Tag Archives: Anti-semitism

Ken Stern and the American Jewish Committee’s Integrity Problem, by Rebecca Vilkomerson

By Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace

Ken Stern, a specialist on anti-Semitism and extremism for the American Jewish Committee (AJC) authored an op-ed piece in the JTA a couple of weeks back entitled BDS Campaign may be Failing but its Effort to Delegitimize Israel Remains Dangerous that was filled with cherry-picked facts, twisted half-truths, and half-told tales.

My own attention was drawn to the article because Stern refers, as evidence of the moral corruption of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, to the fact that the American Free Press (AFP), a despicable anti-Semitic and racist website, ran an interview with me earlier this month.  The logic seemed to be that my consent to be interviewed, and the rather standard appreciation I expressed to the interviewer, was proof that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic at its core.

At first I gave Mr. Stern the benefit of the doubt—he couldn’t have known that the interviewer had approached me under false pretenses, that I was horrified and sickened to be featured without my consent on the AFP website, and that I had already been trying for days to get the interview removed, to no avail. But when I approached him with these facts, backed up by documentation, he told me, and later the JTA editors, that he would not remove that section of the article.

To be clear: for Mr. Stern and the AJC, scoring political points is apparently more important than their integrity or the simple truth.

Given my intimate knowledge of Stern’s approach to writing, a closer look at the column seemed worthwhile.

The first part of Stern’s thesis is that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is failing, and that the movement’s only actual success in the U.S. is the Olympia Co-op Israeli products boycott.

This is odd, since just in the last few months, the Methodist and Presbyterian churches have endorsed the boycott of settlement products.  The Friends Fiduciary Committee divested $900,000 from Caterpillar in the spring, and, as Stern notes,  MSCI, the leading indexer of socially responsible companies, delisted Caterpillar,  at least in part because of the way its equipment is used in the Occupied Territories .

His description of this decision as “meaningless” seems willfully inaccurate, given this decision marks the first time that a financial services company has recognized that a company’s activities in Palestine are an element of how it is judged as a socially responsible investment company.  Stern did not bother to add that as a result TIAA-CREF divested its Social Choice Funds of $72 million in Caterpillar stock, the largest divestment victory to date, one that TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Fergeson attributed at TIAA-CREF’s shareholder meeting in July at least in part to the work of divestment activists including Jewish Voice for Peace.

Stern claims that the comparison to BDS efforts to end apartheid in South Africa are specious, yet on August 22nd it was announced that South Africa has decided to label products made beyond the Green Line as “made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” the first step toward state sanctions of those products.  As described in Ha’aretz, this decision is garnering a lot of attention in Israel, in recognition of the parallels with sanctions imposed on South Africa by Israel in 1987 at the end of the anti-apartheid struggle.

The African National Congress (ANC)  in South Africa began calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions internationally in protest of the apartheid regimes from as early as 1959.  While most people who remember BDS actions against South Africa are thinking of the 1980’s, right before Apartheid fell, the reality is that this decisive moment in the anti-apartheid struggle came after decades of hard organizing, with victories coming slowly. It is a mistake for BDS opponents to think that because the pace of victories is not yet akin to the 1980’s that the movement is failing. To the contrary, it seems to be progressing in the case of Palestine and Israel much faster than against South Africa.

The second part of Stern’s thesis is that the BDS movement seeks the end of Israel.  To look at just one example in his column, he attacks Kairos U.S.A, a Christian group that calls for solidarity with Palestinian non-violent campaigners, as well as Israelis and others who support them, for saying  that Jews do not have an exclusive or preeminent right to the Holy Land,” but rather a right  “to create a vibrant Jewish culture in historic Palestine.”

Let’s look at that statement more closely.  It seems that unless the Jewish people are acknowledged as having  the exclusive right to the land, then they are considered beyond the pale.  But what about the 20% of the Israeli population that is not Jewish? What about the over 5 million indigenous Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem  combined?  In Ken Stern’s world, are you anti-Israel and anti-Semitic if you don’t buy into a vision of an ethnocratic state where one people have more value and more rights than any other?

Last week, we saw the natural end result of this kind of thinking.  A gang of teenagers in the center of Jerusalem attempted to lynch some young Palestinians. Hundreds, including a policeman, watched and did nothing. One of the suspects, after he was arrested, said as far as he was concerned, that the victim could die, because, “he is an Arab.”

