.

Israel was established as a parliamentary democracy, a state with fundamental democratic values. While much of the Middle East is hostile to democratic governments from forming, Israel strives to constantly develop as a democracy. Between rights for Palestinianswomen, and members of the LGBTQ community, Israel is a leader in democratic values in the Middle East, not to mention the world.

Danny Danon, first Israeli head of a commitee at the United Nations. Source: Facebook Page

Danny Danon, first Israeli head of a committee at the United Nations. Source: Facebook Page

Israel is often held to unfair scrutiny by the United Nations. While Syria tears itself to shreds, impoverishment only increases in India, and female genital mutilation is accepted among many countries, the UN chooses to unfairly criticize Israel rather than focus on critical international issues.

The UN ironically tried to condemn Israel for violating health standards at a World Health Organization assembly. Not only are Israeli health regulations up to level, Israel is a leader in international aid when other countries are in need of assistance.

Likewise, the UN tried to accuse Israel of not fully supporting women’s rights. In all areas, women in Israel have full equal rights. They lead in government, military, and all professional fields in Israel.

Just like any other democratic country, there are room for improvements. However, its democratic values cannot go unappreciated and its efforts to promote human rights should not be overlooked.

With pride in the democracy it is today, Israel celebrates the UN’s International Day of Democracy.

Alleged “humanitarian” workers in Gaza support Hamas terror

This month, the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security and intelligence agency, busted an alleged humanitarian aid UN employee, Wahid Abdullah Burash, for his support of terrorism. As an engineer of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Burash used UNDP funding which was designated for developing Gaza infrastructure, his knowledge from this project, and his access as an UN employee in order to assist Hamas in terrorism.

United Nations aid worker Wahid Abdullah Burash was arrested by the Shin Bet. Photo: Shin Bet security force, via the Algemeiner

United Nations aid worker Wahid Abdullah Burash was arrested by the Shin Bet. Photo: Shin Bet security force, via the Algemeiner

In another recent scandal discovered this August, the Shin Bet arrested Mohammed El Halabi, the chief executive of Christian aid group World Vision, for assisting Hamas with millions of dollars worth of “aid” money designated for Gazans. El Halabi has reportedly confessed that World Vision has been funding Hamas terror tunnels and Islamist militants. This supposed “aid” worker has now been exposed as a life-long member of Hamas. Sadly, El Halabi is only one example of Hamas’s tactics to exploit well-meaning NGO aid efforts in order to advance their terrorist work in Gaza.

Supposed aid workers who in reality support terrorism prevent much-needed development in Gaza and discourage future aid work in Gaza–how can anyone support a “humanitarian” program that may be directly supporting terrorism? As human rights activist Bassem Eid sadly acknowledges, this scandal “will prevent other [NGOs] from working in the West Bank as well as in Gaza.”

As Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the head of the Israeli Law Center, explains, the arrest of El Halibi is “a turning point in the struggle to deprive terrorists from the oxygen they receive in the form of aid.”

The graph depicts the number of truckloads that entered Gaza via all Israeli-controlled crossings from October 2009 onwards. Source: PalTrade, OCHA-OPT and UNSCO. These figures include truckloads of goods entering the Gaza Strip other than fuel and gas. Source: Gisha, Legal Center for Freedom of Movement

The graph depicts the number of truckloads that entered Gaza via all Israeli-controlled crossings from October 2009 onwards. Source: PalTrade, OCHA-OPT and UNSCO. These figures include truckloads of goods entering the Gaza Strip other than fuel and gas. Source: Gisha, Legal Center for Freedom of Movement

Despite Hamas’ terror tunnels infiltrating into Israel, rockets launched into Israel, and abuse of aid work, Israel constantly assists the inhabitants of Gaza. Even during times of war, Israeli soldiers risk their lives in order to deliver goods and supplies to Gazans.

