Resources updated between Monday, January 12, 2015 and Sunday, January 18, 2015
January 17, 2015
"A group of Muslim girls in Malaysia were threatened with arrest Wednesday after a video emerged showing them hugging members of K-pop boy band B1A4, local media reported.
"The incident has prompted a public outcry in the Muslim majority country, with Islamic conservatives denouncing both the popular Korean K-pop genre and the girls.
"Official Muslim-purity enforcers have given the girls one week to turn themselves in or face arrest, local media reported.
"In the video, the band members are shown bringing fans wearing Islamic headscarves up on stage during an event in Kuala Lumpur last weekend, crooning to them and cuddling them, with one band member kissing a fan on the forehead.
"Malaysian Islamic civil law includes strict codes of conduct when it comes to public displays of affection.
"'This video shows how many of our (Muslim) girls are ignorant about our religion and do not know the boundaries...' said one Facebook user.'The girls should be punished,' another said..."
The United States on Friday condemned as a "tragic irony" the International Criminal Court's decision to open a preliminary probe into possible war crimes committed by Israeli forces against Palestinians.
"We strongly disagree with the ICC prosecutor's action today," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement. "It is a tragic irony that Israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinized by the ICC."
"As we have said repeatedly, we do not believe that Palestine is a state and therefore we do not believe that it is eligible to join the ICC," said the statement. "The place to resolve the differences between the parties is through direct negotiations, not unilateral actions by either side." The International Criminal Court's prosecutor on Friday opened an initial probe to see if war crimes have been committed against Palestinians, including during last year's Gaza conflict.
"Today the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine," her office said in a statement, adding it may lead to a full-blown investigation.
January 16, 2015
The Palestinian Authority's unilateral decision to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) is counterproductive and it has met with a strong response by the United States Congress. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that the Palestinians will join the ICC starting April 2015.
The five prominent Senators who issued a formal statement deploring this PA move are: Ma rk Kirk R-IL, Lindsey Graham R-SC, Robert Menendez D-NJ, Chuck Schumer D-NY and Bob Corker R-TN.
Existing US law makes clear that if the Palestinians initiate an ICC judiciary authorized investigation or actively support such an investigation, all economic assistance to the PA must end. In light of this legal requirement, Congress must reassess its support for assistance to the PA. They should seek additional ways to make clear to Palestinian Authority president Mahmaud Abbas that they strongly oppose his efforts to seek unilateral illegal membership in the ICC.
If the ICC is making the mistake of accepting the PA as a member, given that it is not a state, Congress should seek ways to protect Israeli citizens from politically abusive ICC actions. In the statement the five US Senators sai d that the Palestinians would try to do what the ICC had done with other UN and international organizations: "take an organization with laudable goals and undermine its credibility by turning it into a political battering ram against Israel." They released a joint statement deploring the Palestinians unilateral move.
Please make sure that your Congressional leaders knows that you support the message of the Senators to stop funding the PA due to this illegal act of pushing an ICC investigation of Israel. Israel's acts of self-defense are not war crimes!
January 15, 2015
Israel is officially boycotting a UN commission investigating possible war crime committed during Operation Protective Edge, known as the Schabas Commission, but this has not stopped Gaza border community members from testifying in front of the commission. In the past few days, several residents have given their testimony, including the mother of Daniel Tregerman – the 4-year-old Israeli boy who was killed by a mortar shell that hit his house towards the end of the summer Gaza war.
Gila Tregerman from Kibbutz Nahal Oz gave her testimony a few days ago via Skype and answered questions asked by the commission's chairman William Schabas. She told him of the terrible sense of loss that befell her and of the IDF's attempt to prevent Israeli civilians from being attacked. 'I told (him) of how Hamas shot from population centers clearly knowing that the IDF would not fire, and they were not wrong. The IDF really did not fire. Why? Because we do not attack innocent civilians.'"
January 14, 2015
The UN Human Rights Council's March 2015 session is taking up the report, "Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan" by the Secretary-General. The report includes:
"...The present report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 25/31, in which the Council called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council. The Council recalled in particular Security Council resolution 497 (1981), in which it decided, inter alia, that the decision of Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect, and demanded that Israel rescind forthwith its decision...
In resolution 25/31, the Human Rights Council also requested the Secretary-General to bring the resolution to the attention of all Governments, the competent United Nations organs, specialized agencies, international and regional intergovernmental organizations and international humanitarian organizations, to disseminate it as widely as possible and to report thereon to the Council at its twenty-eighth session..."
Syria targets Israel over Golan Heights at UN Development
"The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today's noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General...
Question: Thank you. Concerning the informal meeting at the General Assembly on anti-Semitism on the twenty-second, is the Secretary‑General attending or do you have plans to send someone?
Deputy Spokesman: I believe either the Secretary‑General or the Deputy Secretary‑General will attend that, depending upon availability. Have a good afternoon, everyone."
"[S]ome Israelis will testify in a personal capacity before the Geneva-based UN Human Rights commission, including those injured in the rocket and mortar strikes launched by Palestinian terrorists at Israeli civilian populations.