This is not the Israel that any of us can be proud of. The Israel that I was proud to be a part of when I lived there included the Israeli activists who put their very lives on the line to protest the policies being pursued in their names, who in the process created a glimpse of what the future of Israel and Palestine could look like if it were based on mutual support and cooperation, rather than fear and extremism.

Just as activists who support Palestinians who nonviolently fight against the Wall do not seek an end to Israel’s existence, the movement to end Apartheid in South Africa did not seek an end to South Africa’s existence. It sought freedom, dignity, and equality for all its citizens, regardless of race.

My own children hold Israeli citizenship. I would like them to have the option to live in an Israel that offers the same—freedom, dignity and equality, regardless of ethnicity or religion–the same values that I grew up with as an American.  That is not about the end of Israel, but a vision for justice that all of us can be proud to say we’ve played a role in encouraging.

—-Rebecca Vilkomerson, rebecca@jvp.org

StandWithUs comic book portrays activist Palestinians (and allies) as vermin, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda

Well, the pictures really speak for themselves.

StandWithUs has a new supremacist celebration of militant Jewish nationalism and masculinity children’s comic book featuring Captain Israel, who I think we can all agree looks mighty fine in a sparkly silver body suit with matching rhinestone belt and shamelessly appropriated Jewish religious symbols. StandWithUs is on the openly racist end of the mainstream Jewish institutional world. And they’ve given us a new version of an old story-the New Zionist Man (To understand this propaganda in its proper historical context, see below for explanatory text about early Zionism,  Jewish masculinity and Orientalism.)

But it gets better. Perfect, shining Captain Israel needs a diseased, less than human “other” to give him his all-man mojo. Episode 2 will feature Captain Israel’s undoubtedly victorious epic battle against “the venomous” Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions movement. (See image below.)

I wondered what it was about the evil serpent-the colors of the Palestinian flag- that looked so familiar to me?  Where on earth did they get the inspiration to portray the Palestinian and international human rights groups that support the BDS movement as a big, fanged, serpent? As vermin? (And then I remembered I had seen it in different (Genesis inspired) anti-Semitic propaganda about ‘conniving’ Jews, and thought, why not just call them all  “cockroaches” and get it over with? )

A comic book for children, this is really beyond muzzling.  This is about preparing for eradication.

Let’s see how long we have to wait before they get called out by the mainstream Jewish organizations they partner with. Paging Abe Foxman and The Anti-Defamation League. Paging David Harris of the AJC. Paging the Jewish Federations of North America. These people, StandWithUs, call themselves educators. They are educating your children. Our children. As history has shown, and as we Jews know too well, this kind of dehumanization-comparing people to vermin- should never, ever be acceptable.

Anti-Semitic propaganda below:

Left: French Jewish Captain Alan Dreyfus portrayed as a snake, skewered with a dagger saying “traitor”. His case, in which he was wrongly condemned and imprisoned for espionage, inspired then journalist Theodor Herzl to work towards the creation of a Jewish State because he felt it was the only solution to chronic European anti-Semitism.


The poster above?

This vivid poster from the September 1930 Reichstag election summarizes Nazi ideology in a single image. A Nazi sword kills a snake, the blade passing through a red Star of David. The red words coming from the snake are: usury, Versailles, unemployment, war guilt lie, Marxism, Bolshevism, lies and betrayal, inflation, Locarno, Dawes Pact, Young Plan, corruption, Barmat, Kutistker, Sklarek [the last three Jews involved in major financial scandals], prostitution, terror, civil war. Courtesy of Dr. Robert D. Brooks.

And for a little background on early Zionism to give you some tools for appreciating what a throwback  Captain Israel really is. From Raz Yosef of Tel Aviv University’s book, Beyond Flesh:

Zionism was not only a political and ideological program but also a sexual one. The liberation of Jews and creation of a new nation were closely intertwined with a longing for the redemption and normalization of the Jewish male body. That body had to be rescued from anti-Semitic, scientific-medical discourse associating it with disease, madness, degeneracy, sexual perversity, and femininity even with homosexuality. The Zionist movement was intent on transforming the very nature of European Jewish masculinity as it had existed in the diaspora. Zionist/Israeli films expressed this desire through visual and narrative tropes, enforcing the image of the hypermasculine, colonialist-explorer and militaristic nation-builder, an image dependent on the homophobic repudiation of the “feminine” within men.

