Comments by David G. Littman: NGO Representative to the UN, Geneva: Association for World Education / World Union for Progressive Judaism
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Conclusion: Winston Churchill (14 June 1941 broadcast to USA): “United we stand. Divided we fall. Divided, the dark age returns”
We have described the usual Commedia dell’arte (“Comedy of the… Council”) on “Palestine and other occupied Arab territories” (item 7) here. After item 8 “violence against women” (statement will follow), came item 9 on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia & related forms of intolerance.
We seized that opportunity to address an ‘event’ that occurred during our absence the previous week, following which we sent an ‘Urgent Appeal’ twice to the High Commissioner and the HRC President (see below): How could this blatant revival of the Syrian blood-libel accusation be totally ignored – except by Executive Director of UN Watch Hillel Neuer and Israel’s Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar? The U.S. Mission condemned it on its website, but not at the Council. See also here.
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Syrian Blood-Libel insinuations revived at the Human Rights Council (8 June)
WORLD UNION FOR PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM
United Nations Human Rights Council -14th session (31 May – 18 June 2010)
Representative: David G. Littman – Tuesday (@ 5:45) 15 June 2010 (31st Plenary Meeting)
President (Chair): Ambassador Alex Van Meeuwen (Belgium)
Item 9: Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance…
[Statement prepared impromptu, as the item was announced for debate on the morning of 16 June]
We expected that item 9 on racism would be debated tomorrow [as scheduled]. We are unprepared, but we are nonetheless grateful to have the chance to denounce here -as a historian – last week’s blood libel accusation – racist as it was – pronounced once again by the delegation of Syria; and the fact that there has still been no reaction and no condemnation by this Council or even a statement by the president.
[On 8 June (18th plenary meeting), Syrian delegate Rania Al Rifaiy declared (there was no ‘point of order’) that “Israel was a State built on hatred, discrimination and oppression, and a paranoid feeling of superiority”; she then adding a blood libel quip: “Let me quote a song that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school: `With my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood.”‘ This was denounced by UN Watch, by Israel, but no other State or NGO referred to it; it was covered by Canwest and in two Canadian papers.]
As the main representative of the World Union [for Progressive Judaism] 20 years ago, I well remember the flagrant blood libel launched on 8 February 1991 by the delegate of Syria who waved above her head the book by Syria’s Defence Minister [Major-General Mustafa Tlass], The Matza of Zion [unleavened bread], from which I had quoted, as a flagrant example of defamation of religion, racism and a culture of hate – in relation to the 1840 Blood Libel at Damascus. Here are the words [from that book by Tlass]:
“The Jews can kill you to use your blood for his Zionist bread…May Allah protect us.”
[The exact words used were: “The Jew can kill you…and take your blood in order to make his Zionist bread…I hope that I have done my duty in presenting the practices of the enemy of our historic nation. Allah aid this project.”]
Her answer was to wave the monstrous book and appeal to the Commission to understand why Zionism relates to racism.
[In her ‘right of reply’ to my denunciation of her Defence Minister’s book, Syrian delegate Miss Nabila Chaalan stated: “We should like to launch an appeal to all members of this Commission to read this very important work that demonstrates unequivocally the historical reality of Zionist racism.” See also Syrian UN document E/CN.4/1991/80 of 20 February 1991, purporting to be the exact translation of Nabila Chaalan’s oral statement (HRHW, pp* 54-55)]
As we have pointed out at the 13th session and again on 27 October 2009 at a Complementary Standards [Council] meeting, the bookstores in Damascus and outside main hotels are filled with copies in many languages of Hitler’s Mein Kampf; the 1840 Blood Libel in Damascus; and The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion – and even worse. See “Discrimination based on religion or belief & genocide. Proposals on the format & nature of possible complementary standards to be elaborated.”
[The last one in 2009 by Shams al-Din al-Ajlani, in Arabic, on The Jews of Damascus (Librairie El-Ulbi, Damas, 2009, pp. 430), in which one reads the lie of how the Jews of Damascus savagely strangled Father Thomas and his valet in 1840 – in order to use his blood in the preparation of their unleavened bread for the Feast of Passover.]
That was in 1991*; it is constantly repeated. We, therefore, appeal solemnly again to this Council – once and for all to speak out – as well as to its president to condemn these outrageous expressions of hatred and the worst possible…I have no words, sir. Thank you.