Gadi Yarkoni, who resides in Nirim, an Israeli kibbutz adjacent to the Hamas-controlled enclave, lost his both legs after he was hit by a mortar shell several hours before the eventual ceasefire with Hamas went into effect. He will present the Israeli angle of the latest, and particularly charged, chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before the rights panel.
It is understood Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office supports the initiative – by the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists – to make sure Israelis are represented at the commission, underlining, however, that they are not official representatives of the State of Israel."
"An attack on a passenger bus in eastern Ukraine killed 12 people on Tuesday, likely dealing the final blow to hopes that a short-lived and shaky cease-fire could take hold.
"Across Donetsk, the city that Russian-backed separatists call their capital, explosions and the sound of shells whistling overhead are again unnerving the local population. The holiday period was spent in relative tranquility after a new truce was called in December between government troops and Russian-backed militia. But by late last week, that uneasy calm was steadily unraveling.
"In the single largest loss of life so far this year, civilians traveling on a commuter bus from Donetsk were killed Tuesday afternoon by what Ukrainians say were rockets fired from a Grad launcher in rebel territory. Regional authorities loyal to Kiev said the bus was passing a Ukrainian army checkpoint at the time, putting it in the line of fire.
"Leading rebel representative Denis Pushilin denied responsibility for the attack..."
In contrast to the widespread support for freedom of expression following the Charlie Hebdo terror attack, there are fresh calls for a United Nations measure, which critics say seeks to limit speech considered "blasphemous."
A senior diplomat with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – the bloc of Islamic nations – tweeted Monday that the attack in Paris underlined the importance of "renewed commitment to resolution 16/18."
"The innocuous-sounding 'resolution 16/18' was first passed by the U.N. Human Rights Council in April 2011 and by the U.N. General Assembly eight months later. The Obama administration sponsored it together with OIC member Egypt, and the Hillary Clinton State Department championed it as a triumph of diplomacy.
"Clinton characterized it as such because the anti-religious intolerance resolution took a different approach after more than a decade of annual OIC-introduced – and Western-opposed – texts aimed at outlawing the "defamation of religion."
"Unlike those earlier measures, resolution 16/18 for the first time did not include the polarizing 'defamation' term, and it also affirmed 'the right to freedom of opinion and expression...'"
"The OIC, whose member states range from moderate U.S. allies such as Jordan to adversaries such as Iran, describes itself as the world's largest international body after the United Nations. For more than a decade, "the collective voice of the Muslim world" has spread the belief that any insult directed against the Muslim faith or its prophet demands absolute suppression. Quashing "defamation of Islam" is enshrined as a chief objective in the organization's charter. "With countless internal resolutions, relentless lobbying of the international community and block voting on resolutions advocating a prohibition on defamation of religion at the U.N., the OIC continuously pushes to silence criticism of Islam. "Translated into practice inside Islamic nations and increasingly elsewhere, this toxic vision breeds contempt for freedom of religion and expression, justifies the killing of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and casts a pall of self-censorship over academia and the arts. "By building the expectation that dissent or insult merits suppression, groups such as the OIC and the Arab League have emboldened extremists to take protection of Islam to the next level. With the most authoritative Muslim voices prepared to denounce violence but not to combat the idea that Islam should be immune from criticism, a meaningful response to counteract the resulting violence continues to be glaringly absent..."
Defending Islam From Free Speech Article
"The commission, headed by William Schabas, is due to present its findings to the UN Human Rights Council on March 23... A vote on the findings will be held a few days later.
According to a Foreign Ministry cable sent to Israel's representatives abroad, the goal of the campaign is to get 'as many countries as possible – with the hope that at least 24 will not approve the committee's findings – to either vote against, abstain or not show up [for the vote]...'
Israel is refusing to cooperate with the commission, and the committee is therefore gathering testimony using technological means or through interviews done from Jordan.
Part of the campaign against the commission will be to discredit its head, Canadian international law professor Schabas, who in 2012 said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be his 'favorite person' to bring to the International Criminal Court.
In 2009 Schabas – who has accused Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity – expressed surprise that Sudan's president, and not then-Israeli president Shimon Peres, would be prosecuted by the ICC.
'The Schabas Commission was born in sin,' said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, explaining Israel's decision to launch a campaign to discredit it. 'Its mandate is highly distorted, and its head has decided to indict Israel even before the commission started its work. This is a sham, a mockery of justice, and reminiscent of the Inquisition trials.'
Nahshon labeled the Human Rights Council 'an anti-Israel body which has no intention whatsoever of judging Israel fairly and honestly.'"
January 13, 2015
January 12, 2015
The UN Human Rights Council's March 2015 session is taking up the report "On the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem" by Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The report includes:
"...The fact-finding mission made six recommendations, of which four were addressed to the State of Israel. Basing itself on article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the mission called upon Israel to cease all settlement activities without preconditions; to immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the Occupied Palestinian Territory; and to ensure adequate, effective and prompt remedy for all Palestinian victims for the harm suffered as a consequence of human rights violations that were a result of the settlements, in accordance with its international obligation to provide effective remedy. The mission noted that, where necessary, steps should be taken to provide such remedy in concurrence with the representatives of the Palestinian people and the assistance of the international community..."
