Netanyahu’s devious campaign to sit at the world’s top table

 

Stung by support at the UN for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, Israel now wants a seat on the Security Council.

There is a great irony in Israel seeking a seat on the UN Security Council. Since its establishment amid the ruins of Palestinian cities and villages in 1948, Israel has had the most precarious relationship with the world’s largest international body. It has desperately sought to be legitimized by the UN, while doing its utmost to delegitimize the UN.

After a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014 condemning Israel’s human rights abuses in the Occupied Territories, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu described the UN as absurd and vowed to “continue to denounce and expose” its “procession of hypocrisy.”

For years, Israel has undermined the UN and its various bodies and, with unconditional support from Washington, ignored UN resolutions on the illegal occupation of Palestine.

To a certain extent, the strategy has worked. With US vetoes blocking every UN attempt at pressuring Israel to end its military occupation and human rights violations, Israel was in no rush to comply with international law.

But two major events have forced an Israeli rethink.
First, in December 2016, the US abstained from a UN resolution that condemned Israel’s illegal settlement activities. After decades of shielding Israel from international censure, it appeared that Washington’s allegiance to Tel Aviv was uncertain.

Second, the rise of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement began changing the dynamics of international politics regarding the Israeli occupation.

The movement, which began as a call by Palestinian civil society to hold Israel accountable for its human rights violations, grew rapidly into a global movement. Hundreds of groups multiplied around the world, joined by artists, academicians, union members and elected politicians.

Within a few years, BDS has become a serious tool of pressure to denounce the occupation and demand justice for the Palestinian people. The UN Human Rights Council said it would release a list of companies that must be boycotted for operating in illegal settlements, and there were repeated condemnations of Israel’s human rights violations as recorded by the UN cultural agency, UNESCO.

UN bodies with no veto-wielding members grew in their ability to challenge the Security Council, spurring a determined Israeli-American campaign to delegitimize them.

Stung by support at the UN for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, Israel now wants a seat on the Security Council.

The Trump administration and the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, have has waged a war against the UN, using intimidation and threats to withhold funds.

Nevertheless, UNESCO stood firm and the UNHRC said it would publish its list by the end of the year. It is thought to include Coca-Cola, TripAdviser, Airbnb, Priceline and Caterpillar, along with Israeli companies and two large banks.

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the UN was “playing with fire,” and the US and Israel would work together to start a “revolution” at the Human Rights Council.

Signs of this oddly termed “revolution” are already apparent. Aside from choking off funds to UN bodies, Israel is lobbying countries that have traditionally shown solidarity with Palestinians because of common historical bonds of foreign oppression and anti-colonial struggles.

Netanyahu has just visited Latin America, and in Mexico he offered to “develop Central America.” The price, of course, is for Latin American countries to support Israel’s occupation of Palestine and turn a blind eye to its human rights violations in Palestine.

The irony that escaped no one is that, in January, Netanyahu declared his support for Trump’s promise to build a wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it.

Netanyahu’s charm offensive was supposed to include an Israel-Africa Summit in Togo in October, but it was canceled because over half of African countries planned to boycott it.

Netanyahu has made African diplomacy a pillar of his foreign policy. In June he visited Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda, with a large delegation of business executives.

He promised West African leaders at a summit in Liberia that Israel would supply them with agricultural technology to prevent drought and food scarcity, provided they opposed UN resolutions critical of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Not all African leaders allowed themselves to be manipulated.

Israel’s aim is to undercut support for the Palestinians at the UN General Assembly, and sabotage the work of UN bodies outside the realm of US power.
Meanwhile, it also wants a seat on the UN Security Council.

The assumption is that, with the support of Haley at the UN, this is not far-fetched. In addition to the five permanent veto-wielding members, ten countries are elected for two-year terms. Israel’s charm offensive in Latin America, Africa and Asia is meant to win it a seat in the 2019-2020 term. The vote will take place next year, and Israel will stand against Germany and Belgium.