Sadly, as journalist Ariel Bolstein explains, many organizations including the UN, World Vision, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, have been tricked into funding terrorism or have been betrayed by employees who use their positions to support terror activities. We can only hope that the Shin Bet’s recent discoveries will prompt justice to be served, resulting in the restoration of proper aid to Gaza.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz

For Israel, every day is World Humanitarian Day

Today is World Humanitarian Day. On a day like today, Israel can be extra proud of its impressive contributions to populations around the world.

In 1958, only ten years after the State of Israel was established and was struggling to build itself up, the state created an official humanitarian aid agenda. Since then, through various organizations, Israel has been dedicated to serving international humanitarian needs.

As the #IDFWithoutBorders map shows, the Israel Defense Forces have sent countless aid missions across the globe. Sent by the IDF to help the Philippines recover from a typhoon, one doctor explains that “This sort of mission allows you to be a real doctor, this is what medicine is all about.” Medical resources should be used for good, for treating people and saving lives and that is exactly what the IDF strives to do by bringing top medical care and support resources to places in need. With the IDF’s C4I BranchIsrael’s advanced military technology even allows doctors and nurses to create an internal digital medical file for every patient while abroad.

Hundreds of casualties were tended at the IDF field hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, after the earthquake earlier this year. Photo by IDF Spokesperson via FLASH90 and Israel21c

Hundreds of casualties were tended at the IDF field hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, after the earthquake earlier this year. Photo by IDF Spokesperson via FLASH90 and Israel21c

IDF delegations are often the first to set up field hospitals and provide help at post-disaster scenes. The IDF will carefully help in areas that could potentially put Israel in danger as well. The IDF recently began helping Syrians by allowing for the delivery of medical, educational, and food supplies into Syria.

Non-profit humanitarian aid organization, IsraAID's chief operating officer Navonel Glick. Source: CIJA

Non-profit humanitarian aid organization, IsraAID’s chief operating officer Navonel Glick. Source: CIJA

Aside from the IDF’s incredible aid work, IsraAID, a non-profit, apolitical organization, has provided aid relief to 37 countries and and reached over one million people in need. The organization works tirelessly to help reconstruct and rehabilitate populations recovering from crises, providing rapid response humanitarian aid as well as long term support programs.

Source: www.bicom.org.uk

Source: www.bicom.org.uk

Just days ago, IsraAID’s chief operating officer Navonel Glick was awarded with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for his dedication and leadership. Based out of the Tel Aviv headquarters, Glick manages this incredible organization. Glick feels very honored by this award and is pleased that it is bringing attention to the need to further expand international humanitarian aid.

Israel continues to develop internally, and with all its advancements, becomes even more dedicated to helping populations in need abroad.

Happy World Humanitarian Day from Israel!

To learn more about IsraAID, visit their website and check out their accomplishments from 2015:

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz.

Israel, the Indigenous Land of the Jewish People

Israel and the Jewish people’s right to live in their homeland, Israel, is often unfairly questioned. Today is the UN’s International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples. Especially on a day like today, it is important to remember that Jews are a people indigenous to the land of Israel.

Here are some of the main aspects of Jewish heritage that serve as testimonies to the indigenous roots of Jews in the land of Israel:

The holy sites of Israel

Soldiers celebrate at the end of the Six Day War at the Western Wall. Source: israelforever.org

Soldiers celebrate at the end of the Six Day War at the Western Wall. Source: israelforever.org

The Jewish people’s connection and longing to visit Jewish sites are a part of the ancient relationship to the land. Jews today return to their holy sites in Israel, for example the Kotel, also known as the Western Wall. The Western Wall was the only part of the Jewish Holy Temple that remained after it was destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 BCE. Following the destruction of the Holy Temple, the Jews were exiled from Israel. While in exile, the Jews yearned to return to Israel and connect with their holy sites as they still do today. In 1967, when the Israeli Paratroopers breached the walls to the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six Day War, the connection to the Western Wall was reignited. The Jews celebrated their newfound freedom to once again visit a site so significant to their history in the land, and holy in their religious practice.

