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Human rights orgs: Israeli obstruction of UN Human Rights Council shields Israel from accountability and undermines human rights

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UN Human Rights Council
UN Human Rights Council

Yesterday, Israel refused to attend a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) review of its human rights record becoming the first country ever to boycott the Universal Periodic Review process. Under this process, all 193 member states of the United Nations take part in a regular review of its human rights record. Israel participated in its last scheduled review in December, 2008.

Al Jazeera reports Israel’s decision to end contact with the UNHRC followed an announcement last year that the council would be investigating Israeli settlements as a human rights violation:

Israel cut all ties with the 47-member state council last March after the body announced that it would probe how Israeli illegal settlements may be infringing on the rights of the Palestinians.

Israel has come under widespread criticism for ramping up its construction of illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories, notably in the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Earlier on Tuesday, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman told AFP the country intended to boycott the meeting.

“We cut all our contacts with the council last March, including the current activity,” Yigal Palmor said, stressing: “Our policy has not changed.”

In response to Israel’s refusal to appear, a coalition of 15 Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations released the following statement:

15 Israeli and Palestinian organisations warn of far-reaching consequences of Israel’s obstruction of UN human rights mechanisms

28 January 2013

15 Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations today warned of the far-reaching consequences of Israel’s refusal to fully cooperate with the United Nations (UN). On the morning of Israel’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), scheduled for Tuesday 29 January, it remains increasingly unlikely that it intends to participate.

This lack of transparency will not only mean that Israel avoids rigorous criticism of its violations of international law, but that the entire UPR system will be undermined by the loss of its two fundamental principles: equality and universality.

In May 2012, Israel formally announced its decision to “suspend its contact with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Human Rights Council (the Council) and its subsequent mechanisms”.

Israel reportedly met with the Council President His Excellency Remigiusz A. Henczel in January 2013 and discussed a postponement of its UPR. However, as no formal request has yet been made, the Council agreed to proceed as scheduled and to consider on the day what steps to take if the Israeli delegation does not attend.

These exceptional circumstances have created uncertainty and forced some civil society organisations to revise or limit their engagement with the review process due to the risk of investing necessarily significant resources into a process that may not take place. Thus, a key component of the UPR process – civil society engagement – has been severely hampered.

Through this uncertainty, Israel and the Council are setting a dangerous precedent on the international stage, one that could be followed by other States refusing to engage with the UN in order to avoid critical appraisals. Israel’s decision to disengage from core mechanisms of the United Nations human rights system has, in effect, resulted in preferential treatment. All but one of the 193 UN Member States have attended their UPR as scheduled; in that single instance the State of Haiti was unable to attend due to the humanitarian crisis caused by the 2010 earthquake. Israel should not receive any benefits or concessions for its efforts to undermine the system of the UN and, in particular, its human rights system.

To the contrary, the Council should ensure the unobstructed process of Israel’s UPR in accordance with the principles and standards set in the UPR mechanism, thereby reasserting the condition that human rights are more important than political or diplomatic considerations.

Moreover, Israel’s move to suspend cooperation with the Council and the OHCHR must be viewed within the context of its ongoing refusal to respect the decisions, resolutions and mechanisms of the UN. Consecutive Israeli governments have refused to recognise the State’s obligations under international human rights law with regard to the Palestinian population of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), obligations repeatedly reaffirmed in statements by UN treaty bodies.

Israel also rejects the de jure applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention, incumbent upon it as the Occupying Power, in defiance of numerous UN resolutions, the 2004 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the oPt, and countless statements issued by governments worldwide.

In 2009, Israel declined to cooperate with the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone. Justice Goldstone repeatedly called on Israel to engage, to no avail. More recently, in 2012, the UN Fact-finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the oPt was denied entry into the territory to collect testimonies. The Mission joined a long list of UN Special Rapporteurs and the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, to whom Israel has also refused entry. Furthermore, since his appointment as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Mr. Richard Falk has not been allowed to enter the oPt to carry out his work.

Within this context, 15 human rights organisations call on the Council to take a firm stand consistent with the seriousness of Israel’s obstructive actions to date.

The organisations singed to this statement are: Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minorities in Israel, Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association, Aldameer Association for Human Rights, Arab Association for Human Rights, Al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Defence for Children International – Palestine Section, Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Hurryyat – Centre for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights, Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling.

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39 Responses

  1. Les
    Les on January 29, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Above the law. Above accountability.

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye on January 29, 2013, 2:34 pm

      And beneath contempt.

