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Vol. 7, No. 5, 2008
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Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

how to self-discredit in five easy pieces


David  Solway





As we all know, or should know, the United Nations is an organization distinguished chiefly by its propensity for scandals, for which its hospitality is legendary: to name just a few, the Congo sex scandal, the Iraqi Oil-for-Food scandal, the $5.2 billion UNDP (United Nations Development Program) scandal involving hiring irregularities and violation of financial controls and competitive bidding rules, and most recently its having allowed the North Korean regime to use its bank account to transfer funds and, according to the Heritage Foundation, “to facilitate payments to a company that has ties to an entity involved in arms dealings.” But the greatest scandal of all in its general proceedings is its treatment of the state of Israel, to which it devotes fully one third of its condemnatory resolutions and which it consistently attempts to marginalize and exclude. A case in point: from 1947 to the present, the UN has passed 146 resolutions dealing with the plight of the Palestinian refugees but not one referring to the ordeal of an even greater number of Jewish refugees expelled from their homes in Arab countries.

Let us go down the list. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) curiously refers to Egypt, with its nearly all-controlling central government, its 60,000 laws (some relics of Ottoman times), its fraudulently elected leaders, and its ban on free assembly and the right of protest, as “a western-style democracy” -- no doubt Israel must be a theocratic oriental-style tyranny. The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People refers in its September 2004 workshop to “such sterile paradigms as ‘Israel’s self-defense’.” (The Palestinians are the only irredentist group in the world with its own UN Committee, a privilege no other stateless group, neither Tibetans, Kurds, Tamils or Basques, currently enjoys.) The UN International Protection Workshop calls for “a boycott of Israeli goods” without mentioning Palestinian terror operations or systemic Palestinian corruption. The UN Interreligious Mobilization Workshop approves of “challeng[ing] Christian Zionism in moderate Christian communities.” UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Swiss national Jean Ziegler, calls on the EU to suspend its association agreement with Israel; of the more than 190 places in the world with malnutrition problems, Ziegler singles out the West Bank and Gaza, delivering a highly selective report on the situation there while passing over the devastation wrought by the Khartoum government on the Darfur region. Indeed, Ziegler has defended the abysmal record of notorious human rights abusers like Cuba and Libya, as well as Sudan, while accusing the United States of every crime imaginable including backing Israeli “state terror.” Interestingly, Ziegler is a co-founder of the Moammar Khadafi Human Rights Prize -- an award which he himself later received. He is not so much a “special rapporteur” as a “special friend” to some of the world’s worst abusers of human rights.

Kofi Annan in his opening speech to the General Assembly on September 21, 2004 cited only one country on earth for violating international law -- Israel. Nothing on China in Tibet, Syria in Lebanon, the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, Russia in Chechnya, Sudan in Darfur (the word “Sudan” is never mentioned), or Palestinian rocket attacks and suicide bombings in Israeli towns and cities. In February 2006, Annan criticized Israel’s policy of targeted killings of terrorists as “executions without trial” -- he made no mention of the suicide bombings of Israeli civilians, planned and carried out by these same terrorists. Are these murderous forays, then, forms of legitimate execution? And on June 14, 2006, referring to an explosion on a Gaza beach that killed eight people and was almost to a certainty caused by a Palestinian mine, Annan told the Al-Hayat daily, “I don’t believe it is plausible that the Palestinians planted charges in a place where civilians often spend their time” -- which, in point of fact, is a common Palestinian practice. UN envoys subsequently laid the blame on Israel, a pro forma gesture, since they did not examine the evidence put forward by the IDF nor, obviously, did they peruse the full retraction printed by Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung which had originally accused Israel of the atrocity.