The Hebrew language

Image by Philippe Assouline. Taken from the blog post: http://www.israellycool.com/2014/01/09/israel-palestine-whos-indigenous/

Image by Philippe Assouline. Taken from the blog post: http://www.israellycool.com/2014/01/09/israel-palestine-whos-indigenous/

Hebrew is a semitic language, spoken in ancient Israel by the Jewish people. The Torah, the Old Testament of the Jewish people, has been preserved in its natural Hebrew form. The Jewish people lost their tradition of speaking the Hebrew language while in exile outside of Israel. In the 1880’s, Eliezer Ben Yehuda revived the ancient language of Hebrew by beginning to speak it with his family and introducing it back into Israel’s Jewish population. It was revived, and is now spoken as the modern language of Israel as well as by Jews around the world.

A knowledge system tied to the land

Source: Chloe Valdary's Twitter page

Source: Chloe Valdary’s Twitter page

The Torah, the book of the Jewish people, serves as a system of knowledge for Jews on its history and common values. Orthodox Jews read and regard the Torah a rule book and spiritual guide on how to conduct daily life. However, the Torah is studied by Jews across the spectrum-it is by no means exclusive to “religious” Jews. Advanced schools of secular Torah study, such as Bina, exist as well. The Torah is a natural part of the Jewish identity for many and its content is deeply connected to the land of Israel.

A belief that constantly unifies the people

Israeli society is diverse but core values remain among Jews. Source: yourjerusalem.org

Israeli society is diverse, but core values are shared amongst all Jews. Source: yourjerusalem.org

The idea of Zionism, the desire to return to the Jewish homeland, is a belief that unifies the Jewish people. While Jews have been dispersed around the world during times of exile, the focus on the land of Israel is at the core of the Jewish people’s identity.

Special relationship to and use of the land itself

Israel water drip system. Source: Haaretz

Israel water drip system. Source: Haaretz

Israelis appreciate the mere dirt and dust of the land. In Israel, agriculture is a significant aspect of culture. Between kibbutzim, communities highly based on agricultural work, and Ben Gurion’s legacy to make the Negev desert bloom, Israelis are culturally tied to the land itself and dedicated to making it continuously grow.

Necessity of the land for the physical and cultural survival of the people

A supporter of SJP shows what their true mission is.

A supporter of SJP shows what their true mission is.

Time and again, the Jewish people have been persecuted. The Jews were enslaved in Egypt, were exiled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, were persecuted during the Farhud in Iraq, and were slaughtered throughout Europe during the Holocaust. Today, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are spreading across college campuses in America and across Europe. Jews have the right to physical and cultural survival in the land that is historically their own.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz.

Unfair Criticism Confronted: Israel at the UN

UN Watch, an organization that monitors the United Nations and promotes human rights for all reports on instances where Israel is unfairly criticized at the UN.

Following Operation Protective Edge, Israel was accused of war crimes at the United Nations. In response, Richard Kemp, a highly-respected colonel in the British Forces and CAMERA speaker, testified on Israel’s behalf. Colonel Kemp addressed the UN’s false and misleading accusation:

“While the IDF made efforts, unprecedented in any other army, and exceeding the requirements of the laws of war, to save Palestinian civilian lives, including warning them to leave target zones, Hamas forced them to remain in those areas.”

Hamas’s cornerstone strategy was, as he explained, to “cause large numbers of casualties among their own people in order to bring international condemnation against Israel, especially from the United Nations.” According to Kemp, the UN not only unjustly condemns Israel but also faithfully reiterates Hamas’s own false narrative in doing so.

Col. Richard Kemp Speaks at the UN. Source: UN Watch

Col. Richard Kemp Speaks at the UN. Source: UN Watch

More recently, this past May, UN Watch reported that, “the UK, France, Germany and other EU states voted…for a UN resolution, co-sponsored by the Arab group of states and the Palestinian delegation, that singled out Israel at the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the only violator of ‘mental, physical and environmental health.’”

