News Digest — 6/14/22
22 Countries Slam UN Human Rights Council For Anti-Israel Bias
The U.S. and 21 other countries denounced the Human Rights Council’s bias against Israel, following the release of an 18-page report which blamed the Jewish state for perpetuating the Mideast conflict.
The report was prepared by a Commission of Inquiry (COI) formed last year in the aftermath of Operation Guardian of the Walls. It accused Israel of “persistent discrimination against Palestinians.”
“We believe the nature of the COI established last May is further demonstration of long-standing, disproportionate attention given to Israel in the council and must stop,” said U.S. Ambassador Michele Taylor, reading a statement to the session.
“We continue to believe that this long-standing disproportionate scrutiny should end, and that the Council should address all human rights concerns, regardless of country, in an even-handed manner,” Taylor added. Regrettably, we are concerned that the Commission of Inquiry will further contribute to the polarization of a situation about which so many of us are concerned.”
Besides being signed by the U.S. and Israel, the statement was also signed by Austria, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia, Eswatini, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, North Macedonia, Holland, Palau, Togo, and the United Kingdom.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid thanked all the countries that signed the statement.
The Foreign Ministry dismissed the UNHRC report as “nothing more than a waste of money and effort of the United Nations’ systems, part and parcel of the witch hunt being carried out by the Human Rights Council against Israel.”
Ahead of the Council’s session, UN Watch hosted Christian pro-Israel activist and Johannesburg native Olga Meshoe Washington, who debunked accusations of Israeli “apartheid” against the Palestinians.
“My people’s history and experience is being used as an antisemitic tool to politically, morally and with incredible pretzel-like twisting and legal gymnastics, legally delegitimize Israel with the hope of criminalizing her,” said Washington.
Also appearing at the UN Watch event was Col. Richard Kemp former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, and very pro-Israel.
“It’s a little like Groundhog Day: Hamas triggers a war, and the UN convenes a commission to condemn Israel for the war,” Kemp said.
Lapid: If You Have A Flight To Istanbul, Cancel It
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called on Israelis planning to fly to Istanbul to cancel their trips in light of the uncovered Iranian plot to attack Israeli citizens in Turkey.
“Following the events of recent weeks in Turkey and after a series of attempts by Iran to commit terrorist attacks against Israelis who went on vacation in Istanbul, we call on Israelis not to fly there. If you do not have a vital need, do not fly to Turkey. If you are already in Istanbul, return to Israel as soon as possible,” Lapid said at the weekly Yesh Atid faction meeting Monday (13th).
He said, “Israel’s security organizations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Prime Minister’s Office, have all participated in recent weeks in a tremendous effort that saved the lives of Israelis. Some of them have returned to Israel and walk among us without knowing that their lives were saved.”
“These terrorist incidents are against Israelis who have gone on vacation. They are deliberately targeting Israeli citizens to kidnap or murder them. It can happen to anyone. It is a real and immediate danger. There is no vacation worth your life and the lives of your loved ones. Listen to the instructions that we issue – we update the guidelines all the time according to the assessment of the situation,” he added.
“I would like to thank the Turkish government for the effort they are making to protect the lives of Israeli citizens. Tourism to Turkey is important to both countries, but they also understand that there are risks that must not be taken.”
“I also want to convey a message to the Iranians. Whoever harms Israelis will not be immune from retaliation. Israel’s long arm will reach you no matter where you are.”
“We hope and believe that this warning will not be long-term. This is the tourism season, and we will make every effort to bring a security calm in a short time that will allow Israelis to return to Turkey and enjoy everything it has to offer. Until then, the warning remains and I call on anyone who has planned a flight to Turkey to find other destinations,” Lapid concluded.
Facing Mounting Pressure, Islamic Jihad Threatens Escalation
The IDF’s increased operational activity across Judea and Samaria is agitating the Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Palestinian sources told Israel Hayom.
Military raids, especially in Jenin, a known Islamic Jihad stronghold, are perceived by the terrorist group as “an attempt to undermine the power and vitality of the organization, which cannot be tolerated.”
According to one source, the PIJ believes IDF operations as “an Israeli attempt to slowly erode the group’s hold on the West Bank, and they take that very seriously. Add to that the fact that two PIJ operatives were killed in clashes with IDF troops near Jenin in recent days, there is now a drive to exact revenge.
An escalation may also be driven by the need to save face and assert dominance over Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip, the source explained.
