Resources updated Thursday, April 20, 2017
April 20, 2017
The UN Security Council held its monthly Israel-bashing session on schedule, despite American Ambassador Nikki Haley's efforts to steer the Council towards the Middle East's most dangerous and threatening countries and situations. The United States serves as the rotating President of the Council during the month of April and therefore presided over the Council's monthly debate on "the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question." The routine is to spend almost the entire meeting criticizing Israel while ignoring Iran, Hezbollah, and dire conflicts such as those in Syria and Yemen.
In advance of the meeting, Haley circulated a "concept note" to members of the Council for the meeting requesting countries to instead examine "[w]ho are the regional players that most benefit from chaos in the region, and what are the connections between terrorist groups and these states". Members of the Security Council, as well as other U.N. member states invited to participate, promptly ignored her entreaty.
Early on the Palestinian representative, Riyad Mansour, began attacking Israel and referred to convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a "political leader." Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon responded soon after, holding up a photograph of one of Barghouti's victims and pointing out Mansour was glorifying a murderer.
Haley attempted to shift the meeting off the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, focusing her remarks on the threats presented by Iran and the terrorist group Hezbollah, while also chastising the Council for its obsessive focus on Israel.
In her words:
"If we are speaking honestly about conflict in the Middle East, we need to start with the chief culprit: Iran and its partner militia, Hizballah. Iran and Hizballah conspire together to destabilize the Middle East, and their actions are expanding. For decades, they have committed terrorist acts across the region. Today, they prop up Bashar al-Assad's brutality, fighting alongside his forces, adding to the killing of thousands of civilians and the misery of millions of refugees. They train deadly militias in Iraq and arm Houthi militants in Yemen."
Following Haley, however, speakers continued the usual pattern of antisemitic Israel-bashing while paying only lip-service to the mass atrocities elsewhere in the Middle East. For instance:
Palestinian terrorists who murder Americans and Israelis are "martyrs" whose families deserve compensation from the Palestinian Authority - that is, according to the Palestinian Representative to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour. In a press conference following a meeting of the Security Council on "The Middle East, including the Palestinian question" on April 20, 2017, Mansour was asked to explain why the Palestinian Authority paid the family of the terrorist who murdered Taylor Force, an American who was stabbed to death while touring Israel on March 8, 2016. (The "Taylor Force Act", sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham and under consideration by the Senate, would prohibit U.S. funding of the Palestinian Authority until it stops paying the families of Palestinian terrorists).
Mansour responded as follows:
"Listen, this issue is, that it now is in circulation for discussions. If you look at the families of Palestinian martyrs, that the great number of them are killed by the Israeli forces. That will, for example, rob and scheme. In Al-Khalil, in Hebron, he goes to the mosque and murders 27 Palestinian worshipers and injured dozens of them, and the Palestinian Authority, as a responsible party, helped the families of those who are killed. Who is the terrorist in this case? And there are so many cases. Or the family of the Palestinian individual that was killed in cold blood by Israeli soldier in Hebron after he injured him, and we all saw on television that a bullet went through his head. And helping the family of that individual. Who is the killer and who is the terrorist? I am just telling you that this issue, you cannot cherry pick one case here or one case there, that there are, you know, a large number of Palestinians who are receiving compensation. They are victims of Israeli terrorism or killed by Israeli soldiers."
During the briefing, Mansour also praised Marwan Barghouti, a terrorist responsible for the death of 12 Israelis, as "a national hero."
The Islamic Republic of Iran arrested more than 30 men who are believed to be gay at a private party last week in the Esfahan province.
The prominent Canadian NGO Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR) first reported on the violent crackdown, saying the men were between the ages of 16 and 30. "IRQR received several reports in last few days and were able to confirm that police attacked guests and physically beat them. Police detained them all at the Basij (Revolutionary Guard Militia) Station and then transferred them to Esfahan's Dastgerd Prison. A few people managed to escape and we received reports that there were several heterosexual individuals among those arrested," the human rights NGO wrote in its website on Thursday.
Firing their weapons, the Iranian authorities, who raided the party, seized the men in the district of Bahadoran in the Esfahan region.
IRQR added, "After a few days, all the families were informed by Basij that their sons were arrested for sodomy. A special prosecutor has been assigned to their cases and they were charged with sodomy, drinking alcohol, and using psychedelic drugs. It was reported that prisoners will be sent to Esfahan's Medical Jurisprudence department for anal examination in order to provide evidence of homosexual acts to the court."
The Basij is a para-military force used to repress dissidents and played a key role in dismantling the Green movement protests in 2009 against a reportedly fraudulent presidential election. Iran's Islamic legal system prescribes the death penalty for gays.
Volker Beck, a leading human rights activist and gay MP from the German Green Party, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, "Not only the Iranian regime's [desire for Israel's annihilation], but also its persecution and policy of annihilation against homosexuals makes the Iranian regime an enemy of human rights. Such a country cannot be a partner of our community of values."
The IRQR wrote "This unfortunate event has created chaos among the LGBT community in Esfahan, since prisoners were forced to write down full names of all their LGBT friends and acquaintances. IRQR is deeply concerned about this situation since Iran has a well-documented history of persecuting homosexuals."
Stefan Schaden, a LGBT rights activist and spokesman for the European 'STOP THE BOMB' campaign, wrote to the Post by email, "It is outrageous that the European Union is cozying up to the Iranian regime for trade and ignores the deadly homophobia, the overall disastrous human rights situation, the latest execution and arrest waves, and the regime's promotion of antisemitism and support for terrorism. Iran's Islamist regime with [Hassan] Rouhani as President is anything but 'moderate."'
Schaden said, "While the Islamic State throws gays from rooftops, the Islamic Republic hangs them. Iran's regime forces homosexuals to flee the country, and the EU turns a blind eye - the EU is, however, required in their dealings with third countries to comply with binding guidelines laid down in the Union's 'LGBTI Toolkit' to combat state violence against LGBTI persons. The EU must clearly step up its efforts in this regard and consider more human rights sanctions against the Iranian regime." LGBTI refers to persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson slammed Iran's regime on Wednesday for its human rights violations. Iran's clerical regime executed a gay adolescent in July, 2016. Iran's UN diplomatic missions in New York and Geneva did not immediately respond to Post press queries.