The UN human rights report, prepared by UN Human Rights representative John Dugard and presented to the General Assembly in October 2004, charges that Israel is guilty of “massive and wanton destruction of property” and calls for international sanctions, but makes no reference to Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli communities such as Sderot, gunrunners’ tunnels or suicide bombings. As keynote speaker at an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on July 5, 2006, Dugard described Israeli conduct as “morally indefensible” and called the Israeli arrest of Hamas cabinet ministers in the wake of the June 25 crisis a violation of the Geneva Convention article prohibiting the taking of hostages. He had nothing to say about the event which sparked the crisis, the Palestinian raid into Israeli territory and, yes, the taking of a hostage. Dugard, we might recall, notoriously praised the Palestinian terror groups for their “determination, daring and success.” The UNDP, under UN deputy secretary-general Mark Malloch Brown (now plying his anti-Israeli animus from the UK Foreign Office), has regularly transferred funds to Palestinian charities, such as Zaka Jenin and the Tul Karem Charity Committee, known to be fronts for terrorist groups. A typical example of the double standard at work in UN deliberations, brokering peace at the cost of Jewish lives, is its outcry against the IDF demolition of “houses” used as weapons storage depots and sniper emplacements in Rafah, the Gaza terrorist nest along the Egyptian border, and its threat to brand Israel as a war criminal for defending its citizens.

Moreover, the UN can always be counted on to sandbag Israeli initiatives in the field or pro-Israeli resolutions in the General Assembly. The tepid response of Kofi Annan and the UN to the Hizbullah attack on Israel in July 2006, coupled with calls for Israeli “proportionality” -- this in the face of 15,000 Iranian and Syrian supplied missiles targeting Israel, many of which were launched against Israeli towns and cities -- is only another example of the institutional prejudice which governs its affairs. When UNIFIL (the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) -- which had done absolutely nothing to prevent Hizbullah cross border raids or the buildup of its rocket arsenal and even suppressed video footage of Hizbullah incursions -- was struck during fighting in the summer 2006 war by Hizbullah rockets that fell short of their targets in Israel, an officer of the command post immediately blamed Israeli artillery fire. When an UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organization) base in southern Lebanon was mistakenly struck by the IAF in the midst of a chaotic war zone, Kofi Annan, flouting both impartiality and common sense, went on record as saying that Israel was guilty of an “apparently deliberate” attack. Not only did Annan not retract this accusation, he was conspicuously silent when twelve days later Hizbullah rockets hit another UN command post. And when the IDF launched a commando raid into Lebanon on August 19, 2006 to intercept a transfer of Syrian arms to Hizbullah -- an ongoing process from which the UN has studiously averted its gaze and which ensures another and more bitter round of hostilities -- this same perfidious windbag condemned Israel for “a violation of the cease fire.”

Meanwhile, UNIFIL forces under the direction of France threatened to fire on Israeli jets conducting reconnaissance missions but has allowed Hizbullah to restock its missile supply via Iran and Syria -- according to Time magazine, the terrorist militia now had 20,000 short-range rockets in its arsenal. (Current estimates have raised the number to 40,000.) New reports indicate that tons of sophisticated weaponry, including long-range missiles, have been smuggled across the Syrian border by truck convoys operating at night. Yet the provision of weaponry is in clear violation of UN Resolution 1701, brokered by Annan, which calls for the disarming of all militias, including Hizbullah, and especially of Paragraph 8 which embargos “sales or supply of arms and related material to Lebanon except as authorized by its government.”

Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, responded to the conflict by issuing a statement stipulating the “personal criminal responsibility” under international law of those “in a position of command and control” for violating the “obligation to protect civilians during hostilities” -- a thinly veiled threat against Israel’s leaders since terrorists do not have fixed addresses and do not answer summonses. Fresh from a “fact-finding” tour of the Middle East in November 2006, Arbour had no trouble blaming Israel more than Hizbullah for the summer war, deploring Israeli security checks in the West Bank that are directly responsible for the reduction in suicide attacks, and sympathizing overtly with the Palestinians despite the numberless provocations emanating from the Gaza Strip, the continued arms smuggling through the Philadelphi Corridor, the kidnappings, incursions and Kassaming of the southern Negev. (This is the same Louise Arbour who attended the conference of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), chaired by Cuba, in Tehran on September 3, 2007, implicitly giving her support to the Iranian crackdown on dissidents of the regime and refusing to meet with members of the National Council of Resistance in Iran. On the day after her departure, 21 political prisoners were publicly hanged.)