“People on the street are criticizing the Gaza factions because they did nothing over the Israeli Flag March. They are accusing Hamas and Islamic Jihad of agreeing to contain events to get more money. For the PIJ, to be attacked like that and be spoken of as if they are traitors who had abandoned the Palestinian resistance – it’s humiliating. They won’t tolerate it,” he added.
Another issue driving the desire of the PIJ to provoke escalation is the recent strike on Damascus International Airport, which foreign media reports have attributed to Israel.
“Damascus International Airport is a symbol. The strike there is the talk of the day all over the Arab world. This wasn’t a strike against some remote site – there’s a lot of anger about that.” the source said.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah issued a statement on Sunday evening (12th) saying that the terror group, “will not stand for this continued humiliation. The daily violations of the enemy in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa, the daily killings of Palestinians in West Bank cities, the demolition of houses, infringements against prisoners, and disregard for hunger strikes by administrative detainees, all require all national and Islamic forces – as well as the Palestinian people, wherever they are – to take serious action.”
Israel’s E1 Building Plan: The Most Strategic, Consensual – And Frozen – Project – Nadav Shragai
→ The plan to link the city of Maale Adumim (pop. 40,000) to Jerusalem by building housing units in the E1 area, a proposal backed by nine Israeli prime ministers, has been frozen for 28 years because of U.S. and European opposition. The E1 plan covers an area of 12 square kilometers of state land. In April 1994, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin gave the mayor of Maale Adumim the documents for the annexation of E1 to his town.
→ The central claim of the plan’s opponents is that building E1 will obstruct Palestinian continuity of building and traffic between Ramallah and Bethlehem, from north to south. Yet Israel wants to preserve continuity from west to east, between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim, leading to the Dead Sea and the Jordan border.
→ There has been large-scale illegal Palestinian building between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem along the Jerusalem-Jericho road and in the E1 zone itself for many years. This illegal activity – conducted in Area C under Israeli civil and security control – has already significantly narrowed the corridor through which the main traffic artery runs between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim.
→ The international community has worked to thwart measures to stop the illegal building in the area. Often, the Europeans themselves are involved in illegal construction activity in Area C.
→ Israel is offering the Palestinians a solution to maintain transportation continuity between the northern and southern West Bank by the use of a road to link these areas, providing the Palestinians free movement from the Ramallah area to the Bethlehem area.
→ Israel’s need for strategic depth, as an aspect of defensible borders, is now recognized by most Israeli security and military professionals. In case of the reemergence of an eastern front that threatens Israel, the area between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem – and further eastward toward the Dead Sea – is essential for Israel’s strategic depth.
The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center, is a veteran Israeli journalist.
‘Shoot A Jew In The Head’ Graffiti Puts Toronto Jewish Students On Edge
Antisemitic graffiti urging the murder of Jews found on a wall near a major university in Toronto last week is putting Jewish students on edge, some of whom say that the vandalism is far from an isolated incident.
A picture of the graffiti circulating on social media depicted a head, adorned with Jewish religious symbols, including a yarmulke, sidelocks, and a Star of David in the crosshairs of a rifle.
“Shoot a Jew in the head,” was scrawled next to the drawing, which was in walking distance from York University.
Robert Leitner, a Jewish student who attends the university, told Global News that the graffiti left him rattled.
“Horrified, scared, just so many emotions – anger, sadness,” said Leitner. “I live less than a minute’s walk from here, and knowing that something so hateful and so maniacal and close to my house where I live and sleep – it’s frightening.”
Leitner informed his friend Garrett Ryan, who is also Jewish, and both reached out to Jewish human rights group B’nai Brith Canada for help, which in turn approached York University.
The university released a statement condemning the “hateful antisemitic act,” but Ryan and Leitner told Global News that the institution has repeatedly looked the other way when it comes to anti-Jewish rhetoric on campus.
“York U has its issues with antisemitism, on campus and around campus,” Leitner said.
“There are things that are within York – posters, paintings, artwork that go up that are really just detrimental to the Jewish community.”
“I would like to see more of a concern,” he added. “It seems like for the last couple of years, it’s been pushed under the rug.”
In 2019, students at an anti-Israeli rally on campus chanted, “Jews back to the ovens,” a Holocaust reference.
In 2016, York’s student newspaper, Excalibur, expressed sympathy and concern for a university lab technician who was fired for Facebook posts calling Zionists “servants of the devil who are planning to perpetuate a Holocaust” on the world.
The paper argued that the lab tech’s firing “raised questions about free speech,” despite the fact that the university maintains a clear policy that employees can be terminated for promoting hateful statements towards ethnic groups and racial incitement on their social media accounts.