Edwin Black: Replacing the UN with ‘The Covenant of Democratic Nations’
For years, foreign policy critics, politicians and outraged members of the general public have been urging the US to defund and quit the United Nations. Some have advocated that a rival or successor organization should be established. Now there is a movement calling to “defund and replace” the troubled organization with a new world body: The Covenant of Democratic Nations. This writer has been a participating witness to the birth of that movement.
Just days after controversial UN Security Council Resolution 2334 declared, among other things, that Israel’s Jewish connection to the Western Wall was effectively illegal, concrete replacement action began. It started with proposing an official international conference to endorse a diplomatic convention that would be ratified by countries as a binding treaty. The entire process would be limited to nations governed by democratic principles. Each member would or could defund the United Nations, while it labored to construct a successor entity dedicated to world peace along democratic principles with equal respect for all people regardless of religion, gender, race, identity or national origin. This body would also include a mechanism to resolve disputes.
A prime mission of the new world organization would be to re-ratify, amend or nullify all acts and resolutions of the United Nations and its agencies such as UNESCO. Just as unjust American laws perpetrating slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and institutional inequality were overturned, updated and reformed, so too could the damage done by the UN. Sensibly, most CDN nations would remain as vestigial members of the UN, overseeing its collapse — just like when the League of Nations was dissolved after World War II and replaced with the present UN.
Caroline Glick: The lessons of Roosevelt’s failures
The American Jewish uproar at Trump’s actions shows first and foremost the cynicism of the leftist Jewish leadership.
It isn’t simply that left-wing activists like Hetfield and Eisner cynically ignore that Trump’s order is based on Obama’s policies, which they didn’t oppose.
It is that in their expressed concerned for would-be Muslim refugees to the US they refuse to recognize that the plight of Muslims as Muslims in places like Syria and Iraq is not the same as the plight of Christians and Yazidis as Christians and Yazidis in these lands.
The “Jews” in the present circumstances are not the Muslims, who are nowhere targeted for genocide.
The “Jews” in the present circumstances are the Christians and Yazidis and other religious minorities, whom Trump’s impassioned Jewish opponents and Obama’s impassioned Jewish champions fail to defend.
Trump’s executive order is far from perfect. But in making the distinction between the hunters and the hunted and siding with the latter against the former, Trump is showing that he is not a bigot.
Unlike his critics, he has learned the lessons of Roosevelt’s moral failure and is working to ensure that the US acts differently today.
Shmuley Boteach: Playing politics with the US Holocaust Museum
The gravest sin he committed, however, one which should disqualify him for any association with the Holocaust Museum, is his complicity in the genocide in Syria.
Like Nero, Obama has figuratively fiddled while Syria burned. After stating that Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his opponents would cross a red line that would trigger a US military response, Obama failed to back up his threat. This cowardly act was universally viewed by friends and foes alike in the Middle East as a sign of weakness, and left allies, including Israel, questioning whether they could depend on the US to protect their interests.
Fortunately for Obama, he had Rhodes to manipulate the “echo chamber” and sell the amoral narrative that America could not act to stop war crimes and genocide in Syria because it would jeopardize nuclear talks with Iran.
A bystander to genocide has no business in a position of honor or responsibility at an institution devoted to documenting past genocides and preventing future ones.
Rhodes was worse than a bystander, he was an active participant in the decision not to act to prevent the slaughter.
President Trump should call for Rhodes’ immediate resignation. In addition, a campaign should be conducted through the echo chamber calling on the chairman and the rest of the museum’s council to remove Rhodes forthwith to prevent his presence from tarnishing the reputation and mission of this vital institution.
He may have just celebrated his 80th birthday, but the renowned anti-fascist activist Gerry Gable is fizzing with plans to continue his great life’s work.
And though he began his war against fascism and racism after the Second World War — and has seen off the likes of the National Front and the British National Party — Gable warns that the threat “is greater than ever. They [the fascists] are much more sophisticated and we are seeing situations where the Russians are backing them, and in turn they are recruiting not just skinheads and bovver boys, but kids from upper-class backgrounds.”
