(Carl) Well, isn’t this amazing? ‘Human rights watch’ has finally figured out that Hamas and other ‘Palestinian’ terror groups committed war crimes by shooting rockets from civilian areas in Gaza to civilian areas in Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense.
“Palestinian armed groups made clear in their statements that harming civilians was their aim,” said HRW’s Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson. “There is simply no legal justification for launching rockets at populated areas.”
The group also found that Gazan groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Resistance Committee, justified targeting civilian centers as reprisal for Israeli strikes, an act also banned under international law.
Furthermore, such groups “repeatedly fired rockets from densely populated areas, near homes, businesses, and a hotel, unnecessarily placing civilians in the vicinity at grave risk from Israeli counter-fire,” the report said.
The detailed report included examples of rockets being launched from densely populated areas in Gaza, and noted that groups fired from underground tunnels with hatches for the first time. HRW faulted Palestinian armed groups for failing to alert civilians or urge them to evacuate prior to launching rockets in their vicinity.
As the ruling power in the Strip, the human rights group said, Hamas was responsible for reining in the behavior of other groups.
“As the ruling authority in Gaza, Hamas has an obligation to stop unlawful attacks and punish those responsible,” Whitson said.
But lest you get your hopes up for a Goldstone or other style of inquiry into these human rights violations….
A week earlier, HRW reported that Israeli attacks on journalists and media facilities during the operation also violated laws of war, saying that Israel provided no specific information to justify claims that they were military targets.
“Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command center does not make it so,” Whitson said. “Journalists who praise Hamas and TV stations that applaud attacks on Israel may be propagandists, but that does not make them legitimate targets under the laws of war.”
Well yeah, except that Israel did provide evidence, and Hamas’ al-Aqsa television is a designated terror organization.
Dear Mr. Roth,
We are shocked to discover that Richard Falk—the U.N. official whose antisemitic remarks and 9/11 conspiracy theories have been condemned by British Prime Minister David Cameron, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay—is a board member of your organization.
By legitimizing this racist and enemy of human rights, your organization undermines its own founding principles. We urge you to remove him immediately.
According to your website, Mr. Falk is a member of Human Rights Watch’s prestigious Santa Barbara Committee, composed of prominent citizens who play a key role in your organization’s global work.
We find it astonishing that Mr. Falk would be rewarded by such a prestigious position with Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s largest human rights organizations.
As a keen follower of the U.N. and its Human Rights Council, you surely know the following:
That Falk is so extreme in his support for the Hamas terrorist organization that even the Palestinian Authority—as revealed in a Wikleaks cable, and which Falk himself admits—has sought to remove him, on grounds that he is a “partisan of Hamas“;
That Falk last week published an article attempting to downplay, reinterpret and justify the latest call by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to destroy Israel;
That Falk last year published on his website an antisemitic cartoon showing a dog wearing a Jewish head covering, and with “USA” written on its body, urinating on a depiction of justice and devouring a bloody skeleton;
That Falk was condemned for this antisemitic act by British Prime Minister Cameron;
That UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also condemned Falk’s cartoon as “antisemitic”;
That Falk now provides the cover endorsement of a virulently antisemitic book, “The Wandering Who,” whose author, as documented by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz in The New Republic, boasts about drawing “insights from a man who… was an anti-Semite as well as a radical misogynist,” a hater of “almost everything that fails to be Aryan masculinity,” declares himself a “proud, self-hating Jew,” writes with “contempt” of “the Jew in me,” and describes himself as “a strong opponent” of “Jewish-ness”;
That, only two months ago, Falk was condemned for endorsing this antisemitic book by the British Foreign Office, which protested to the U.N. and expressed its “serious concerns”;
The dark knights of human rights (Itai Reuveni)
Just over two weeks ago, there was a report about a Jewish woman in Iran who, for years, had been harassed by her Muslim neighbors who demanded that she evacuate her home to make room for a mosque. The woman was ultimately stabbed to death, and her body dismembered.