The creation of a new heterosexual Jewish man was further intertwined with attitudes on the breeding of children, bodily hygiene, racial improvement, and Orientalist perspectives which associated the East, and especially Eastern bodies, with unsanitary practices, plagues, disease, and sexual perversity. By stigmatizing Israels Eastern populations as agents of death and degeneration, Zionism created internal biologized enemies, against whom the Zionist society had to defend itself. In the name of securing the life and reproduction of the new Ashkenazi Jewry, Israeli society discriminated against both its internal enemies, the Palestinians, and its own citizens, the Mizrahim (Oriental Jews).

Left: from Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer.

Odious NGO Monitor smears Electronic Intifada, tries to cut funding

NGO Monitor was captured perfectly in The Forward by liberal jewish thinker Leonard Fine who said it was “an organization that believes that the best way to defend Israel is to condemn anyone who criticizes it.” But now, no longer satisfied with its McCarthyite efforts to not just condemn, but actually take down respected human rights organizations, it is seeking to stop critical funding of the Electronic Intifada, a key media source for information and analysis about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Electronic Intifada (EI) is a pioneering online news outlet that has been an essential resource for activists, scholars and journalists since its inception in 2002.  Its coverage is unapologetically sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle for human rights, grounded in an understanding of international law and universal human rights. Years before the current proliferation of blogs and alternate news sources, EI was there first, providing a much needed antidote to one-sided mainstream news coverage of Israel and Palestine. And they continue to provide original reporting and news and analysis you still can’t get anywhere else.

Which perhaps is why NGO Monitor has made the preposterous claim that EI is “an anti-Semitic website,” stunningly based on the fact that one staffer is a supporter of the BDS movement and executive director, Ali Abunimah, in his non EI-related speaking engagements, “calls for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and routinely uses false apartheid rhetoric.” Really? This is what they’ve got? (They’d have to start throwing a lot of Jewish Israeli government officials into the anti-Semite dungeon if invoking ‘apartheid” is officially verboten… and Abunimah’s one state is different in substance but certainly similar in form to an increasing number of Israeli right-wingers who also push for a “one state solution”. And then there’s the entirely reasonable observation that we seem to already have a de-facto one state after 43 some years of occupation.. but I digress)

Yet another of thousands of such a ridiculous claims would be laughable if NGO Monitor didn’t have a card up its sleeve–EI gets about one third of its funding from a Dutch government-funded aid organization. According to the Jerusalem Post, NGO Monitor’s unsubstantiated charges

“prompted Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal to say on Thursday to the Post, “I will look into the matter personally. If it appears that the government subsidized NGO ICCO does fund Electronic Intifada, it will have a serious problem with me.”

As EI has documented in this must-read report, NGO Monitor has very close ties to the far-right. They use the language of NGO (non-governmental organization) transparency to go after funding of Israeli and other human rights groups and funders (including the New Israel Fund and Amnesty International) while remaining completely silent on Israel’s funding-dependent and law-breaking settler groups. EI writes:

NGO Monitor is an extreme right-wing group with close ties to the Israeli government, military, West Bank settlers, a man convicted of misleading the US Congress, and to notoriously Islamophobic individuals and organizations in the United States….

NGO Monitor’s attack on The Electronic Intifada is part of a well-financed, Israeli-government endorsed effort to silence reporting about and criticism of Israel by attacking so-called “delegitimizers” — those who speak about well-documented human rights abuses, support boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), or promote full equality for Palestinians. Last February, The Electronic Intifada reported that a leading Israeli think-tank had recommended a campaign of “sabotage” against Israel’s critics as a matter of state policy (“Israel’s new strategy: “sabotage” and “attack” the global justice movement,” 16 February 2010).

NGO Monitor has already been at the forefront of a campaign to crush internal dissent by Jewish groups in Israel that want to see Israel’s human rights record improved.

The Jerusalem-based organization poses as a project concerned with accountability for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), but as Israeli human rights activist and journalist Didi Remez has stated, “NGO Monitor is not an objective watchdog: It is a partisan operation that suppresses its perceived ideological adversaries through the sophisticated use of McCarthyite techniques — blacklisting, guilt by association and selective filtering of facts” (“Bring on the transparency,” Haaretz, 26 November 2009).