Gerry Gable’s CV defies belief in its breadth of activity, from journalist to TV documentary maker, from academic to specialist adviser to the police. His targets have included “politicians, bent cops and organised crime”, but this tough Jewish campaigner is best known for his role on Searchlight, the anti-fascist publication, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the dark world of the extreme right.
Mark Gardner, communications director of the Community Security Trust (CST) is well aware that Gable is a one-off. He says: “Gerry is extraordinary. For decades, he has made an utterly unique contribution to the fight against fascism, racism and anti-Semitism. His impact is an enduring one, because he has not only undermined the far right at every turn to all our benefits but his research also underpins our knowledge of this entire political area.”
Throughout his long career, Gable is proudest of having been a constant thorn in the side of the Holocaust denier David Irving, beginning back in 1963 when he confronted Irving in Irving’s own home.
The 2008 Holy Land Relief terrorism funding criminal trial resulted in multiple convictions and was touted as the one of the largest terrorism financing trials in American history. Expectations were high that the 2008 trial would be followed by further trials involving the listed unindicted co-conspirators such as CAIR USA and the Islamic Society of North America.
However, with the appointment of Eric Holder as the U.S. Attorney General in 2009, all further actions on this file appear to have been frozen. Holder would later speak at a conference supporting one of the unindicted co-conspirators.
It is not clear if the ongoing criminal investigation focuses only on those individuals leading IRFAN at the time of its delisting as a charity and listing as a terrorism entity, or if the investigation also includes those who helped found IRFAN. This may be an important distinction, as the Canada Revenue Agency stated that IRFAN was deliberately created and designed to circumvent Canadian terrorism-funding rules.
It appears possible that the Trump Administration will crack down on Islamist extremist groups in the USA. This would likely have a spill-over effect into Canada and Europe, though greater attention to border security and issues of funding terrorism.
In January 2017, the church umbrella organization CIDSE’s Palestine-Israel Working Group (made up of 18 organizations from Europe and North America) released a document titled “No Place Like Home: A Reader On The Forced Internal Displacement Of Palestinians In The Occupied Palestinian Territory And Israel.” The working group includes: Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development [CAFOD] – (UK), CCFD-Terre Solidaire (France), MISEREOR (Germany) and Trócaire (Ireland). The document cited a number of political NGOs, including Adalah and Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC).
CIDSE’s press release quotes Brigitte Herremans, Broederlijk Delen’s “Policy Officer for Israel and Palestine.” Herremans is a major supporter of lawfare and BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, and in September 2016, was denied entry to Israel. Herremans has also called on the EU “to confront Israel” over alleged “systematic violations of international law.” Similarly, Broederlijk Delen, along with CCFD, Trócaire, and others produced the 2012 report “Trading Away Peace,” which lobbied the EU to impose economic sanctions on Israel. Broederlijk Delen, along with the other CIDSE group members, also fund politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including some of the organizations cited in the document.
The CIDSE document appears to be designed as a tool to be used for lobbying the European Union. The stated objective for the document is “to highlight the causes and impacts of displacement, explain the basic international legal principles relating to displacement and place this within the context of the European Union’s response” (p. 13). Indeed, each chapter has a section titled “The European Union’s Response.”
France, unlike the U.S., offers no formal guarantees of its citizens’ right to freedom of speech, in part because this right is deeply ingrained in French politics and culture. But, argues Michel Gurfinkiel, two recent instances in which Jewish intellectuals were sued for writing about Islam suggests that this needs to change. Take, for example, the case of Georges Bensoussan:
Bensoussan, sixty-four, is a French academic of Moroccan-Jewish origin, specializing in the history of modern Judaism, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust, and the author of several seminal books on these issues. . . . During a debate aired on France-Culture (France’s cultural government-run radio station) on October 15, 2015, Bensoussan remarked that anti-Semitism was deeply rooted in the family culture of French Muslims. [Paraphrasing the work of] an Algerian sociologist, Smaïn Laacher, . . . Bensoussan . . . used a colloquial French expression: “in Arab families, . . . anti-Semitism is being ingested with the mother’s milk.”
