Friday, October 30, 2009

The Mask Covering UN Human Rights Councils's Agenda Slips--And Is Replaced

It seems like the party's over. Back on May 28, following the defeat of the Tamil Tigers terrorist group by the Sri Lanka government, the UN Human Rights Council was all smiles and congratulations:

...Condemning all attacks that the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) launched on the civilian population and its practice of using civilians as human shields, Reaffirming its commitment to promoting international co-operation, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, in particular Article 1, paragraph 3, as well as relevant provisions of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights on June 25 1993 for enhancing genuine co-operation among Member States in the field of human rights,

Recognizing that the promotion and protection of human rights should be based on the principle of co-operation and genuine dialogue and aimed at strengthening the capacity of Member States to comply with their human rights obligations for the benefit of all human beings,

Welcoming the conclusion of hostilities and the liberation by the Government of Sri Lanka of tens of thousands of its citizens that were kept by the LTTE against their will as hostages, as well as the efforts by the Government to ensure safety and security for all Sri Lankans and bringing permanent peace to the country;

Welcoming further the recent reassurance given by the President of Sri Lanka that he does not regard a military solution as a final solution, as well as his commitment to a political solution with implementation of the 13th Amendment to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, [emphasis added]

Back then, the UN Human Rights Council had no problem pointing out--and condemning--attacks on civilians and the use of human shields by the Tamil Tigers.

As far as they were concerned, it was a happy ending.
End of story--almost.

Not everyone shared the UNHRC's enthusiasm. The Times responded:

Sri Lanka claimed a propaganda victory last night after the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution praising its defeat of the Tamil Tigers and condemning the rebels for using civilians as human shields.

China, India, Egypt and Cuba were among the 29 developing countries that backed a Sri Lankan-proposed resolution describing the conflict as a “domestic matter that doesn’t warrant outside interference”. The resolution also supported Colombo’s insistence on allowing aid group access to 270,000 civilians detained in camps only “as may be appropriate”.

...Sri Lanka, unable to stop the Human Rights Council taking up its case, rushed its own motion to the floor in time to beat a more censorious resolution tabled by Switzerland.

And even the NGO's spoke up:

“The vote is extremely disappointing and is a low point for the Human Rights Council. It abandons hundreds of thousands of people in Sri Lanka to cynical political considerations,” Amnesty International said.

...Tom Porteous, the London director of Human Rights Watch, said: “The Human Rights Council had a chance to prove itself by calling for a serious inquiry into violations of the laws of war and human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, and they failed dismally.”

Considering the pressure and discontent at the Human Rights Council stand, it was only a matter of time before they reversed themselves:

UN proposes Goldstone-type mission to investigate Sri Lanka war crimes

Following the release of U.S. State Department's report that detailed alleged war-crimes committed by Sri Lanka's protagonists towards the end of war, conducted under Colombo imposed blackout, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights, Rupert Colville, said Friday that an inquiry similar to one that looked into fighting in Gaza may be needed to determine if war crimes were committed in Sri Lanka in the final weeks of the war. Brad Adams of HRW had earlier said "[g]iven Sri Lanka's complete failure to investigate possible war crimes, the only hope for justice is an independent, international investigation." Sri Lanka rejected the report as "unsubstantiated and devoid of corroborative evidence."
So where does that leave Sri Lanka, now faced with a Goldstone-style fact-finding investigation?
Will Sri Lanka unite with Israel, which has already pointed out numerous factual and legal issues with the Goldstone Report, in addition to the obvious biases?

Not if this article in the Sri Lanka Guardian is any indication:
It is indeed a bizarre state of affairs when the US secretary of State Hilary Clinton accuses the Sri Lankan military forces of war crimes and remains passive and silent and makes every effort to prevent the Israelis from being hauled before the International Criminals Court for war crimes in Gaza, such attitudes and actions have incensed the people of the world and hatred for the Obama administration grows by the day. All the Obama euphoria has evaporated and in Afghanistan a creeping Vietnam syndrome is gathering with Pakistan becoming slippery and Iraq again sliding into anarchy. Despite the war on terror, the US and its allies have not succeeded, in fact terror has grown and is growing.

Sri Lanka
is the only country in the world that has put down terror. We expected plaudits and cheers for this success, but the US and its allies are openly down playing the victory with inane charges of rape, war-crimes and abuse of human-rights. Now the Sri Lankans can clearly see the unmasked face of the ugly American clearly.

Coming back to Israel the great friend of the US despite irrefutable evidence, Israel rulers, civilians and military-stubbornly maintain they have done nothing wrong and the Palestinians are to blame for whatever misfortune has befallen them. A series of reports have confirmed that war crimes were committed in Gaza. If there are war crimes there must be war criminals, and they must be accountable and punished as Gordon Levy wrote in the Israeli daily

“ Ha’aretz” “ This is the harsh conclusion to be drawn from the detailed United Nations report” produced by Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa.

Justice Goldstone is a Jew and a self-confessed Zionist and supporter of Israel, hence he cannot be accused of anti-Semitism, a standard allegation hurled by Israelis at anyone criticizing their murderous ways. Every report on Gaza has given identical details: prolonged and illegal siege; illegal use of white phosphorous on civilian population, deliberate targeting and killing of innocent civilians; destruction of infra-structure- homes, schools and hospitals. These constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity as enunciated in the International Humanitarian Law. Apart from the UN report the whole worlds saw it in their television screens and were horrified at the cruelty of the Israelites.

There is no escaping the fact that the Zionist rulers are war criminals and those in the US and its allies that support Israel are accessories to war crimes. Let us name names Israel and others: Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Gabi Ashkenazi, George Bush, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Nicholas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown and the rest of rulers of the complicit countries in the West.

...Not to condemn Israel of war crimes in Gaza and falsely accuse Sri Lanka of war crimes without evidence is a horrendous crime in itself. Hilary Clinton’s image as a promising politician has been shattered beyond repair.
Sri Lanka, which apparently manipulated their original positive HRC resolution seems likely to tow the line when it comes to Israel. After all, they know who the real outcast is in the UN--and their best chance at defending themselves is to distance themselves from Israel and go it alone.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Founder Of Human Rights Watch Interviewed About His Criticism Of The Group

Here is the English translation of the answers given by Robert Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, to questions posed to him by Maariv.

1- Why did you write this op-ed at the TN [NY] Times last week? what was the 'straw that broke the camel back' from your point of view?

ANSWER TO QUESTION 1 – Actually it has been brewing for a long time. I had been trying to do a long piece because many of my views about human rights in the Middle East are different from those being expressed by Human Rights Watch. The Goldstone Report made me feel I should get something out, so I wrote the NY Times op-ed piece.

2- What was your vision when you founded Human Right Watch and does the organization follow your vision in the recent years?

