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News From Israel- Oct. 22, 2020

News From Israel- Oct. 22, 2020

ILTV Israel News


Is a secret Israeli delegation in Sudan to talk peace? Trump’s last minute push for another country to join the Abraham Accords.

After violence this week leaves two women dead at the hands of their husbands… Israelis are wondering when will enough be enough?

The oldest Jewish museum in Germany is reopening after 5 years and 50 million euros. We’ll hear more from the mayor of Frankfurt.


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UN makes mockery of its Human Rights Council

UN makes mockery of its Human Rights Council

JPOST EDITORIAL


“It’s logically absurd and morally obscene that the UN is about to elect to its top human rights body a regime that herded 1 million Uighurs into camps.”

Overview of the Human Rights Council one day after the U.S. announced their withdraw at the United Nations in Geneva, / (photo credit: DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS)

The shameful charade of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council is continuing. Tomorrow, the UN is scheduled to hold elections for the 47-state membership of the UNHRC and the list of countries running for a place on the body supposedly dedicated to fighting human rights abuses includes some states better known as abusers than defenders of freedom and justice. Among those likely to be elected are China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

This makes a mockery of the whole purpose of the UNHRC.

UN Watch, an NGO dedicated to monitoring the work of the United Nations and promoting human rights, distributed material ahead of the vote and has pointed out the absurdities. It also held a webinar with human rights dissidents persecuted by these very regimes to call on governments everywhere to oppose the election of the states with a record of abuse.
“Electing these dictatorships as UN judges on human rights is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade,” said Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch.

Disconcertingly, despite the valiant efforts of UN Watch and other groups dedicated to fighting human rights abuses, the report shows how Cuba and Russia, which are the only candidates in their respective regional groups, are almost certain to be elected.

In the Asian regional group, where there are five candidates vying for four spots, the election of China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is almost assured, according to Neuer.

“It’s logically absurd and morally obscene that the UN is about to elect to its top human rights body a regime that herded 1 million Uighurs into camps, arrested, crushed and disappeared those who tried to sound the alarm about the coronavirus, and suffocated freedom in Hong Kong,” said Neuer.

He also noted that Saudi Arabia carried out a record 184 executions in 2019; Russia has a record of assassinating and attempting to assassinate dissenters including journalists and politicians; while Cuba is a police state.

A report by Amnesty International on Pakistan showed that last year the government continued to crack down on freedom of expression, arrest and “disappear” dissidents, fail to protect women and children (including child brides) and used its “blasphemy laws” to prosecute (i.e. persecute) religious minorities, including Christians.

Neuer called on the European Union’s High Commissioner, Josep Borrell, and EU member states to lead the move against the automatic election of proven human rights abusers to the council.

The United States, under President Donald Trump, pulled out from the body in June 2018 and Israel withdrew after being subjected to ongoing systematic bullying by the council.

Israel is subjected to a special agenda at the UNHRC called Agenda Item 7 – “The human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” This is the only country-specific standing agenda item which ensures that Israel, and only Israel, is singled out for condemnation at every sitting. Syria can massacre its own citizens, Iran can foster terrorism and persecute human rights defenders, China and Russia can suppress protests and basic human rights, but only Israel will be subject to a mandatory review and condemnation. This does nothing to foster peace. On the contrary, it is used as a weapon by the Palestinians.

The UNHRC is part of a continuing farce. The record of its predecessor, the Commission for Human Rights, was so poor that it was disbanded. The current council, formed in 2006, is no better.

Today, UNHRC spends more time reviewing and condemning Israel than it does looking at the actions of totalitarian regimes such as North Korea.

The composition of the UNHRC serves to emphasize that much of the world is still not free. Even worse, it is these non-democratic countries that are judging the rest of the world via an official United Nations body. It’s time this sham came to an end. For the United Nations Human Rights Council to be worthy of its name, its membership must reflect those countries who believe in and abide by human rights. The UN Human Rights Council has lost all credibility and cannot perform the task for which it was created. It must either be reformed or disbanded. In its current form, the UNHRC is guaranteed to ignore gross human rights abuses among its own members.


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6-in-10 Arab News Poll

More Than 6-in-10 Arab News Poll Respondents Think Gal Gadot a Good Choice to Play Cleopatra

i24 News


Gal Gadot. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

 – Gal Gadot’s casting as ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra created a Twitter storm last week, but the announcement left a surprising population largely unmoved.

More than 70 percent of respondents to an Arab News Twitter poll said they had “no problem” with the idea of Gadot – an Israeli star, who was the third-highest paid actress in Hollywood in 2020 – playing the role.

Many of the Twitterati complained bitterly that it was an affront to select an Israeli actress to play the Egyptian queen, who famously had a torrid marriage with Roman general and politician Mark Antony.

However, the idea that Cleopatra was an Arab was quickly debunked, she was in fact of Greek descent – and a clear majority – 61 percent of respondents – said “Yes” to the question: “Do you think Israeli actress Gal Gadot is suitable for the rule of Cleopatra.”

A further 12 percent said to wait and see before deciding, while 27 percent firmly answered,”No.”