Many politically correct intellectuals or organizations charged Bensoussan of using “biological,” meaning inherently “racist,” vocabulary. Interestingly enough, no Muslim, North African, or anti-racist group formally sued Bensoussan in court. Chances are that lawyers warned about the paucity of the charges. However, one group, the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), “signaled” the matter to the public prosecutor’s office at the very last moment. And it is the public prosecutor’s office—which, under French law, belongs to the government’s judiciary branch—that resolved to prosecute Bensoussan. . . .
A left-wing politician in France who was endorsed by the founders of the country’s Anti-Zionist Party handily defeated Prime Minister Manuel Valls in the Socialist presidential primaries.
Benoit Hamon, who supports dramatically expanding welfare payments and has called for his party to support Palestinian causes to increase its appeal to Muslim voters, beat his hard-line challenger Sunday with 58 percent of the vote in the second and final round of the balloting.
Last week, the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala and the far-right author Alain Soral — who along with founding the Anti-Zionist Party both have multiple convictions for Holocaust denial and inciting racial hatred against Jews – endorsed Hamon publicly. Hamon disavowed Soral and Dieudonne.
Soral wrote on his website that voting for Hamon was necessary to “knock Valls out of the race” because he is “a candidate who swore allegiance to the CRIF and to Israel be it through policy, media exposure, judicial means or by deploying the police.” CRIF is the umbrella group of French Jewish communities.
A film about Arab-Israeli women living in Tel Aviv is making waves.
A film about Arab-Israeli women who left their villages to live in Tel Aviv has angered some traditionalists in Israel’s Arab community, who say its depiction of homosexuality and independent single women is insulting.
“In Between”, which has an Arab director and a Jewish producer, won best film at the Haifa International Film Festival in October and accolades in Toronto and San Sebastian with its portrayal of three very different women who share an apartment in Israel’s most liberal city.
An Israeli film with an Arab director, Arab actors, and a Jewish producer, dealing with the reality of Arabs living in Tel Aviv, in a very real and human way – this is the stuff of nightmares for those falsely claiming Israel is an “Apartheid” state.
Then again, so is Israel picking an Arabic-speaking film as its submission for the Oscars in the best foreign-language film category.
A Canadian trade school reportedly turned down an Israeli student applicant simply for being Israeli.
Israeli civil engineering student and amateur carpenter Stav Daron, who initially spoke with Mako News reporter Ido Daniel, said that he applied to study at the Island School of Building Arts, a Canadian trade school specializing in wood construction and design.
The report cited Daron as saying he had wanted to study at the ISBA, located on Gabriola Island in the province of British Columbia, due to its expertise and prominence in the wood construction field.
According to copies of emails received by The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, Daron had been in correspondence with Patricia Rokosh, the ISBA’s manager of the school and student services, since February. He mentioned that he is Israeli and wanted to sign up for a four-week course costing $2,500 CND. He had even purchased a book from the ISBA website by the school’s founder in order to prepare him for the course
However, when the time came to sign up for the course, Rokosh wrote back to Daron on January 25 that the school is “not accepting applications from Israel.” She said the reason was “due to the conflict and illegal settlement activity in the region.”
Georgetown University refused a student coalition’s demand that it first disclose and then halt its investment in companies that contribute to the “illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine,” the student newspaper The Hoya reported on Friday.
According to the report, GU officials refused, on the grounds that it maintains a “standard practice” of not disclosing any of its investments. This answer was given nearly two months after the coalition “Georgetown University Forming a Radically Ethical Endowment Coalition (GU F.R.E.E.)” — endorsed by 17 student organizations — sent a letter to the university’s president issuing a January 13 deadline to divest from companies that “[perpetuate] state violence.”