*At the 47th session of the Commission in 1991, 29 States (14 Member and 15 Observer States) sent letters of protest of protest to Chairman Enrique Bernales Ballesteros and Under-Secretary-General Jan Martenson. In chronological order: Israel, USA, Australia, Canada, 12 Members of the EU, Switzerland, the five members of the Nordic countries, Austria, New Zealand, Japan, Czechoslavakia, Hungary and Poland (jointly); Yugoslavia. Only 12 NGO, 3 Jewish – not Amnesty International. A letter, dated 3 July 1991, sent by Chairman Ballasteros to the then U.S. Ambassador Morris Abram, concludes: “That is why I am at pains to reiterate my conviction that any declaration which could provoke racist or discriminatory sentiments must not be tolerated.” For full documentation see, Human Rights and Human Wrongs, NÂ° 10 and NÂ° 11 (World Union for Progressive Judaism, Geneva, 10 June 1991, pp. 56 / 20 Jan. 1992, p. 32), in major libraries worldwide and the UN.
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N.B: In fact, there had been a previous case that was ignored at the UN seven years
earlier, two years before we were accredited in 1986. It is recorded in HRHW, No 10
(page 56), with references provided and it’s worthwhile reproducing that passage
here as evidence that such Blood-Libels accusations are not so uncommon at the UN.
The infamous 1974 UNESCO resolution, followed a year later by General Assembly
Resolution 3379/1975 equating Zionism with racism had the blood-libel in its guts.
1984 BLOOD-LIBEL ACCUSATION AT THE UN, GENEVA
A United Nations Seminar on the ‘Encouragement of Understanding and Respect
in Matters Relating to Freedom of Religion or Belief’ took place in December 1984,
organised by the UN Human Rights Centre in Geneva [No High Commissioner for
Human Rights existed then]. On 5 December, Mr. Ma’aruf al-Dawilibi, President
of the World Muslim Congress, representing Saudi Arabia, made a long Statement
in which he declared that each year Jews kidnap and slaughter a non-Jewish boy to
drain his blood. He asserted that the Talmud teaches: “If Jews do not drink every
year the blood of a non-Jewish man, then he will be damned for eternity.”
The background on this 1984 Blood-Libel Accusation, made to a UN body in Geneva,
including information concerning Mr. Al-Dawilibi’s Nazi past, as personal secretary
to Nazi collaborator and War Criminal al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni, Mufti of Jerusalem,
is found in our notes to the source from H.O. Schoenberg and Robert Wistrich
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WORLD UNION FOR PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM
Case Postale 205 – 1196 Gland – Suisse
2nd URGENT APPEAL
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay
Human Rights Council President Alex Van Meeuwen
16 June 2010
(delivered by hand)
18 June 2010
(delivered by hand)
Last Day of the 14th Session, UNCHR: “Silence that Dreadful Bell…” (Othello II: i. 16)
BLOOD-LIBEL REVIVAL BY SYRIA AT THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
We are making available for your perusal the following documentation concerning a grave
matter that took place last week at the Council – in our absence. Having been directly involved in the UN 1991 ‘Syrian Blood-Libel Affair’, we felt an obligation to inform you of the possible consequences for the reputation of the Council if such an egregious event is not addressed during the current 14th session by its President, as well as by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
For background information:
– Oral Statement for the WUPJ delivered on 15 June 2010 (31st plenary meeting), item 9: Re: Syrian Blood-Libel insinuations revived at the UN Human Rights Council (8 June)
– Oral Statement delivered for AWE & WUPJ to the 2nd session of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards – Human Rights Council (27 October 2009) Re: Judeophobia / Antisemitism: Large number of publications in Damascus
– 2009 Blood-Libel & Nazi-StÃ¼rmer illustrations from recent book: “The Jews of Damascus”
– Cover, recently-acquired defamatory book on Jews: Arabs and Jews in History (Damascus)
– 1991 ‘Revival at UN Commission of 1840 “Damascus Affair” Blood Libel Accusation’ by Syria (Human Rights & Human Wrongs, NÂ° 10, pp. 60, WUPJ, Geneva, 1991, UN library)
– 3 July 1991 letter (English translation) from Ambassador Enrique Bernales Ballesteros, Chairman, 47th session, UN Commission on Human Rights to U.S. Ambassador Morris Abram concerning Syria’s Blood-Libel Revival at the HRC on 8 February 1991. (HRHW, NÂ° 11, pp. 2-3)
Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information today or tomorrow if any interest is shown regarding this grave matter of the Blood-Libel against Jews and Judaism, which has a 1000 year genocidal history and should never be ignored when it enters the United Nations… in relation to Human Rights.
David G. Littman.
WUPJ Representative – Geneva
Canadian Media Reaction
As a result of the WUPJ 1st ‘Urgent Appeal’, Canada.com released a report (16 June),
Muslim states push for UN action on ‘Islamophobia’ which was covered the next day
by The National Post (17 June). And also The Calgary Herald. It concluded:
Veteran UN-accredited activist David Littman highlighted that the Focus on the West appeared out of place when the council has “yet to address” a charge made in the chamber last week by Syria that Israeli children are taught to sing about drinking the blood of Arabs. The claim recalls an ancient blood libel claiming that Jews use
human blood in their religious and other rituals.
