UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, November 25, 2013

On November 25, 2013 the United Nations held its annual Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This was the 66th anniversary of the UN General Assembly resolution adopted November 29, 1947 which partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state - a resolution accepted by its Jewish inhabitants and rejected across the Arab world. The Palestinians call this day the 'Naqba', or 'catastrophe'. Yet, the real catastrophe is that 66 years after adoption of the partition plan, the Palestinians have still not ceased the relentless attempt to eradicate the Jewish State.

At UN Headquarters, the day was marked by speeches from various UN leaders, diplomatic representatives and an NGO. For the occasion, the UN screened the film "State 194."

The Setting

The meeting room was - again - adorned with just two flags, the UN flag and a Palestinian flag. The flag of the UN member state of Israel was nowhere to be seen.

First two persons in back row from the left: Mohammed Assaf, Regional Youth Ambassador of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and "Arab Idol" winner; Wolfgang Grieger, Officer-in-Charge, Division for Palestinian Rights. In the front row from the left: Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of China to the UN and President of the Security Council; John Ashe, President of the 68th General Assembly; Abdul Salam Diallo (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. North Lawn Building, UN Headquarters, New York

The Speeches

Antisemitism and continued rejection of a Jewish state, often taking the form of gross accusations and slanders against Israel, were evident throughout the proceedings.

Abdul Salam Diallo, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) accused Israel of of "hunting down" and "asphyxiating" Palestinian children.

Palestinian UN representative Riyad Mansour, speaking on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, called 1948 the "Al-Nakba" and claimed "the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip" were merely "the remainder of historic Palestine..." He also accused Israel of constructing an "apartheid annexation wall" and "terrorism".

Liu Jieyi, President of the Security Council, Permanent Representative of China, read a statement approved by the Obama administration which criticized only Israel as "undermining" peace and two state solution.

John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), President of the General Assembly, supported using the UN as a source of pro-Palestinian propaganda, saying "I welcome the initiative of the Committee ... to proclaim the year 2014 as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People."

Kadra Hassan (Djibouti) speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, accused Israel of "organized terrorism" and building an "apartheid wall".

Participants unabashedly espoused the view that a Jew living on what is claimed to be Arab land is repugnant "Judaization":

  • "The illegal actions and measures to Judaize East Jerusalem..." Riyad Mansour (on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas)
  • "Illegal actions aimed at Judaization of Jerusalem" Ahmed Fathalla, UN representative of the League of Arab States, speaking on behalf of Nabil Elaraby, Secretary-General of the Arab League

At the same time - though Israel is home to 1.5 million free Arab citizens - it is Israel that allegedly practices apartheid:

  • "Alarming racial practices which recall practices in South Africa" Ahmed Fathalla (Arab League)
There was only one invited NGO representative - billed as speaking "on behalf of civil society." David Wildman, Executive Secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice with the United Methodist Church's General Board of Global Ministries, championed economic strangulation of Israel (BDS):

    "I've also been very involved in boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts that have been done by many sectors of the civil society...International civil society, municipalities, churches, universities, trade unions are all taking actions to end complicity to end occupation and apartheid practices...as we join our actions of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), our actions will speak louder than our words in solidarity with the exercise of inalienable rights of the Palestinian people."

The Panels Displayed

The carefully orchestrated day also had other components. The UN event room prominently featured a set of six-foot high information panels.

They described successive attempts at the Arab annihilation of Israel as random acts of spontaneous combustion: "In 1948 as a result of the war between Israel and its neighboring Arab states, almost 750,000 Palestinians...became refugees." "1967 and 1973: Following two wars, the Security Council [adopted] resolutions..."

* * * * *

There was no mention of how the General Assembly's 1947 partition resolution was received - its acceptance by Jews and rejection by Arabs, the 1947-8 war launched by Arab states to prevent the creation of a Jewish state, or who started the 1967 and 1973 wars.

None of this attempted annihilation of the UN member state of Israel was a "contravention of international law." The only so-called "contravention of international law" was "the building of Israeli settlements...after the 1967 war."

Settlements were built on "Occupied Palestinian Territory" - regardless of whether in law the territory's ownership is disputed and according to agreement to be decided by negotiations.