Israel’s strategy of elevating its status at the UN can also been seen as an admission of the failure of its antagonistic behavior. However, if it wins that seat it will use the new position to strengthen its occupation of Palestine, rather than adhere to international law.

It is unfortunate that the Arabs and the Palestinian Authority are waking up to this reality late. Israel has been plotting it since 2005 under the premiership of Ariel Sharon, but the PA is only now requesting an Arab League strategy to prevent it.

Palestinians are counting on the historical support they have among many countries around the world, especially in the global South. Most of these nations have experienced colonization and military occupation, and have had their own costly and painful liberation struggles.

They should not allow a colonialist regime to sit at the summit of the UN, obstructing international law while preaching to the world about democracy and human rights.

• Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His forthcoming book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California. Visit his website: www.ramzybaroud.net.

How Netanyahu’s dirty tricks squad targets boycotts

Why is Israel so fearful? Transport minister Yisrael Katz threatened BDS leaders last year with “civil targeted assassination”. What did he mean?

Image result for Gilad Erdan BDS gif

Gilad Erdan

Yoram Dinstein, a professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, led the local chapter of Amnesty International, the world’s most influential rights organization of the time, running it effectively as a wing of Israel’s foreign ministry.

 Mr Dinstein’s interference allowed Israel to falsely characterize the occupation as benevolent while presenting the Palestinians’ liberation struggle as terrorism. The reality of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians rarely reached outsiders.

Israel’s task is harder five decades on. The human rights community is more independent, while social media and mobile phone cameras have allowed Palestinians and their supporters to bypass the gatekeepers.

thenational.ae April 4, 2017

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed cohorts of Israel loyalists in the United States by video link last week at the annual conference of Aipac, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee.

They should, he said, follow his government’s example and defend Israel on the “moral battlefield” against the growing threat of the international boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

In Mr Netanyahu’s simple-minded language, support for Palestinian rights, and opposition to the settlements, is equivalent to “delegitimisation” of Israel.

 The current obsession with BDS reflects a changing political environment for Israel.

According to an investigation by the Haaretz newspaper last month, Israeli agents subverted the human rights community in the 1970s and 1980s. Their job was to launder Israel’s image abroad.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed cohorts of Israel loyalists in the United States by video link last week at the annual conference of Aipac, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee.

They should, he said, follow his government’s example and defend Israel on the “moral battlefield” against the growing threat of the international boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

In Mr Netanyahu’s simple-minded language, support for Palestinian rights, and opposition to the settlements, is equivalent to “delegitimisation” of Israel.

IDF soldiers with the boy Photo: B’Tselem

 In the past few days, videos have shown an Israeli policeman savagely beating a Palestinian lorry driver, and soldiers taking hostage a terrified eight-year-old after he crossed their path while searching for a toy.

If concealment at source is no longer so easy, the battle must be taken to those who disseminate this damning information. The urgency has grown as artists refuse to visit, universities sever ties, churches pull their investments and companies back out of deals.

 Israel is already sealing itself off from outside scrutiny as best it can. Last month it passed a law denying entry into Israel or the occupied territories to those who support BDS or “delegitimise” Israel.

But domestic critics have proved trickier. The Israel government has chipped away at the human rights community’s financial base. Media regulation has intensified. And the culture ministry is cracking down on film productions that criticise the occupation or government policy.
 But the local boycott movement is feeling the brunt of the assault.

Activists already risk punitive damages if they call for a boycott of the settlements. Transport minister Yisrael Katz threatened BDS leaders last year with “civil targeted assassination”. What did he mean?

Omar Barghouti, the movement’s Palestinian figurehead, was arrested last month, accused of tax evasion. He is already under a travel ban, preventing him from receiving an international peace award this month. And Israeli officials want to strip him of his not-so “permanent” residency.

 At the same time, a leading Israeli rights activist, Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, was detained by police on suspicion of promoting BDS while leading activists on a tour of an illegal settlement.