Ann Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF, charged that Israel was engaged in “the continued targeting of civilians, particularly children.” Although 4000 Hizbullah rockets and missiles fell on Israel and one quarter of the country’s population -- including “children” -- was effectively paralyzed, Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, isolated Israel for “the excessive and disproportionate use of force.” UN draft resolutions seeking to stem the conflict failed to name Hizbullah or its sponsors, Syria and Iran, and made no mention of terrorism -- indeed, in all the years of its existence, the United Nations has not yet gotten around to defining terrorism.

UNHRC voted on August 11, 2006 to condemn Israel for “massive violations of human rights” in Lebanon, to investigate the “systematic targeting and killing” of civilians, and to assess “the extent and deadly impact of Israeli attacks on human life, property, critical infrastructure and the environment.” Again, no mention was made of the fact that such “targeting and killing” was neither systematic nor deliberate, that the “critical infrastructure” was used to supply and to shield Hizbullah, that Israeli “life” and “property” had been severely impacted, and that many of Israel’s northern forests, also part of the “environment,” had been set ablaze by rocket fire and would require fifty to sixty years to regenerate. In fact, UNHRC, recently devised to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission which hosted “abuser nations” and was devoted mainly to the denunciation of Israel, has to this date held four special sessions on Israel and passed sixteen resolutions against the country without taking on the real and flagrant human rights abusers in the world today, with the single exception of objecting to the military crackdown in Myanmar. The Council features two agendas at its annual session: one devoted to Israel, the other to the rest of the world. Special sessions may be called by one-third of the Council members, that is, sixteen nations, but the Organization of the Islamic Conference controls seventeen seats. When it comes to denouncing Israel, which is for all intents and purposes its raison d’être and practically its sole item of business, UNHRC does not even wait to gather and assess the facts: the investigative mission that it sponsored in November 2006 to examine the shelling in Beit Hanoun in Gaza condemned Israel prior to dispatching its task force to the region. Before a single result was in, it had already decided, to cite its resolution, on “the Israeli willful killing of Palestinian civilians.”

In its meeting of December 8, 2006, Israel’s old friend John Dugard was once again up to his old tricks, siding with Pakistani diplomat Tehmina Janjua who spoke on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference which proposed yet another anti-Israel resolution. Its last two measures, adopted on June 19, 2007, isolated Israel above all other countries for continued investigation, placing the Jewish state on its agenda sheet for permanent review while exempting the dictatorships in Cuba and Belarus from further scrutiny. Strangely, all the major human rights violators have been granted immunity. Dominated by Muslim (and African) states and with European compliance, UNHRC has merely continued the policy of its predecessor whose record it was intended to rectify; in its first year of operation, it did not single out any other state for criticism. Continuing the charade, in July 2007 Special Rapporteur Martin Scheinin, while critical of the current conduct of the UNHRC, dismissed its problems as merely transitional; he then took Special aim at Israel’s security fence for causing Palestinian suffering without offering any suggestions about how else to prevent suicide bombers from crossing into Israel and causing Israeli suffering. For the Council, it seems Israel is only a part of a vast bureaucratic board game involving counters and pieces, not real people. Plus ça change.

The Council’s most recent hi-jinks are no less chilling. On March 28, 2008, it passed another resolution, sponsored by Egypt and Pakistan, imposing limits on the freedom of individual expression -- a move, according to U.S. ambassador Warren W. Tichenor, which “attempts to legitimize the criminalization of expression.” (The resolution was supported by the Muslim and African member nations; the European Union countries, in typical fashion, abstained.) The intention was to modify international law in order to bring it increasingly into line with Islamic law, trumping freedom of expression with a moratorium on “defamation on religion.” On June 19, 2008, the Council decreed that Islam cannot be criticized in its debates -- a ruling that applies to all religions but is clearly meant to pacify the three Islamic countries that prompted the motion, Iran, Egypt and Pakistan. The UN’s current Special Rapporteur on “contemporary forms of racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” is Doudou Diène from the predominantly Muslim nation of Senegal, whose mandate is to combat religious intolerance and incitement to hatred. From the UN’s perspective, he has performed admirably in his new billet. Highly critical of the Danish government in the Mohammed-cartoon affair and of racial conditions in the United States, he is characteristically silent on anti-semitic cartoons published in Arab newspapers, textbooks in Saudi Arabia and Egypt which preach hatred against Jews and Christians, the Muslim-inspired genocide and slavery in Darfur, the suppression of women and the refusal to permit religious conversion in the Islamic world, and, of course, the policy of radical Jihad.