About a month ago, an Iranian human rights activist of Arab descent was tortured to death at a notorious Iranian prison. Add to that the testimony of a senior Revolutionary Guards officer who defected to the U.S., indicating that every woman who is sentenced to death in Iran is first raped so that she won’t enter heaven a virgin.
These are just a handful of examples out of thousands of human rights violations in Iran. This raises a disturbing question: Where are the human rights organizations? Where are the condemnation campaigns and calls for boycotts? Where are the threats to take senior Iranian officials to the International Court of Justice? Where are the enormous budgets? Shouldn’t there be lobbies crowding the halls of the U.N. and EU institutions?
The concept of “human rights” — founded on universal principles — has lost its moral significance and has now become merely a tool utilized by nongovernmental organizations as a means of obtaining political objectives. This exploitation, compounded by the blatant disregard for any facts that do not fall into line with the activists’ views, encourages nations like Iran to keep doing what they are doing. Human rights organizations have been commandeered by a handful of extremists who seek to advance a political ideology rather than protecting the world’s citizens, whether they are Iranian or Syrian, Palestinian or Israeli.
Iran is usually mentioned in the context of a security threat. The various organizations are only reminded of Iran in the context of Israel. There are nearly no campaigns for human rights in Iran — you can count the ones that do exist on the fingers of one hand. And so Iran, where, according to its president, there are no homosexuals or lesbians (and if there are, they are hanged in the city square), and where acid is squirted on protesters, and where men and women are raped in prison, and where the national sports are soccer and stoning people, keeps on abusing human rights. For their part, the human rights organizations argue that they don’t have the resources to take action within a closed society. Why take a risk when you can protest in Bil’in in the morning and have a beer in Tel Aviv that same afternoon?
These organizations fail to realize that human rights are inextricably linked to the strength of a society, even when said society exists under a sadistic tyrannical regime. Many people may find this surprising, but there is a strong, flourishing civil society in Iran, with a long, rich history of organizing: from the 1890 Tobacco Protest to the struggles over the constitution and the country’s oil, through to the 1979 Islamic Revolution all the way to the 2009 Iranian Election Protests and the creation of the Iranian Green Movement. This is a country with a rich social history and with a fascinating language and culture. But its freedom-seeking citizens have been abandoned by the knights of human rights, the knights who populate those organizations with the enormous budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars and with worldwide infrastructure and with ideologically motivated activists. These organizations allocate a large portion of their resources to the one-sided cheerleading squad for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in complete disproportion to all the other human rights violations around the world.
For example: Robert Bernstein, the founder of Human Rights Watch, harshly criticized the very organization he founded in a New York Times op-ed several years ago. Bernstein criticized the organization for ignoring human rights violations in closed societies, for its anti-Israeli bias and for “issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.” He wrote this op-ed after a 2009 fundraising event in Saudi Arabia, organized by Human Rights Watch, in which anti-Israel rhetoric was used to raise money. That same year, a senior organization official visited Libya and praised Moammar Gadhafi’s son, calling him a reformer and leader of the Libyan Spring.
Today, international Human Rights Day, the human rights organizations need to do some soul searching and really check whether the allocation of their resources truly reflects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the U.N. on Dec. 10, 1948). They need to ask themselves whether the concentration of efforts to bash Israel and the disregard for violations in other countries truly contributes to the human rights of any group, or rather serves to alienate the public, to belittle the concept of human rights and to encourage rights violations in places like Iran.
If we honestly care about human rights, we must liberate the concept from the hands of those who have tried to commandeer it.
Syria to Join UN Human Rights Council
Another hit for the Useless Nations. Are these clowns ever going to wake up and realize where the real evil lies? How many bribes and kickbacks are enough? I think it’s time for the U.S. to pull out of the U.N. They are oviously trying everything in their means to minimalize American influence and make a mockery out of human decency.
Other journalists have had their cameras and notepads confiscated while covering various events that were deemed “provocative” by the Hamas authorities.