There is good news here- thus far EI reports that no action has been taken thus far to end their funding. Presumably anyone who does so would have to actually substantiate NGO Monitor’s spurious charges. Good luck with that.

UC Irvine’s Muslim Student Union possibly suspended for 1 year for Israeli ambassador protest

When is the last time you heard of a student group being suspended for a year for doing what student groups do all the time-protesting a speaker? Probably never. And therein lies the question– some members of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) of UC Irvine planned to disrupt Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s talk at the campus. Eleven of them did so and were peacefully escorted out of the room by security, one by one. The plan was discussed on the MSU e-list but planned separately, according to the students’ attorney Reem Salahi. In fact, MSU members were divided on the protest so did not endorse it.

And yet, as UC Irvine’s Daily Pilot reports: “A UC Irvine student conduct committee has recommended suspending the Muslim Student Union, following repeated disruptions by several of its members during a February speech by the Israeli ambassador, a campus spokeswoman said. The recommendation has not taken effect because the student group has appealed the decision, said UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon.”

If something seems off here, the Los Angeles Times thinks so too in UC Irvine protest case raises questions about discipline practices. They say “Experts say it’s unusual for a whole group to be sanctioned in civil disobedience cases.” Indeed. Is such a judgment fair or consistent? And if not, why not?

Attorney Reem Salahi responds with this damning litany of hypocrisy:

The University’s disciplinary recommendation never explains why the alleged violations and particularly the alleged lie justifies the massive, unprecedented sanction that the University has levied against the MSU.  In the past, UCI has permitted protestors to disrupt speakers by heckling, breaking into song and even, on one occasion, allowing an organized group of students to surround an MSU speaker critical of Israel with posters and continually shout him down to the point that he was unable to be heard. Neither these students nor their respective organizations were administratively sanctioned. Similarly egregious protests have taken place at the different UCs with little to no administrative response.

At UC Riverside earlier this academic year, Republican students shouted down and visually blocked a panel of speakers. These students espoused hate speech and yelled homophobic and racist epithets at the panelists.  Police and administrators stood by and permitted the presentation to be thoroughly disrupted for over an hour.  They made no attempt to detain, arrest or identify those students, even though the faculty speakers and others present could readily identify them.  Nor did they conduct an investigation, punish them, or punish the campus organization with which these disorderly students were associated. Similarly at UC Berkeley, pro Israeli students interrupted a distinguished pro-Palestinian scholar and UN Special Rapporteur using a bullhorn after they were explicitly told by the police not to do so. They were not arrested and following an internal investigation, no disciplinary sanctions were levied. So, while the University preaches the “marketplace of ideas,” the disparate treatment of those who speak on the wrong side of the Israel/Palestine question reveals the weakness of the University’s commitment to this ideal.

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Salon, Huffington Post and Daily Kos hotbeds of anti-Semitism!

Or so claims what Alternet’s Josh Holland calls a “ridiculous” new study by the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs. Holland writes:

Given how ubiquitous unsubstantiated charges of anti-Semitism have become in the debate over the Middle East conflict, I’m tempted to ignore the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs’ recent “report” supposedly exposing the liberal blogosphere as a teaming hotbed of raw Jew-hatred.

It’s easy to dismiss. It may dress itself as some sort of empirical research project, but the “study” is transparently devoid of any informational value, intellectually bankrupt and clearly the product of working backwards from a conclusion arrived at on ideological grounds.

But I won’t ignore it, because the strategic decision to pin one’s political opponents with charges of anti-Semitism only dilutes the power of that word. Then, like the boy who cried wolf, when real anti-Semitism rears its decidedly ugly head the word loses its all-important power to shame. I’m Jewish, and I don’t fear sharp-elbowed criticism of Israeli policy on websites, so it’s not in my interest to allow it to be conflated with true anti-Semitism, which is absolutely no joke.

Most of what passes for anti-Semitism in this new “report” is nothing new to readers of Muzzlewatch, and you should read Holland’s full piece where he does a fantastic job of dissecting the terrible methodology of this blatantly propagandistic report. But this is the part of Holland’s analysis I find most heart-breakingly sad and true:

It’s a slanderous report, and just to bring home the point of how dangerous it is to minimize real anti-Semitism by bitching about mean commenters on websites: I’m on various list-servs with progressives who write about Israel and Palestine — most of them Jewish — and when the report was issued our reaction was: ‘what do you have to do to get on this list — why weren’t we included?’