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Resolution on Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Condemnation of all forms of intolerance
(Adopted by consensus on 18 June – without any mention of the Syrian blood-libel)
Below are two gems from the UN summary (with UN webcast links), of the ‘before-vote’ statements by the ambassadors of Pakistan and Egypt on the above resolution. They are worth watching for 2 to 3 minutes each, as they provide the usual declarations that are totally divorced from the reality in their respective countries – known to ‘everyone’. Our verbatim two-minute joint AWE & WUPJ statement below (last on above Youtube) made that point – and launched another appeal for the Christians in Iraq (no reply received from HCHR for our joint NGO Christmas Day Appeal).
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ASSOCIATION FOR WORLD EDUCATION
WORLD UNION FOR PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL – 14th session (31 May – 18 June 2010)
Statement by Representative David G. LITTMAN – Tuesday (@5:55), 15 June 2010
Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia & related forms of intolerance… (item 9)
Chair: for the 31st Plenary Meeting: Vice-President: Mr. Andrej Logar (Slovenia).
Judeophobia & Christianophobia in the Arab-Muslim World: Appeal for Christians
[Statement prepared impromptu, as item 9 was scheduled for debate on the morning of 16 June]
Mr. Chairman, I have listened very carefully to all the pious interventions by certain OIC delegates – we shall not name them – about a Dialogue of Civilizations and the Defamation of Religions, etc. and we are struck by the reality. And that reality can be seen on the televisions regularly, heard on the radio. It’s all irrefutable – what is actually going on in those countries concerning Judeophobia.
I’ve said it before…even here, just outside this building [room], on the 19th December 2008, [there were] two books by ISESCO – the cultural wing of the OIC, linked to UNESCO – books which have the most horrible defamation of Jews and of Judaism. We have still received no answer from anyone concerning this. And I would add that now there are no Jews left in the Arab world – out of a million, there are no more than 3,000 [remaining].
And it was always said: “After Saturday comes Sunday!” It is now the turn of the Christians suffering in Egypt, suffering in Iraq especially – [from] where more than half a million have had to flee . I’m speaking of the Mandeans, the Chaldeans, all those [indigenous] Christian groups – not to speak also about the Armenian elsewhere [and the Christians in Pakistan]. Sir, it is time for us to hear the truth about ‘complementary standards’ and what it means, and what is meant – and what actually is happening! – and it would be a good thing if this Council finally said something at least, about the situation of the Christians in Iraq and in other countries in the Arab world.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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(Here is the UN Summary record and click on each UN webcast link below for the whole 3 minutes.)
ZAMIR AKRAM (Pakistan), speaking in a general comment on behalf of the Organization
of the Islamic Conference, said the OIC was pleased to join the consensus and attached great importance to the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, as well as the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance (…) The media too must play its role to promote respect for freedom of religion and multiculturalism, which were fundamental to preserve the nature of today’s international order of multiculturalism.
AHMED IHAB GAMALELDIN (Egypt), speaking in a general comment, said pluralism, tolerance and understanding of religious and cultural diversity were essential for peace and harmony. The rise of religious stereotyping and profiling were an affront to human dignity. Egypt expressed its concern at negative stereotyping of religions, insults to holy books, scriptures and symbols, which impeded the enjoyment of freedom of religion, and underlined the urgent need that the Council draw the attention of the international community to these disturbing trends, and that it provide protection to the followers of all religions from such acts
Churchill’s words as a Reminder Today
On watching and hearing these experienced masters of duplicity at the Palais des Nations, we were intrigued to hear the disgust shown by the representative of Amnesty International – the very last brief speaker late on Friday evening, 18 June, who declared impromptu: “We have heard appalling discussions on the appointment process for special procedures mandate holders that was established.” But neither Amnesty, nor any NGO – except UN Watch, WUPJ, AWE -reacted to the Syrian Blood-Libel. And only two states: Israel – and the USA on their website.
Our conclusion will be that of Churchill from his 14 June 1941 broadcast to the United States, on receiving an honorary degree from Rochester University – the same day that he telegraphed Roosevelt with a reflection: “People must have hope, to face the long haul that lies ahead”. It’s time for our Western world to recall Churchill’s words and act now to halt the ongoing OIC attempts to undermine our Judeo-Christian-Enlightenment values that are enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights since 1948.
This is not the end of the tale. The stars in their courses proclaim the deliverance of mankind. Not so easily shall the onward progress of the peoples be barred. Not so easily shall the lights of freedom die. But time is short. Every month that passes adds to the length and to the perils of the journey that that will have to be made. United we stand. Divided we fall. Divided, the dark age returns. United we can save and guide the world.*
Yes, united we stand and divided we fall. United we can still survive.
*Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, vol. 6: Finest Hour, 1939-1941, London: Heinemann, 1983, p. 1110.