    • hophmi
      hophmi on January 29, 2013, 2:39 pm

      Not at all. If you can enlighten us as to what impact the UNHRC has had on the human rights situation in any country, please let us know. It doesn’t make a difference. It is political organization that allows human rights abusers to sit in judgment of democracies with superior human rights records, and there are literally hundreds of other organizations that do better, more important, work, and are not tarred by the politics of the HRC.

      • Cliff
        Cliff on January 29, 2013, 6:43 pm

        Democracies are not above the law and can (and are) human rights abusers.

        Israel regularly abuses the human rights of the Palestinian people.

        Israel has also admitted to forcing contraceptives on Ethiopian Jews.

        Israel has a horrible reputation because it kills it’s neighbors and steals their land and water.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 30, 2013, 10:30 am

        Not at all. If you can enlighten us as to what impact the UNHRC has had on the human rights situation in any country, please let us know.

        LOL! Zionists divide their time equally between 1) criticizing the rest of humanity for not speaking out enough about the Third Reich, while there was still time to do something about its human rights violations; and 2) hypocritically bitching about the UN organs with legal mandates to speak out about human rights violations.

        The UN Human Rights Council has a legal mandate, General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006, to report to the General Assembly on human rights concerns in every member state and the territories subject to their jurisdiction. It has established the Universal Periodic Review Process to accomplish that task in line with the Assembly’s functions and powers under Article 13 of the UN Charter:

        Article 13
        1.The General Assembly shall initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of: a. promoting international co-operation in the political field and encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification; b. promoting international co-operation in the economic, social, cultural, educational, and health fields, and assisting in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

        The ICJ noted that Israel has repeatedly objected to the idea that Palestinians have any entitlement whatever to realize those basic human rights and fundamental freedoms mentioned in the UN Charter, so long as Israel is engaged in an armed conflict over their territory (in violation of the Charter). At one and the same time, the Court noted that Israel has reported on the implementation of human rights and fundamental freedoms for Jewish settlers in that same territory (which the General Assembly subsequently recognized as the State of Palestine). See CCPR/C/ISR/2001/2, para 8 or E/1990/6/Add.32, para 6-7 and the legal analysis contained in paragraphs 102-113 of the ICJ Advisory Opinion.

        So tell us Hophmi, what impact does it have on human rights in the State of Palestine, for the UN to continue to permit Israel to use armed force to guarantee its settlers human rights and freedoms in Palestine, while denying the Palestinians those same rights due to the on-going armed conflict? Wouldn’t we all be better off if Israel either withdrew from membership in the UN or withdrew its armed forces from the State of Palestine?

      • Hostage
        Hostage on January 31, 2013, 8:36 am

        Wouldn’t we all be better off if Israel either withdrew from membership in the UN or withdrew its armed forces from the State of Palestine?

        Never mind Hopmi, it seems that Israel is MIA because the UN HRC released the Advanced Unedited Version of the Report of the International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory today. It calls for sanctions against Israel over the West Bank settlements and the immediate withdrawal of the settlers.

  2. NormanF
    NormanF on January 29, 2013, 1:57 pm

    UNHCR is dominated by dictatorships and Islamic tyrannies.

    Its one sided obsession with a small democratic country has been used to divert public attention from real human rights abuses committed by Israel’s enemies.

    Israel will not cooperate with a kangaroo court that has made up its mind to pronounce Israel guilty in advance and which has subverted the principles of universality, impartiality and due process in its giving special attention to the Jewish State reserved for no other country.

    Israel will not give its enemies a platform to harass it and to undermine its core vital national interests. As a sovereign nation, Israel reserves the right to decide on the nature and extent of its cooperation with international bodies.

    • Cliff
      Cliff on January 29, 2013, 6:38 pm

      UNHCR isn’t dominated by blah blah.

      Israel is simply an apartheid, colonial-settler State that regularly commits war crimes and human rights violations.

    • Blank State
      Blank State on January 29, 2013, 11:21 pm

      “Its one sided obsession with a small democratic country has been used to divert public attention from real human rights abuses committed by Israel’s enemies…….blahblahblah……..”

      I note you are conspiculously absent from the thread about the Israeli policy of eugenics.