These are the first signs of the repression to come. The police minister, Gilad Erdan, has announced plans for a database of Israelis who support BDS, to mirror existing spying operations on BDS activists overseas.

The information will help a “dirty tricks” unit whose job is to tarnish their reputations. Mr Erdan also wants a blacklist of companies and organisations that support boycotts. A law passed in February already shames the few companies prepared to deny services to the settlements, forcing them publicly to “out” themselves.

 Why is Israel so fearful? Officials say the immediate danger is Europe’s labeling of settlement products, the first step on a slippery slope they fear could lead to Israel being called an apartheid state.

That would shift the debate from popular boycotts and divestment by civil society groups to pressure for action by governments – or sanctions.

The inexorable trend was illustrated last month when a United Nations commission found Israel guilty of breaching the international convention on the crime of apartheid.

Washington forced the UN secretary-general to repudiate the report, but the comparison is not going away.

 Israel supporters in the United States have taken Mr Netanyahu’s message to heart.

Last week they unveiled an online “boycotters map”, identifying academics who support BDS – both to prevent them entering Israel and presumably to damage their careers.

For the moment, the Israeli-engineered backlash is working. Western governments are characterizing support for a boycott, even of the settlements, as anti-Semitic – driven by hatred of Jews rather than opposition to Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

­Anti-BDS legislation has passed in France, Britain, Switzerland, Canada and the US.

This is precisely how Mr Netanyahu wants to shape the “moral battlefield”. A reign of terror against free speech and political activism abroad and at home, leaving Israel free to crush the Palestinians.

On paper, it may sound workable. But Israel will soon have to accept that the apartheid genie is out of the bottle – and it cannot be put back.

Ambassador Nikki Haley vows to help Israel Eliminate BDS

“We are all here to say we cannot, we will not be silent.”

Ambassador Danny Danon and Ambassador Nikki Haley. Do Zionists even realize they are not ‘hidden’ anymore? They’re only appeal is to other devils.

March 29, 2017

NEW YORK – US Ambassador to the UN  Nimrata Randhawa aka Nikki Haley received a standing ovation at the General Assembly Hall on Wednesday as she vowed to fight alongside Israel against the BDS movement.

The Israeli Mission hosted its second annual summit against the boycott movement at the UN headquarters on Wednesday, titled “Ambassadors against BDS.” The first such event was held in May last year with some 1,500 people in attendance, making it the largest anti-BDS gathering to date.

“Know that the United States has Israel’s back, and know that you now have a fighter and a friend in the UN to help you,” Haley told the audience of more than 2,000 pro-Israel activists, students and representatives of Jewish organizations.

“We should boycott North Korea, we should sanction Iran, we should divest from Syria, not Israel,” she said. “It makes absolutely no sense and it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice.”

Haley sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on January 25, 2017

Haley, who in her former position as governor of South Carolina was the first in the US to sign anti-BDS legislation, said she felt “privileged” to do so in 2015.

“In our state we said we will not use taxpayers’ funds to do business with any company that discriminates on the basis of race, color, religion, gender or national origin,” said Haley, who was introduced to the podium as “a born leader.” “And make no mistake, that is exactly what the BDS movement does.”

On November 23, 2016 President-elect Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Haley for Ambassador to the United Nations. On January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump

“What a tragic irony that today I am once again engaged in a fight against those who seek to harm Israel, but this time as the US ambassador to the United Nations,” she said.

Image result for israel anti-BDS

Antisemitism? Terrorism?

Israel’s permanent representative to the international body, Danny Danon, thanked Haley for recognizing the dangers of BDS and also being the first US governor to sign legislation against the movement.

