Followed by a scrupulously fair discussion of Israel’s Report by members of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD/70th session).
Comments by David G. Littman: Representative to the United Nations (Geneva)
The Association for World Education and World Union of Progressive Judaism
On February 22/23, Israel presented its comprehensive periodic CERD Report (10th–13th): CERD/C/471/Add.2:
http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/CERD_C_471_Add2_En.doc. It was discussed fairly by CERD members [Chair: Regis de Gouttes, France], as recognized by Israel’s Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon who stated: “The country reporter, Marton Kjaerum [Denmark] gave a comprehensive and scrupulous presentation (“¦) To begin with, Mr. Kjaerum rightly acknowledged that the freedom of movement is not absolute, and there are times when security matters may dictate that this freedom is restricted. I call the Committee’s attention to this only because so often when dealing with UN mechanisms, Israel is discussed in absolutist terms, with Israeli policies being uniformly criticized, with no recognition or assessment of the unique challenges we face.” Final “˜observations” will be available within a fortnight, but a balanced CERD text is expected at this stage.
The lunch-time NGO “˜briefing session” (Feb. 22nd) was chaired by Joseph Schechla, coordinator of Habitat International Coalition’s Housing and Lands Rights Network (Cairo, Egypt). It was a totally one-sided meeting. Comments were limited to negative criticism of Israel, without any reservations, but the questions from CERD members were brief and perfunctory. Comments could be made only by an NGO registered beforehand by the organizing NGOs. The same evening, HICHLRN and others (“Collectif Urgence Palestine – GenÃ¨ve”) organized a Conference in Geneva. Similar events were also scheduled. A written Report by Jerusalem-based “NGO Monitor” was submitted (February 15) by its Executive Editor, Dr. Gerald Steinberg: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/ngos/NGO-monitor.pdf. It usefully analysed several of these NGOs, which “advocate agendas that reflect only one side of the conflict.”
The text below could not be presented at the NGO “˜briefing”, but was circulated to a dozen members of the CERD with two joint written statements on the 1988 Hamas Charter: E/CN.4/2006/NGO/239 and A/HRC/S–1/NGO/4:
ASSOCIATION FOR WORLD EDUCATION and
WORLD UNION FOR PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM
Joint AWE and WUPJ text for NGO meeting at Palais Wilson on February 22 (1:45-2:45pm)
Re: Examination of Comprehensive Report submitted by Israel to CERD (CERD/C/471/Add.2)
Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (70th session: 19 February — 9 March 2007)
Prepared by David G. LITTMAN and circulated to CERD members at the subsequent plenum
2,500 years and more before Edith Piaf’s hit song, “Non, rien de rien” (“Nothing of Nothing.”), the Greek philosopher Anaximander made a seminal point when he declared: “Nothing comes from nothing!”
It is common practice to begin a treatise on any science or subject with a discussion of its definition, thereby directing attention to the proper objects and to the fundamental aspects of the matter discussed.
In this context, we would stress Art. 4 (a) of the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: “Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of person of another colour or ethnic origin”¦” (1)
We wish to record the fundamental omission from most NGO briefings — and not only there — on what is commonly referred to here as “certain aspects of racial discrimination in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories.” We ask, where is it ever stressed that the current Hamas-led Government of the Palestinian Authority has a “˜politicidal genocidal” Charter? Aside from the usual conspiracy theories, genocidal sayings and its Jihadist-“˜martyrdom” slogan article 8 (2), article 13 speaks volumes, as we have stated at the UN since 1989: “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.” (Hamas)
This 1988 Charter is widely described in a joint written statement to the last Commission by 6 NGOs (E/CN.4/2006/NGO/239), and again in a subsequent joint written statement to the 1st Special Session of the Council (A/HRC/S-1/NGO/4). These 2 UN written statements are available here at the CERD, as was our Paper on Hezbollah, another terrorist organisation, submitted to the CERD last August.
