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Resources updated between Monday, October 09, 2017 and Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 13, 2017

The UNESCO logo

"The State Department on Thursday announced America's withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. As with everything that President Trump does, the move provoked journalistic anger and agony. Prepare for years of sob stories about UNESCO heritage sites neglected and aspiring developing-world scientists unfunded, all due to Trumpian unilateralism.

Yet this was a sound and overdue step that will help advance peace and U.N. reform.

In its statement, the State Department cited 'continuing anti-Israel bias' at UNESCO, among other things. The Paris-based agency is far from the only U.N. outfit to single out the Jewish state for opprobrium. But UNESCO's anti-Israel stances have been egregious even by this global body's debased standards, especially since 2011. That was the year the Palestinian Authority sought and won admission to UNESCO as a full member-state. As Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told me, 'The Palestinians targeted UNESCO early as part of their Palestine-194 strategy' the PA effort to win recognition as a state in U.N. halls rather than through talks with Israel. 'UNESCO has played a role in this strategy, and it isn't done yet.'...

The Obama administration denounced the PA's admission, with then-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland calling it 'regrettable, premature' and harmful to 'our shared goal to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.' Washington cut off American dollars for UNESCO under a Bill Clinton-era law that prohibits the U.S. government from funding any U.N. agency that admits a non-state as a member. American funding, once accounting for more than one-fifth of UNESCO's budget, hasn't been restored since 2011. The agency has lost out on some $600 million as a result.

UNESCO only doubled down on its anti-Israel agitation in the years that followed, however, passing a raft of resolutions that denied the Jewish (and Christian) connection to Jerusalem and other holy sites in Israel...

It was this black record that impelled the Trump administration to withdraw from UNESCO. The decision, by the way, is not without precedent. President Carter withdrew the U.S. from the International Labor Organization for three years and didn't rejoin until the ILO took steps to reform itself. The Reagan administration in 1983 pulled the U.S. out of UNESCO over its 'hostility toward the basic institutions of a free society.' President Reagan was worried about a creepy UNESCO proposal to have the agency and its authoritarian members license and regulate foreign reporters. Washington returned to UNESCO in 2002, under George W. Bush.

By withdrawing from UNESCO (once more), the Trump administration is sending an important message to the U.N. mandarins: that America doesn't have infinite patience for international institutions that function as platforms for Jew-hatred. Long before Donald Trump came on the scene, that used to be a bipartisan American position."

Trump Made the Right Move on UNESCO Article

A sign for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

"In withdrawing US membership from UNESCO, President Trump sent a clear sign that the world body's flagrant anti-Israel bias will be met with punitive action, not just rhetorical broadsides.

It's a shame, given Washington's role in creating the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization after World War II. But even by the UN's notoriously corrupt standards, UNESCO's recent behavior has been especially hateful.

The agency has become part and parcel of the Palestinian campaign to erase Jewish connections to the historic land of Israel. UNESCO has even designated such sites as the Western Wall solely by their Muslim names.

As UN Ambassador Nikki Haley rightly said, such 'extreme politicization' (especially to rewrite history, rather than preserve it) 'has become a chronic embarrassment.'...

Just as outrageous as its efforts to eradicate Israel from world culture, UNESCO has retained Syria's government on its human rights committee - even after documented evidence that Bashar al-Assad's regime has committed genocidal war crimes against his own people...

Now Trump has taken strong action. We suspect it won't be the last while the UN continues to violate its own principles."

Exiting UNESCO was the right thing to do Document

October 12, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

"Israel will begin preparations to withdraw from the UN's cultural and education body now that the United States has made its decision to do the same, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.

'The prime minister instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare Israel's withdrawal from the organization alongside the United States,' Netanyahu's office said in a statement, hours after the US said it is quitting the organization, citing its 'anti-Israel bias' alongside financial considerations.

Netanyahu said he 'welcomes the decision by President [Donald] Trump to withdraw from UNESCO. This is a courageous and moral decision because UNESCO has become the theater of the absurd and because, instead of preserving history, it distorts it.'

The US withdrawal is to take effect on December 31, 2018...

[Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO] Shama-Hacohen said that in recent years UNESCO has become 'an absurd organization that has lost its way in favor of the political considerations of certain countries' and that his 'personal recommendation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to follow suit and immediately withdraw [from UNESCO].'

