UN Body Promotes Apartheid Libel
A newly released UN report, “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” says that “available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.”
This is believed to be the first time that an official UN document has used the word “apartheid” directly in order to smear Israel.
To be fair, most mainstream media, including the New York Times have reported the resulting stink that this report has caused and the fact that it has been virtually disavowed by the UN Secretary General.
To critique the contents of the 74-page report would simply lend it a credibility that it does not deserve. The apartheid libel is employed by Israel’s enemies precisely to delegitimize the country by associating it with the former racist South African regime.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media will only scrape the surface as to why this report cannot and should not be taken seriously.
What is the ESCWA?
The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) that produced the report, is made up of 18 Arab member states: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, The Sudan, The Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, The United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Given that most of these states do not even recognize Israel, it’s hardly earth-shattering that this particular UN body would promote an anti-Israel agenda.
Who heads the ESCWA?
Jordanian national Rima Khalaf is the Executive Secretary of the ESCWA. In 2015, then Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor urged the UN’s internal watchdog to investigate her. As reported at the time (emphasis added):
Prosor gave a series of examples including her support for the June 29 “illegal and provocative attempt” to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, a July 7 reference which he said equated “terrorism with a fight for ‘justice,’” and what he called “a hate fueled report” on Arab integration in March 2014 “that once again promotes anti-Israel incitement by blaming Israel for shortcomings in the Arab world.”
“Ms. Khalaf’s outrageous criticism against the state of Israel and the discrediting of its government undermine the integrity of the United Nations and amount to serious misconduct, by UN standards,” Prosor said in the July 27 letter. “I call on you to initiate an urgent investigation into this matter.”
In a speech in late February 2014, Khalaf referred to “Israel’s adamancy that it is a Jewish State, which violates the rights of both the Muslim and Christian indigenous populations and revives the concept of state ethnic and religious purity, which caused egregious human suffering during the 20th century.”
Prosor strongly objected to her reference to Israel practicing religious and ethnic purity like the Nazis in World War II, and to “the appalling claim” in the March 2014 report that Hitler sought to facilitate the emigration of German Jews to Palestine when he was responsible for the murder of six million Jews.
Who authored the ESCWA report?
One of the authors of the report is Richard Falk, who was formerly a UN special rapporteur. He has been repeatedly called out for his anti-Semitism and extreme anti-Israel comments.
“Highlights” of Falk’s tenure at the UN included blaming the Boston Marathon bombing on “American global domination” and “Tel Aviv,” trying to ban a pro-Israel human rights watchdog group UN Watch from attending UNHRC sessions, and publishing anti-Semitic cartoons and articles on his blog. US officials routinely and repeatedly called for Falk to resign.
UN Watch documents the open anti-Semitism on Falk’s blog here.
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Anti-Israel activists and the BDS movement have already seized on this report to further their own hateful activities. That the report’s publication has made news is enough to inflict damage on Israel even if the mainstream media is covering the story in a relatively balanced manner.