The Hamas Charter is constantly confirmed by its top representatives. PA Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar — in a Cairo interview by Sawsan Abu-Husain, in the leading International Arabic Daily, Asharq alawsat on 13 November 2006 — stated that UN Security Resolution 242 is unacceptable for Hamas — and any Partition Plan of Palestine too. And: “We do not accept anything that recognizes Israel.” He then concluded: “The Koran talks about the end of the state of Israel. Only God knows the unknown.”
The hatred distilled in PA school books and on their TV — illustrated by Palestinian Media Watch (3) — continues 10 years after the Wye River Memorandum (Oct. 1998), whose recommendations are clear:
A. SECURITY sub sect; (3) Prevention Incitement (a) Drawing on relevant international practice and pursuant to Article XXII (1) of the Interim Agreement and the Note for the Record, the Palestinian side will issue a decree prohibiting all forms of incitement to violence or terror, and establishing mechanisms for acting systematically against all expressions or threats of violence or terror. This decree will be comparable to the existing Israeli legislation which deals with the same subject.
Unfortunately, there is no reciprocity between Israel and its neighbours in the most crucial aspects, which are rarely referred to in UN bodies. Israel’s population includes minorities — including about 100,000 Druzes, 150,000 indigenous Christians, 250,000 “others,” and over 1,100, 000 Arab Palestinian Muslims — more than 20%. Many of the latter publicly express sympathy with the surrounding Arab populations, whose leaders openly seeks the destruction of Israel.
What is a State to do when an important proportion of its population seeks its demise or is sympathetic to this goal, which is that of the Hamas Government?
On the other hand, more than half the nearly 5,500000 Jewish population of Israel are refugees, or the descendants of refugees from Arab countries. In 1945 there were about 140,000 Jews in Iraq; 60,000 in Yemen and Aden; 35,000 in Syria; 5,000 in Lebanon; 90,000 in Egypt; 60,000 in Libya; 150,000 in Algeria; 120,000 in Tunisia; and 300,000 in Morocco, including Tangiers: a total of about 960,000 –. and more than 200,000 in Iran and Turkey. In these ancient Jewish communities, which date from biblical times, less than 40,000 Jews remain today “” and in the Arab world there are fewer than 5,000, barely one-half of one percent of their number at the end of World War II.
A friendly neighbouring State — Jordan — covers 78 percent of Palestine as designated by the League of Nations in 1922. Turning a blind eye to article 15 of the League of Nations Mandate, Great Britain decided in 1922 that no Jews would be authorized either to reside or buy land in what had become the Emirate of Transjordan. This decision was ratified by the Kingdom of Jordan in its law No. 6, sect. 3, of April 3, 1954 (reactivated in law no. 7, sect. 2, of April 1, 1963), which states that any person may become a citizen of Jordan if he is not a Jew. Even after Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, this Judenrein legislation remained — but this discriminatory racist-religious law is ignored here.
“To be or not to be, that is the question?” — as Hamlet said. Israel wishes to exist and therefore: “to be” — which is normal for all Member States of the United Nations, who should be protected from calls to “wipe it off the map,” whether from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas or other State or non-State Parties. It is time for UN bodies “to condemn” all such threats to the existence of another State, from wherever they come, citing Chapter I, article 2:4 of the UN Charter & article III (c) of the Genocide Convention.
We hereby call on the CERD to begin this revolutionary act on behalf of the international community.
1. Article 4 of the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination declares:
States Parties condemn all propaganda and all organizations which are based on ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form, and undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination and, to this end, with due regard to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights expressly set forth in article 5 of this Convention, inter alia:
(a) Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof;
(b) Shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law;
(c) Shall not permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination.
2. “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its Constitution; Jihad is its path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.” — this slogan is copied from the 1928 Egyptian Charter of the Muslim Brotherhood and has become the blueprint for global terror by “˜jihadist” followers of Bin Laden and the late al-Zarqawi, whose slogan was similar.: “Those of us who die go to heaven. Those of you who die go to hell,” (See in “Zarqawi trained men to strike beyond Iraq” by Michael Slackman and Scott Shane, The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, 12 June 2006, p. 7.)
3. Palestinian Media Watch / A Self-portrait of Palestinian Society: http://www.pmw.org.il/