Wednesday, November 24, 2004

United Nations' Anti-Semitism 

Three articles by Anne Bayefsky:

The U.N. discovers the cause of anti-Semitism: Jews.

BY ANNE BAYEFSKY, Thursday, November 18, 2004

Ms. Bayefsky (http://www.bayefsky.com/) is an international lawyer and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute (http://www.hudson.org/ ) Read more about her below.

Yesterday the House International Relations Committee revealed that money from the United Nations Oil for Food program, which was supposed to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, helped pay the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. This shouldn't come as a surprise. The U.N. has a problem with anti-Semitism: It doesn't know what it is.

In order to figure it out, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and Unesco invited a group of experts to Barcelona last week. Their mission: to provide the U.N. special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Doudou Diéne, with advice on anti-Semitism as well as "Christianophobia and

From whom did the U.N. get advice? There was Tariq Ramadan of Switzerland's Fribourg University, who was denied entry to the U.S. in August on the basis of a law concerning aliens who have used a "position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity" or are considered a "public safety risk or a national security threat." But apparently the U.N. thought it was worth listening to the views on racism of someone who said on Sept. 25,
2001, that "[Osama] Bin Laden is perhaps a useful straw man, like Saddam Hussein, whose diabolical representation perhaps serves other geo-strategic, economic or political designs."

Then there was anti-Semitism expert Esther Benbassa from the Sorbonne. She wrote in September 2000, "Today, especially in the United States, Jewish philanthropy is exerted in the name of the perennization of the memory of the Shoah [Holocaust]. The money flows to create pulpits on anti-Semitism and the genocide, to finance museums, and research. As if nothing else were significant or had ever existed."

In her written contribution to the meeting, she artfully refers to "merging the image of the extermination with the might of Israel against the Palestinians, the one image reducing the significance of the other, and the Jew as both victim and executioner." Maybe the U.N. tapped her for her expertise at encouraging anti-Semitism?

Also in Barcelona were two Israelis who sit on the board of the same nongovernmental organization, the Alternative Information Center, a perennial U.N. favorite though it is on the fringes of Israeli society. The Center's co-chairman Michael Warshawski wrote in a 1996 newsletter: "Ethnic cleansing is a basic Zionist principle and policy." Fellow board member and Tel Aviv University professor Yossi Schwartz presented a paper at the center's workshop
this past May "with the support of the Basque Government" entitled "Anti-Zionism Not Anti-Semitism." Calling for the elimination of the Jewish state is not new to Mr. Schwartz, who has written--after quoting from Trotsky's "epoch": "The solution of the working class to the national question in Israel/Palestine is not one or two or three capitalist states but a socialist federation of the Middle East."

Some invited Jews canceled their participation in the Barcelona conference, though some did attend, including another Israeli. They were compelled to spend their time taking exception to contributions from experts such as "superimposing the Jewish symbol of the Magen David on the Nazi swastika is not anti-Semitism."

At the end of the meeting a draft report, prepared with the assistance of U..N. staffers, was shared with participants, who now have a few days to confirm the outcome. The report will become a U.N. document, and it will be disseminated around the world. Here are some excerpts from the U.N.'s contribution to combating anti-Semitism:

"In practice, it is often difficult for an anti-Zionist type of expression not to be seen as simultaneously anti-Semitic. Nevertheless, several participants maintain that it is necessary to conserve the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, whilst defending the right to be anti-Zionist without being branded an anti-Semite and also bearing in mind that most Jews were anti-Zionists before 1935...
"The genuine Zionism of many Jews helps to explain the fact that many people wrongly feel that most Jews lend their unconditional support to Israeli policies. That is why we have seen attacks on synagogues, arson attacks on schools, desecration of cemeteries, for reasons that have nothing to do either with religion, or education, or the peaceful rest of the deceased, but that
have a great deal to do with a political and a territorial conflict...
"In the past, anti-Semitism as a phenomenon was absent from the Arab-Muslim world. Here, the Arab-Israeli conflict plays an essential role, but another important element is the perception of the State of Israel as the "Trojan horse" of the West in the Middle East. Anti-Semitism would therefore be a particular manifestation of the hatred felt for the West, partly for financial reasons..."