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said in a statement Thursday following the US announcement to withdraw that 'the purpose of UNESCO is a good one,' but 'unfortunately, its extreme politicization has become a chronic embarrassment.'

Haley cited UNESCO's July decision to declare the Old City of Hebron in the West Bank, the site of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, an endangered world heritage site, as 'the latest in a long line of foolish actions, which includes keeping Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on a UNESCO human rights committee even after his murderous crackdown on peaceful protestors.'

'US taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense,' she said...

Israel lost its voting rights at UNESCO in 2013, following its move to suspend dues to the organization over its decision to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011.

The US too lost its voting rights at the same time and has not paid some $80 million a year in dues since 2011.

The US previously withdrew from UNESCO in 1984 because Washington viewed it as mismanaged and used for political reasons, then rejoined it in 2003.

Israel this past year cited a UNESCO decision disputing Israel's claim to Jerusalem as a reason to further reduce its the amount it pays annually to the United Nations. In May, Netanyahu said Israel would cut another $1 million from its payments to the UN, bringing the total cuts since December 2016 to $9 million..."

Israel to prepare to "withdraw" from UNESCO alongside U.S. Article

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

"As President Donald Trump prepares to announce whether he'll certify Iran's compliance with the deal to curb its nuclear program, U.S. and European negotiators at the United Nations are on another collision course - this time over the Islamic Republic's human rights record.

The U.S. is pushing for tougher language condemning Iran for human rights violations in the draft of a UN resolution that's typically taken up every year, but allies -- including some in Europe -- are pushing back, just as they are in defending the nuclear accord that Trump has called 'the worst deal ever.'

While both sides want to criticize Iran on human rights, they disagree over how far to go and whether to give President Hassan Rouhani some credit, according to notes on the draft shared with Bloomberg News...

The world 'must also continue to hold Iran responsible for its missile launches, support for terrorism, disregard for human rights, and violations of UN Security Council resolutions,' Haley said in August after Rouhani threatened to abandon the nuclear deal if Iran faced more sanctions.

European allies, including the U.K. and Germany, have stood behind the nuclear accord, saying inspections by the IAEA show Iran is abiding by it. Behind the scenes, some diplomats are trying to find a way to 'give Trump a win' by endorsing some of his criticism of Iran while containing any threat to scuttle the agreement, according to a diplomat from a Security Council nation who asked not to be identified describing internal discussions.

In the UN discussions over the human-rights resolution, U.S. allies don't want to undercut Rouhani, who they see as a relative moderate besieged by hard-liners in Tehran. But they don't want to be seen as defending Iran's human rights record...

Critics of Rouhani, including the U.S., say he hasn't delivered on promises of greater respect for civil and political rights since his May re-election. Last year, Iran conducted at least 567 executions, many for drug-related offenses, according to Amnesty International. An additional 247 people were executed in the first six months of 2017, according to a UN report.

The nuclear deal has had little positive impact on human rights in the country, said Shirin Ebadi, the exiled Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate...

The resolution faces a committee vote next month before going to the General Assembly in December. Last year, 85 countries voted to condemn Iran's human rights violations while 35 countries, including Russia and Syria, voted against doing so. An additional 63 countries abstained."

Europeans seeking at UN to water down criticism of Iran's rights record. For EU, business above all. Article

October 11, 2017

A sign for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

"The United States plans to formally withdraw from UNESCO, the U.N.'s Paris-based cultural, scientific and educational organization, to save money and protest what it views as the organization's anti-Israel bias...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision several weeks ago, and told French President Emmanuel Macron Washington was considering leaving during a meeting with President Donald Trump in late September on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Macron was seeking Trump's support for a French candidate seeking the top job at UNESCO.

The State Department wanted to delay its departure until after UNESCO selects a new director general this week. The two front runners are the former French culture minister, Audrey Azoulay, and a Qatari diplomat, Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari. China's nominee and early frontrunner, Qian Tang, has seen his candidacy crater...

The Reagan Administration decided to withdraw from the organization in 1984, at the height of the Cold War, citing corruption and what it considered an ideological tilt towards the Soviet Union against the West. President George W. Bush rejoined the organization in 2002, claiming it had gotten its books an order and expunged some of its most virulent anti-Western and anti-Israel biases...