UN Eyes Israeli Settlements - Again Development
The UN Human Rights Council's March 2015 session is taking up the "Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Libya and on related technical support and capacity-building needs" by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The report includes:
"...The High Commissioner reiterates his appeal to all parties to the conflict to end hostilities and, through an inclusive political dialogue, to put in place a framework to build a State based on respect for human rights and rule of law. He accordingly recommends that:
The warm feelings on display in Paris and elsewhere around the world Sunday in response to the horrors of the past week, unfortunately, will do next to nothing to change the tide against Islamist terrorism. That explains why world leaders who support terrorism have no problem supporting Paris.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, now entering the eleventh year of what was originally billed as a four-year term, turned up to represent a would-be Judenrein state, where terrorism and the absence of the rule of law are the order of the day.
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu flew into Paris to glad-hand with free expression enthusiasts, notwithstanding recent arrests of teenagers in his country for "insulting" President Erdogan.
The terrorist organization Hamas even issued a press release claiming that it "condemns the attack against Charlie Hebdo magazine and insists on the fact that differences of opinion and thought cannot justify murder." Setting aside the fact that Palestinians living under Palestinian authority do not have freedom of opinion and thought, gunning down Jews while shopping for food wasn't mentioned in the statement.
Add all those "Je suis Charlie" signs, in solidarity with the magazine's victims. Except that the words on these signs are white on a solid black background, and the Hebdo images of the prophet Muhammad are nowhere to be seen. White words on a black background are not the reason Charlie Hebdo cartoonists are dead.
And then there is France's Jewish problem. There is no getting away from the fact that to be Jewish in France in 2015, you might have to hide in a basement freezer if you want to survive a trip to the grocery store.
Attacks on Jews in France in recent times – including torture, assaults, robbery, firebombing, rape, and murder – are too numerous to mention, each one soon forgotten by everyone but French Jews who continue to emigrate to Israel for refuge and solace. Evidently, France forgot 'first they came for the Jews.'
In theory, it should be simple to connect the dots between slaughtering journalists, police officers, and Jews, in the same country over a mere three days. Freedom of speech, personal security, equality and freedom of religion are pretty much the essentials of democracy – and inextricably linked to one another.
Standing in the way of this revelation, however, is an apparent widespread incapacity to distinguish trumped-up, irrelevant or misplaced grievances from real ones.
Over the days of carnage, CNN regaled listeners with complaints about "unemployment" and "disaffection" among Muslim youth. We also swiftly heard detailed analysis of such things as the early loss of parents of the Kouachi brothers and the failed rap musician ambitions of Cherif Kouachi.
And, of course, there is the elephant in the chambre – Israel. As terrorist Amedy Coulibaly put it to his Jewish captives – quoting Usama bin Laden – "we are the ones who will get peace in Palestine."
That ought to sound familiar to French President Francois Hollande. On December 30, 2014 France voted for a Palestinian resolution in the Security Council, along with such bastions of democracy as Russia and China, and against the United States. The resolution trashed a negotiated path to a Palestinian state (and thus genuine Arab acceptance of a Jewish state). France explained its vote with the same arrogant message as Coulibaly.
Now, the French President says Coulibaly's choice of a kosher market on behalf of Palestinians was "an appalling antisemitic act." But French Ambassador Delattre told the U.N.: "the cycles of violence are accelerating from Gaza to the West Bank via Jerusalem." That accusation came just four months after Israelis were forced to respond to 4,564 one-way rockets or mortars and 32 terror tunnels aimed at its civilian population from Gaza. Comparing the Israeli exercise of self-defense to the onslaught of a terrorist organization is an appalling act of modern antisemitism – and a green light to the Coulibalys of this world.
It is clear why the leaders of Islamic states – where there is no democracy or freedom of religion or equality – were at a rally about the values of democracy, freedom of religion and equality. They understood that their contrived throne of perpetual victimhood was in danger. Sympathy for Jews and journalists is perceived competition. So they came out to thump their chests and cry "me too!"
When everybody is "je suis" somebody, nobody is anybody at all.
"The sole woman killed in the massacre at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday was targeted because she was a Jew, her cousin has asserted.
Speaking to CNN's Erin Burnett, Sophie Bramly, the cousin of Jewish Charlie Hebdo columnist Elsa Cayat, was asked whether she believed that Cayat had been 'specifically targeted.'
'Yes, I do,' Bramley responded. 'They spared all the women, and she was the only one killed, and she was the only one Jewish.'
Bramley added that Cayat's brother had told her that the columnist had been receiving threatening phone calls for 'a while.'
'Anonymous phone calls, obviously, and I can't say that it was the same team of people,' Bramley, a film producer, said, 'but the calls were saying basically, 'Dirty Jew, you should stop working for Charlie Hebdo, otherwise we're going to kill you.' So if you put two and two together, it seems like, yeah, she was definitely killed because she was Jewish.'"