The nine companies referred to by GU F.R.E.E. include Boeing, Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, General Electric and Hewlett-Packard, which the group said are “knowingly and consistently” complicit in Israeli “human rights violations” against “indigenous” Palestinians, such as “collective punishment,” “forcible displacement” and “occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.”
Faculty members and administrators at Toronto’s Ryerson University organized a Holocaust memorial event last week, a month after students boycotted an initiative to institute a Holocaust education week at the school.
The university wanted to “show solidarity with Jewish students,” said Tamar Jaclyn Lyons — vice president of the university’s chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) and a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow — following the debacle at the Ryerson Student Union, in which students were heckled with antisemitic slurs and a staged walkout torpedoed the vote on creating time for Holocaust awareness, as The Algemeiner reported.
Alyssa Moses, associate director of the school’s Hillel and one of the organizers of Friday’s event — entitled “What can be learned from the Holocaust?” and scheduled to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day — said students were “very moved.” Many stayed late, she added, to talk to Holocaust survivor Judy Weissenberg-Cohen, who had given a speech about her experience at Auschwitz.
Moses said about 175 people attended the program, which also included remarks from Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi, and a display featuring students’ and faculty’s personal connections to the Holocaust.
Racist graffiti has been appearing of late at different locations on the campus of Wisconsin’s Beloit College, the student newspaper The Round Table reported, with a Jewish student having specific abuse aimed in his direction.
Last Wednesday, the student found a swastika drawn on the whiteboard outside his room. On Friday — International Holocaust Remembrance Day — a swastika and note reading, “Kike, you should be gassed for what you say & do on this campus. Be worried C**T,” were slipped under his door.
Dean of Students Christina Klawitter told the Round Table that the school is focused on “caring for the student who was directly targeted, and others who are feeling affected; on taking steps to enhance security; and on pursuing information that will allow us to hold someone accountable for this horrific act.”
Ethan Perel-Wertman, a different Jewish student, told the newspaper he is “repulsed and devastated that such a hateful act was committed on our campus. I hope this can serve as a wake up call to the Beloit community that antisemitism is a real problem that continues to exist in our country. In the coming days and weeks I will be working with other students to launch a group to advocate to Jewish students on campus and educate people about antisemitism.”
While the New York Times boasts of its “fact-based journalism,” the CAMERA media watchdog organization reports on several examples of misinformation the newspaper has reported in recent weeks regarding Israel and the PA – yet refuses to correct.
The issues, in brief, are these:
1. The Times wrote, on Dec. 29, that “most governments and world bodies have set achievement of the two-state solution as official policy, including the United States, the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel.”
However, in fact, many PA leaders refuse to accept this solution. Nabil Shaath, for instance, said, “The story of ‘two states for two peoples’ means that there will be a Jewish people over there and a Palestinian people here. We will never accept this.” Mahmoud Abbas has made similar statements.
CAMERA – The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting – states, “New York Times editors have refused to set readers straight with a correction — despite repeated requests from CAMERA that they do so.”
The putative ‘erosion’ of Israel’s democracy is one of those NGO and media-driven narratives that has developed into something akin to conventional wisdom among the state’s critics – despite the dearth of any real empirical evidence attesting to such a political decline.
Such erroneous predictions, amplified within both the Israeli and British far-left, sometimes go so far as to predict “the end” of Israeli democracy. Typically, such hyperbolic characterisations are employed in response to ill-advised (proposed) legislation that would never in fact become law – or, at least, end up being significantly watered down, rendering the original concerns practically moot.
Of course, it’s extremely unlikely that more than a few actual Israeli citizens – those intimately familiar with the state’s robust democratic institutions – take such hyperbole seriously. Further, our refutations of such unhinged predictions have typically relied on annual reports by the respected human rights organisation Freedom House, which continue to list Israel as the only “Free” country in the Middle East. Reports by the Israel Democracy Institute also provide detailed comparative analyses on the strength of Israel’s democracy relative to other countries – indicating that, though serious problems do exist, the overall health of the state’s democratic culture is strong.