When you have progressive Jewish writers looking at charges of anti-Semitism as a badge of courage, it’s time to re-think your tactics.

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Pt I: Poor Angelina: Jon Voight’s “New Holocaust”

Jon Voight starred in the first movie that ever made me really cry: Conrack. It was one of those classic patronizing white people fantasy movies about the inspiring white teacher  who saves the poor black kids living in the segregated South. But I was a kid and I cried through the whole thing.  Ironic now, since Voight made me cry again but for an entirely different reason.

He used to be liberal but he’s become a born-again lover-of-the-Torah (see video) and a somewhat incoherent anti-communist. He said of Obama recently:

This is a perilous time, and more than ever, the world needs a united and strong America. If, God forbid, we live to see Mr. Obama president, we will live through a socialist era that America has not seen before, and our country will be weakened in every way.

He started off  his talk at the anti-semitism Dershowitz hate-fest panel with an ode to the Jews. He’s cultish in his fetishization of the Jews. He kicked off  with a couple poems about how we Jews are pretty much the cat’s meow. We’re even good in business. It’s weird and embarrassing. We’re chosen alright:

The Jewish people have given mankind the perfect tools for living, the teachings of the great Torah, which if followed, bring us to peace love courage wisdom and justice and every possible answer to life’s needs.

(Photo: My bad picture of Voight and Wiesel) This is hard core. I don’t even know any Jews, including the practicing ones, who believe that. Those Chabdniks are good. After letting us know what a “righteous Christian ” he is, he gets into it:

Last year I visited the victims of suicide bombings. It was very difficult for me to spend time with these people. Ron Kerma is here-his daughter, 17 years old, was killed in a senseless act. I looked in their faces and my heart was almost torn out. I spoke to a young girl who was victim of a bombing, and she expressed to me she is trying to find ways to forgive. We spent time in Sderot which has been a victim of 7,000 bombings since the turn of the century. All the children have the syndrome that comes from being in battle- they wake up screaming.

Then he cuts to the chase:

I feel complete complete outrage at anyone who can make excuses for this barbarism. And I feel complete contempt for anyone who is not intelligent enough to see that this propaganda in the media painting the Palestinians as poor victims is capable of destroying the Jewish nation of Israel. (I think he means the Palestinians are capable of destroying..)

We’re witnessing a new type of holocaust. And we good people of all faiths should express outrage and demand the truth be heard. The Palestinian radicals have only one prayer on their lips. And it is to kill and rid every Jew young and old from Israel. Let us pray for the courage to stand up and fight against all antisemitism that has found its way  to all the evildoers, let us pray for peace with the understanding we do not bend to terrorism in any shape or form for the sake of peace. God bless us. [text corrected]

That’s the new line. It’s not even enough these days to shut everybody down by saying they’re anti-Semites. The new line set forth in this session, and drawn aptly by Alan Dershowitz later on, is that this is all the new Holocaust. Thousands of Palestinians die, but this is a new Jewish Holocaust. And the moral Israelis, as ever, are simply defending themselves from the evil radical Palestinians who want nothing more than to kill the Jews.

Scholars have to study this. It’s just too amazing. Shoahism.

Must we Jews always see ourselves as victims?

Having endured a remarkable 2 hours in room ten at the UN today listening to Jon Voight, Alan Dershowitz and others explain how Hamas, Hezbollah and the Nazis are the same; Achmadinejad and Hitler are the same, and that we are now confronting a new Holocaust (I’ll need to write this out in pieces, it was that painful), I have been struggling to find the words for the pathology that has helped unleash this tsunami here at the Review Conference. Far from boycotting, the Israeli proxies have taken over.

Before, I called the pathological denial of Palestinian humanity, let alone Palestinian suffering, “moral schizophrenia”, to borrow the term from IF Stone. But after today’s display from Dershowitz, Wiesel, Sharansky and others, I’ve decided we need a stronger term for this sickness. My friend Susie used the term “Shoahism” meaning the holocaust as your religion. But there’s more.

The mere mention of Palestinian suffering sends these people into paroxysms of defensiveness and even rage. They go on and on about Holocaust denial, but this phenomenon is cut of the same cloth. It is virtually impossible for them to hold both the narrative of their own suffering, and the narrative of Palestinian suffering. It’s as if they did, they might break in two right there in front of us.