Back on August 31, 2006, Jan Egeland again, speaking for the UN (and seconded by Amnesty International), accused Israel for the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon, which he called “completely immoral,” but did not breathe a word about Hizbullah rockets packed with steel ball bearings intended to maximize civilian casualties in Israeli communities. When, after receiving a shipment of advanced Russian weaponry, Syria began to build up its military infrastructure on its southern border in early March 2007, signalling preparation for a possible future attack on the Golan Heights, the commander of UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force), Maj.-Gen. Wolfgang Jilke, reported that he had not noticed anything out of the ordinary! When the notoriously anti-Israeli London daily The Independent accused Israel of using uranium-tipped weapons in Lebanon, UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) immediately sent twenty “experts” to analyze soil samples -- the same UN which did nothing in Rwanda, refused to intervene in Bosnia and Kosovo, has had nothing to say about the Chinese conquest of Tibet or the Russian demolition of Grozny, has been dithering on Darfur for years and has effectively allowed Hizbullah to rearm. But it wasted no time in taking the obviously biased Independent’s report seriously and rushing to investigate the evil practices of its Chosen People. No evidence was found to confirm these allegations, as Achim Steiner, the executive director of the UN Environment Program, later admitted -- though the publicity damage had already been done and The Independent has not yet retracted its slanderous accusation.

But keep an eye on the news. Having failed to make this false charge stick, other UN commissions, abetted by their cronies among the world’s newspapers and NGOs, will launch fresh allegations of Israeli malfeasance. Even as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh were issuing a joint statement on December 1, 2006 promising that Israel was “on the verge of disappearing,” the UN General Assembly approved six pro-Palestinian resolutions blaming Israel for rejecting Palestinian peace overtures when the opposite has been the case on innumerable occasions -- all documented. (Nor, let us pause to note, has the UN ever considered setting up a commission to record the victims of Palestinian internal terror, which has been rife for years.) Rather than take issue with Palestinian terror, the UN General Assembly has just voted to establish a registry office to record Palestinian complaints and claims regarding the unfinished security fence, with a view to extorting Israeli reparations and restitution; not a word was said about UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools in the Territories vetting textbooks exhorting Palestinian children to violence and murder -- UNRWA was created to serve Arab interests and has justly been called the Palestinian “welfare state in exile” -- or about the plague of suicide bombings that made the fence necessary in the first place, and no measure was discussed to levy reparation and restitution from the Palestinian Authority for the carnage wrought among Israeli civilians. UNRWA has still to explain the admission made by its former Commissioner, Peter Hansen, in a CBC TV interview on October 3, 2004, that “I am sure there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll.” On employing members of an avowed terrorist group proscribed in many Western countries, Hansen commented: “I don’t see this as a crime.”

Moreover, the UN has chosen to ignore its own Genocide Convention under Article III of which Ahmadinejad should be indicted for incitement to genocide. As of this date, no action has been taken to subpoena the Iranian President for threatening to “wipe Israel off the map” -- quite the opposite, Ahmadinejad received his third annual invitation to address the UN plenum. As the late Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban once said, if a member state proposed in the General Assembly that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, the vote would pass 157-5 with 11 abstentions. The UN has also refused to grant the Jewish National Fund, an acknowledged world leader in global environmental issues, the consultative status enjoyed by its 2,800 recognized NGOs. Most recently, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, a title whose length is exceeded only by the list of its members, convened under the aegis of the European Parliament in Brussels to foreground a host of anti-Israeli NGOs, which is their sole criterion of admission. And the UN is now in the preliminary stages of planning its second anti-racism conference, which, judging from its 2001 performance in Durban, South Africa, will surely become another full-fledged anti-semitic hatefest. With Libya, Iran, Pakistan and Cuba on the steering committee, with the approval of current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the involvement of the High Commissioner on Human Rights Louise Arbour -- the former a self-interested and characterless career diplomat and the latter a noted Israel basher who has bought into the narrative of the far Left—and given the UN’s habitual practices, we should expect nothing less. As if to confirm, on January 24, 2008, the UN Security Council proposed a Libyan-authored draft resolution calling on Israel to rectify the situation in Gaza, but refrained from mentioning the incessant rocket attacks on Israeli towns that prompted the current crisis in the first place. (When the statement was amended at the urging of the US to better reflect the reality of the situation, it was this same Libya that baulked.) On the following day, UNHRC joined the burlesque by condemning Israel for the strife in Gaza, again without referring to the prolonged Gazan rocket barrage, the fifteenth such vote in the last two years during which only one other nation, Myanmar (Burma), had been mentioned -- once.