Showtime’s once-refreshingly truthful terrorism drama series Homeland has fallen further from grace. Producers of the program already admitted they’d expected Hillary Clinton to become the next President of the United States, hence they had written a female-president into the new series, but that’s the least of the show’s problems.
Aside from breaking with its protagonist Carrie’s character arc — turning her from a sober-minded judge of the realities of terror into a liberal, Muslim-outreach director in Brooklyn — the series is now vilifying Israel, too.
Worst of all, the writers chose to use Saul (Mandy Patinkin) to deliver that message.
In the scene featured above, the once-pro-Israel-turned-self-loathing-Jewish character condemned his sister and brother-in-law for living in West Bank, because it makes “peace less possible.” Worse, he then mocked his own faith (as if a Muslim-character would ever do the same) to drive the knife even deeper:
The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood wrote a highly misleading profile of Israeli Member of Knesset (and ironically, anti-Israel extremist) Haneen Zoabi.
An unduly flattering profile that excludes critical context is known in the news industry as a “puff piece.” It is also a breach of journalistic ethics and a disservice to Guardian readers.
Sherwood portrays Zoabi as a civil rights activist who stands up for abused Palestinians while fighting institutional resistance to her noble cause. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Just a few of Zoabi’s dubious “accomplishments” as a member of the Israeli Knesset, that The Guardian saw fit to hide from its readers:
NPR’s “Here and Now” host Jeremy Hobson is the latest media figure to wrongly report that Israel is building, or has plans to build, thousands of “new settlements,” misidentifying individual residential units within preexisting settlements as “new settlements.” In fact, Israel has built no new settlements in some two decades and recent announcements concern additional units in established settlements.
In a conversation yesterday with Neri Zilber, a journalist and adjunct fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “Here and Now” host Jeremy Hobson erred (“Amid Corruption Probe, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Curries Favor With Trump”):
Speaking of a two state solution, former Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech about Israel and said that that two state solution is in serious trouble and that a big part of the reason for that is Israel’s continuing push to build new settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Just within a few days of Trump being sworn in, Israel announced plans to build 2,500 new settlements. . . . Is it a sign of more settlements to come?
Israel is not pushing to build new settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Israel has built no new settlements in some two decades, and, as NPR itself recently reported, the announcement in question concerned plans for 2,500 residential units within pre-existing settlements, not 2,500 new settlements. NPR’s Merrit Kennedy accurately reported last week: “Israel says it plans to build 2,500 more homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank” (“Israel Says It Will Build 2,500 New Settlement Homes in the West Bank”).
In Croatia, International Holocaust Remembrance Day was marked in the absence of representatives of the Croatian Jewish community. This was the second year in a row that the Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities in Croatia decided to boycott the official Holocaust commemoration event for the victims of Jasenovac concentration camp. Jewish representatives say this is proof that the government is not doing enough to counter right-wing attempts at historical revisionism.
On January 17, 2017, the traveling exhibition “Anne Frank – A History for Today” was removed from a high school in the town of Šibenik after being there for only one day. This exhibition, according to the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, tells the story of Anne Frank against the background of the Holocaust and the Second World War. It shows photographs of Frank’s childhood in Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and portrays the rise of the Nazis and the persecution of the Jews.
The exhibition contains 30 panels containing historical information of the specific country where it is currently being shown at a given time.
An Austrian newspaper reported that the owner of the house where Adolf Hitler was born is going to high court to challenge the government’s right to take possession of the property.
The challenge is in response to last month’s parliamentary approval of a government bill to expropriate the house after she refused to sell it.
The daily Kurier, in a report for its Tuesday edition, said owner Gerlinde Pommer has asked Austria’s Constitutional Court to rule against the government move.
Hitler was born in 1889 in the house in Braunau am Inn, a town on the German border.
It is not yet clear what will happen with the yellow corner house at Number 15 Salzburger Vorstadt Street, located right in Braunau’s historic center.