Jewish Peace News’ Judith Norman and Alistair Welch offer this:

Antony Lerman, former director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, addresses the question of why so many Jews, in Israel and around the world, seem blind to Palestinian suffering. The answer he gives – that many Jews see themselves as permanent victims – is not particularly new, but this article gives a particularly lucid account of this sense of victimhood and the effect it has in legitimating policies that lead to great suffering for Palestinians.

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Ahmadinejad’s speech: Why it was a disaster.

I was at Ahmadinejād’s speech yesterday, and I have the crappy photos from the media area to prove it. It was dramatic, to say the least. Counter-protesters yelled (and were removed) throughout; applause lines invariably left half the room silent; there was obviously over exuberant applause from the Iranian delegates which made you wonder, and at a dramatic but expected moment at the beginning, the European delegates walked out.

I’ll quote from Human Rights Watch’s statement and the NYT, because, with one major exception regarding the Times, they roughly match my response to the speech. But I’ll add that somewhere in the middle of his talk, I suddenly felt anxiety coursing through my body and actually thought, “I wonder if this is how wars get started?” It was just a feeling, and may have no basis in reality, but it should be absolutely clear that- at times soaring rhetoric aside- this man has absolutely no interest in authentic peace and justice. And I do not trust either my own government or Israel to not start bombing.

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Huh? Obama condemns Durban I Statement

Haaretz reports that Barack Obama said:

“We expressed in the run-up to this conference our concerns that if you adopted all of the language from 2001, that’s not something we can sign up for,” Obama said on Sunday. “Our participation would have involved putting our imprimatur on something we just didn’t believe in.”

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Durban Review UN Conference 2009- Ahmadinejad, Dershowitz and Angelina Jolie’s crazy dad

Palestinian groups banned from UN conference side-events while Alan Dershowitz and Angelina’s dad get special treatment.

I’m writing this post from Geneva and already the surreal circus has begun. The controversy over Israel threatens to once again completely overshadow the massive, important work done by NGOs to combat racism and discrimination. First, the US just announced it is boycotting Durban II. As Mondoweiss says:

The conference is a follow up to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. The US walked out of that conference due to criticism of Israel and Zionism (and pressure over reparations for slavery also allegedly played a role). The State Department has said the US is boycotting the review conference for the same reasons. There was a concerted effort by Israel and the Israel lobby here in the US to pressure the US to boycott and they are wasting no time in celebrating the victory.

And no wonder, the final Durban I document was 61 solid pages of ranting against Israel, invective-filled hate, epithets, vile denunciations, plans for Muslim world domination ….Oh wait, oops, I was reading a right-wing press release!

Actually, out of 61 solid pages on racism and discrimination, these are the 6 relevant paragraphs that refer in some way to Israel and Jews (updated):

58. We recall that the Holocaust must never be forgotten; 

61. We recognize with deep concern the increase in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in various parts of the world, as well as the emergence of racial and violent movements based on racism and discriminatory ideas against Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities; 

63. We are concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation. We recognize the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent State and we recognize the right to security for all States in the region, including Israel, and call upon all States to support the peace process and bring it to an early conclusion;

64. We call for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region in which all peoples shall co-exist and enjoy equality, justice and internationally recognized human rights, and security; 

151. As for the situation in the Middle East, calls for the end of violence and the swift resumption of negotiations, respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, respect  for the principle of self-determination and the end of all suffering, thus allowing Israel and the Palestinians to resume the peace process, and to develop and prosper in security and freedom;

151. As for the situation in the Middle East, calls for the end of violence and the swift resumption of negotiations, respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, respect for the principle of self-determination and the end of all suffering, thus allowing Israel and the Palestinians to resume the peace process, and to develop and prosper in security and freedom; 

Seriously.

Moshe Yaroni makes the point that justifying the US boycott on Durban II’s endorsement of these words is absurd. (The atmosphere of Durban I, he stresses, is a different question.) On the other hand, a conference where Iran’s Ahmadinejad, yes, Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak on Holocaust Remembrance Day  “bodes very ill.” No kidding. (Apparently unaware of their own shameful human rights record, in keeping with Ahmadinejad’s provocations, a government-sanctioned Iranian group tried to hand out vile anti-Israel propaganda today. Organizers of the NGO parallel forum turned them away.)

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