Hamas believes that intimidation of the media will prevent the truth from coming out. Like most Arab dictatorships, Hamas does not tolerate stories that reflect negatively on its radical regime in the Gaza Strip – the reason the Hamas government has been cracking down on local journalists who fail to toe the line.
Although some of the journalists who were assaulted work with international news organizations, many of these foreign media outlets ignored the story, apparently out of fear of retribution by the Hamas authorities.
These journalists who chose to defy Hamas should be supported not only by their foreign colleagues, but also by Western governments and human rights organizations.
Otherwise, the day will come when the world will never know what is really happening inside Hamas’s Gaza Strip.
In an attempt to divert attention from its repressive measures, the Hamas government this week issued an apology to all Palestinian journalists who were beaten up during their work.
But the apology is nothing but a ploy designed to absorb growing resentment with Hamas’s totalitarian regime in the Gaza Strip.
Some Palestinian journalists have succumbed to the threats and violence by changing their profession; others are continuing to do their job despite the dangers; many Palestinian journalists may soon be forced to go underground out of concern for their safety.
The attacks on Palestinian journalists reached their peak on March 15, when Hamas policemen used force to disperse thousands of Palestinians who had gathered in a public square in Gaza City to demand “national unity” between Hamas and Fatah.
The demonstration was part of a Facebook campaign organized by Palestinian youth with the aim of exerting pressure on the two rival parties to end their dispute and form a unity government.
The Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned the assault of Palestinian journalists and said it was “gravely concerned by Hamas’s crackdown on the media.”
It said that “on a day ostensibly devoted to Palestinian unity, police brutally attacked photographers and cameramen, beating the, breaking equipment and confiscating photos and video footage. This is the latest in a string of chilling attacks on reporters in Gaza.”
But the West sits silent.
hey… but Libya is part of the Human Rights Council… I’m sure they will help… LOLZ
For those of you wondering why the
JCC logo has been censored, go here.
At a press conference in New York on Sunday, JCC Watch ripped the JCC of the Upper West Side of Manhattan for cooperating with organizations that promote boycott, divestiture and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
The JCC of the Upper West Side, notes the watchdog group, is a beneficiary agency of the UJA-Federation. BDS was launched in 2005 by various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which seek to demonize, delegitimize, and ultimately destroy Israel by the spread of misinformation, incitement, and promotion of various boycotts.
In a news conference held Sunday afternoon in front of the JCC offices, JCC Watch reported that the organization is partnering with a number of pro-BDS organizations.
Among those listed were the leftist organizations New Israel Fund, B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, and J Street.
JCC Watch founder Richard Allen called on the JCC board of directors to establish public and transparent guidelines regarding BDS.
“It’s time that the board of directors of the JCC in Manhattan take action. It’s simple: all they have to do is stop supporting groups that partner with, fund, or support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel,” Allen said.
I know the rabbi of that JCC. I had my Bar Mitzvah at a Reconstructionist Synagogue called B’nai Keshet in Montclair NJ. Joy Levitt is a very sick woman. this is not political for me. this is personal.
Joy had me thrown out of Hebrew school at B’nai Keshet …if I remember correctly. I drew a picture of my teacher when I was 13 years old. for the record I was wrong… and it wasn’t a female teacher it was a male teacher, but I was 13 years old. I had to train for my Bar Mitzvah with the Orthodox because the Reconstructionist synagogue would not allow me to go to Hebrew school. These women are out to hurt Western men. It is their agenda. The girls are coddled and groomed and the boys are given hairy eyeballs. I have pictures of girls dancing with each other at my Bar Mitzvah party. at the time it didn’t mean anything to me. now I realize they were reinforcing Anti-Social behavior. Very few of the kids still talk to each other. Just about every girl who was in my Bar Mitzvah class is now a lesbian. The one straight girl there in my class was known to be promiscuous. when they elected Obama president… it felt like Montclair NJ started running the government. I used to get beat up by black kids and my parents would take me to a shrink and the guy would say… “you don’t know how to read people”. yeah right… I read the hate just fine
That same year, Libya received nearly 19% of its total imports from Italy, followed by China at 10%, and Germany and Turkey at about 10% each, the CIA reported. France accounted for less than 6%. via sidetick.com
The European Union has long claimed the moral high ground in the Middle East, but for many years it has misrepresented its post-modern “soft power” foreign policy as a morally superior alternative to the United States in the Arab world.
The popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East are exposing the hypocritical ambiguities that underpin European foreign policy. At the same time they are drawing attention to Europe’s own democratic deficit.
As Egyptians were rising up against their government in early February, for instance, the European Union’s “Foreign Minister,” Baroness Catherine Ashton, penned an article in the London-based Guardian newspaper saying she wanted to see “deep democracy” take root in Egypt. Ashton warned that Egypt should not become a “surface democracy” with votes and elections, but that it should be a “deep democracy,” which involves “respect for the rule of law, freedom of speech, an independent judiciary and impartial administration.” Ashton also said the Egyptian government “must respond to the wishes of their people.”
The irony of Ashton’s cheek in lecturing other countries on democracy is that she was elevated to her current position neither through “surface democracy,” nor through “deep democracy,” but through backroom wheeling-and-dealing in the European Union’s unelected Narcissocracy, which is notorious for ignoring the wishes of European citizens.
Although Egyptian President’s Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign was propped up by phony elections that were rigged time and time again, arguably he had more democratic legitimacy than Ashton, who has never faced the scrutiny of a ballot box (okay, in 1982 she was elected to become the Treasurer of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament at a time when it was receiving financial support from the Soviet Union), but she and has never once campaigned to win over the hearts and minds of the European masses she claims to represent.
Moreover, Ashton’s current position, formally known as “The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,” was established by the European Union’s controversial Lisbon Treaty. Also known as the Reform Treaty, the Lisbon Treaty is nearly identical to the European Constitution, a document that was soundly rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. Likened to a “slow-moving coup d’état,” the 250-plus page Lisbon Treaty is all about the centralization of political power by an unelected ruling clique in Brussels. The treaty not only establishes a permanent EU president, foreign minister and a European Union diplomatic service; it also obligates European nations to surrender, in many areas, their sovereignty to centralized decision-making.
Given the European Union’s own lack of democratic legitimacy, it is not surprising that Ashton’s calls for more democracy in the Arab world have come across as patronizing and hypocritical.. It also goes a long way in explaining why Europe’s “value-based” foreign policy has been unable to formulate a coherent response to the momentous changes taking place in the Middle East.
Consider the EU’s much-vaunted European Neighborhood Policy, a scheme that involves providing aid and trade to countries in North Africa and the Middle East in return for progress on democracy and human rights. Over the past decade, Arab autocrats have received billions of euros in financial handouts, even as Europeans have turned a blind eye to lack of democratic reforms in the region.
While Europeans talk a good game about democracy promotion, in practice they have been far more interested in pursing realpolitik, largely in order to protect their business interests in North Africa and the Middle East, and to ensure regional stability to keep a lid on illegal immigration.
One example involves Tunisia. The autocratic government of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali secured more than €3.6 billion ($ 4.9 billion) from European taxpayers since 1995, largely at the behest of France. In the midst of the Jasmine Revolution (as the political upheaval in Tunisia is being called), the European Union continued to insist that Ben Ali’s government was a success story.
During the early days of fighting in Tunisia, French Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie was vacationing in the seaside town of Tabarka using a jet owned by a Tunisian businessman linked to Ben Ali. She was accompanied on the December trip by her partner Patrick Ollier, also a minister within the French government.
According to the French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, Alliot-Marie’s parents bought shares in a property company owned by an associate of Ben Ali while protests were going on in Tunisia. Just three days before Ben Ali was removed from office, Alliot-Marie offered the “know how” of France’s security forces to help quell the fighting in Tunisia.