* * * * *

There is no mention of the 800,000 or more Jewish refugees expelled from Arab states after the creation of Israel.

Palestinian refugees "were uprooted" - there was no mention that Arab inhabitants of historic Palestine were advised to leave by Arab organizations and states, pending the anticipated imminent destruction of Israel.

* * * * *

The panels falsely appropriate Jewish history - the Palestinians are said to have suffered an "exodus."

* * * * *

Suicide-bombing, murder of Israeli civilians at home, on buses, at worship, is called an "uprising" - and, moreover, a justifiable uprising in response to Israeli occupation.

* * * * *

The Israeli military operation in 2008 is carefully dated from beginning to end (27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009). Eight years of Hamas rocket attacks raining down on Israelis are unrecorded. There is no start date or quantification of these attacks against Israel's civilian population - setting up the alleged moral equivalence between aggression and defensive response.

The panel quotes UN investigator Richard Goldstone but makes no mention of the fact that he retracted his primary allegation against Israel six months before this event.

The Film Screened

At the conclusion of the speeches, the UN screened the film "State 194," a documentary about Palestinian efforts to create a state through unilateral moves, including by seeking membership at the UN.

A trailer of the film can be watched here. The trailer asserts that the Palestinians are "a people inspired to change their destiny" but does not depict many of the ways Palestinians have tried "to change their destiny" - by killing Israelis with guns, suicide bombs, rockets, and missiles aimed at Israeli civilians.

The Exclusion of NGOs not anti-Israel

This year, for the very first time, the UN secretariat and the UN committee organizing the event went even farther in turning the UN meeting into a celebration of antisemitism. They attempted and succeeded in excluding an officially accredited UN NGO from the public meeting at UN Headquarters solely because they were not anti-Israel.

The UN-accredited Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and their representatives who were 18 Birthright Israel alumni members, were found to meet all security criteria and were given initial approval to attend and monitor the event by UN security officials. But on November 15, that approval was rescinded only because the UN Division for Palestinian Rights objected to the presence of the organization. UN security officials claimed they were concerned about "overcrowding" in the public gallery, and that they had a "duty to ensure the safe room capacity." But by rescinding the passes based on the sole objection of the UN Division for Palestinian Rights after the UN NGO office had already cleared the organization and asked Security to issue the passes, security officials applied rules that had nothing to do with security.

The "overcrowded" public gallery, November 25, 2013

The NGO made direct appeals to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to overturn the decision of his staff, and to US UN Ambassador Samantha Power to ensure open access to a public UN meeting for all UN NGOs, including NGOs supportive of the state of Israel.

On November 20, UN Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman wrote to Touro Institute Director Anne Bayefsky setting out previously unpublished rules for participation at the publically-advertised meeting. They included being accredited to the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)], or on the mailing list of the Division for Palestinian Rights.

In response, the Institute pointed out that it had received written confirmation that its original request for passes had already been forwarded by two UN departments to the Division. Feltman, the Division and the CEIRPP Committee never responded - and the group was excluded.

On November 21, Jon Piechowski, Deputy Director of Communications in the US UN Mission, wrote to Bayefsky reciting a general statement of support for the "fair and unbiased treatment of Israel" while providing no access to the UN meeting and suggesting it was out of American hands because "the United States is not a member of the CEIRPP." Ambassador Power herself never responded to the emails or phone calls addressed to her asking for help in overturning the extraordinary exclusion of a US-based NGO from a public UN meeting, nor did she insist that the Secretary-General nullify the discrimination.

US taxpayers have paid over half a billion dollars renovating UN Headquarters in the middle of New York City, and yet for the first time ever the Obama administration has ceded access to public meetings therein to the UN Division for Palestinian Rights.

The UN General Assembly Debate: November 25-26, 2013

When the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was finished with its meeting, Solidarity Day moved to the General Assembly, where the Israel-bashing continued and six anti-Israel resolutions were adopted.

Here's a sampling of the demonization and delegitimization of Israel, hate and antisemitism delivered via the UN platform from where it is broadcast throughout the world:

Palestinian Authority:
"Over the past year, Israel has intensified its aggression, colonization, and collective punishment against the Palestinian people...

