Home » What's New
Resources updated between Monday, March 30, 2015 and Wednesday, April 01, 2015
March 31, 2015
"The United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It was intended to be a temple of peace, but this once great global body has been overrun by the repressive regimes that violate human rights and undermine international security.
In 1949, when the United Nations admitted Israel as a member state, it had 58 member countries and about half had a democratic orientation. Today, the landscape of the organization has changed drastically. From 51 member states at its founding in 1945, the institution has grown to 193 members - fewer than half of which are democracies.
The very nations that deny democratic rights to their people abuse the United Nations' democratic forums to advance their interests. The largest of these groups comprises members from the 120-member-strong bloc known as the Non-Aligned Movement. Since 2012, the bloc has been chaired by Iran, which has used its position to bolster its allies and marginalize Israel.
In March, the United Nations closed the annual meeting of its Commission on the Status of Women by publishing a report that effectively singled out just one country for condemnation: Israel. The commission apparently had nothing to say about the Sudanese girls who are subjected to female genital mutilation. It also had nothing to say about the Iranian women who have been punished for crimes of 'adultery' by stoning. These oversights may have something to do with the fact that both Iran and Sudan sit on the 45-member commission. Then there is the United Nations Human Rights Council (the body that replaced the Commission on Human Rights in 2006). Its membership includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela - nations where you risk life and liberty if you express dissenting opinions. Yet these governments stand in judgment on the rest of us.
In 2007, Sudan chaired a committee overseeing human rights - even as its president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, was being investigated for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur, for which the International Criminal Court later issued arrest warrants. Saudi Arabia - a regime notorious for public executions and floggings like that, most recently, of the blogger Raif Badawi - sits on the Human Rights Council, despite regularly receiving the worst possible ratings on civil liberties and political rights from the independent watchdog Freedom House.
In 2013, Iran was elected to the committee responsible for disarmament - even as it continued its nuclear expansion, support for terrorism and the destruction of Israel. Last year, an Iranian served as a vice chair of the General Assembly's legal committee, an inexplicable choice given that Iranian citizens are routinely denied due process and fair trials.
Knowing this history, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that, in the 2014-15 session alone, the General Assembly adopted about 20 resolutions critical of Israel, while the human rights situations in Iran, Syria and North Korea merited just one condemnation apiece. Day after day, member states turn a blind eye to the most deplorable crimes.
Iran? Just one hostile resolution for a nation that, on average, executes citizens at a rate of two a day for 'crimes' that include homosexuality, apostasy and the vague offense of being an 'enemy of God.'
North Korea? Just one negative resolution even though it has imprisoned more than 200,000 citizens, throws children into forced labor camps and subjects its population to food shortages and famine as a result of government policies.
Syria? Again, just one resolution for a government that has pursued a war against its own people that has caused the deaths of at least 220,000 men, women and children - many by torture, starvation, chemical weapons and barrel bombs dropped on markets and schools.
Christians now number among the world's most persecuted religious groups in Muslim countries, yet this human rights crisis is almost completely ignored by the United Nations. Instead, Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and an area in the region where the Christian population is actually growing, often seems to be the only nation the United Nations cares about...
Later this year, chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement will transfer to Venezuela, Iran's ally. For the foreseeable future, we can expect more of the same.
The problem with the United Nations is that the leaders of many of its member states do not rule with the consent of the governed. Instead, they use the body as a forum to deflect attention from their own ruthless rule. In so doing, they turn a stage for courageous statecraft into a tragic theater of the absurd."
"Immediately after Israel's March 17 election, Obama administration officials threatened to allow (or even encourage) the U.N. Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state and confine Israel to its pre-1967 borders. Within days, the president himself joined in, publicly criticizing not just Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Obama has had notoriously bad relations, but sectors of Israeli opinion and even Israel itself...
America's consistent view since Council Resolution 242 concluded the 1967 Arab-Israeli war is that only the parties themselves can structure a lasting peace. Deviating from that formula would be a radical departure by Obama from a bipartisan Middle East policy nearly half a century old...
Obama's postelection statements demonstrate something much deeper than just animosity toward Netanyahu. Obama said that 'Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don't believe in a Jewish state, but it also, I think, starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country.'
With these comments, Obama is criticizing not just Netanyahu, but the very legitimacy of Israel's democracy, giving an implicit green light to those prepared to act violently against it. Obama's remarks are substantially more egregious than Secretary of State John Kerry's 2014 criticism that Israel's unwillingness to follow the White House lead in the Palestinian negotiations made it understandable if there were another Palestinian intifada or further efforts by the international 'boycotts, sanctions, and divestiture' movement against Israel.