ANSWER TO QUESTION 2 – My vision, I should say our vision because it was supported by a wonderful board – was to go into closed societies and try and help people in those societies who wanted free speech. I was a book publisher so that was an especially important principle to me and it’s a key part of the Declaration of Human Rights. But, of course, other basic human rights are also vitally important. – freedom of religion, equal rights for women, to name just two. When governments of closed societies asked us what we were doing about our own country we would explain that the United States had many faults but because we were an open society we had many organizations and other ways to try and bring change. But after a while we decided we would do some work in the United States but try to not replicate what was being done by others.

I also believe there can be times to do some work in open societies but, now focus is on the Middle East. I think Israel is a country where most people believe in human rights. But at this time many Israelis, and I share their view, do not believe that HRW in the issues it chooses, its tone, and even its interpretations of law are not helping to bring Arabs and Israelis together.

I had a lot to learn when I began feeling uncomfortable with HRW positions on Israel-Palestine issues in 2005 and certainly still do have a lot to learn, but almost from the beginning HRW has cast me as pro-Israel. I think that is the easiest thing to do – say someone is pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian. I like to think I am pro-human rights. Now that I have stated publicly, very sadly incidentally, that I am in disagreement with HRW, this will play out and others can decide if my views make sense.

3- You told me the you are amazed by the reaction, from general people and mostly from people inside the HRW. Can you explain?

ANSWER TO QUESTION 3 – I was amazed and encouraged by the reaction to my op-ed. Because so many of the positive comments have come, not from those considered hard liners but from people who think a lot about human rights, I have been particularly encouraged.

4- What do you think about the last Goldstone report? Is it part of the big problem you were talking about with me? and if so, why does he, and other human rights organizations, focus mostly on Israel?

ANSWER TO QUESTION 4 – I think the Goldstone Report is deeply flawed. I was surprised Judge Goldstone, who I know and admired, took the job. He had to head a commission created by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which I think any fair-minded person would say had to clean up itself before it dared to criticize anything.

When I read Judge Goldstone’s op-ed in the September 17 issue of the NY Times and he said “While Israel has begun investigating into alleged violations they are unlikely to be serious and objective” I felt he was just “judging” too much.

5- What do you think should be Israel respond to Goldstone report as well as to some of the HRW reports?

ANSWER TO QUESTION 5 – I can’t tell Israel what to do. I do not think any country would want to put up with a war of attrition, which can explode into real war any time. However I certainly don’t know the best way to stop it. I fault HRW for not taking a position on the war. The fact that Hamas-Hezbollah and Iran have declared it is their intention to try and wipe out Israel and all Jews seems to me, to be incitement to genocide, especially when it is backed by rocket attacks.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Morning Caption

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"Pro-Israel"--One Size Fits All, Almost

An administration that appoints Chas Freeman and Chuck Hagel, awards Mary Robinson the Medal of Freedom, dedicates itself to putting “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, adopts the Palestinian bargaining position by insisting on an absolute freeze of Israeli settlements, and declares Palestinians to be analogous to enslaved (by Israel, it must be) African Americans has a very peculiar definition of what it means to be “pro-Israel.” Somehow that escaped the notice of many during the last election.
Jennifer Rubin
The reference to Chuck Hagel is in regards to the fact that the Former Nebraska Senator has been named co-chair of President Obama's Intelligence Advisory Board.

So, who says that Chuck Hagel--who spoke at the J Street Conference--has a questionable record when it comes to Israel?
The National Jewish Democratic Council, for one:

March 12, 2007

Indecisive Senator Hagel has Questionable Israel Record

As Senator Hagel sits around for six more months and tries to decide whether to launch a futile bid for the White House, he has a lot of questions to answer about his commitment to Israel. Consider this:

- In August 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to write the EU asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

- In October 2000, Hagel was one of only 4 Senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.

- In November 2001, Hagel was one of only 11 Senators who refsued [sic] to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yassir Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel.

- In December 2005, Hagel was one of only 27 who refused to sign a letter to President Bush to pressure the Palestinian Authroity [sic] to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections.

- In June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran's nuclear program at the G-8 summit.

Here's what the National Review wrote about Hagel's stance on Israel in 2002:

"There's nothing Hagel likes less than talking about right and wrong in the context of foreign policy. Pro-Israeli groups view him almost uniformly as a problem. "He doesn't always cast bad votes, but he always says the wrong thing," comments an Israel supporter who watches Congress. An April speech is a case in point. "We will need a wider lens to grasp the complex nature and consequences of terrorism," said Hagel. He went on to cite a few examples of terrorism: FARC in Colombia, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, and the Palestinian suicide bombers. Then he continued, "Arabs and Palestinians view the civilian casualties resulting from Israeli military occupation as terrorism." He didn't exactly say he shares this view — but he also failed to reject it."

And here's what the anti-Israel group, CAIR wrote in praise of Hagel:

“Potential presidential candidates for 2008, like Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Joe Biden and Newt Gingrich, were falling all over themselves to express their support for Israel. The only exception to that rule was Senator Chuck Hagel …” [Council on American-Islamic Relations, 8/28/06]
Hagel will fit right in.

[Hat tip: Michael Goldfarb]

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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There Must Be As Many UN Special Rapporteurs As Obama Has Czars

With predictable results.
(Actually, there are more rapporteurs than czars, but we'll get back to that later)
If you thought the US had tzuris from the UN about its drones, you ain't heard nothin' yet.

From The New York Post:
Looks like the notorious UN Human Rights Council has taken a break from its constant bashing of Israel and is focusing on (ready for this?) housing violations in US cities, including New York.

You didn't know that "adequate housing" (whether you pay for it or not) was a universal human birthright?

Neither did we.

Nonetheless, the panel sent its "special rapporteur on adequate housing," Raquel Rolnik, on a whirlwind tour to sniff out these "violations" -- not to say, crimes -- against humanity.

It's nice to prioritize.
Well, at least the US was not Rolnik's first stop:

Actually, since 2000, the UN has had a housing investigator looking into shortages in such obvious places as Cambodia, Kenya and Iran. (Notably, the first place visited was the Palestinian territories.)

But this is its first foray into US territory -- and it remains to be seen whether she'll call for Donald Trump and other landlords to be hauled before the International Criminal Court.

It's just difficult to wrap one's brain around something like this, when you would think there are so many other far more pressing problems in the world.

After all, the problem here does have an easy solution--at least in New York:

On the other hand, there is a perfect site for new "affordable housing": that patch of land along the East River that's been wasted for 60 years on the UN.
After all, the UN should do its part.