Swedish delegate joins UK, France, Germany and other EU states today in singling out Israel at the 2016 WHO world assembly. Source: UN Watch

Swedish delegate joins UK, France, Germany and other EU states today in singling out Israel at the 2016 WHO world assembly. Source: UN Watch

Ironically, however, the UN Assembly did not address Syria and Russia for bombing Syrian hospitals, or criticize Saudi-led groups for bombing millions of Yemenis and blockading their access to food and water. In fact, the UN did not even pass any other resolution on any other country in the world.

This resolution against Israel, Item No. 19, serves as an example of what Hillel Neurer, Executive Director of UN Watch deems absurd.  As he explains, this “resolution…accuses Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan, even as in reality Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks.”

This past April, the NY Daily News reported that the “United Nations [singled] out Israel for anti-women bias in the middle east.” In reality, women in Israel have full rights as citizens. The integration of women in the IDF serves as a great example for foreign militaries.

Source: United with Jerusalem Facebook page.

Source: United with Jerusalem Facebook page.

However, twenty countries in the UN voted to condemn Israel as women’s victimizer, and somehow decided to specifically only condemn Israel.

The criticism of Israel aside, more troubling is how the UN chose not to confront other countries regarding women’s rights.

Other countries cry for reform yet were not criticized at all by the UN.

In Saudi Arabia, women are denied the right to drive, walk around without a chaperone, or do other basic day-to-day activities. And even more tragically, in Sudan especially, women are subjected to genital mutilation. The UN fails to fully advocate for women when they choose to not condemn such horrific standards.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, activist against female genital mutilation. Source: quotesgram.com

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, activist against female genital mutilation. Source: quotesgram.com

While Israel was exclusively blamed for victimizing women, a recent UN report exposing the genocide of Yazidis in Syria and Iraq did, however, finally include criticism of ISIS for ongoing mass rapes.

One must wonder—in disgust and astonishment—how this could possibly be.

Even more recently, UN Watch exposed the unfair reporting of the Tel Aviv terror attack by Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan. UN watch reported that he “noticeably refused to call Wednesday’s Palestinian shooting of Israelis in Tel Aviv a terrorist attack…and he refused to mention that the attackers were Palestininan. Moreover, [he] declined to call out Hamas leaders for celebrating the murder.”

In a recent report republished by the Washington Post, the Associated Press finally exposed the mistreatment of Israel at the United Nations. While Israel has been an active part of the UN since 1949, as the AP article explains, Israel is unfairly criticized in many UN committees, while fellow member states get away with horrific atrocities.

Until now, unfair criticism of Israel at the UN has not been confronted by the media. The succinct AP report has allowed mainstream media to cover the issue, and will hopefully raise awareness and outrage.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz

Building Bridges, Not Boycotts

The BDS movement is working to break down Israeli society and prevent Israeli individuals from developing the only democracy in the Middle East—a country where Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, or any other people for that matter, can practice their religion freely.

CAMERA on Campus was thrilled to sponsor and participate in the Building Bridges, Not Boycotts Anti-BDS Conference held at the United Nations, where Pro-Israel organizations came together to stand strong together against the discriminatory movement.

Gilad Skolnick (left), CAMERA's Director of Campus Programming, with students Lilia and Austin.

Gilad Skolnick (left), CAMERA’s Director of Campus Programming, with students Lilia and Austin.

Interviewed by the Associated Press, Gilad Skolnick, director of campus programming for CAMERA, said that of the 26 U.S. college campuses that voted on BDS resolutions last year, 12 were approved and 14 were rejected.

“So while it is a problem, BDS is often times a symptom of hatreds and anti-Semitism that starts on campus so CAMERA’s strategy is to set up before that happens so that it doesn’t become an issue,” Skolnick said.