    • Krauss
      Krauss on January 30, 2013, 7:35 am

      NormanF is most likely either hired by the Israeli government or he is a lone fanatical Zionist. Either way, he’s not a “normal commenter”. I see him all the time pushing violent and racist rhetoric on comment boards on Jpost and blogs like ‘Israel Matzav'(which is a good guide to how the racist right in Israel thinks, run by an American Orthodox(or even ultra-Orthodox, depending on your definition) immigrant fanatic.

      Just thought I’d let the mods know. There’s robust debate and then there’s paid and unpaid trolls belonging to the far right.
      The latter category has been a problem on this place several times, and inevitably that problem has required administrative intervention.


      Here’s what I mean:

      Look at the comment section. Basically “there nobody before the Jews”. This is above and beyond the far-right racist rhetoric of even Sheldon Adelson. It could be another NormanF, but I doubt it. He’s highly active on JPost too. It’s most likely either a paid troll or it could be an unpaid troll and I’m leaning towards the latter. Either case, just thought I’d give the mods a heads up about the venal rats crawling around all the way from Israel from time to time.

      • Cliff
        Cliff on January 30, 2013, 3:15 pm

        “Look at the comment section. Basically “there nobody before the Jews”. This is above and beyond the far-right racist rhetoric of even Sheldon Adelson. ”

        I see this kind of Jewish supremacy everywhere on the web, in I-P-related discussions.

        That being said, it’s within a Zionist framework.

        A common example is to describe Islamic Spain as an ‘occupation’ and Jews under Islamic rule as universally oppressed dhimmis.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka on January 30, 2013, 9:55 am

      “Its one sided obsession with a small democratic country has been used to divert public attention from real human rights abuses committed by Israel’s enemies.”

      Are you kidding? isreal LOVES the human rights abuses committed by its neigbors, because it gets to use this false argument.

      “Israel will not cooperate with a kangaroo court that has made up its mind to pronounce Israel guilty in advance and which has subverted the principles of universality, impartiality and due process in its giving special attention to the Jewish State reserved for no other country.”

      Nonsense. israel’s crimes are unique in the world.

      “Israel reserves the right to decide on the nature and extent of its cooperation with international bodies.”

      Yes, we all understand that israel is a rogue nation that refuses to abide by international law. That is why it must be destroyed.

    • Hostage
      Hostage on January 30, 2013, 10:58 am

      UNHCR is dominated by dictatorships and Islamic tyrannies.

      Then Israelis reporting on their military dictatorship and tyranny in the occupied Palestinian territories should fit right in there among their brethren,

      But I doubt that the United States, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland feel dominated.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on January 30, 2013, 1:47 pm

        The United States feel embarrassed, more than anything else, that a body that purports to defend human rights, is run mostly by human rights violators, and that it spends more than half its time discussing Israel.

        All those who believe that Israel commits more than half the world’s human rights violations, please raise your hands.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on January 30, 2013, 3:42 pm

        The day you people volunteer to submit israel to have its human rights violations judged and you insist that the world sanction it until those violations stop — regardless of what happens in the rest of the world — is the day anyone should care for your little “what percentage of the worlds’s human rights violations?” nonsense. If you’re not willing to hold israel’s feet to the fire — and let’s face it, because they’re Jews, your’e not — please do everyone a favor and stifle yourself.

      • Cliff
        Cliff on January 30, 2013, 6:18 pm

        False dichotomy.

        The United States is one of the worst human rights violators in history. And Israel commits plenty of human rights abuses and is never held accountable.

        Again, hoppy, provide evidence of the disproportionate and supposedly unwarranted attention.

        If Israel commits crimes, then it will be reported on. The end.

        You simply want Israel’s crimes (and this is evident from your comment history wherein you whitewash Zionist terrorism and institutional racism, discrimination, other anti-democratic policy, etc.) to be ignored. That’s why you love the American media and think all of Europe is biased.

        That’s the trend in your thinking. Whether it’s these international NGOs or the European press – it’s all anti-Israel. When it comes to the US, where the propaganda model (Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Hermann) is in full effect, you think everything is a-ok.

        In other words, you’re a partisan hack.

    • Donald
      Donald on January 30, 2013, 11:18 am

      “Its one sided obsession with a small democratic country has been used to divert public attention from real human rights abuses committed by Israel’s enemies.”

      That’s false. If you go to their website (google it, I don’t have time) you’ll find plenty of material on the abuses of other countries. Syria in particular is receiving a huge amount of attention, as it should.