On February 15, 2008, the UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, added his voice to the anti-Israeli choir. His expression of sympathy for the plight of the residents of Kassam-ravaged Sderot did not prevent him from excoriating Israel for the “grim and miserable” state of affairs in Gaza. Holmes refers to Israel as an “occupying power” that, as such, has the obligations of an occupying power toward those whom it is occupying -- an absolutely blatant lie as Gaza is a fully autonomous mini-state with an elected terrorist government and broad citizen support, and one which continues to target Israeli populations centers. Israel freely supplies 75% of Gaza’s electricity from its Ashkelon generator, yet Ashkelon has been the object of over 800 rockets fired from the Strip. Is there any conceivable reason that Israel should serve its attackers’ energy needs, as it continues to do? Holmes does not address this question. Nor does he seem fazed by the fact that an average of ten rockets a day fall on Israel’s sovereign territory -- while the UN debates Israel’s “overreaction.” The best that can be said for him is that he is a victim of cognitive dissonance; more likely, not to put too fine a point on it, he is just another blinkered UN hypocrite.

The same epithet would apply to Dutch diplomat Robert Serry, the new UN special envoy, who in his February 28, 2008 report on the region, cited the UN’s “principled opposition to extra-judicial killing . . . in densely populated areas.” This meant accusing Israel for its selective response to Kassam-launching terrorists while remaining mum on the abomination that is Palestinian terror. Of the Israeli civilians -- infants, the aged, students—wounded and killed in Sderot and Sapir College in another Gaza barrage, Skerry was characteristically silent. As was the UN Security Council which failed to condemn the terror attack on a Jerusalem yeshiva -- in the midst of a “densely populated area” -- on March 6, 2008, which left eight young students dead and ten wounded. On March 13, 2008, Ban Ki-moon once again joined the chorus, condemning Israel for the use of excessive force against the Palestinians, but typically failing to mention the 7752 rockets (to date) aimed at Sderot or the eight yeshiva students gunned down in cold blood in Jerusalem, nor scrupling to suggest what non-excessive force could possibly signify in the circumstances. On March 27, 2007, Richard Falk, Emeritus Professor of International Law at Princeton University, was appointed to succeed the anti-Israeli John Dugard as UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories. Falk accuses Israel of subjecting Gaza to “life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty,” describes Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel as “rather pathetic strikes mainly taking place in response to Israeli violent provocations,” and compares Israeli actions in the Territories to the Nazis’ “collective atrocity” (, July 7, 2007). The latest addition to this scandalous farrago is Ban Ki-moon’s toothless July 1, 2008 report on the implementation of Resolution 1701, which makes no mention of Hizbullah’s retaking of its original positions on the ground and its amassing of rockets and missiles to restock its arsenal, in clear violation of the terms of the cease-fire.

Former U.S. ambassador Patrick Moynihan described the UN as a “dangerous place”; he meant for the U.S. but his summing up is far more applicable to Israel. The Israeli Mission to the UN has no say on policy-making and is frozen out of most committees, which are allocated by region. The Asian Group, to which Israel naturally belongs, has long refused membership to Israel in clear violation of the UN Charter. The UN, to put it bluntly, is a Mad Hatter’s tea party in which reality is supplanted by irresponsible tomfoolery and a private agenda. How else could it have allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency, which reports to the General Assembly and the Security Council, to elect Syria, reliably suspected of collaboration with North Korea’s nuclear program, as Deputy Chairman of its General Conference? As Charles Johnson has written, “The UN hit bottom a long time ago, but they’re still digging” ( It is high time to face the fact that the UN has been effectively taken over by the Arab bloc with Chinese and Russian backing, while the United States absurdly pays the lion’s share of the bills. One may responsibly wonder whether the time has come not to defend but to defund this partisan organization -- currently the 1-800 number for Islamic advocacy -- on the grounds of both irrelevance and bad faith and have its remaining productive bodies assembled under different auspices. There can be little doubt that, had the UN of today existed in the 1930s, it would have made life easy for the Nazis.