The news site’s editors seemed caught out by the results of the poll, headlining the article, “Shockingly, most Arab News readers in favor of Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Cleopatra,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

While some on Twitter debated ancient geopolitics, others turned to more present-day commentary, arguing that the casting and timing of the movie were announced in the wake of the Abraham Accords between Israel and the two Gulf neighbors United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.


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Combatting antisemitism: Why the world needs to adopt the IHRA definition

Combatting antisemitism: Why the world needs to adopt the IHRA definition

IRA FORMAN


The virus that is antisemitism has mutated into a particular form where antisemitism is employed in discourse around Israel.

Emmanuel Macron looks at a grave defaced with a swastika during a visit to the Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim on February 19. / (photo credit: FREDERICK FLORIN/POOL/VIA REUTERS)

Antisemitism is a complex, shape-shifting phenomenon. There are no easy solutions, no silver bullets that can counter all of today’s manifestations of antisemitism. However, the International Holocaust Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism is one critical tool that should be employed against some types of this persistent evil.

Certain forms of Jew-hatred have existed for thousands of years. But in the aftermath of the Holocaust it became more problematic to directly voice hatred toward “Jews” and “Judaism.” Thus, the virus that is antisemitism has mutated into a particular form where antisemitism is employed in discourse around Israel, targeting Israel as an alternative for Jews or by employing classic antisemitic tropes and substituting the word “Israel” for the word “Jew.” The need to recognize this mutation becomes obvious when a German court rules that firebombing a synagogue is not antisemitic but merely a protest against Israel.

However, one of the main difficulties in fighting this Israel-centric antisemitism is how to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel – criticism of the type that is employed against other countries – from the bigotry that is disguised as mere objective analysis. The IHRA definition, if not distorted by ideological lenses, is an effective means to educate governments and civil society of the significant problem of Israel-related Jew-hatred and as a resource to educate about the differences between antisemitic hate speech and sincere criticism of the State of Israel, whether you agree with it or not.

The IHRA working definition of antisemitism was formally adopted by the IHRA in 2016 as a means of identifying all forms of antisemitism. The IHRA is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1998 and today it includes 34 nations, including the United States and most of its democratic allies.

The working definition consists of just two sentences: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Most importantly, accompanying the definition are 11 examples that the IHRA asserts may serve as illustrations of antisemitism. They include denying the Holocaust, accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, applying a double standard toward Israel, and drawing comparisons of Israeli policy to that of the Nazis. It is these examples that are central to the IHRA working definition’s efficacy, as well as drawing undeserved criticism.

The IHRA definition along with its examples is a nuanced document. It makes clear that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded by itself as antisemitism.” Moreover, it states that its examples “could, taking into account the overall context,” be antisemitic. It strengthens one of civil society’s most powerful weapons against bigotry: the ability to call out and shame individuals who are engaging in hate speech or acts of hate.

THE WORKING definition is not a legally binding definition. It does not criminalize any behavior that is not already illegal. It does not support government censorship. It does not say that all criticism of Israel is antisemitic. It does not draw exact bright lines between what can be called out and what is honest criticism.

Unfortunately, in a polarized society, the IHRA definition has been misread and misinterpreted. Some on the political Left claim the working definition defines all criticism of Israel as antisemitic, ignoring IHRA’s explicit disclaimer to the contrary. There are those who complain that it is just a means for governments to annul First Amendment rights and censor speech of Palestinian activists, despite IHRA’s declaration that it is not legally binding.

On the political Right there are voices that claim to support the IHRA definition when by all appearances they have not even read the document. They use the 11 examples but fail to acknowledge that in any given incident, context must be considered before leveling charges of antisemitism. They make claims for the scope of the document that are not supportable by the text.

In the face of rising antisemitism, the European Parliament and the European Council have recommended EU states adopt the IHRA definition. Nearly 30 countries, primarily European democracies, have adopted the working definition as one means to counter rising antisemitism. German and Austrian prosecutors use it for education and training purposes. Others use it to help classify and collect hate crime/incident data.

The US State Department was a leader in employing the IHRA tool in identifying antisemitism overseas. It is time for us to catch up with our European allies by advocating that Congress, state legislatures and local governments, including judicial and law enforcement institutions, also adopt the IHRA working definition as a domestic, educational tool. Judicious use of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism is an essential means for pushing back against one form of today’s virulent, antisemitism

The writer is the former US special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism. He is currently the visiting professor of contemporary antisemitism at Georgetown University and senior fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Jewish Civilization. He also serves as senior adviser for combating antisemitism at Human Rights First and as a senior fellow at the Moment Institute.


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Bahrain-Israel sign peace

Bahrain-Israel sign peace

TV7 Israel News


1) Israel and the Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain sign a joint communique, officially formalizing bilateral intensions to establish full-diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Manama.

2) Palestinian Islamists launch a rocket toward Israel’s southern communities – forcing thousands of Israel into bomb shelters.

3) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Israel’s gradual exit from a nation-wide closure; after morbidity rates throughout most of the country indicated a positive downward trend.


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