MC Noa Tishby, Israeli actress and producer, introduced the first ever international anti-BDS movement in the United Nations. Tishby made clear that the Ambassadors against BDS will not accept the BDS movement, which is based on lies. The focus of the summit was to present the truth to the world.

Matisyahu sings at the UN. Source: onlysimchas.com

Matisyahu sings at the UN. Source: onlysimchas.com

Amongst a variety of speakers, Matisyahu brought his pro-Israel voice to the United Nations. In an invigorating moment, Matisyahu sang Jerusalem and could not have been more powerful:

“Jerusalem, if I forget you
Fire not gonna come from me tongue
Jerusalem, if I forget you
Let my right hand forget what its supposed to do”

We will not forget our Jerusalem. The BDS movement will not stop the Jewish people from living in our land of milk and honey after three thousand years with no place to be.

Danny Danon, Israel’s envoy to the UN, spoke as well. “It is up to us to stop this campaign of hate,” Danon explained, this conference serving as a metaphorical “Iron Dome” against the constant attacks from the BDS movement. Addressing the “leaders of BDS which call for the elimination of Israel,” Danon exposed them as the “true face of modern anti-Semitism.” They have no true interest in peace and are only devoted to attacking Israel.

Danny Danon at the United Nations. Source: Facebook Page

Danny Danon at the United Nations. Source: Facebook Page

He also reminded students, when bombarded by the BDS movement and anti-Israel messages on campus, to “remember this picture,” the picture of over 1,500 pro-Israel advocates convening at the United Nations. This summit does not just serve as a statement to the BDS movement that “you will never win,” he said, but as an inspiration for Jews and Zionists as well—stand for truth and know you never stand alone.

“This is not just a one-time conference,” Danon continued, this is only part of our fight to not let “the BDS demonize Israel…this is the time to take action.”

Danny Danon does not just talk the talk. Shortly after this conference, Danon showed us a great example of how to walk the walk.

While the BDS movement is trying to prevent Israeli advancements and stop Israeli individuals from taking part in the international world, Danny Danon made history at the United Nations. He became the first Israeli to head a committee at the United Nations since it was established in 1945.

Palestinians and other nations tried to stop the appointment, but Danon succeeded to fill this position after months of diplomatic wrangling. Israel is a world leader in international law and in fighting terrorism and Danon says he is “pleased to have the opportunity to share [Israel’s] knowledge with the countries of the world.”

As Israel’s Ambassador, Danon confronts opposition from groups like the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the UN, just as students face harassment from the BDS movement on their campuses.

Discussing how he will run the UN committee, Danon makes his intention to not back down absolutely clear and sets a great example for anyone combating anti-Israel obstacles:

“We will not allow dictatorships and anti-Israel countries to harm our standing in the international community. Those who tried to block our appointment would be well advised to take note of the jurisdiction of this committee, as they have much to learn about international law. We are a full member of the UN and any attempt to deny us of our legal rights in this organization will be met with uncompromising rejection.”

As Noa Tishby stated at the beginning of the anti-BDS conference, we stand for a “devotion to Israel, and a commitment to making the world a better place.” Danny Danon is the perfect example of putting these sentiments in motion. May our generation follow his lead.

We’re Sending Iran the Wrong Message

CohenRaizy

CAMERA Fellow Raizy Cohen.

On Tuesday, March 13th, Vice President Joe Biden was in Israel discussing prospects for peace with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who, in the classic fashion of Israel’s “partners for peace,” rejected all proposals. At the same time not too far away, Iran was busy test-firing ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel. This clear sign of belligerence was not surprising coming from Iran, the largest state-sponsor of terrorism the world over.

