As Israel begins to reopen to tourists and pandemic restrictions ease, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism looks for new ways to market itself to visitors. The nation has long been a religious and historical destination, but rarely is it thought of as a wine destination. That honor goes to places like Tuscany or Bordeaux. Yet,…L’Chaim: A Booming Wine Scene Adds to Israel’s Tourism Appeal — VinePair
Lost in the shuffle of the murderous attack at the Kabul airport, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had his first meeting with US President Joe Biden and the tone couldn’t have been more different than it was from Benjamin Netanyahu’s meetings with either Donald Trump or Barack Obama. Bennett and Biden struck a positive but…Biden and Bennett tone down US-Israel relations —
The Biden Administration announced that it is going to send $150 million of American tax dollars to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. This “temporary” agency was established after the Arab war to destroy Israel in 1948-9, to care for “persons whose normal place of residence […]A Tale of Three Palestinian Refugees, With and Without UNRWA — FirstOneThrough
OIC meets in Turkey on Jerusalem, USA and Trump; Summit collectively denounces Jerusalem’s recognition and calls on international community to recognize East Jerusalem as capital of “Palestine”; Netanyahu: All these statements fail to impress us. Dec 14, 2017. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation met in Instanbul on Wednesday, heads of state and representatives from Muslim […]
Beginning tonight, we enter the fast of Tisha B’Av, known as the saddest day on the Jewish calendar when we mourn the destruction of the Temples. To commemorate this tragedy we fast, avoid certain pleasurable activities, and hold special services in shul. If you are a healthy adult who is able to fast, it is […]
New post on National Post
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Last week a massive 10 year, $38 billion military aid package to Israel was agreed between the US Administration and Israel: WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Barack Obama’s near parting gift to Israel, a guarantee of $38 billion in defense assistance over a decade, distills into a single document what he’s been saying throughout eight fraught […]
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Depravity at the UN Human Rights Council
The UN Human Rights Council held a special session in Geneva on July 23, 2014 to declare effectively that Israelis do not have human rights. The vote was 29 in favor, 1 against and 17 abstentions.
The Obama administration voted against – after joining and legitimizing the virulently anti-Jewish Council for the past five years, and now feigning disappointment for American cameras.
The Europeans abstained because they did not want to upset their violent Muslim minorities, and because their sordid past didn’t leave the resolution’s message too foreign in any case. A few cowardly countries that Israelis have magnanimously befriended over the years also abstained.
But the majority of the UN world cheered – literally. Speakers during the procession of hatemongers at the Council were greeted with applause.
As is their wont, CNN, the New York Times and company derived from this spectacle the lesson that Israel is pathetic, isolated and doomed.
But the real takeaway is the polar opposite.
Israel really is a light unto the nations.
The light years between the UN “human rights” machinery and genuine human rights is actually pretty obvious. At least to folks without years of foreign policy wonking, diplomatic double-talk language schooling, or blinkered war correspondence training.
Here is how it went down.
The “Human Rights” Council session on Gaza was presided over by President Baudelaire Ndong Ella of Gabon, a member of the Islamic bloc of states (OIC), and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
Pillay retires in August after six years dedicated to the demonization of Israel. A native of Durban, South Africa, Pillay spent her time in office championing the racist anti-racism conference that took place in her hometown in 2001 (after Durban’s mayor requested that she resurrect the city’s good name). She choreographed the second and third UN Durban conferences in 2009 and 2011 that “reaffirmed” the Israel-is-racist canard.
Pillay also initiated, and subsequently became the lead spokesperson for, the 2009 slanderous UN Goldstone report. Though Goldstone himself later recanted the charge, the report accused Israel of deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians the last time Israel had the audacity to mount a sustained response to the Hamas killing machine in Gaza.
In short, Pillay was bent on leaving office with a bang. Along with Durban II and III, Goldstone I and II would be her anti-human rights legacy.
Pillay opened the Council session on July 23, 2014. For her, “suffering” was a description applicable only to Palestinians. She carefully presented the charge of “crimes against humanity” – knowing full well that the image projected was one of Israelis as the new Nazis. She simultaneously called for an investigation to discern the facts and recounted a list of supposed Israeli-driven horrors, like killing little children while their pious parents prepared for Muslim rituals. She summed up Israeli operations in Gaza as having “inflicted” “unimaginable death, destruction, terror and life-long consequences.”