By the way, there are an awful lot of Special Rapporteurs--46 in all:

Thematic mandates
  • Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living (2000-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (1990-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the right to education (1998-)
  • Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (1982-)
  • Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty (1998-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2000-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression (1993-)
  • Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (1986-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (2002-)
  • Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders (2000-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers (1994-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people (2001-)
  • Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons (2004-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants (1999-)
  • Independent Expert on minority issues (2005-)
  • Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (1993-)
  • Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity (2005-
  • Independent expert on the effects of economic reform policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights (2000-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism (2005-)
  • Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (1995-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights (1995-)
  • Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children (2004-)
  • Special Representative of the SG on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (2005-)
  • * Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (1994-)
Country mandates
  • Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus (2004-2007)
  • Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Burundi (2004-)
  • Special Representative of the Secretary-General for human rights in Cambodia (1993-)
  • Personal Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Cuba (2002-2007)
  • Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (2004-)
  • Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2004-)
  • Independent Expert appointed by the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Haiti (1995-)
  • Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Liberia (2003-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (1992-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (1993-)
  • Independent Expert appointed by the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Somalia (1993-)
  • Special Rapporteur on the situation on human rights in the Sudan (2005-)
  • Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Uzbekistan (2005-)

African Union

African Union Special Rapporteurs of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights:
  • Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Arbitrary, Summary and Arbitrary Executions
  • Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in Africa
  • Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
  • Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa
  • Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa
  • Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa
Organization of American States

Organization of American States Special Rapporteurs under the aegis of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights:
  • Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression
  • Special Rapporteur on Migrant Workers and their Families
  • Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women
And in case you are curious, here is a list of Obama's 32 czars as of August--From Glenn Beck
NOTE: positions that also existed under previous administrations are indicated with an *.
1. Afghanistan Czar - Richard Holbrooke
2. AIDS Czar * - Jeffrey Crowley
3. Auto Recovery Czar - Ed Montgomery
4. Border Czar * - Alan Bersin
5. California Water Czar - David J. Hayes
6. Car Czar - Ron Bloom
7. Central Region Czar - Dennis Ross
8. Climate Czar - Todd Stern
9. Domestic Violence Czar - Lynn Rosenthal
10. Drug Czar * - Gil Kerlikowske
11. Economic Czar * - Paul Volcker
12. Energy and Environment Czar - Carol Browner
13. Faith-Based Czar * - Joshua DuBois
14. Government Performance Czar - Jeffrey Zients
15. Great Lakes Czar - Cameron Davis
16. Green Jobs Czar - Van Jones
17. Guantanamo Closure Czar - Daniel Fried
18. Health Czar * - Nancy-Ann DeParle
19. Information Czar - Vivek Kundra
20. Intelligence Czar * - Dennis Blair
21. Mideast Peace Czar - George Mitchell
22. Pay Czar - Kenneth R. Feinberg
23. Regulatory Czar - Cass R. Sunstein *
24. Science Czar - John Holdren
25. Stimulus Accountability Czar - Earl Devaney
26. Sudan Czar - J. Scott Gration
27. TARP Czar - Herb Allison
28. Technology Czar - Aneesh Chopra
29. Terrorism Czar - John Brennan
30. Urban Affairs Czar - Adolfo Carrion Jr.
31. Weapons Czar - Ashton Carter
32. WMD Policy Czar - Gary Samore

Is it only coincidence that both the UN and Obama are about equal in accomplishments?
After all, both the UN and Obama have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For Now, J Street Is Just Not-AIPAC, And It Shows (Updated)

Could it be that the power and influence of J Street is limited to sabotaging anti-Ahmadinejad rallies?

When a dozen senators and congressmen said they would not be coming to the J Street Conference after all, that was merely a clue of things to come. The fact that the J Street university arm changed their slogan from Pro-Israel to Pro-Peace, was not encouraging either.

It may reflect deeper issues in how J Street identifies itself. Marissa Brostoff of The Tablet writes:

J Street has devoted much of its young life to trying to convince the conservative segments of the Jewish community that it’s not a left-wing organization. And indeed, nowhere at the left-leaning Israel lobby’s first conference this week did J Street organizers give an indication of being anything but staunch supporters and lovers of Israel—though ones who see that country’s political future darkening without a two-state solution. But it also seemed that the liberal blogger Richard Silverstein was onto something when he told Tablet Magazine, “The impression that a lot of us are getting is that the rank and file of attendees of the conference are to the left of J Street.” [emphasis added]

Read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Rubin writes about the stands that J Street is taking at its conference--all one of them:

The “J Street Lobby Day Participant” instructions are being circulated around. The guide is remarkable on a number of counts. First, the only “ask,” as the guidelines put it, is for the participants to ask lawmakers “to make a clear and unequivocal public statement in support of U.S. leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by the end of the year.” Wow. You think they could “achieve” that aim? It reminds me of a gay-rights protest organized in my freshman year at U.C. Berkeley in which students were asked to show support by wearing jeans. Gosh, they had about 90 percent participation. Likewise, J Street’s “ask” is pabulum, undifferentiated from what every other Jewish group would ask and what virtually every lawmaker would do with no prompt at all.

Where is the “ask” for no sanctions against Iran? Where is the “ask” for a total settlement freeze? Seems like the J Street crowd has wimped out. [emphasis added]

On the flip side, Rubin notes that AIPAC supports the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act which has been passed by the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee's on a voice vote. The bill gives Obama the authority to impose sanctions on any entity that either provides Iran with refined-petroleum resources or engages in any activity that could contributing to its ability to import such resources. In addition, the bill urges the president to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or in support of terrorist groups.

Comparing the actions of these 2 groups, Rubin asks:

So is J Street influential? Not with Congress, which seems to favor measures that J Street despises. It’s wise perhaps then for them to stick to the plain-wrap ”ask” for support for a two-state solution.

J Street's influence on Jewish opinion--and to what degree it reflects that opinion--is also somewhat doubtful. James Kirchick writes that as opposed to AIPAC, J Street opposes sanctions on Iran--

at least for the foreseeable future--one of the many examples of how it is out of step with the views of the mainstream Jewish and pro-Israel communities it claims to represent; a Washington Post poll released last week found that 78% of Americans support sanctions and a clear majority of American Jews support either the United States or Israel attacking Iran's nuclear sites if sanctions don't work.

In other words, for the time being, J Street is identifying itself as not-AIPAC.
They're going to have to do better than that.

UPDATE: Martin Peretz also sees J Street's identity crisis:

J Street is having an identity crisis right in front of the cameras. For a year and a half it's been trumpeting that it's both "pro-Israel" and "pro-peace."

...But in a very palpable sense it was not pro-Israel in that it favored every cockamamie strategy and tactic, personality and group (and grouplet), slogan and world-view that put the Jewish homeland in peril. In the end, almost everyone came to realize that J Street would not and maybe could not be supportive of a Jewish homeland until every last Palestinian was satisfied.

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Look Out Obama, Now The US May Be Guilty Of War Crimes

Israel has the Goldstone Report.
Sri Lanka may be facing the same.

And now, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston has a problem with the US using drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

(Is it my imagination, or does the UN have as many Special Rapporteurs as Obama has Czars? )

"My concern is that drones/Predators are being operated in a framework which may well violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law," he said.