Iranian Missile Test

Some are claiming that these missiles are not in direct violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, put in place shortly after the passing of the Obama administration’s incredibly controversial nuclear deal with Iran, which “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles.”  As if to assuage doubts that they were not in violation of international law, Iran then fired two ballistic missiles on Wednesday emblazoned with Ayatollah Khomeini’s ever-catchy tagline “Israel must be wiped off the Earth.” To add incitement to aggression, General Amir Ali Haji Zada, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s air force, informed the media that these missiles “belong to the Palestinian people.” Yet somehow, Iran is maintaining that this launch, and its blatant hostility and provocation, was carried out purely with self-defense in mind. It is baffling that some people possess the power to delude themselves into believing that Iran is seeking nuclear missiles for peaceful purposes.

A week later, Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “a nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, to the region and the United States.” He then assured Netanyahu that America will see to it that Iran adheres to nuclear deal, proposed by the Obama administration this past summer. “If in fact they break the deal,” said Biden, “we will act.” So it seems that, given this obvious sign of aggression, the US should “act.” America said it would bring this matter to the Security Council, which is to convene on Monday to discuss what American ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers, calls “dangerous launches.” Yet despite the fact that these launches were “provocative,” it was determined by the Obama administration that these missiles did not violate the nuclear agreement.

In response to this attack, Bibi beseeched the free world to “take immediate punitive steps following the repeated gross transgressions by Iran in the matter of rockets.” The European Union is considering issuing sanctions on Iran given the recent missile tests, an especially bold move considering the fact that this is a governing body who claimed that the singling out of Israeli products with labeling would somehow “serve to reduce the current levels of tension, fear and despair, among both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Even those shortsighted or intellectually dishonest enough to claim that the Iran deal is good for the free world must admit it qualifies as “a pretty good deal,”  as Colin Powell so eloquently said, only if all parties adhere to said deal.  If Iran can break the nuclear agreement so soon after its passing and feel no consequences, what kind of message does that send?

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at NYU Polytechnic, Raizy Cohen.

Apply for the 2016-2017 CAMERA Fellowship here!

The Need to Hold Abbas Accountable

The west’s blind eye hurts both Israelis and Palestinians

BandlerSuri

CAMERA Fellow Suri Bandler.

On April 18, a bus was bombed in Jerusalem in a terror attack. Hamas, the internationally recognized terror organization that controls the Gaza Strip, praised the attack and said that the group “blesses the Jerusalem operation.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack immediately, pledging to hold the terrorist accountable. So far, President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has remained silent. In February 2015, a federal jury found the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization responsible for supporting six terror attacks in Israel — including similar bombings and deadly shootings — that claimed the lives of American victims. However, the western world and the U.N. continue to believe Abbas’s claims that he is eager to make peace. Perhaps they are influenced by some of his favorable-sounding comments over the years.

On making peace: While addressing the U.N. General Assembly in September 2015, Abbas claimed, “We are working on spreading the culture of peace and coexistence between our people…”

On rejecting violence: While addressing the U.N. General Assembly in 2011, Abbas said: “The PLO and the Palestinian people adhere to the renouncement of violence and rejection and condemning of terrorism in all its forms…”

On aiming for a two-state solution: Also in his 2011 address to the UN, Abbas stated, “The goal of the Palestinian people is the realization of … their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the land of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip…”

Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly in September 2015.

Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly in September 2015.

As a result, Abbas is viewed by many influential world leaders as a partner for peace. In a 2013 address to the people of Israel, President Obama stated, “I genuinely believe that you do have a true partner in President Abbas.”

In reality, Abbas says one thing to the U.S. and the west and quite another to his people and the Arab world. Both through his words and through his actions, Abbas contradicts his claims that he desires to live in peace with Israel. By evaluating his statements that were not directed at the west, it becomes clear that Abbas and the P.A. promote hate, incite violence, reject a two-state solution, and deny Israel’s right to exist.

On promoting hate: Abbas’s party, Fatah, releases hateful political cartoons that often use classic forms of anti-Semitic imagery. For instance, Fatah released two cartoons following the November 2015 Paris attacks. One depicted Netanyahu and an ISIS figure crouched on a balcony aiming a gun with the Eiffel Tower in the background, implying that Israel was behind the attacks in collaboration with the terrorists. Another depicted a matchbox with the word “terrorism” written across the front containing an “ISIS” match and a “Jewish” match. Meanwhile, some schools under the P.A.’s ministry of education are named after terrorists.