The feeding frenzy that followed her at the UN’s highest human rights body was raw unadulterated antisemitism. It was a verbal blitz timed to coincide with the blitz of Hamas rocket attacks that Israelis were experiencing from the skies. The Council session revealed – for the umpteenth time – that these offensives are a continuation of the rejection of a Jewish state, period. Or in the words of Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Maliki himself at the Council, first came the “Israeli atrocities of 1948.” Maliki went on to charge Israel with having “exterminated” Palestinians. His language included: “the smell of death is pursuing Palestinian children because of Israel…who have transformed children into shreds…while they tried to escape the machinery of death.”
Over and over again the despicable antisemitic analogy of Israelis to Nazis was repeated, along with maniacal claims from a parade of human rights abusers. Algeria said “Gaza is a concentration camp.” Sudan said Israel had a “policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide.” Iran claimed Israel was engaged in “massacres and crimes against humanity.” Venezuela said “Israel seeks to exterminate the Palestinian people.” Tunisia said “Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism and is acting in Gaza like the Nazis.” And then there were charges of “barbaric, inhuman acts,” “heinous massacres,” and “crimes unparalleled in recent history.”
In the end, the Human Rights Council’s resolution “deplores” and “condemns in the strongest terms” Israel’s “grave,” “widespread, systematic, and gross” “violations of human rights.” The word “Hamas” is never mentioned.
And the UN launched what might be called Goldstone II – another so-called “human rights” investigation into “violations of law in the occupied Palestinian territory” – not Israeli territory of course.
Goldstone II joins the voluminous UN anti-Israel mechanisms already in operation, such as: the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People; the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories; the UN Division for Palestinian Rights, and the UN Information System on the Question of Palestine.
On top of that, Goldstone I is still alive and kicking. It generates annual reports by the UN human rights commissioner, produced as recently as January 13, 2014. And it spawns annual resolutions by the Human Rights Council calling for its implementation, adopted as recently as March 28, 2014.
Before the vote on the resolution, the UN staff announced that the initial price tag for Goldstone II will be $2,321,500 – twenty-two percent of which will come from the American taxpayer, thanks to Obama’s ownership of the Council. Just on June 19, 2014, Keith Harper, U.S. Ambassador to the Council gushed: “The Obama Administration decided to seek membership because the United States believes the Council can make a difference. And on July 3, 2014 he claimed: “the most powerful tool we wield at the Human Rights Council is information – the ability to bring into stark focus the realities of injustice and abuse in the world…[T]he United Nations Human Rights Council is making a difference.”
What difference is it making?
There have been twice as many urgent debates and special sessions of the Council on Israel in its entire eight-year lifespan than there have been on Syria with upwards of 200,000 dead.
There has never been a single special session on a place like Iran or China or Russia.
One-third of all the resolutions and decisions critical of a single state – for all 193 UN members – have been directed at Israel alone.
There has never been a single resolution on a place like Saudi Arabia or Cuba.
So the difference the UN’s top human rights body is making is the perversion and defeat of human rights – the human rights of Israelis and the human rights of the Jewish people.
We are witnessing a terrible acquiescence to the suffering of the nation of Israel, a nation dedicated to life, freedom and equality. A nation committed to profound spirituality and compassion for all humankind.
Abandon Israel at the peril of all human decency.
The UN is lost. It is not too late for America.
Anne Bayefsky is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. Follow her @AnneBayefsky.
For more human rights and United Nations coverage see www.HumanRightsVoices.org.
UNHRC decision should be rejected by decent people everywhere
Rather than investigate Hamas, which is committing a double war crime by firing rockets at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians, the UNHRC calls for an investigation of Israel.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Ambassador Eviatar Manor addresses the UN Human Rights Council
Copyright: Israel Mission to the UN, Geneva
The decision today by the United Nations Human Rights Council is a travesty and should be rejected by decent people everywhere.
Rather than investigate Hamas, which is committing a double war crime by firing rockets at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians, the UNHRC calls for an investigation of Israel, which has gone to unprecedented lengths to keep Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way, including by dropping leaflets, making phone calls and sending text messages.
The UNHRC should be launching an investigation into Hamas’s decision to turn hospitals into military command centers, use schools as weapons depots and place missile batteries next to playgrounds, private homes and mosques.
By failing to condemn Hamas’s systematic use of human shields and by blaming Israel for the deaths that are caused by this grotesque human shields policy, the UNHRC is sending a message to Hamas and terror organizations everywhere that using civilians as human shields is an effective strategy.
Like the investigation that led to the infamous Goldstone report, a report which was ultimately renounced by its own author, this investigation by a kangaroo court is a foregone conclusion.