US strikes with remote-controlled aircraft against Al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan have often resulted in civilian deaths and drawn bitter criticism from local populations.

"The onus is really on the United States government to reveal more about the ways in which it makes sure that arbitrary extrajudicial executions aren't in fact being carried out through the use of these weapons," he added.

Alston said he presented a report on the matter to the UN General Assembly.
Ed Morrissey points out that in the article, the AFP mentions collateral civilian deaths, implying that is part of the issue, while Alston himself does not mention that issue. He notes:
The UN is concerned with whether the US has justification for killing Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders, not whether we got the wrong targets. “Summary executions” mean that we have not provided these poor dears with proper due process to determine whether they should have been killed at all. It takes the law-enforcement approach to its natural, absurd conclusion, which is that armies are really nothing more than police officers with cooler weapons.
The article concludes with 3 points of accountability that Alston is demanding from the US:

"I would like to know the legal basis upon which the United States is operating, in other words... who is running the program, what accountability mechanisms are in place in relation to that," Alston said.

"Secondly, what precautions the United States is taking to ensure that these weapons are used strictly for purposes consistent with international humanitarian law.

"Third, what sort of review mechanism is there to evaluate when these weapons have been used? Those are the issues I'd like to see addressed," the UN official said.

Can we expect UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston to be making similar demands of Hamas?

And if not--why not?

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Video: Hamas Is Ready To Probe Goldstone Report

The video is set to start at 10:20, where the discussion of the Goldstone Report begins.

According to Meshal, Hamas doesn't actually try to kill civilians, rather 'rockets are inaccurate in targeting.'

This ignores the fact that the Goldstone Report, which actually buys into the Hamas line that the rocket they fire into civilian areas are inaccurate--and nevertheless reports on page 473:
1722. Given the apparent inability of the Palestinian armed groups to aim rockets and mortars at specific targets and, the fact that the attacks have caused very little damage to Israeli military assets, it is plausible that one of the primary purposes of these continued attacks is to spread terror – prohibited under international humanitarian law - among the civilian population of southern Israel. [emphasis added]
I suppose we are supposed to pity the terrorists for their inaccurate weapons that they fire into civilian areas anyway. Perhaps they would like to be provided with more accurate weapons?

Actually, Hamas has been very successful in consistently targeting civilian areas in general and schools in particular, as documented by the Goldstone Report:
1692. Where rockets have landed in towns and villages in southern Israel, they have caused localized property damage. This has included private houses1036 and cars.1037 During the operations in Gaza, a total of nine schools and kindergartens in Sderot, Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Kiryat Ha Hinoch were hit and damaged by rockets.1038 Two kindergartens were struck and damaged by rocket fire in Ashdod.1039 On 8 January 2009, a Grad rocket hit a school in Ashkelon.1040
Imagine: 9 schools in 5 cities. That seems to be a pattern--one that Hamas followed with great accuracy.

The reason that Hamas has been able to fire their rockets with such accuracy is that contrary to the myth of the terrorists being limited to homemade rockets, they are actually using foreign-made rockets--as the Goldstone Report documents:
1649. There is little independent confirmation of the types of weaponry held by Palestinian armed groups or the number of weapons that may be stockpiled. According to an Amnesty International report, of February 2009, the arsenals held by armed groups in the Gaza Strip include: al-Qassam (or al-Quds), 122mm Grad and 220 Fadjr-3 rockets as well as the al-Battar, the Banna 1 and Banna 2 anti-armour rockets.
...(b) 122 mm Grad rocket
1652. 122 mm Grad rocket is a Russian-designed missile with a range of approximately 20 to25 kilometres. Given the higher level of technological sophistication and the fact that it is manufactured with material not easily (if at all) available in Gaza, it is likely that they are not made in Gaza.
1653. While most 122 mm Grad rockets have a range of about 20 kilometres, some have landed 40 kilometres inside Israel.997 Global Security has concluded that on the basis of photographs, that the rockets that struck open space near Yavne and Bnei Darom on 28 December 2008 were Chinese-manufactured 122 mm WeiShei-1E rockets, which can travel distances of 20 to40 kilometres.998
Along with the fact that Hamas uses rockets manufactured by Russia and China--and thus have a longer range--these Grad rockets are also more accurate. According to
Recently [prior to January 2009], Hamas imported factory manufactured rockets from China and Iran. Based on a family of Soviet rockets dating back to World War II, these rockets have the range to hit many more Israeli cities, and their introduction help precipitate the current conflict.

The Iranian rocket, called a Grad, has a range of about 12 miles, long enough to hit the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Sderot. The Chinese rocket, called the WS-1-E (and sold on a rather cheap looking Web site for a defense company) has an even greater range of up to 27 miles, and better accuracy than the Grad. And according to Amanda Castle, the public relations manager at Jane’s Information Group, Israeli intelligence agencies also believe Hamas possesses Iranian Fajr-4 rockets, which have a range long enough to hit Tel Aviv. [emphasis added]
There is a very good reason that civilian areas in Israel are being bombed by Hamas--the terrorists are aiming right at them.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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A Preview Of Abbas's Palestinian (Police) State

According to The Daily Mail:
British police and intelligence officers sent to tackle UK-funded torturers on West Bank

The Government is sending British police and intelligence officers to the West Bank to try to stop a wave of brutal torture by Palestinian security forces funded by UK taxpayers.

Their mission is to set up and train a new ‘internal affairs’ department with sweeping powers to investigate abuse and bring torturers to justice.
The department is being paid for by Britain, with an initial planning budget of £100,000 – a sum set to soar as it becomes established.

So in addition to the millions in funds that the West is supplying to support the various aspects of the regime of the 'moderate' Abbas, now the West has to help reign in the 'police' force it is helping to create.

This of course raises the question of where those security forces will turn when they run out of fellow Palestinians to torture and abuse.

And what of the 1,600 members of Abbas's National Security Force and Presidential Guard which have undergone U.S.-funded training since January 2008 with Lieutenant General Keith Dayton--are they under tighter control?

And what does this say about what a future Palestinian state on the West Bank would look like?
Apparently not much different than one in Gaza.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where's Hamas? (Waldo, Eat Your Heart Out!)

Elder of Ziyon has taken the top 250 words in the conclusions and recommendations section of the Goldstone Report and put them into a graphical format using Wordle, where the size of the words indicates how often they were used.

See if you can find the word "Hamas." Even after blowing up the graphic to full size, you will have your work cut out for you.

The question is, why does the Goldstone Report consider Hamas to be such a tiny issue?