  3. JeffB
    JeffB on January 29, 2013, 4:33 pm

    I remember in March Israel raised objections to the membership being biased and the UNHCR’s belief that settlement activity is an automatic human rights violation. I think the best thing for the UNHCR would be to listen and respond in a fair and balanced manner to charges of bias. Israel is officially on record as rejecting the UNHCR institutionally because of bias. The last thing in the world they would want to do is take a firm and uncompromising stand.

    Once the relationship has deteriorated to the point of official rejection as a matter of policy what’s the point of being uncompromising? The point, unless the goal is cheap mockery, is to get Israel reinvested in the process.

    • Cliff
      Cliff on January 29, 2013, 6:40 pm


      How would the UNHCR ‘listen’ to these allegations of bias? And what is the debate on such bias like?

      What are the arguments for and against the notion of bias?

    • Hostage
      Hostage on January 30, 2013, 11:51 am

      I remember in March Israel raised objections [regarding] UNHCR’s belief that settlement activity is an automatic human rights violation.

      Only a lizard-brained Zionist would still question that proposition at this late date. First of all we are talking about Jewish-only communal settlements established on land expropriated by the IDF from the Palestinians. While Israel refuses to permit a single Palestinian evicted by the wars in 1948 or 1967 to be repatriated, it has implanted hundreds of thousands of its settlers on their state and private lands.

      The UN Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity specifically included “eviction by armed attack or occupation and inhuman acts resulting from the policy of apartheid”.

      Raphael Lemkin complained about the humanitarian crisis created through those techniques, including the implantation of colonists, in the territories occupied by the Axis Powers in Europe. He noted that the colonists who assisted the enemy should be held criminally responsible and that it didn’t make any difference at all whether they were settled on private property or state lands. See “The Problem of the Colonists” in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe

      International laws are simply the rules that the international community of states have adopted to govern their mutual relations. So they get to say what is, and what isn’t illegal or what constitutes a human rights violation.

      The 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 outlawed the practice of implanting settlers on the basis that it violated the rights of the inhabitants of the populated territory. See the ICRC/Pictet’s commentary on Article 49(6)

      In 1998 the International Law Commission (ILC) said that the range of human rights violated by population transfer and the implantation of settlers place this phenomenon in the category of systematic or mass violations of human rights. The Commission declared that these practices constitute criminal acts and crimes against humanity. The Commission said that “Collective expulsions or population transfers usually target national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities and thus, prima facie, violate individual as well as collective rights contained in several important international human rights instruments, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. See E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/23, 27 June 1997

      In 1998 the panel of experts elected by the state parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination said that the status of the Jewish-only settlements was clearly inconsistent with the prohibition of apartheid and similar policies of racial segregation contained in Article 3 of the Convention. The Committee noted General Recommendation XIX, prohibited all forms of racial segregation in all countries; and that there was a consensus among publicists that the prohibition of racial discrimination, irrespective of territories, was an imperative norm of international law. CERD/C/SR.1250, 9 March 1998

      Here’s an extract from the latest report: The Committee draws the State party’s attention to its General Recommendation 19 (1995) concerning the prevention, prohibition and eradication of all policies and practices of racial segregation and apartheid, and urges the State party to take immediate measures to prohibit and eradicate any such policies or practices which severely and disproportionately affect the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and which violate the provisions of article 3 of the Convention. CERD.C.ISR.CO.14-16

  4. American
    American on January 29, 2013, 4:56 pm

    Good report and to add to that is this one saying the review has been deferred…don’t know if it’s accurate.
    The compliant of zionist that Israel is focused on disproportionately is due to the fact that Israel is disproportionately protected by the world’s super power from having to listen to much less account for their violations…so being a ‘special case’ does attract more attention and criticism.
    I can only say that this typical hubris and ever escalating disrespect for everyone and all world bodies by Israel is actually good…..if it helps speeds up and hopefully increases their at least diplomatic isolation by other countries. Israel needs to be alone and the US needs to be isolated with them. I remember a long, long time ago when I said the aim of Israel–the aim of zionist like Kristol was to set up the world power struggle as ISR’Merica vr. The World…….and it’s getting closer to that all the time.