The jaundiced unscrupulousness that governs UN transactions with regard to the Jewish state is true of the EU whose Irish president at the time immediately accepted the distorted account by Palestinian spinmeisters of the Israeli demolition of terrorist “houses” in Rafah. Not only did Palestinian propagandists bump up the casualty figures and dissemble the tactical policy of using Palestinian civilians as cover for armed insurgents as well as squaring the number of demolished houses, they also presented film footage going back several years to substantiate their claims of a current “massacre” -- the Jeningrad canard all over again. Of course, little is said by the EU about the reasons for the Israeli action, the use of these famous 59 houses as bunkers for terrorists and as camouflage for tunnels through which illegal weapons, including Sager missiles which can be used against civilian aircraft, mortar shells and RPGs, are brought across the border from Sinai.

Indeed, little is said about the fact that the majority of these “houses” were not houses at all; as Major-General Doron Almog, former chief of the Southern Command, revealed in an interview with David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post on July 13, 2006, “It wasn’t 59, and it wasn’t houses; it was unroofed kinds of storerooms/yards.” Any calculation of truth potentials, respecting IDF officers in the field on one side and EU apparatchiks and Palestinian operators on the other, should dispose us to credit the former.

Little is said about the point-blank shooting of a pregnant Israeli woman, Tali Hatuel, and her four young daughters, Hila (11), Hadar (9), Roni (7) and Meirav (2), by Palestinian gunmen operating out of Rafah, unless it is to establish a “moral equivalency” between the Palestinian targeting of civilians and the Israeli effort to protect them. Little is said about the two toddlers, Dorit Aniso and Yuval Abebeh, aged two and four, slain in a Gaza-launched rocket attack in the western Negev on September 30, 2004, who were buried in a small column in the middle pages of our newspapers. Little is said about the six Israeli youngsters wounded by mortar shells in Neveh Dekalim or about the twenty three victims of the Jerusalem no. 2 bus bombing in 2003, most of whom were children. Nary a word about Yehudit Pesachov and her seven year old grandson Omer, killed like so many others by a Hizbullah Katyusha -- though TV news cameras zoomed close-up on a ledger page inscribed with the names of Lebanese dead -- “this was a housewife,” said the commentator, pointing to a handwritten scrawl -- for all the world to see. Little is said about Hamas deploying Palestinian children in Jabalya as human shields to protect their units of rocket launchers from Israeli defensive air attacks. Less is said about the eleven year old boy tricked into carrying a package containing a bomb through a checkpoint, which was luckily discovered and rendered harmless by a security guard before it could be detonated by remote.

Almost nothing is said about the British contractors who were the victims of threats and intimidation from the Palestinians in response to their efforts to build new, European-standard houses for the inhabitants of Jenin, since the Palestinian propaganda machine would then no longer be able to blame Israel for the fact that people have been languishing in the “camps” (really, towns) for decades -- which is not an Israeli responsibility but a function of deliberate Arab policy, in collaboration with the United Nations, to keep the refugee question alive in its prolonged campaign against the Jewish state. Even less is said about the Israeli right to defend its northern borders against Hizbullah armed aggression -- Britain equivocates, Spain chastises, France pontificates, Norway does its Quisling act, Finland wrings its hands, though not one of these nations would remain quiescent were their soldiers being abducted and rockets and missiles raining down on their communities.

The same applies to Israel’s southern border. Even Canada got into the business of damning Israel despite -- or because of -- the new direction in Conservative government policy. When the Gaza cease-fire brokered between Israel and the Palestinians at the end of November 2006 was immediately shattered by Islamic Jihad, the Globe and Mail, once Canada’s “national newspaper,” extenuated the violation as involving a mere “handful of rockets”; altogether, eleven Kassams had been fired at Sderot and Ashkelon. What would the Globe and Mail have said, one wonders, if eleven missiles had been aimed at Toronto from across the Quebec or American border -- not to mention the more than 4000 Kassams that have targeted Israel since the Gaza disengagement? And since the “cease-fire” went into effect, the IDF has disarmed over 40 bombs planted along the Gaza-Israel border. So it goes.