Extremist Israeli settlers have continued their criminal rampages, terrorizing Palestinian civilians..."
"This is just one of the many, many acts that the government of Israel has committed over the past decades. Massacres and crimes against the Egyptians, the Jordans, the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Lebanese and so many others..."
"This is another action by this regime to distract the attention from the facts about its criminal policies and abhorrent atrocities in the region. In particular the heinous crimes committed against the people of Palestine.

Mr. President, the illegal Israeli policies and practices against the Palestinian people, inter alia, intensification of illegal Israel settlement activities, widespread violence against the Palestinian, the devastating blockade on Gaza Strip, illegal construction of apartheid wall,...

What is perplexing is that the Israel regime as a source of terrorism and danger and stability and instability in the region continues to perpetrate its crime and violation with a sense of impunity...

The bloody hands of this regime are presently active in bringing destruction and instability all over the world in particular in the Middle East. It is ridiculous that the representative of such a regime which is main sponsor of the state terrorism could criticize other who give moral support to the freedom fighters and those who fight for a homeland against foreign occupation..."
"Mr. President, on November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 181 proposing the creation of two states on the territory of Palestine, an Arab state and a Jewish state. Just days after that resolution was adopted, a military offensive began of territorial and demographic expansion with the intension of expelling Palestinians from their lands and preventing their return...

The occupying power has practiced state terrorism violating international law, human rights and international humanitarian law. They have flouted all United Nations resolutions putting themselves outside international law. They have practiced apartheid and ethnic cleansing..."
"[Israelis] also call on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a state for the Jewish people ... as envisaged by the leaders of the racist Zionist movement...

... the number of Jews in 1947 was no more than 36% of the population of historic Palestine. These facts they do not want to acknowledge ... [T]he indigenous owners ... are the Palestinians..."

The UN General Assembly Resolutions - November 26, 2013

The hate-mongering against the Jewish state by the the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has specific concrete results. On November 18, 2013 the Committee transmitted four draft resolutions to the General Assembly that were adopted unamended on November 26, 2013. First and foremost these resolutions perpetuated the operations of the Committee and the vast UN secretariat apparatus for demonizing and delegimitizing Israel:

  • "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People", A/RES/68/12, reaffirms the mandate of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and states:

    "9. Decides to proclaim 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and requests the Committee to organize activities to be held during the year, in cooperation with Governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations;..."

    The resolution was adopted with 110 in favor, 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), and 56 abstentions.

  • "Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat", A/RES/68/13:
    " 2. Considers that, by providing substantive support to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in the implementation of its mandate, the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat continues to make a most useful and constructive contribution to raising international awareness of the question of Palestine...
    5. Also requests the Division, as part of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November, to continue to organize, under the guidance of the Committee, an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, and encourages Member States to continue to give the widest support and publicity to the observance of the Day of Solidarity;..."

    The resolution was adopted with 108 votes in favor, 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States) and 59 abstentions.

  • "Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat," A/RES/68/14:
    " 2. Considers that the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department is very useful in raising the awareness of the international community concerning the question of Palestine...
    3. Requests the Department, in full cooperation and coordination with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, ...
    (c)...to update, on a periodic basis, the public exhibit on the question of Palestine displayed in the General Assembly Building as well as at United Nations headquarters in Geneva and Vienna; ... (f) To continue to provide assistance to the Palestinian people in the field of media development..."

    The resolution was adopted 163 votes in favor, 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, United States), and 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga).

  • "Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine," A/RES/68/15:
    "Gravely concerned over ... acts of violence, vandalism and brutality committed against Palestinian civilians ..."

    The resolution was adopted with 165 votes in favor, 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States) and 6 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Tonga).

The General Assembly also adopted two additional anti-Israel resolutions:

  • "Jerusalem", A/RES/68/16, adopted with 162 votes in favor, 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), and 8 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga).
  • "The Syrian Golan", A/RES/68/17, adopted with 112 votes in favor, 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Island, Palau, United States) and 58 abstentions.
These resolutions support the use of the United Nations to incite hate against Israel through events such as the UN's "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" via the vehicles of these pro-Palestinian UN organs. And so the vicious cycle of UN-sponsored anti-Israel propaganda continues.