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Kenneth Roth Forgot To Do The Math

In an op-ed in Haaretz, Kenneth Roth--executive director of Human Rights Watch--disputes the claim that his group focuses disproportionately on Israel:

Critics of Human Rights Watch's work on Israel raise three main points. First, they say we disproportionately focus on Israel, and neglect other countries in the Middle East. Second, they claim our research methodology is flawed - relying on witnesses with an agenda. Third, as recently expressed by our founding chairman Robert Bernstein, they argue that we should focus on "closed" countries such as China rather than "open" societies like Israel.

I reject all three claims.

Human Rights Watch currently works on seventeen countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Iran, Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia. Israel accounts for about 15 percent of our published output on the region. The Middle East and North Africa division is one of 16 research programs at Human Rights Watch and receives 5 percent of our total budget. Israel is a small fraction of what we do. [emphasis added]

I'm not sure how 15% of anything is a 'tiny fraction', but Roth's problem with math goes deeper than that.

CAMERA does the math:

Got that? HRW works on seventeen Middle Eastern and North African countries. These include not only the most obvious offenders mentioned by Roth — Iran, Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia — but also other far-from-skilled practitioners of human rights like Yemen, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Lebanon, Bahrain. (You can learn some more about those countries' records here.)

Let's do the math together:

• One divided by seventeen is .058, or roughly six percent.
• The 15 percent of HRW's published output from the region that Roth admits is devoted to Israel is toweringly greater than than the six percent that would go to Israel were all countries in proportion.

And there we have disproportion.

David Bernstein has noted the growing reputation of Human Rights Watch:
From now on, every HRW report on Israel is going to be greeted with "you mean the Saudi-funded HRW," or "you mean the report written by the woman [HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson] who is a great admirer of Norman Finkelstein and lobbied Kofi Annan against Israel in the middle of the Second Intifada" or "you mean the report written by the guy [Stork] who supports the anti-Israel boycott movement and has been venting his hostility to Israel for almost forty years" or "you mean HRW, the organization that fails to take down from its website anti-Israel reports even when it has admitted they are inaccurate," and so on.
And now we have one more thing about Human Rights Watch that just doesn't add up.

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Open Letter To Judge Goldstone: "A Judge Is Expected To Look At Least For Some Evidence And Verification"

In 2002, while the media and NGO's such as Human Rights Watch accepted as fact the Palestinian claim that there was a massacre in Jenin--Dr. David Zangen couldn't stand the lies and came forward with the facts. In the end, Palestinian claims of at least 500 killed were refuted and it was discovered that 54 Palestinians--mostly terrorists--were killed.

Dr. Zangen appears in the movie The Road To Jenin, which refutes the inaccuracies and falsifications in the Palestinian propaganda film Jenin, Jenin (read the CAMERA review).

Eventually, the truth of Jenin came out and Israel was vindicated.

Now Dr. David Zangen addresses the flaws in the Goldstone Report in an open letter to Judge Goldstone:

Dear Judge Goldstone,

My name is Dr. David Zangen, I am a consultant in Pediatric Endocrinology and diabetes at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. Over 50% of my patient population is Palestinian from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. I speak Arabic and initiated the first training program for Palestinian physicians in the field of Pediatric Endocrinology. The trained physicians were fully respected and were included as first authors on our studies that are published in world leading professional journals.

But, at the same time I happened to be the chief medical officer of my brigade during the Defensive Shield Operation in Jenin 2002. I was responsible for the medical treatment of our soldiers but also for enabling the hospital in Jenin to provide full medical services to the civilian population and I was personally involved in numerous medical treatments that Palestinians (including warriors) received from Israeli physicians.

During and after the operation the director of Jenin hospital was a source to what has been falsely called the "Massacre in Jenin where 5000 people were massacred" this same person Dr. Abu Rali has also claimed that one part of the Jenin hospital was destroyed by Israeli tank missiles "12 tank rockets were shot at the hospital …" etc

You should know, honored Judge that these statements have been proved and documented as straight lies not only by Israeli sources but also by the Human Rights Watch and the UN organizations counting only 52 dead people on the Palestinian side (23 on the Israeli side). These organizations and photographs of Jenin hospital following the operation showed no evidence for any destruction at the hospital buildings etc.

This Dr. Abu Rali a director of a hospital, a physician, lies and incites in the service of the Shahids. It is hard to believe that a director of a hospital can give such an obvious false testimony. I can't understand it and you can't understand it but unfortunately this is what has happened. Even persons who would usually be considered reliable sources become advocates of straight lies. Tragically, moral misbehavior of doctors in the Palestinian Authority is not new.

The Pediatrician George Habash sent his terrorists to kill children in Israeli schools and so did the Hamas leader the pediatrician Dr. Rantisi…and so continues to do the Pediatrician encouraging the sending of rockets from Gaza on innocent Israeli schools Dr Mahmud Zaher.

Please judge Goldstone, you should really be careful when such straight liars serve as the basis for your report. I am sure that you mean well but being an eye witness both to the events in Jenin and to the subsequent media and initial false UN reporting I do understand what happened to you. How a person of such stature and integrity could become associated with such a faulted report.

Look Judge Goldstone at your report on the Al Fakhura event on January 5-6th 2009 (paragraphs 651-688). You do report how Israel was accused for directly bombing the UNRWA school. It took 2 weeks to withdraw from this accusation but you, honored Judge, went back to get your testimony only from the same people who spread the blood libel of bombing the school.

Moreover when analyzing the scene you claim that you could not verify the numbers of 24 dead and 40 wounded but these numbers are not considered exaggerated. Finally in the Factual findings part you already determine that 24 people were killed and 40 injured!

Did you by any chance try to validate any of these invented and inciting details? Did you look at the Al Jazeera or BBC reports from the same very date of the event? Did you try to validate your "factual findings" conclusions by getting at least Emergency Room charts on the people admitted to their trauma department on this very day? Did you go over the I.D.'s of the "dead" people and the place or cemetery where they were supposedly buried?

Well you didn't!

In all the scene of "40 dead and 40 wounded" filmed by Al Jazeera and other channels reporters and screened at the same day all over the world you could not see bodies or blood spots in the streets beside two or three casualties and one footage of a single wall damaged by a bomb. As a physician who was at terrible suicide events with smaller number of casualties I can testify how it looks like for hours following the event….The media documentation of the Al Fakhura event does not verify and definitely does not go along with the fantasy and lies of your witnesses.

As a judge I must be sure that you did not mean to hurt Israel, I try to believe that you came to Gaza without prejudice…but a judge is expected to look at least for some evidence and verification (media, ER registration, burial places etc….) of the testimonies and not accept impossible "facts". You have let yourself to be misled by fabrications made by either terrorists or even doctors such as Dr. Abu Rali from Jenin.

I and my colleagues in Israel are proud of the medical service that is given equally to every human being regardless of his origin; we are also proud to belong to a nation that has the imprint of having higher moral standards than others.

The price that we pay for this status is very high. The Palestinians and other Muslims around the world, either common people or even respected doctors, use straight lies as part of the war against us. The Western world media criticizes us and tries to find where we were not behaving up to the extremely high moral standards that we made ourselves.