Alliot-Marie resigned from her post on February 27; French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that his ministers should stick to France for their holidays to avoid gaffes, after it emerged that Prime Minister François Fillon had accepted a free holiday from ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Another example involves Libya. The European Union, which receives over 85% of Libya’s crude oil exports, has been split over how to react to the violence engulfing the country. A few northern European countries have called for immediate sanctions on the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. But they have been opposed by southern European countries like Italy and Spain, which have significant oil and gas and interests in Libya, and which also fear a “biblical exodus” of refugees.
Libya exports natural gas to Italy by way of an underwater pipeline, and to Spain in the form of liquefied natural gas. Libya accounts for some 13% of Italy’s total gas imports, and just over 1.5% of total Spanish gas imports. But many more European countries receive crude oil from Libya. Austria receives 21.2% of its crude oil imports from Libya, France 15.7%, Germany 7.7%, Greece 14.6%, Ireland 23.3%, Italy 22.0%, the Netherlands 2.3%, Portugal 11.1%, Spain 12.1%, and the United Kingdom 8.5%, according to the International Energy Agency.
Britain has long been accused of pandering to Libyan autocrats. In August 2009, the Labour government was involved in releasing from prison the bomber of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people. British commentators have speculated that the release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who had served only eight years of a life sentence, was motivated by lucrative Libyan oil deals as well as anti-Americanism.
Germany, Switzerland and Austria, all of which have important business interests in Iran, have long resisted more vigorous sanctions to contain Tehran’s nuclear program.
In Spain, where the Socialist government never misses an opportunity to criticize Israel, the only real democracy in the Middle East, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has been pleading with the autocrats in Qatar to invest €3 billion in Spain’s ailing banking sector.
But European bureaucrats are skilful players of the double game, and will respond with more moral posturing. It’s all part of the act.
image via Crethi Plethi Flickr
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration are on an urgent rescue mission – for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Clinton is not in Geneva today to do something about human rights. She is in Geneva to protect the administration’s investment in the U.N. human rights organization’s top body, which only six months ago welcomed Libya as a full member and only three months ago passed it through its meaningless “universal periodic review” process, touted as its number one monitoring procedure.
On Friday, March 4, Iran – the country that buries women naked to their waist and then stones them to death for “adultery” – is going to take its seat as a full-fledged member of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.
If President Obama and his secretary of state really understood the error of using the United Nations to prop up human rights demons, then rather than attempting, even today, to help the Human Rights Council cover its tracks, it should be telling the world and the U.N. to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women.
And it should resign from the Human Rights Council effective immediately now that its “reform” has proved to be impossible – as was obvious to human rights victims from the start.
But don’t hold your breath. The Obama administration would rather promote the institution of the United Nations than save real people from the U.N.’s grotesque neglect.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said that while he appreciated the EU’s efforts, the draft resolution must be strengthened by including a call to strip Libya of council membership and by condemning Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his government.
“First, the moral outrage of Libya’s membership on the world’s top human rights body must end immediately.
Even the Arab League ejected Libya. With bodies piling up on the streets of Libya, the EU and the must not stay silent on this pernicious moral hypocrisy,” Neuer said.
“Second, the EU must explain why its draft – breaking with council practice on condemnatory resolutions – studiously avoids naming the Libyan government or its leader as the perpetrators of the ongoing atrocities,” he said.
Diplomats are expected to hold a number of meetings to work on the draft’s language before Friday’s session.
There is some fear in Geneva that there might not be enough support within the council to pass a strong resolution against Libya, despite the many international voices, including that of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who have condemned the country’s government.
It remains a possibility that the measure might not pass at all. African and Asian members of the Human Rights Council have in the past blocked criticism of abusive governments except when it has been directed at Israel, which has been the subject of six emergency meetings in five years.
The signature of several Muslim governments in support of the special session – including Jordan, Qatar and the Palestinian Authority – does indicate a crumbling of traditional bloc-support for the Gaddafi regime.
Independent of diplomatic efforts at the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, there is a simultaneous push to sway the UN General Assembly to call for a vote to strip Libya of its council membership. Human Rights Watch, which has been advocating for such a measure, said that it was complicated because no member had ever been kicked off the council.