    Columnists Content Section
    Israel Unilaterally Withdraws From U.N. Rights Review
    by Ali Gharib Jan 29, 2013 3:15 PM EST

    There can be little doubt that with all the human rights violations out there in the world, the U.N.’s Human Rights Council has a disproportionate focus on Israel. This is not, of course, to say that Israel does not commit any human rights violations, and that such violations should not be pursued by the Council, but rather that the constant focus on the Jewish State—and it is very constant—raises questions of proportionality. But some of the functions of the Human Rights Council don’t suffer from these troubling flaws; some of its functions aren’t plagued by disproportionate ire directed at a single country. One such function is the Universal Periodic Review, and the universality is right there in the name. But this is precisely the function of the Rights Council that Israel declined to participate in today, offering no reason and asking for an extension (which was granted).

    Sandro Campardo / AP Photo

    We often hear of a double standard against Israel, but this was not the case with the Universal Periodic Review. Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the process is, in this case, actually a double standard in Israel’s favor: it is the first country, since the review was implemented in 2005, to fail to show up and not offer a reason (Haiti was once a no-show, but offered an excuse). So Israel refused to participate in perhaps the one part of the Rights Council that, according to its own procedures, can actually not be anti-Israel.

    Here’s Mark Leon Goldberg’s explanation at U.N. Dispatch of how the Review works:

    It requires that all member states undergo a review of their human rights records every four years, no matter what. The Universal Periodic Review does not result in any resolutions condemning or praising a country, but it does oblige countries to face international scrutiny of their internal human rights situations. This forces countries to respond to specific criticisms, putting governments on the record in regards to alleged human rights abuses. The review also offers recommendations on how a country may improve its human rights record.

    Why is this so important? Precisely because there are human rights violations in Israel that do need to be addressed, and the non-biased environs of the Universal Periodic Review seem the perfect place to do that. The Universal Periodic Review mechanisms not only prevent this bias, but, as Goldberg argued, also hold the potential for improvements at the margins: the Review “can be a tool to effectively press certain governments to live up to international human rights standards,” he wrote. “And, if those governments (read, Iran) chose to reject these recommendations, they will find themselves isolated even further.” But instead Israel is isolating itself.

    Goldberg’s also written that the U.S. should not fear the Universal Periodic Review. Neither should Israel. One hopes Israeli cooperation is forthcoming when the Council returns to the deferred review in October of November.”

  5. seafoid
    seafoid on January 29, 2013, 5:13 pm

    The notion that Jews don’t need human rights because they have the IDF is very sad.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870 on January 29, 2013, 5:47 pm

    ● RE: “Yesterday, Israel refused to attend a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) review of its human rights record becoming the first country ever to boycott the Universal Periodic Review process. ” ~ Adam Horowitz
    ● AND RE:
    “This lack of transparency will not only mean that Israel avoids rigorous criticism of its violations of international law, but that the entire UPR system will be undermined by the loss of its two fundamental principles: equality and universality.” ~ statement by a coalition of 15 Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations

    ● MY COMMENT: This is yet another reason that I fear Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an “existential threat” to the values of The Enlightenment! ! !


    “How We Became Israel”, By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, 9/10/12
    LINK –
    ‘Israelis are helping write US laws, fund US campaigns, craft US war policy’, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 6/30/12
    LINK –
    “America Adopts the Israel Paradigm”, by Philip Ghiraldi,, 7/05/12
    LINK –
    “Report: Israeli model underlies militarization of U.S. police”, By Muriel Kane, Raw Story, 12/04/11
    LINK –
    “David Yerushalmi, Islam-Hating White Supremacist Inspires Anti-Sharia Bills Sweeping Tea Party Nation”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/02/11
    LINK –
    “Boston airport security program rife with racial profiling has Israeli links”, by Alex Kane, Mondoweiss, 8/14/12
    LINK –

    P.S. “Down, down, down we [the U.S.] go into the deep, dark abyss; hand in hand with Israel.”

  7. Cliff
    Cliff on January 29, 2013, 6:45 pm

    Israel disregards all the mainstream human rights NGOs as well.

    So it’s expected that the apartheid Jewish State would also disregard the UNHRC.

    Look at the local right-of-Likud Zionists in this thread for the mentality of the settler-state at large.

  8. Citizen
    Citizen on January 29, 2013, 7:34 pm

    So, did the US agree to be reviewed, and if, so what is the result? It’s clear Israel is not a normal nation among the nations. When an international entity acts favorably to it, it supports it, and when not, it does not. It ignores not only this subject entity, but it also ignores the UN and smears it, all the while knowing the basis of its own international legality was and is created by the UN.

  9. MRW
    MRW on January 30, 2013, 5:01 am

    So Israel is going back to its old Jewish orthodoxy and medieval ways of operating in the Middle Ages. Can’t get the farm boy out of the farm, can you. Can’t get out of the ghetto.