"...The leaders of Jewish communities should also act to distinguish defence of the State of Israel from the fight against anti-Semitism... "Contextualising the memory of the Holocaust with that of other genocides and serious events in contemporary history in order to make sure that at the end of the day everyone can feel the Holocaust as their own tragedy, both Jews and non-Jews."

In other words, according to the U.N. experts' draft report, discrimination against individual Jews is bad, while "anti-Zionism"--the denial to the Jewish people of an equal right to self-determination--is not. Since it is the perception of unconditional Jewish support for Israel that leads people to attack a Jewish cemetery, and anti-Semitism was absent from the Muslim world
prior to the Arab-Israeli conflict (the mufti of Jerusalem and his friend Hitler notwithstanding), the way to defeat anti-Semitism is for Jews to cut loose defense of the state of Israel. And by the way, anti-Semitism will diminish if only we stop emphasizing the unique horror of the Holocaust.

It may not be surprising to learn that Mr. Diéne seems to have had pretty fixed ideas about anti-Semitism before the meeting even began. In his October 2004 report to the General Assembly, he wrote:
"The cycle of extreme violence triggered by the dynamics of occupation .... has fuelled profound ethnic antagonism and hatred. ... The Palestinian population... is... suffering discrimination. Even if Israel has the right to defend itself... a security wall... constitutes a jarring symbol of seclusion,
erected by a people... marked by the rejection of the ghetto. One... effect of this conflict is its... contribution to the rise of... anti-Semitism."

Simply put, Jews are responsible for anti-Semitism. Or, if it weren't for Israel's annoying insistence on defending itself, on the same terms as would be applied to any other state faced with five decades of wars and terrorism aimed at its obliteration, Jews would be better off.

It is interesting to compare the U.N. expert's incisive analysis of the underlying hatred in Sudan. After noting in the same report that two million Sudanese have died and four million have been displaced, he muses that: "...massacres, allegedly ethnically motivated, are continuing to claim
victims in the Darfur region. ... The Special Rapporteur therefore proposes to give greater priority to this region with a view to conducting... an investigation... of the ethnic dimension of the conflicts ravaging it."

Another day, another U.N. meeting, another UN report, and another serious step backward in combating anti-Semitism. And don't forget, another American taxpayer dollar.


U.N. vs. Israel: Telling standards.

by Anne Bayefsky
April 20, 2004


GENEVA — The U.N. response to the death of Abdel Aziz Rantissi, and Sheikh Ahmad Yassin before him, exposes a disturbing fault line in the war against terror.
Hamas has been declared a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, as well as the European Union, Canada, and Australia.

The 1988 Covenant of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, speaks for itself. It begins "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." It continues: "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors." Its violent message is invoked in the name of defeating the "plan of World Zionism" "embodied in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion." In Rantissi's words of July 2001: "I urge all the brigades to...target the Israeli political leaders and members of parliament..."; "the Hamas political leadership has freed the hand of the brigades to do whatever they want against the brothers of monkeys and pigs."

In plain language, the Hamas aim to obliterate the Jewish state is about pure, unadulterated antisemitism.

Rantissi himself (and others, such as Yassin) was named by the State Department as a "specially designated global terrorist." Last month the Bank of England froze the assets of Rantissi because "the Treasury have reasonable grounds for suspecting that...Rantissi, is or may be a person, who commits, facilitates or participates in" "the commission of acts or terrorism."

As soon as Rantissi took over the leadership of Hamas on March 23, 2004, after the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) killed Yassin, he called for further bloodshed, "The doors are wide open for attacks inside the Zionist entity."