As for the European press, as was to be expected, it scarcely took notice of this latest inconvenience. Indeed, by manifestly favouring the Palestinian narrative, the Europeans only contribute to the growth of the terror industry. And by refusing to add Hizbullah to the list of terror organizations, the European Council allows its member countries, in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1373 which prohibits member countries from subsidizing terrorism, to continue transferring funds to Hizbullah and to shelter its European assets. This de facto capitulation to the terrorist enterprise would have occurred, mutatis mutandis, in Canada if the recommendations of a Liberal/NDP “fact-finding” mission to Lebanon in August 2006, that Hizbullah be taken off the terrorist list, had been adopted. France’s recent hosting of a political conference to which Hizbullah was invited as a legitimate participant is only another move in this direction. According the website Realité-EU, citing information from Germany’s Federal Minister of the Interior, the immigrant Shia community “supports Hezbollah in Lebanon by fundraising and transferring money. The organization ‘Orphans Project Lebanon e.V.’ conducts fundraising activities in Germany and is part of the Lebanese Al-Shahid Association, which provides for the families left behind by Hezbollah fighters and suicide bombers.”

One should expect little in the way of political wisdom or moral clarity from the three major European nations. British parliamentarians are gradually softening their stand on terrorist outfits like Hizbullah and Hamas. French president Nikolas Sarkozy, on whom so much hope was initially placed, gives every indication, despite the typical PR persiflage, of following in the footsteps of his scheming and weak-willed predecessors and doing the bidding of the Quai D’Orsay. While breaking off relations with Syria and voicing opposition to the regime in Iran, he has nevertheless signalled his willingness to construct nuclear plants in several Middle Eastern countries. This should have been foreseen from the start, France being France. At the same time, France’s Total Elf Fina, one of the top four oil companies in the world, cooperates fully with Iran despite its status as a rogue regime intent on asserting its hegemony in the Middle East and “wiping Israel of the map.” Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that 50 German companies are shipping nuclear materials to Iran via Russia for use in the Bushehr nuclear reactor.

The European Union has once again gotten into the act with no evident objection from its member countries. The present Commissioner of its External Relations office, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, while paying lip service to “Israel’s need to defend its citizens” from Gazan rocket fire, deplores the “collective punishment of the people of Gaza” by the Israeli government, which is thus not really permitted “to defend its citizens.” Individual nations have once again denounced Israel for using “disproportionate force.” London-based Amesty International condemned Israel for carrying out retaliatory strikes in Gaza “with reckless disregard for civilian life,” entirely scanting the fact that the terrorists’ rocket crews intentionally operate in populated areas and sanctimoniously claiming that the failure of Hamas “to prevent attacks on Israeli civilians” does not justify Israel’s reaction. What then would constitute the use of “proportionate force”? What would be a non-reckless way of replying to the relentless, daily attacks on Sderot, the Gaza-belt kibbutzim and now Ashkelon?

And where is the outcry against the European Union lending its support and financial assistance to the planned 2009 “Durban II” conference which, like its predecessor, will seek to demonize the Jewish state? The Europeans nations have agreed to contribute most of the funding, have accepted the rules set up by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which will prevent reference to freedom of expression while absolving the world’s true racist nations under cover of the Islamophobia gambit, and has agreed to allow the planning committee (Libya, Iran, Cuba, Norway, South Africa, et al.) to decide upon the venue and to determine the membership list, which will include many of the dubious, out-and-out anti-semitic NGOs that participated in Durban I (the Palestinian Human Rights Organization, the International Islamic Relief Organization, etc.).