But six years ago, the United States cut off more than $80 million a year, about 22 percent of its entire budget for UNESCO, in reprisal for its acceptance of Palestine as a member. The Obama administration said it had to cut funds because a 1990s-era law prohibits U.S. funding for any U.N. agencies recognizing Palestine as a state.

Despite the funding cut, the United States remains a member of UNESCO, and even has a vote on the executive board, which selects the new director general. But the United States has and it continues to be charged tens of millions in dues each year and has lost its voting rights in UNESCO's principal decision-making body, which is known as the General Conference...

As a result of U.S. funding cuts, U.S. arrears have been swelling each year, surpassing $500 million that's owed to UNESCO. Tillerson wants to stop the bleeding.

But the fundamental strain is over UNESCO's approach to Israel. Last year, Israel recalled its ambassador to UNESCO in protest after Arab governments in the organization secured support for a resolution denouncing Israel's policies regarding religious sites in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

And in July, UNESCO declared the old city in Hebron, a West Bank town that includes the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a Palestinian World Heritage Site, a move Israel claims negates Judaism's links to the biblical town."

Six years after cutting funding, losing voting rights, U.S. withdraws completely from UNESCO Article

Imagery of Iranian nuclear facilities

"President Donald Trump is expected this week to 'decertify' the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known simply as the Iran deal, declaring that the agreement reached in 2015 by the U.S. and five other international powers is not in America's national interest. The matter will then be tossed back to Congress, which will have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose hefty pre-2015 sanctions.

While the President's likely move has generated wide condemnation from foreign policy leaders - who reiterate that the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has maintained Iran is in compliance - a new 52-page investigative report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), entitled: 'Iran's Nuclear Core: Uninspected Military Sites,' obtained exclusively by Fox News and slated for release Wednesday, asserts that the country's nuclear weapons program has far from halted.

'It has been known for years that Iran has two nuclear programs - one is civilian and the other, the military, has the goal of giving Iran its first nuclear bomb,' Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington office of the NCRI, also referred to as the Iranian Resistance, and considered the primary opposition coalition to the clerical administration of Iran, told Fox News. 'The civilian sector of the nuclear program has systematically provided a plausible logistical cover for the military sector, and acts as a conduit for it. The military aspect of the program has been and remains at the heart of Iran's nuclear activities.'..."

Iran's secret sites linked to nuclear weapons development revealed Article

Former ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo

"The United Nations and its "International Criminal Court" (ICC) just suffered another massive blow - possibly a fatal one - to whatever credibility they may have had left. In explosive leaked documents making headlines around the world, former ICC 'chief prosecutor' Luis Moreno Ocampo (shown) was exposed using dubious offshore accounts to engage in what have been widely described as shady dealings. Among his big-spending "clients," meanwhile, are extremely shady characters that, experts say, could someday be hauled before the very UN "court" that Ocampo used to work for...

Ocampo's shady schemes, being exposed in leading media outlets around the world, may accelerate the ICC's ongoing implosion. And many of the former ICC chief prosecutor's most controversial acts - ordering the arrest of a duly elected Christian president, for example, as UN-backed jihadists slaughtered Christians with machetes to install a totalitarian-minded Muslim central banker as leader - have not even been brought up amid the latest brouhaha...

Among the recent scandals that have received the most attention thus far, Ocampo reportedly received huge sums of money from a mega-wealthy Libyan oil and media baron, Hassan Tatanaki, known for his close ties to a particular armed faction in that nation's brutal ongoing civil war. The militia he supports, led by former Gadhafi General Khalifa Haftar (sometimes written Hifter) has reportedly perpetrated ghastly war crimes and atrocities in its bid to seize control over Libya and its wealth. Among the crimes the military leader has been accused of: ordering extrajudicial killings, including murdering prisoners. Speaking on Tatanaki's own TV stations, some of Haftar's top officers have called for 'slaughtering' everyone who opposed them. Multiple allegations of war crimes have been made against the Tatanaki-backed militia leader in media outlets all over the world. Human rights groups have also documented some of the crimes.

All of that had many calling for Haftar and his associates to be arrested and prosecuted. Ocampo, though, offered costly advice on how to protect his client - who agreed to pay $1 million per year in addition to $5,000 per day for Ocampo's 'services' - from potential prosecution. As a result, Ocampo is being labeled a mercenary, a hypocrite, and worse by critics. 'He told me he was trying to fix Libya,' Ocampo claimed in trying to justify his lucrative deal with Tatanaki. 'What he was proposing to me was absolutely not just legal, it was positive." Ocampo said it was 'obvious' that Hafter and his men, as well as 'every side,' were committing crimes. So for a million dollars a year plus $5,000 daily, Ocampo claims he told Tatanaki 'be careful not to be involved in financing any crimes.'..."