Poland on Monday published the first online database with the names and other personal details of nearly 10,000 staff who ran the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi German death camp.
The database, which the IPN says contains 9,686 names “is just the beginning of a wide-ranging project” that will cover the staff of other death and concentration camps that Nazi Germany set up in occupied Poland, Institute of National Remembrance chairman Jaroslaw Szarek told reporters in Krakow.
Around 25,000 names have already been gathered so far.
Szarek said the project is in part intended to curb the use by foreign media of the erroneous phrase “Polish death camps” to refer to sites built and run by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland.
Warsaw has long called out media for identifying the camps as “Polish” due to confusion caused by their geographical location.
But according to Szarek, “it is sometimes the case that this is done in bad faith due to anti-Polish policy.”
A large crowd marched through central Milan as a human chain to protest the defacement of a recently placed “stumbling stone” Holocaust memorial.
The marchers Saturday, estimated in the thousands, included the mayor of Milan and Italy’s justice minister.
Organized largely on social media, the march led from the Stumbling Stone commemorating Jewish Holocaust victim Dante Coen to Milan’s central train station, where there is a large Holocaust memorial. Coen’s daughter, Ornella, took part.
As they followed the route, participants were linked by a red cord, symbolizing the chain of memory.
Coen was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 and then killed at Buchenwald in 1945. The stumbling stone commemorating him was the first of six installed in Milan on January 19. It was found covered in black paint two days later.
Brazilian President Michel Temer attended a service at the country’s largest synagogue to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The president was invited during Sunday’s service at the Congregacao Israelita Paulista synagogue in Sao Paulo to light one of six candles in honor of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The remembrance day was officially Friday.
“Remembering the Holocaust in all its pain and anguish is preparing the future,” Temer said. “It stands to all of us as a lesson. One day may pass, one month may pass, years may pass, centuries may pass, we must remember the Holocaust for it’s a lesson for the future and for the present time.”
Other dignitaries on hand for the service included Foreign Minister Jose Serra; the state governor of Sao Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, and Sao Paulo city Mayor Joao Doria.
The fund provides Israeli companies with direct access to investments from the Chinese government.
Chinese investment fund Blueconomy Center has raised $150 million from the Chinese government and public funds for investing in marine and environmental technologies in Israel. Managed by CEO Shalom Daskal, Yuval Rabin (son of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin) and Jacob Kaplan, the fund provides Israeli companies with direct access to investments from the Chinese government. It completed its financing round in six months, and is already considering immediate investments in four Israeli companies.
Blueconomy said it would focus on Israeli companies based on knowledge and intellectual property. In its initial stages, the fund will invest in technologies such as wind, wave, and solar energy; marine food, green and blue algae-based materials; drugs, cosmetics; artificial islands; sewage management; water purification and desalinization (in which Israel specializes); and even construction materials.
According to the fund, it is already in advanced negotiations for investments in four Israeli companies, after examining over 40 companies over the past six months.
A new exhibition in central Israel celebrates the life of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, showcasing various items he used prior to his death in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster.
The Columbia embarked on its 28th mission in space on Jan. 16, 2003. It disintegrated as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on Feb. 1, 2003, killing all seven astronauts on board. A NASA investigation found that a piece of foam installation on the shuttle’s external tank had broken off, compromising its structure and causing it to break apart as it re-entered the atmosphere.
The exhibition, “Objects Tell a Story,” at the Air Force Auditorium in Herzliya, opened in honor of Israel Space Week. It documents Ramon’s life and includes unique items, including the NASA helmet worn by Ramon when he trained to be the first Israeli astronaut in space, and the torn remnants of an Israel Air Force flag that survived the Columbia disaster.
Among the objects on display is a model of a mezuzah that accompanied him in space, a page from the journal he kept on the space shuttle, and journals from his various IAF missions, such as the Operation Opera in 1981, during which Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor in Iraq, and containers of kosher food that survived the Columbia disaster.
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