Israelis keeping the grim statistics have counted at least 425 Hamas attacks killing 377 Israelis and wounding 2,076 in less than three and a half years of violence, including 52 separate suicide attacks. Hamas terrorists have blown themselves up among teenagers at a discotheque, families at a Passover seder, in restaurants, in a pedestrian mall, and on commuter buses. Only one day prior to Rantissi's death Hamas claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing which killed another Israeli.

The international legal framework, therefore, could not be clearer.

Rantissi was a combatant in a war. His killing was not "extrajudicial" because the legal term, by definition, applies only to individuals entitled to judicial process before being targeted. Combatants — including the unlawful combatants of Hamas who seek to make themselves indistinguishable from the civilian population — are not entitled to such prior judicial process. Furthermore, the manual on the laws of armed conflict of the International Committee of the Red Cross, states that civilians who take a direct part in hostilities forfeit their immunity from attack. Even beyond that, judicial process in these instances is not an option, since it would place both IDF and Palestinian civilians at much greater risk of harm.

The overriding legal limit on the conduct of war and the targeting of combatants like Rantissi is the rule of proportionality. In the words of the Geneva Conventions, an attack on a military target "which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life" is prohibited if "excessive." The likelihood of civilian casualties must be carefully considered prior to taking action.

With zero civilian casualties (the only deaths being that of Rantissi and two Hamas accomplices, one a bodyguard, the other his 27-year-old son), the Israeli action could not have been more precise, and hence, proportionate.

The United Nations response to the legality of the killing of Rantissi (and Yassin) is therefore enormously revealing.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan led the way: "The Secretary-General strongly condemns Israel's assassination... Yassin...[E]xtrajudicial killings are against international law." On April 17, he used the identical words to condemn the "assassination of Rantissi."

Almost immediately following Yassin's death (along with eight others at least four of whom were also Hamas terrorists), on March 22, 2004, the U.N. Human Rights Commission convened a special sitting. This move was despite the fact that the commission was already in session, and at that very moment set to consider the only country-specific agenda item at the commission for the past 34 years — on Israel. The suffering of Yassin's victims, or the current genocidal plight of Sudanese in the Darfur region — reported by international agencies to involve 10,000 dead in the past year, and which may now have reached 1,000 dead per week — didn't move the commission to hold a special sitting. But they did see fit to schedule an extra three hours to denounce Israel over the death of one man — a man who personally instigated and authorized suicide bombing, ordered the firing of missiles at Israeli communities, and repeatedly exhorted his followers to "armed struggle" against Israelis and Jews "everywhere."

Having glorified the terrorist in particular, the commission went on to sanction terrorism in general. On April 15, the commission adopted a resolution, sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which aimed to condone suicide bombing by referring to "the legitimacy of the struggle [against] foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle" and the "right...to resist." The resolution passed by a large majority.

Shortly thereafter, resolutions which would have criticized Zimbabwe, China, and Russia (in relation to events in Chechnya) were either blocked by procedural maneuvers or voted down. The total tally of country specific votes coming from the 2004 Commission now stands at:
Rest of the World-4
(the other states being Belarus, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Turkmenistan).

While those other country resolutions were being considered, the U.N. hosted a two-day meeting on Israel's security fence, April 15 and 16, directly across the hall from the commission. The juxtaposition was staggering. The same facilities were provided for a meeting on Israel as were provided for human rights on the remainder of the planet. And hours before the meeting ended on its second day, the "Final Document" — condemning Israel — was distributed to the public claiming to be based on discussions which had not yet occurred.

Sooner or later one can only hope a light will go on. Whatever superficial lip service is paid to the contrary, according to the U.N., Israel has no right of self-defense. Everything the U.N. does in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict — whether it be calls for the return to 1967's indefensible borders, declarations that Jerusalem is occupied territory, demands for the return of Palestinian refugees ending the Jewishness of the state, or efforts to isolate and demonize Israel as the worst human-rights violator in the world today — emanates from the standpoint that the Jewish side is not entitled to fight back.