I call on you Judge Goldstone take this Al Fakhura event, look at the media coverage from the very same date…see the events in the context…try to live one day with the responsibility for the existence of this small nation of 6 million Jews threatened constantly by 300 million Muslims. I call on you to try and not draw conclusions from such lies and misleading witnesses even if they come from so-called professionals. In the modern world propaganda and lies are definitely a part of the war and as a judge you should not serve as a tool for augmenting hatred and conflicts.

We look for peace , we love peace and we do try our very best to fight for our right to exist in the highest possible moral standards even at the cost of our lives.

David Zangen M.D.

This letter is also available in a Hebrew translation.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Amnesty International Is All Wet

Amnesty International puts politics ahead of accuracy.
NGO Monitor: Amnesty’s Water Report Timed to Support Latest Israel Boycott Campaign

(Jerusalem) – NGO Monitor notes that Amnesty International’s 112 page report titled “Troubled Waters – Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water”, is timed to strengthen the Israel boycott campaign, coinciding with a US speaking tour linking the water issue and Israeli ‘apartheid’. The report itself is a political document which promotes an imaginary and highly distorted version of international law. In addition, it omits critical context to the conflict in order to promote the Palestinian narrative, thereby continuing the NGO-led political warfare against Israel.

  • This report is the latest episode in Amnesty’s campaign against Israel. Amnesty International headquarters issued over twenty statements overwhelmingly critical of Israel during and in the aftermath of the Gaza conflict.

  • Amnesty's report provides legitimacy for a speaking tour beginning November 1 at universities in the US organized by the Palestinian Cultural Academic Boycott of Israel (PCABI) movement entitled, "Israel's Control of Water as a Tool of Apartheid and means of Ethnic Cleansing." The main speaker, Omar Barghouti, is a leader of the boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

  • Amnesty’s report ignores evidence that not only does Israel provide West Bank Palestinians with more water than required under the Oslo framework, but that Palestinian water thieves are responsible for stealing up to 50% of supplies in some areas.

  • Amnesty claims that levels of Palestinian water consumption (60-70 liters per person per day), are “the lowest in the region.” Amnesty omits easily available evidence that this is a similar level, if not better than major regional cities such as Amman, Tunis and Algiers.

  • The report is based on the claim that Israel is violating Palestinian human rights, because the Oslo framework, on which current water arrangements are based, “codified inequality in access to water resources”. This approach patronizingly assumes that the Palestinian leadership is incapable of negotiating agreements, and creates the spectre of future agreements that will be abrogated on similar ground.

  • The report invents standards of international law, by erroneously claiming (including on the front cover) that Israel has an “obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the right to water” based on the International Covenant of Economic, Cultural & Social Rights (ICESCR). Amnesty falsely implies that the ICESCR demands a right to water when no such right is even mentioned in the treaty. In fact, the legislative history of the ICESCR indicates that the State parties deliberately omitted water issues.

In advance of Amnesty’s report, NGO Monitor’s President Prof Gerald Steinberg said, “Amnesty’s report manipulates the issue of water and ignores the complexities of history and law in order to again falsely portray Israel as a brutal regime.

Rather than recognize that water supply is a complex regional issue, Amnesty focuses only on Palestinian shortages. The report adopts a painfully simplistic narrative which places blame solely on Israel, to the extent that the Palestinian leadership is absolved of responsibility for the agreements signed under the Oslo framework.

This report has been cynically timed by Amnesty to boost a new wave of Israel boycott campaigning. It is a pointed example of Amnesty’s ongoing campaign of hostility towards Israel.”

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Another One Of Those Rebuttals That Judge Goldstone Says Does Not Exist

The Israel Project describes itself as
an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace. The Israel Project provides journalists, leaders and opinion-makers accurate information about Israel. The Israel Project is not related to any government or government agency.
Below, besides refuting 2 key findings of the Goldstone Commission Report, The Israel Project provides links to the videos of Hamas using human shields--videos of Hamas doing the things that the Goldstone Report claims there is no proof for.

Investigators Say Goldstone Report Biased, Unfairly Attacks Israel
Press Resources for the Goldstone Commission on Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces top foreign media spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich is available for one-on-one interviews on the Goldstone report. Please Contact Marty Irom at or (516) 567-4348 to arrange an interview.

Interview with PM Netanyahu on CNN’s “Late Edition” (watch video, read transcript)

Iran Press Kit

Videos: Hamas’ Use of Civilians as Human Shields
Experts for Comment (Israeli Officials, Legal Experts, IDF Reserve Officers)
President Shimon Peres Response to Goldstone Report
PM Netanyahu's remarks at the start of today's Cabinet meeting
MFA officials brief ambassadors, foreign press on Goldstone Report
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Response to Goldstone Report
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website on the Goldstone Report Should Jews care about the Goldstone report?
The Guardian: A moral Atrocity
The Wall Street Journal - Israel Defense Minister: At the U.N., Terrorism Pays
The Wall Street Journal Editorial: The U.N.'s Anti-Antiterror Report
The Boston Globe - Israel Ambassador to the U.S.: UN report a victory for terror
The Wall Street Journal: UN Smears Israeli Self-Defense as 'War Crimes'
The Jerusalem Post: UN apathy, Iranian intransigence
LA Times: Goldstone Report Unfair to Israel

Outside analysts examining the UN’s Goldstone report on Israel’s operation in Gaza, published on Sept. 15, have criticized the report for its methodology and findings, including charges by the U.S. State Department that the mandate for the investigation was one-sided and focused overwhelmingly on Israel.[1]

Israel carried out the operation from late December 2008 – mid-January 2009 to put a stop to almost constant rocket and mortar attacks on Israel fired by Iran-backed Hamas into Israel – specifically to target civilians – for the past decade. Since 2003, Hamas has fired 9,400 rockets and mortars at Israel.[2]

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has highlighted some of the most troubling aspects of the report, such as inconsistencies in the report’s findings when compared to independent evidence; political bias of some of the investigators; and the mandate of the mission itself.[3] The methodological problems include:

1. The investigators did not ask Palestinian witnesses any questions relating to Palestinian terrorist activity and storage of weapons in civilian infrastructures.[4]

2. The report itself states that witnesses were unwilling to discuss “the presence or conduct of hostilities by the Palestinian armed groups,” possibly due to “a fear of reprisals.”[5]

3. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs alleges that the incidents investigated by the Goldstone team were “cherry-picked” for political effect.[6] For example, in spite of a number of sources alleging that senior Hamas officials used Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as a base of operations, the Goldstone team chose not to investigate these reports.[7]

Examples of questionable findings:

1. The Goldstone team investigated an incident in which the Al-Quds hospital in the Tel el-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City was shelled on Jan. 15. The report concluded that there weren’t any members of Palestinian terrorist groups in the hospital and that the shelling was a war crime.[8]

But a report in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera quoted a resident of the neighborhood as saying, “The Hamas gunmen had taken refuge mainly in the building that houses the administrative offices of Al-Quds…nurses were forced to take off their uniforms so they [the gunmen] could blend better and escape the Israeli snipers.”[9]

2. The report stated that the Goldstone investigators were unable to determine whether mosques had been used by Hamas operatives for weapons storage and to stage attacks, but only investigated one such case. However, video evidence [below] and widespread reports about those and other unlawful tactics are readily available in the public domain.[10]

Videos: Hamas’ Use of Civilians as Human Shields

Jan. 8, 2009 - Footage of Hamas operatives arming a rocket launcher in a school yard in Gaza.