Leaks Expose Shady Deals of Chief Prosecutor for UN "Court" Article

The Iranian military complex at Parchin

(Mis)Reading the IAEA reports on Iran's nuclear program Article

October 10, 2017

Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, the Qatari candidate for UNESCO director-general

Ex-Qatari Minister, Who Wrote Preface to Antisemitic Book, Among Leading Candidates for UNESCO Chief Article

Iranian members of the paramilitary Basij force march in a military parade, just outside Tehran, Iran, September 22, 2017

Iran attempted to buy nuclear technology illegally 32 times, German agency says Article

October 9, 2017

Egyptian candidate to head UNESCO, Moushira Khattab

Israel bemoans emerging Arab victory in UNESCO leadership vote Article

Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen, November 10, 2016

Arab States, Palestinian Authority Backtrack on UNESCO Resolutions Criticizing Israel Article

Police at the crime scene in Kafr Qassem where Reuven Schmerling was found murdered, October 4, 2017

Shin Bet: Murder of Jewish man in Arab city was terrorism, 2 arrested Document

President Donald Trump with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (File photo)

Why is President Trump Letting Palestinians Off the Hook for Violating U.S. Law? Article

A woman who was used as human shields by the Islamic State holds a new born baby after fleeing from the center of Raqqa, Syria, October 6, 2017

Trapped in Syria's Raqqa, civilians become human shields for Islamic State Document

The Hypercacher market in France where a previous antisemitic attack occurred

A 10-year-old girl was assaulted by her classmates and the home of a family was daubed with racist graffiti in two Paris-area incidents deemed antisemitic.

The alleged assault was reported to France's ministry of education by the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism, or BNVCA, the watchdog group wrote in a statement on its website Tuesday. Separately, the same group reported that unidentified individuals on Wednesday wrote antisemitic slogans on the side of a home belonging to Jewish family in the eastern suburb of Noisy le Grand.

The mother of the girl who allegedly was assaulted, identified by BNVCA only as Ness, complained to police recently that a group of classmates of her daughter in the public school which she attends in Paris's 18th district beat her on multiple occasions, often occurring day after day, only because she is Jewish. After one beating, Ness was brought to hospital with a visible contusion to her stomach and rib cage, the report said, requiring 10 days of recovery.

The child will be transferred to a different school, BNVCA wrote.

According to Francis Kalifat, the president of the CRIF federation of Jewish communities of France, antisemitic harassment has made public schools unsafe for Jews, leading to a sharp drop in the number of Jews attending them. In the past, a third of Jewish parents enrolled their children to public schools but now "no one does it," he told JTA last year.

In the incident involving antisemitic graffiti, BNVCA said it was part of a campaign of intimidation against the family that owns the building targeted.

This time, they wrote "screw the shitty Jews, death to Jews, long live Palestine." In recent years, the same family found in their mailbox an envelope featuring the words "Allah hu akbar" Arabic for Allah is the greatest - with 9-milimeter bullets inside. They later received another envelope with a bullet for an AK-47 assault rifle and the words: "The next one is for you."

The family is afraid to live in their home, wrote BNVCA, which complained to police about the incidents committed against the family and called on authorities to apprehend the culprits.

BNVCA said the incidents were expressions of what scholars of antisemitism are calling "new antisemitism" - assaults in which culprits cite Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians to justify violence or hostility toward individual Jews.

The organization accused some politicians in France of encouraging this phenomenon, including by agreeing to host next week at the Elysee presidential palace activists devoted to helping Hassan Hamouri, a terrorist for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist group. Hamouri was arrested by Israel in 2005 and imprisoned following his conviction of planning to assassinate the late Israeli rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Hamouri, who is a French citizen, was released in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, whom Hamas abducted in 2006. But he was arrested again, allegedly for violating the terms of his release by continuing to plan terrorist activities. Activists fighting for his release are planning a fundraiser in France for him on Oct. 9, after their planned meeting with an official at the Elysee.

French Girl Hospitalized Following Classmates' Antisemitic Attack Document