This publication was originally published on National Review Online (http://www.nationalreview.com/ ) on April 20, 2004


W.’s U.N. Mandate: Time to rethink this relationship.

By Anne Bayefsky
November 09, 2004, 7:53 a.m.

No faces were more sullen the day after the election than those of the diplomats and bureaucrats skulking around the halls of the United Nations. Secretary-General Kofi Annan eked out a brief statement last Wednesday in which he "warmly congratulate[d] President Bush on his re-election" and pledged his "commit[ment] to continuing to work with President Bush and his administration on the whole range of issues facing the United Nations and the world." Though such U.N. doublespeak rarely raises eyebrows anymore, one element of the "political capital" that the president received upon reelection warrants some plain language.

President Bush has a mandate to rethink American relations with the United Nations.

The campaign gave voters two clear alternatives. Senator Kerry's would-be foreign policy was based on a "global test" that involved dealing "at length with the United Nations," in marked contrast to the president's position that American interests diverge in important respects from U.N. proclivities. The president reminded voters of a decade of U.N. huffing and puffing on Iraq and of the dangers of political adventurism by the U.N.'s International Criminal Court. Then the American people chose.

The campaign also smoked out something more sinister than impotence or ineptitude at Turtle Bay, namely, a U.N. secretariat dedicated to undermining the president's success. Their tactics should not be forgotten in the wake of their ultimate failure. There was the U.N. refusal of American protection for U.N. officials in Iraq, minimal support for Iraqi-election preparation and institution-building, the venting of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's personal belief that the war on Iraq was illegal. And in the last weeks of the campaign, the director general of the U.N.'s Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed El-Baradei, sought to draw as much attention as he could to weapons missing from the Iraqi facility at Al-Qaqaa for the last 18 months and representing a fraction of the munitions destroyed and secured since the fall of Saddam Hussein. With a Gallup poll on the eve of the election saying eight of ten Americans were following the issue of the missing explosives closely and that 58 percent were apportioning at least a moderate amount of blame to the president, a 6,200 U.N. staff in the middle of America's largest metropolis with a 3.16 billion-dollar biennium budget for 2004-05 is a force to be reckoned with.

The day of reckoning has come. In an election that turned so much on values, what values does the U.N. promote? To name a few, the U.N.'s primary human-rights body, the Commission on Human Rights, includes such role models as China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. Not surprisingly, of 86 separate votes held at the 2004 Commission, the U.S. was in the minority 85 percent of the time. Reports estimate that more than two million people have been killed in Sudan over two decades of conflict, 70,000 have been murdered in the Darfur region since March, and another 1.6 million persons are currently displaced. But there has been no U.N. General Assembly emergency session on Sudan, just as there wasn't for Rwanda or the former Yugoslavia. That's because the Assembly's emergency sessions are reserved for denouncing Israel, the "tenth" emergency session having now been "reconvened" 13 times in the past seven years. Instead, the U.N. has sent a commission of inquiry to Sudan to "determine whether or not acts of genocide have occurred or are still occurring" and to report in three months. Zhila Izadi, a 13-year-old Iranian girl, is currently under a sentence of death by stoning for the crime of being raped and impregnated by her brother. But the U.N. response to a criminal "justice" system that stones, amputates limbs, and publicly hangs children was to abolish the post of U.N. investigator of human-rights violations in Iran in April 2002. So much for values.

In the past four years, largely as a result of the predilections of Secretary of State Colin Powell, American policy toward the U.N. has been inconsistent. Unfettered American handling of Arab-Israeli diplomacy has been modified by Powell, Annan, and the EU. They spawned the quartet with its promise to make the U.N. itself an indispensable player, despite its gross bias against Israel.

The president told the U.N. in September 2002 that there had to be serious consequences for the failure of Iraq to abide by a decade of Security Council resolutions, but then spent six months lending credence to the view that the Council's approval for imposing those consequences was required.