On inciting violence: Abbas says that he’s opposed to violence, and yet just last month he referred to the current terror wave of stabbings and vehicular ramming attacks as “legitimate peaceful protest.” He meets with the families of terrorists and has praised them as martyrs, and his government builds memorials in their honor. Abbas says that Israel is defiling the temple mount, and on Palestinian television he said, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” His party Fatah released a music video on its TV channel calling on Palestinians to “drown [Israelis] in a sea of blood, kill them as you wish.”

On rejecting a two-state solution: Although he has repeatedly told the U.N. that he supports a two-state solution, Abbas rejected Prime Minister Olmert’s proposal in 2008 that would have established a Palestinian state in the West Bank (after land swaps), with the eastern parts of Jerusalem as its capital, the Old City under international control, and a tunnel built connecting the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Similarly, in March 2016, Abbas rejected a U.S. peace initiative offered by Vice President Biden that included designating the eastern part of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state and a halt in settlement construction in return for the recognition of Israel as the Jewish State.

On denying Israel’s right to exist: At the same time, Abbas denies Israel’s right to exist. In a Palestinian TV interview in March 2016, Abbas referred to all of Israel as occupied territory and claimed that “we’ve been under occupation for 67 or 68 years.” By claiming that an occupation began in 1948, when Israel was reestablished, and not 1967 when Israel gained control of the West Bank in a defensive war, Abbas denies Israel’s right to exist even according to the 1947 Partition Plan. He publically claims that settlements are the obstacle to peace, but also claims that the whole nation is occupied, therefore contradicting himself. On Palestinian television in 2014, Abbas was even more direct: “The Palestinians won’t recognize the Jewishness of the State of Israel and won’t accept it.” Other politicians in his Fatah party are entirely explicit. A senior official of the P.A., Abbas Zaki, said in a 2011 interview, “If I say that I want to remove [Israel] from existence, this will be great, great, [but] it is hard. This is not a [stated] policy. You can’t say it to the world. You can say it to yourself.”

It may be tempting to hope that Abbas is committed to his more peaceful assertions, but in light of his own stated intentions and actions, that would be turning a blind eye. Unfortunately, that blind eye leads to disastrous consequences for both Israelis and Palestinians. It causes many in the international community to view Israel as the sole party responsible for the lack of peace in the region, which gives the Palestinian Authority the legitimacy to continue to incite violence and hatred among its people. This delays peace even further. Abbas’s duplicity, for example, has helped lead western powers such as France and Spain to draft one-sided resolutions condemning Israel’s settlement policy as the obstacle to peace, with no mention of the P.A.’s actions. Similarly, just this past week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) presented a resolution that entirely ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and Rachel’s Tomb. Not only does this blatantly ignore history, but it also encourages violence and hatred as some Palestinians are led to believe that Israel is attempting to desecrate these sites. Terrorists then have further motive and support from their own people to attack Israeli civilians.

Abbas has shown that he is willing to lie in order to gain credibility among the international community. In the meantime, he incites violence and rejects peace. Tragically, both his own people as well as the people of Israel suffer from his duplicity. Abbas is entering his eleventh year of a four-year term, and no elections are in sight. As terror continues to plague Israel and Abbas prepares another U.N. resolution condemning settlements to divert attention from the P.A., it is crucial that western powers acknowledge his doublespeak. After all, opinions should always be based on reality rather than on selective hearing. Therefore, Abbas must be held accountable for all of his words and actions, and the role of Abbas and his government in the downfall of the peace process must be recognized and condemned on the international scale — if not for Israel’s sake, then for the sake of Abbas’s own people.

Originally published in The Tech.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at MIT, Suri Bandler.

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