 

 

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US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley receives wide applause as she arrives to speak at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington, DC, March 27, 2017 (AIPAC )

 “By associating  these vile acts with legitimate political movements, we run the risk of legitimizing the illegitimate,” Danon said. “Those who topple Jewish tombstones in the dark of night and those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish state are are not members of any political group.” [19-year-old suspect is a dual American-Israeli citizen was arrested Thursday in connection with a series of bomb threats that have rattled Jewish institutions and community centers across the United States and other countries, and this is an old trick cnn ]

Danon said despite many victories against those delegitimizing Israel, such as the recent resignation of UN undersecretary- general Rima Khalaf, “we cannot rely on our accomplishments of the past.

“We cannot rest for even a moment,” he said. “The BDS movement is still active and still strong. The real danger of BDS is not in their numbers, it is in their ability to cower us into silence.

Poor little defenseless Israel

“Silence is weakness, silence is defeat,” Danon said. “We are all here to say we cannot, we will not, be silent.”

The event was organized in a partnership by Israel’s Mission to the UN, the World Jewish Congress and other pro-Israel organizations, including the American Center for Law & Justice, Zionist Organization of America, Israel Bonds, Stand- WithUs, CAMERA, B’nai B’rith International, the Israeli-American Council, the Maccabee Task Force, Hillel International, Students Supporting Israel, Hasbara Fellowships, the Jewish Agency, the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Zionist Movement.l BDS activists’ actions as political debate, the movement is “pure antisemitism.”

 

 

 

Angela Davis: When the revolutionary time comes I want to be prepared

The moral balance has shifted against Israel because, whatever effective arguments there might be for maintaining the occupation, the actions of Israelis on the state’s behalf have been blatantly immoral — and most of the world today shares that assessment. The emergence of Israeli human rights groups, like B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, and Machsom [Checkpoint] Watch, was not in response to one or two isolated incidents, but to pervasive dreadful actions by Israelis against the Palestinians.

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“Palestinians have taught us longevity in struggle,” she told a diverse audience of roughly 200 students, as she reflected on the history of the struggle to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine, which enters its 69 year anniversary in 2017.

As the BDS movement continues to grow, Palestinians and their allies have seen increased repression. Recently, a United Nations Social Commission for West Asia report that declared Israel an apartheid state was met with derision and demands for the UN to retract it. The UN did.

Rasmea Odeh, a 69-year-old Palestinian feminist and activist, pleaded guilty to unlawful procurement of naturalization, which led to her loss of her US citizenship and deportation in a plea bargain that keeps her from spending 18 months in prison.

Angela Davis: ‘This is the South Africa moment for the Palestinian people’

28 March 2017

Excerpt:

Davis pointed to recent moves such as the controversial travel ban on BDS activists from entering Israel, which mirrors similar attempted bans on immigrants and refugees from six predominately Muslim nations introduced by the Trump administration. She touched on other controversial issues like police violence, mass incarceration and water rights in disenfranchised communities in the US and occupied Palestine.*

Israeli authorities are currently interrogating Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement, after arresting him for tax evasion.

Andrew Kadi, an organizer who has been working on BDS and other pro-Palestinian causes for years, and was on the steering committee of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told MEE that these developments were all part of an arch of turning points for the global movement for Palestinian human rights.

The more people learn about issues in Palestine, the more they understand the similarities between struggles there and in the US

– Andrew Kadi, organiser

“A lot of these moments are milestones. There are multiple turning points,” he said in an interview.

After the Israeli military offensives on Gaza in 2008 and 2012, the far-left came to realise the need for stronger support of Palestinian movements. After events like the 2014 war on Gaza and the 2016 campaign of Bernie Sanders, who openly spoke about Palestinian human rights, the issue has now become central to mainstream progressives in the US.

Kadi pointed to the same intersectional issues of solidarity – water rights, police violence – as being a driving force behind this acceptance.

“The more people learn about issues in Palestine, the more they understand the similarities between struggles there and in the US,” he said.

Davis said she also believed it was a turning point for the global pro-Palestinian movement. “Sometimes circumstances beyond our control emerge,” she said, adding that it was important for social movements to be constantly organizing.

“When that happens, when the revolutionary time comes, I want to be prepared.”