Jan. 6, 2009 - Footage of a terrorist shooting from a rooftop. The terrorist then identifies an Israel Air Force (IAF) aircraft preparing to fire on him and calls a group of children into the house where he is located to prevent the IAF strike. He then flees the house using the children as cover.

Jan. 12, 2009 - Footage of terrorists, one a senior operative, using children and a woman with a baby as human shields. Footage includes IAF radio communications instructing the aircraft operator not to fire on the terrorists because of the woman and children among them.

Dec. 27, 2008 - Footage of a civilian building in which weapons and explosives were being stored. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) telephoned the residents of the building, telling them to leave so they would not be harmed by the planned airstrike. Numerous civilians appear on the rooftop to prevent the airstrike, which the IDF called off as a result.

Videos illustrating:

  • Storage of anti-aircraft gun and heavy weapons cache in a local mosque in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza
  • Hamas using civilians to carry out military actions
  • A mortar launcher located at a Gaza schoolyard
  • Weapons found in civilian homes in Gaza
  • Humanitarian aid being blockaded and stolen by Hamas before it reaches Gaza
  • Mortar shells launched from the UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun

Facts Related to Israel’s Gaza Operation and the Goldstone Commission

Experts for Comment (in Israel unless otherwise indicated)
Israeli Officials


Jonathan Peled
Spokesman, Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C.

H.E. Gabriela Shalev
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations
Contact through spokeswoman Mirit Cohen at

Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich
Head of IDF International Media Branch

Yigal Palmor
Spokesman, Israeli Foreign Ministry

Legal Experts

Col. Richard Kemp (in the United Kingdom)
Former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan

Dr. Avi Bell
Lecturer in international law and laws of war at Bar Ilan University

Lt.-Col. -Colonel (Res.) David Benjamin
Former senior legal adviser in the IDF Legal Department

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Amos Guiora (currently in the United States)
Professor of law at The S. J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
Former Lt. Col in the IDF Judge Advocate General's Corps, Legal Advisor to the Gaza Strip, Commander of the IDF School of Military Law and Judge Advocate for the Navy and Home Front Command

Reserve IDF Officers and Soldiers who Fought in Israel’s Defensive Operation in Gaza

Lt.-Col. (Res.) Bentzi Gruber
Deputy Brigade Commander in IDF Tank Corps

Maj. Idan Zuaretz
Company Commander in IDF Givati Brigade

Sgt. First Class (Res.) Gidon Rosenfeld (Givati Commando Unit)

Sgt. First Class Haim Goldstein (Givati Commando Unit)


[1] “Remarks To the Press,” U.S. Department of State, Sept. 18, 2009,

[2] IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Dec. 19, 2008; “Iran-backed Terrorists in Gaza Kill 3, Wound Others in Continuing Rocket Attacks on Israel,” The Israel Project press release, Dec. 29, 2008,{4F0CF025-98BF-4875-A59B-B1F5E4B079F7}¬oc=1; Barzak, Ibrahim and Friedman, Matti, “Israel rejects truce call, pursues bombing Gaza,” Associated Press, Dec. 31, 2008,

[3] “Initial Response To Report Of The Fact Finding Mission On Gaza Established Pursuant To Resolution S-9/1 Of The Human Rights Council,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sept. 24, 2009,

[4] “Initial Response To Report Of The Fact Finding Mission On Gaza Established Pursuant To Resolution S-9/1 Of The Human Rights Council,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sept. 24, 2009,

[5] “Initial Response To Report Of The Fact Finding Mission On Gaza Established Pursuant To Resolution S-9/1 Of The Human Rights Council,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sept. 24, 2009,

[6] “Initial Response To Report Of The Fact Finding Mission On Gaza Established Pursuant To Resolution S-9/1 Of The Human Rights Council,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sept. 24, 2009,

[7] “Initial Response To Report Of The Fact Finding Mission On Gaza Established Pursuant To Resolution S-9/1 Of The Human Rights Council,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sept. 24, 2009,

[8] “Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” Web site of the UN’s Human Rights Council, Sept. 15, 2009, p.174-182

[9] “Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” Web site of the UN’s Human Rights Council, Sept. 15, 2009,; "The Operation in Gaza, 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009, Factual and Legal Aspects," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 2009, p. 65,

[10] “Weapons in Gaza Mosque Struck by Israel Air Force 1 Jan. 2009,” Israel Defence Forces YouTube channel, Jan. 1, 2009,

The Israel Project is an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace. The Israel Project provides journalists, leaders and opinion-makers accurate information about Israel. The Israel Project is not related to any government or government agency.

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Working At The UN Can Be Dangerous For Your Health

Marc Steyn notes some strange developments at the Iranian nuke talks:
A British nuclear expert has fallen to his death from the 17th floor of the United Nations offices in Vienna.

The 47-year-old man died after falling more than 120ft to the bottom of a stairwell. He has not been named.

He worked for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, an international agency charged with uncovering illicit nuclear tests.

A UN spokesman in the Austrian capital said there were no "suspicious circumstances" surrounding the man's death...

Four months ago another UN worker also believed to be British fell from a similar height in the same building, it has been reported.
Steyn recalls that there was another similar incident during Kofi Annan's term:
Hmm. I'd advise Mohammed El Baradei's surviving colleagues to take the elevator, but then again the aunt of Kofi Annan's discredited sidekick Benon Sevan fell to her death accidentally stepping into an empty elevator shaft shortly before she was due to be questioned about the Oil-for-Food scandal.
His advice: "If you work at the UN, get a gig on the ground floor."

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More Pro-Israel Than J Street--And It's A Palestinian Arab Group

Jennifer Rubin writes about responses she received in regards to her mention of American Task Force on Palestine and its president Ziad Asali as one of the groups that hate Israel.