The differences between the president's and the U.N.'s agenda should no longer be papered over. Success in the war against terrorism requires identifying the enemy. The U.N. has no definition of terrorism. Close to a third of its members actively participate in the Organization of the Islamic Conference and stand in the way of a comprehensive convention against terrorism or any resolution that would unequivocally condemn the use of all available means in the name of a struggle for self-determination.

Success requires an accurate assessment of priorities. The U.N. thinks the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the greatest impediment to world order — not a nuclear Iran, not a bellicose North Korea, not the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists, and not violent Islamic fundamentalism.

Success depends on distinguishing causes from effects. The U.N. claims the root cause of militant Islamic terrorism the world over is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, while in fact the occupation results from failed (and continuing) Arab attempts to destroy the Jewish state.

And success depends on an accurate assessment of responsibility. The U.N. Arab Human Development Report says "Arab countries...evince the lowest levels of freedom among the world regions compared.... When it comes to voice and accountability, the Arab region still ranks lowest in the world." The report notes "the virtual absence of good governance," "the relative backwardness of the Arab region in this vital area" of "knowledge acquisition, absorption and use." But when it came to assigning responsibility, the report points a finger at "the severe impediment of human development" caused by "the Israeli occupation of Palestine" and explains that "the issue of freedom in Arab countries has become a casualty of the overspill from the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq."

On every one of these counts — the names of the terrorists and their state sponsors, renouncing terrorism and committing to democratic reform first, the refusal to answer the question of "why do they hate us?" by self-flagellation, and the placement of responsibility directly at the feet of the despots — President Bush has staked out a dramatically different course from that of the U.N. Therefore it is time that U.S. taxpayers had an in-depth accounting of the 22 percent of the U.N. budget that comes from their blood, sweat, and tears.

Anne Bayefsky is an international lawyer and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute (http://www.hudson.org/ )


(Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow with Hudson Institute http://www.hudson.org/ . Before joining Hudson she was an adjunct professor and associate research scholar from 2002 to 2004 at Columbia University Law School in New York. She was a visiting professor at the law school from 2001 to 2002.

In January 2003 she launched http://www.bayefsky.com/ , a major human rights website dedicated to enhancing the implementation of the human rights legal standards of the United Nations. The site has attracted over 500,000 visitors from 96 countries.

In 1996 Bayefsky began her tenure as a full professor in the Department of Political Science at York University in Toronto. She is currently on leave. From 1996 to 1999 she was the director of York’s Centre for Refugee Studies. From 1998 to 2004 she served as project director for the university’s Human Rights Treaty Study, a major international review of the U.N. human rights treaty system. In 2001 she published a report in collaboration with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

From 1981 to 1996 Bayefsky was a professor of constitutional and international law at the University of Ottawa.

Bayefsky has been the recipient of many honors. Each July from 2002 to 2004 Bayefsky has been a Lady Davis Fellow at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was the 1992 recipient of the Bora Laskin National Fellowship in Human Rights Research, Canada’s annual premier human rights research fellowship, and she was a 1995-1996 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant in Peace and International Cooperation.

She is a member of the International Law Association Committee on Human Rights Law and Practice and on the Governing Board of U.N. Watch, an ECOSOC-accredited NGO based in Geneva. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the series "Refugees and Human Rights", published by Brill.

In 2001 she was a delegate of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists to the NGO Forum and a delegate of UN Watch to the Durban World Conference against Racism. She has served as an academic member of the Canadian Delegations to several international meetings, including the U.N. Human Rights Commission (1993-1996), the U.N. General Assembly (1984 and 1989), and the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights (1993). In 1995 she was a delegate of the American Society of International Law to the Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women.

She holds a B.A., M.A. and LL.B. from the University of Toronto and an M.Litt. from Oxford University. She is a barrister and solicitor of the Ontario Bar.)

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