Obama is thus going well beyond acting unpresidential or even immature. Whether one takes his or Netanyahu's side, the administration's approach is now squarely contrary to America's larger strategic interests. And the global harm that will be done to common U.S. and Israeli interests through Security Council resolutions if Washington stands aside (or worse, joins in) will extend far beyond the terms of one prime minister and one president...
No end of mischief will flow from even one undisciplined Security Council resolution, let alone whatever else Obama is prepared to allow. Obama's criticisms, with the implied charge of racism not far beneath their surface, have once again brought Israel's very legitimacy into question. We are all too close to resurrecting the U.N.'s 1975 "Zionism is racism" resolution..."
The Arab League met in Egypt on March 28, 2015 in the midst of a bloody coup in Yemen, the Saudi air force bombing parts of Yemen, Iraq and Syria experiencing catastrophic intra-Muslim violence, and Islamist terrorists attacking across Arab countries. In this context, the United Nations' contribution was to help push Israel to the top of the agenda as a central threat to peace in the Middle East. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told participants: "Today, war and violence in the region, reprehensible acts of terrorism, and the seemingly endless Israeli occupation of Palestine are causing enormous suffering. The impact of all these threats transcends the Arab world. They pose a direct challenge to international peace and security..."
In addition, instead of calling for the rejection of the terrorist organization Hamas, the Secretary General urged Palestinians to unite with it. In his words: "I urge the Palestinians to overcome their divisions."
Gruesome new images have emerged showing Islamic State militants stoning a blindfolded and bound man and woman to death in Iraq after they were accused of having sex before marriage.
Taken in the ISIS-stronghold of Mosul in Nineveh province, the shocking images show a large crowd gathered to watch the jihadis murder the defenceless couple.
Young boys clamber onto their fathers' shoulders to get a better view of the man and woman being charged with 'fornication', before the familiar white-bearded face of ISIS's elderly Mosul-based executioner-in-chief Abu Ansar al-Ansari orders their stoning to death.
The sickening images begin by showing a large crowd gathered in a rain-drenched square in central Mosul.
With heavily armed militants taking up positions on ledges overlooking the crowd, the young men and boys jostle to ensure they get the best view of the murder.
An Islamic State militant with a yellow scarf covering his face is then seen using a microphone and PA system to read out the charge of 'fornication' against the couple, suggesting they have been accused of having sex without being married, not of committing adultery.
A large pile of stones are then seen heaped in the middle of the road, before the barbaric ISIS militants began throwing them at the defenceless and blindfolded couple, who have had their hands bound to prevent them getting away.
As stones rain down on the victims' bodies, large pools of blood appear in the road, before eventually the man and woman die of their injuries and the savagery finally comes to an end.
March 30, 2015
Islamic State's children have taken centre stage in the latest propaganda video from the terror group purporting to show the apparent beheading of eight Syrians.
The video, posted on social media today, claims to show ISIS fighters cutting off the heads of men said to be Shi'ite Muslims.
The eight men, wearing the orange jumpsuits which have become associated with the group's sick propaganda, were said to beheaded in the central Syrian province of Hama.
Blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs, the men are seen being led forward in a field by teenage boys.
They were then handed over to a group of IS fighters - with each fighter receiving a knife from one of the boys before beheading the men.
An Islamic State fighter speaks in the video, using a derogatory term for Shi'ites and calling them 'impure infidels.'
The fighter says the current military campaign against ISIS will only make them stronger.
'Our swords will soon, God willing, reach the Nuseiries and their allies like Bashar and his party,' he says - a reference to Syrian President Bashar Assad and Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group which is fighting on his side.
The word Nuseiry is a derogatory term to refer to Assad's Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.
Lebanese media have reported that one of the murdered men is Younes Hujairi, who was kidnapped from his hometown of Arsal near the Syrian border in January.
The country's state-run National News Agency quoted Mr Hujairi's family as saying he had been beheaded.
Members of Mr Hujairi's family said they have seen pictures of an IS fighter carrying his severed head on social media, it was reported.
It is not clear if Mr Hujairi was one of one of the men beheaded in the video - as is a Sunni, while the video states that all the beheaded men were Shii'tes.
The border town of Arsal, where Mr Hujairi was kidnapped, was also the site of a bold joint raid by the Islamic State group and Syria's al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front last August.
They captured 24 Lebanese soldiers and policemen. Four of those hostages have been killed so far, two of them beheaded by ISIS.
The video could not be immediately independently verified, but it appears to be genuine.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that the video is authentic.
The terror group has beheaded scores of captives from across the world since capturing large parts of Iraq and Syria in a self-declared caliphate last year.
Earlier this month, a video was released showing the beheading of three Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.
Yesterday, Islamist groups including al-Qaeda's Nusra Front have seized the Syrian city of Idlib for the first time since the conflict in the country began.
By taking Idlib, the capital of a northwestern province of the same name, the insurgents now control a second province after Raqqa, a stronghold of the Islamic State group.