She quotes Commentary contributor Josh Muravchik:
I have spent many hours in public forums and private conversations with Ziad Asali and the other two principle leaders of the ATFP, Hussein Ibish and Ghaith al-Omari. They are, in a sense, what we supporters of Israel have been seeking: a group of Arabs and Arab-Americans who are working for the creation of a Palestinian state but not for the destruction of Israel. Because they take seriously the idea of a two-state solution, they are more thoughtful about Israel’s security needs than is J Street, an organization that is unrelentingly hostile to Israel.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow of AFTP, wrote to Rubin
The founding mission of ATFP is to promote the idea that a negotiated end of conflict agreement resulting in two states—Israel and Palestine —living side-by-side in peace and security is in the American national interest. Moreover, we strongly agree with both Pres. George W. Bush and Pres. Barack Obama that such a peace agreement is in the interests of Israel, the Palestinians and our own country. These positions are clearly reflected in all our public statements and are amply represented on our website

This has been recognized throughout the foreign policy community in the United States and elsewhere. For example, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), who is both a staunch supporter of Israel and the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, sent a letter addressed to Dr. Asali on the occasion of our Fourth Annual Gala that was held in Washington on Oct. 15, which I had the privilege of reading from the podium, and which reads in part:
“I want you to know how much I, as Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, value my association with you and your colleagues at ATFP. Your integrity, your knowledge of the issues, and your unswervingly principled stand on behalf of peace and fairness — as well as your deep commitment both to the land of your birth, Palestine, and your adopted homeland, America — have all had a powerfully positive impact on discourse in Washington about the Middle East. You and your colleagues have also been an important influence on my own thinking about Middle East peacemaking and that of many of my colleagues in the Congress.”
Let's hope that these impressions are accurate.

Rubin concludes:
This of course only serves to emphasize just how extreme and counterproductive ( if the real goal is a strong Israel and improved Israeli-Palestinian relations) are the positions of the J Street crowd.
Of course, that still leaves the question: what exactly does American Task Force on Palestine see in J Street?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Counter-Terrorism vs Women's Rights?

In an effort to properly address the issue of terrorism, the UN has appointed a 'Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism'--Martin Scheinin--who has been making regular reports to the UN about the importance of keeping human rights in mind while fighting terrorism. Scheinin has even gone so far as to address the apparent conflict between counter-terrorism and 'diverse sexual orientations and gender identities'. The summary of a report he gave on August 3 notes:
Consistent with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur as defined by the Human Rights Council, section III offers an analysis of counter-terrorism measures from a gender perspective. This report expands upon earlier reports of the Special Rapporteur to provide a comprehensive overview of the frequency and nature of gender-based human rights abuses in counter-terrorism measures and to explore the complex relationship between gender equality and countering terrorism. While many of the measures discussed in the report relate to the human rights of women, gender is not synonymous with women, and, instead, encompasses the social constructions that underlie how women’s and men’s roles, functions and responsibilities, including in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity, are understood. The report therefore discusses, besides the human rights of women, the gendered impact of counter-terrorism measures on men and persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, and addresses how gender intersects with other prohibited grounds of discrimination, such as race and religion. [emphasis added]
Understandably, this report caught the eye of the Washington Times, which came out with an editorial on this last week:

Do counter-terrorism measures targeting bombers who dress as women offend the rights of transexuals? This is one of the pressing questions addressed in a new United Nations report on "Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism."

The 23-page document is the ultimate politically correct guide to combating terrorism. It is based on the work of U.N. special rapporteur Martin Scheinin, who notes that "immigration controls that focus attention on male bombers who may be dressing as females to avoid scrutiny make transgender persons susceptible to increased harassment and suspicion." The impact on transvestites (cross-dressers) and "intersex" individuals (those in the midst of a sex change) is even more dramatic.

...The politically correct U.N. report is remarkable in its thoroughness. Extraordinary rendition is a process of grabbing terrorists off the street and packing them off to a different country for prosecution or interrogation. The report notes the adverse effects of extraordinary rendition on the wives of terrorists and its impairment of their enjoyment of "the right to adequate housing, and the right to family life."

Presumably rendition is an occupational hazard of being a professional terrorist; if the wife, husband or "life partner" of the bad guy is inconvenienced because the breadwinner suddenly vanishes, we counsel next time marrying an accountant.

...The U.N. report explicitly argues for a return to the previous failed framework, recommending that states "abandon the use of a "war paradigm" when countering terrorism because of the "adverse impacts" it has on "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals."

I suppose with all of this emphasis on gender rights, it is to be expected that this issue made its way into the Goldstone Commission Report on Gaza, which notes in paragraph 937 and 938 of the Report:
The right to adequate food is also reflected in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which requires State parties to guarantee to women “adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.”

The Mission finds that, as a result of its actions to destroy food and water supplies and infrastructure, Israel has violated article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 11 of the International Covenant if Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and article 12 (2) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. [emphasis added]
Whatever one may argue pro and con regarding the first 2 Covenants, is it possible that defending ones self against terrorist actually impinges upon gender discrimination?

In its rebuttal of the Goldstone Report, CAMERA responds to this claim:
This interpretation of the Convention is, prima facie, a travesty of the Convention's intent. The first article of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women defines "discrimination against women" as
any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. (emphasis added)
The idea that Israel's strikes on food and water-related infrastructure, or anything else in Gaza, were "made on the basis of sex" in order to specifically distinguish, exclude or restrict women from their right to equality is simply outlandish.
But a variation on this outlandish theme has found its way, albeit diluted and convoluted, into a New York Times op-ed, discussing reversals in the gains made by women over the years:

Part of the reason can be traced to the aftermath of 9/11.

Everyone’s life was reshaped by 9/11. Like many New Yorkers, I experienced that day in an intensely personal way: I was in the World Trade Center with a colleague when the first plane hit. And we were just outside the second tower, making our way through burning debris, hunks of airplane seats and far worse when the second plane came in directly over our heads.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Americans pulled together. Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, famously declared it was “the end of the age of irony.”

He was right.

And then he was wrong. Because, as so often happens in the wake of a traumatic event, the pendulum swung to the other extreme. The war in Iraq tore America apart. The Internet gave everyone a soapbox. The louder, the more offensive, the better.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that exactly at this moment, women began losing ground — and not just in measurable ways, like how many women make partner or get jobs as chief executives.

I’m referring to how we are perceived. The conversation online about women, as about so many other topics, degenerated from silly and snarky to just plain ugly — and it seeped into the mainstream. [emphasis added]

Jennifer Rubin's response echo's CAMERA's response to the Goldstone Report:
Let’s be clear (one of us should be): 9-11 was responsible for ending the lives of many women in fiery infernos and leaving their widowers and children grieving. Only in that sense was it “bad for women.” (But really, had the plaintiffs’ bar only known Ms. Lipman’s theory, we might have had a really innovative class-action gender-claim against al-Qaeda.)
The issue of pursuing gender equality in the midst of the war on terror is a distraction in the hands of the UN just as it is a distortion in the pages of the Goldstone Report--and it is beginning to seep into our thinking.

The fact is that there is a war on terrorism, and it is not isolated to one part of the globe.
Try focusing on that.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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