The predictable result will be the libeling of Israel and even greater use of human shields in the future by Hamas. Those who will pay the price will be not only Israelis but also Palestinians who Hamas will redouble its efforts to use as human shields in the future.
Three Seconds to Shoot Down a Missile and Save Hundreds of Lives
Published on: October 27, 2013
In the face of the constant threat of rockets and missiles, the IDF has been at the forefront of developing and operating air defense systems. What does it take to be an officer in this crucial field?
Imagine what an attack against Israel might look like in the not-too-distant future. In the opening salvo, a missile hits the heart of Tel Aviv, followed by precise rocket strikes on Israel from the Galilee to Eilat. Think this is an impossibility? Think again. Hezbollah alone has thousands of missiles aimed at major Israeli population centers. Their missiles can reach every single part of the country.
2013/10/27/three-seconds-shoot-missile-save-hundreds-lives/#.Um1LR50VSWM.wordpress’>Three Seconds to Shoot Down a Missile and Save Hundreds of Lives.
A perfect match
Published in: Melanie’s blog
And so it came to pass. Samantha Power has finally made it into the top tier of the Obama administration.
Power is reputed to be one of President Obama’s closest advisers. Until now, she was the relatively lowly director of multilateral affairs at the National Security Council. With her reported imminent appointment as the US Ambassador to the United Nations, what I predicted at the beginning of the Obama presidency has now happened: that in a second term, he would promote to the front rank those who were so extreme and so dangerous to the well-being of America and the civilised world that in his first term, so as not to frighten the horses, he would keep them in the lower ranks out of sight.
Well, we should all be frightened by Samantha Power.
She is the living embodiment of the way in which ‘human rights’ have morphed into their absolute opposite, and instead of providing a protection against tyranny have been turned into the anvil upon which freedom and justice are being smashed.
A supposed expert on genocide, having argued that nations have a moral obligation to prevent it, she was asked in 2002 as a ‘thought experiment’ what she would advise the US President to do about the Israel-Palestinian problem ‘if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide’. She responded to this already disturbingly loaded question:
‘…what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing — or investing, I think, more than sacrificing — billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.
‘Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But, sadly, we don’t just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. It’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called “Sharafat.” [Sharon/Arafat] I do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention’ [my emphasis].
Clearly, despite the careful nods to a (disgusting) moral equivalence Power was not talking about invading the disputed territories beyond Israel’s borders to prevent the Palestinians from committing genocide or major human rights abuses against Israel by wiping out the Jewish national homeland — an aim to which their leadership remains committed in word and deed.
No, she was talking about invading Israel to prevent a genocide, or major human rights abuses, (her language wasn’t clear, but the point is the same), against the Palestinians — something which, in any rational universe, not only could not possibly be laid at Israel’s door but also held out the possibility that Israel might commit atrocities against people who themselves make Israel the victim of precisely such atrocities (and indeed, commit them regularly against other Palestinians).
She also suggested that defending Israel was not a cause that should be dear to all Americans and indeed all decent people everywhere, nor that the great majority of Americans do indeed thus support Israel, but that the only people who might be alienated by invading Israel would be American Jews who exercised tremendous political and financial power over American politics.
Subsequently she said of these comments that she couldn’t remember what she had said and didn’t understand what she had meant.
Maybe a clue lies in what she told the New Statesman during Obama’s first presidential campaign:
‘So much of it is about: “Is he going to be good for the Jews?” ‘
Or when she bemoaned the tendency of US policymakers
‘to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics…’
Failing to understand herself seems to be a persistent problem beyond this amnesia about her own bigotry. In March 2008, she called Hillary Clinton
‘a monster…the amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive.’
Later she said of these remarks:
‘Of course I regret them…I can’t even believe they came out of my mouth.’
Here are some of her other activities to date.
In April 2003 she signed a Statement on Cuba, initiated by the Democratic Socialists of America member Leo Casey calling for the lifting of trade sanctions against Cuba.
Along with Susan Rice (the former UN ambassador, now appointed Obama’s National Security Adviser, heaven help us) and Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, Power is considered a key architect of the disastrous Libyan intervention.
And despite her advocacy of attack or invasion to prevent threatened genocides, she has sneered at concerns about the race to build a nuclear bomb by Iran, which has repeatedly threatened genocide against the Jews of Israel, as a figment of the war-mongering Republican imagination.
Samantha Power and the UN are thus a perfect match.