    Yesterday I spent three hours with Israel Shahak at MIT in 1994. ;-) He spoke there with Noam Chomsky. Powerful talk. Accuses Israel of apartheid and explains why. Addresses the settlers, and how Israeli Jews dragged their ghetto justice from Eastern Europe to Palestine. Explains how Jewish orthodoxy acted like Saudi Arabia and Panama (Panama is more cosmopolitan now) in inflicting pain and murder on fellow Jews for 2,000 years because that’s how they controlled their own community.

    Israel Shahak and Noam Chomsky on Jewish Fundamentalism

    ISRAEL SHAHAK – Part 1 Shahak starts speaking around 27 minutes. Chomsky speaks for the first 27 minutes.

    ISRAEL SHAHAK – Part 2 – majority Israel Shahak, Chomsky at first for a few minutes.

    Part 2 has the Q&A, which is lively, to say the least. Many MIT students don’t want to hear what he has to say. Shahak bats them back with great wit.

    Don’t miss these. These are historic. Uploaded six months ago.

  10. MRW
    MRW on January 30, 2013, 5:04 am

    @Mooser, re: Napoleon. I can’t find the thread, so it goes here, if the moderators will permit that it relates to my Shahak post above, the topic of this thread, and the genesis of the lack of accountability.

    Mooser, see my links above about Shahak at MIT in 1994. At about 1:00:00, Shahak gives the three-minute background on what Napoleon did in his home country, Poland.

    Shahak says around 1:03:00
    (1) Napoleon (“far from being any democrat”) freed the Jews on the European continent for the first time from Jewish orthodoxy.

    (2) When Napoleon conquered Poland, he took from the Jews the power to punish other Jews for religious offense.

    (3) As Emperor, Napoleon also took from the Poles “the power to decide that in certain cities Jews will not be allowed to live.” Warsaw (Shahak’s home town) had a standard that Jews were not allowed to live within the city limits. Napoleon took it away saying privileges of the past are not important. Jews were allowed to live in Warsaw for the first time in many centuries in Poland.

    (4) For the first time ever at the end of the 18th C, 19th C, Jews had the power to live “not according to Jewish orthodoxy.”

    (5) For the first time, Jews had the power to say things that the Rabbi didn’t approve of. (The Rabbis executed them before with full approval of the reigning monarch of the host country because the Jews paid taxes to the monarch en masse, and not individually, as a block)

    Shahak says orthodox Judaism despised Napoleon and his ideas because “freedom was bad for orthodoxy.” That’s what’s happening in Israel today, n’est-ce-pas?

  11. amigo
    amigo on January 30, 2013, 8:49 am

    No surprise here as Isreal boycotts any group seeking facts about Israel,s plethera of war crimes and crimes against Humanity.

    This is what criminals do.

  12. NickJOCW
    NickJOCW on January 30, 2013, 9:15 am

    Apart from anything else it is extremely bad manners, like giving two fingers to the rest of us. The situation needs to be addressed by the UN General Assembly since it was not foreseen that a member would flagrantly and repeatedly defy the organisation, its resolutions and even its principles and I don’t suppose there is anything in the UN constitution to cover this eventuality so it needs to be discussed and the constitution may need to be adjusted to accommodate it, particularly if other nations may be inspired to follow the same path. A nation can be subject to sanctions as are Iran and others but in the case of Israel the US would veto and/or defy that; the US is, of course, largely responsible for this impasse by sabotaging the normal course of the UN’s responses to Israel’s actions. If the UN sanctions avenue is effectively closed, one confronts the necessity of adjusting some aspect of the UN constitution if the world is not to revert to the habits of Genghis Khan. It seems to me that one route might be to allow for the reversing of the process by which Palestine recently acquired its UN status and for the GA to allow for a member to be reduced to “non-member observer” status with the possibility of continuing the process to “observer entity”. Obviously this would have to be done only after assiduous efforts to persuade the member to abide by the rules and spirit of what is, after all, a sort of club.

  13. NickJOCW
    NickJOCW on January 30, 2013, 1:40 pm

    …Human beings are imperfect, individually and collectively. Were this not so there would be no need for the UNHRC or Human Rights organisations, the same way that there would be no confessional if all Roman Catholics were sinless. It does not matter that those who preserve our aspirations may themselves be imperfect. Jews may not find it valid, but let me quote the 26th of the 39 Articles of the Church of England.

    Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometime the evil have chief authority in the ministration of the word and sacraments; yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by His commission and authority, we may use their ministry both in hearing the word of God and in the receiving of the sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith and rightly do receive the sacraments ministered unto them, which be effectual because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.

    Nevertheless it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church that inquiry be made of evil ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty by just judgement, be deposed.

    This a deep-rooted and necessary concept, essential to raise humanity from the animal, and it is this that Israel is turning its back on. Woe unto them, this time I suspect they have gone too far.

  14. hophmi
    hophmi on January 30, 2013, 1:50 pm

    The idea that what will undermine the UNHRC is Israel’s refusal to cooperate is silly. The UNHRC is so discredited at this point, that pushing it over the edge would do the world a favor. What work does the UNHRC do, exactly, that is not done better by the myriad of NGOs out there? The UNHRC hurts the cause of human rights by allowing the foxes to run the henhouse.

    You have to be the most hardened of partisans at this point to deny that the UNHRC has an institutional bias against Israel that comes from the political reality of an IGO inhabited by several dozens Islamic states and one Jewish state.

    • Donald
      Donald on January 30, 2013, 4:43 pm

      Have you ever visited the website of the UNHRC? I don’t make a habit of it, but I’ve gone over there several times, whenever some Israel-defender talks about how worthless and biased the organization is and how it singles out Israel and so on. I assume there is some small bit of truth to it–I did find one place under special resolutions where Israel had received a lot of attention, though Syria has overshadowed it recently. But in general the complaints of the Israel crowd just don’t match up with what I see when I browse the website for myself. The front page (on the occasions I’ve visited) never have had Israel on it–right now Syria is there (which is reasonable). And there’s a lot of unflattering material on a lot of countries.

      One would think that the UNHRC devoted over half its time to condemning Israel and the remaining time to whitewashing the record of its nefarious Muslim members, but as best I can tell from casual browsing, this simply isn’t the case.

      And it’s not surprising. You mention other groups which supposedly do a better job–maybe so. But I also see Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch being trashed by the pro-Israel crowd. There’s a pattern here, I think.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on January 30, 2013, 5:35 pm

        Well, the UNHRC devotes over half its resolutions to Israel. It is not all bad. But it is compromised. And it is obsessed with one topic to the detriment of other ones that deserve more attention.

        As much as the neocons might bash AI and HRW, it is fair to say that both organizations do work all over the world, don’t obsess over Israel the way the UNHRC does, and aren’t governed by human rights violators the way the UNHRC is.

        Every country criticized by a HR org complains about it; Israel is nothing special in that regard.

      • eljay
        eljay on January 31, 2013, 8:04 am

        Just imagine how much less attention the UNHRC would pay to Israel if it were to do three of the things it has the power to do unilaterally, immediately and completely:
        – halt it 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder;
        – withdraw to within Partition borders; and
        – offer to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

        But, yeah, it’s better just to keep on oppressing, stealing, colonizing, terrorizing and destroying, and then complain that everyone hates your freedoms.
        (Optional: anti-Semitism, “Remember the Holocaust!”™)

        Aggressor-victimhood really is such a tough gig… :-(

    • Cliff
      Cliff on January 30, 2013, 6:09 pm

      “political reality of an IGO inhabited by several dozens Islamic states and one Jewish state.”

      What do you want? For those Islamic States to go back in time and cease from existing?

      There wasn’t some guy who unfairly handed out Islamic States by the dozen and just one Jewish State.

      That’s the result of history. You are a child.

      And no, the UNHRC is not discredited AT ALL. The US and Israel are on one side and the rest of the world is on the other.

  15. Cliff
    Cliff on January 30, 2013, 6:13 pm

    The notion that these UN organizations are biased has been debunked so many times it’s just sad that hasbarists continue to truck on with their b.s.

    Richard Falk wrote a book about the NY Times coverage of the issue and specifically dealt with the supposed bias.

    So @hophmi,

    Prove it.

    And @Phil,

    Doesn’t that qualify as trolling if he and other hasbarists simply push the same meme over and over without substantiation? We’ve heard this **** for YEARS on the blog.

    The other day, hoppy was saying the Palestinians wanted to push the Jews into the sea.

    I mean, seriously?

  16. MRW
    MRW on January 30, 2013, 7:04 pm


    Listen to Israel Shahak at the link I provided above. What a smart man he was.

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