EU member countries similarly support a swarm of prestigious, ideologically-oriented NGOs, such as Amnesty International (which has published more reports on Israel than on Sudan), Human Rights Watch, Christian Aid, and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, to mention only a few, in their one-sided and badly-researched condemnations of Israel -- Holland, Ireland, Switzerland and Norway are particular offenders in their contribution to such unvarnished Machiavellianism, not to mention peaceable Finland that subsidizes, to the tune of millions of euros, the Palestinian educational curriculum which promotes the demonization of Jews and Israel. (Norway, true to its tradition of siding with the enemy, has become the first Western country to recognize the Hamas government and has resumed direct transfer payments to the terrorist regime.) Little is said about the terrorists and suicide bombers whose efforts are euphemized as “resistance tactics” and “martyrdom operations.” These same human rights organizations also had little to say about the intra-Palestinian killings during the Winter 2007 Hamas/Fatah clashes in Gaza. Two-year old Yehya Abu Bakreh did not make it to international prominence, presumably because the Israelis had nothing to do with his death. Nary a peep from the International Solidarity Movement, Human Rights Watch, the major European newspapers or any of the ramifying committees and agencies about the 12-year old boy killed by a stray bullet during another bout of Palestinian mayhem in Gaza City on April 23, 2007 -- the bullet could not be traced to an Israeli gun. Almost nothing in the international press about the three women and the 14-year-old boy killed in Gaza city in a Hamas attack on the home of a Fatah official on June 11, 2007. Nor was there any outcry over the desecration of mosques stormed by Fatah gunmen to flush out Hamas snipers. Not a word about Hamas fighters stopping an ambulance and shooting its wounded occupant, Nabil Jarjir, a member of the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, killing him instantly. Children, mosques, ambulances -- few of these figure in the reports of European and most Western agencies and media outlets unless, of course, the Israelis can somehow be implicated.

And still less is said by those who condemn the security fence, built to protect Israeli citizens against suicide attacks, about the wall being built by the government of Thailand -- a wall higher and longer than the Israeli barrier -- to cordon off two million Muslims living in the south of the country. In fact, the Israeli fence pales in comparison with some of the national walls and barriers listed in The Atlantic (March 2005), including, among others, the “Wall of Shame” dividing Morocco from Western Sahara (1,500 miles), the electrified fence between Botswana and Zimbabwe (300 miles), and the soon-to-be-completed, ten-foot-high barrier along the entire border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, built by the Saudis to discourage terrorist infiltration! As Alan Dershowitz points out in The Case for Peace, security fences have also been built by India, Cyprus and even by the United Nations which “installed a security barrier to protect Kuwait from Iraq.” Nor, for that matter, has the righteous indignation against such barriers prevented the UN from constructing a security fence around its headquarters in New York. And oddly enough, no mention is made of the wall built by Egypt to check the flow of Gazans into the country. None of this was given consideration when the World Court in The Hague, misnamed the International Court of Justice, passed judgment against Israel for undertaking to defend itself.

Nor is the slightest attention paid to the fact that in the one area where there is no significant barrier, along the border between the Eygptian Sinai and Israel, over one hundred suicide bombers, kidnappers and weapons experts were apprehended by Israeli Security and eleven terror rings were dismantled in 2006 alone. The Palestinian suicide bomber who killed three Israelis in Eilat in January 2007 infiltrated through this weak point. The terrorist who self-detonated in a shopping mall in Dimona in February 2008, killing one person and injuring 38 others, may have infiltrated through the open border with Egypt after the Rafah wall was demolished by Hamas. (Another theory is that they came from the area of Hebron where the security barrier remains uncompleted.) The EU -- and, of course, the UN and the bristling legions of “Rights” organizations -- have been predictably silent. Adding to the devil’s brew, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has been consistently critical of the Israeli barrier, the most likely reason being that it saves Jewish lives. Naturally, there is not a word from Solana, a Spaniard, about the fences built by Spain with EU funding and over Moroccan objections around Ceuta and Melilla, the Spanish enclaves on the North African coast, to keep out Arab refugees. Meanwhile, the UN continues to promulgate complaints about the security fence separating Palestinian farmers from their fields; that, absenting the fence, Palestinian terrorists have the annoying habit of separating Israeli citizens from their lives is obviously a matter of no importance.

When it comes to speaking truth, little is said. And when it comes to speaking sense, practically nothing.

Related articles:
Tariq Ali: Letter to a Muslim
Irshad Manji: Faith Without Fear
Secular Islam on the Rise
Edward Said: Chronicle of an Infitada Foretold


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