News Digest — 9/23/21

Israeli Ambassador Calls UN’s Durban Event ‘Rotten,’ Asks World ‘To Share The Truth’

A day after the General Debate at the 76th UN General Assembly began, the international body turned the spotlight on the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the controversial UN World Conference Against Racism in Durham, South Africa, which was dominated by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery.

More than 30 countries boycotted Wednesday’s (22nd) commemoration, according to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which urged more countries to join them “in continuing to fight racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism.”

The original Durban Conference in 2001 singled Israel out as racist with draft resolutions saying Zionism is a form of racism.  The legacy left by the first Durban Conference, was that Israel was labeled an “apartheid state,” and, according to many of the speakers, Zionism was linked to racism in the lexicon of left-wing groups, which was also evident in the follow-up conferences in 2009 and 2011.

The International Legal Forum (ILF) said in a letter to UN ambassadors and foreign ministers that the recurring event has “descended into an infamous hotbed of unbridled Jew-hatred, anti-Semitism and vilification of the State of Israel.”

Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gilad Erdan on Wednesday (22nd) noted that the boycott of the event by so many UN member states was a major accomplishment for the Jewish state.  “The Durban conference was rotten to its core and therefore any event that commemorates it, is the fruit of the poisonous tree,” he said.  “I am glad that many more countries have realized this, and I will continue to battle in this fight until the UN realizes that the Durban stain has to be erased.”

“We doubled the number of countries that are boycotting the hate conference!” Erdan wrote on Facebook, adding that “31 countries are boycotting the shameful event … more than twice the number of countries that boycotted the Third Durban Conference in 2011.”

Erdan said that in recent months, “I’ve talked to dozens of ambassadors, leaders and activists, and harnessed the Jewish organizations for the struggle, and worked in collaboration with the US” to get this boycott in motion, and asked people to “share the truth so that the whole world will hear.”



Iran’s President Continues To Fool International Community, Israel Warns

Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi “continues to fool the world,” Israel warned, calling on the international community to condemn the Iranian regime following Raisi’s address at the United Nations.

Raisi addressed the 76th Session of the UN’s General Assembly on Tuesday (21st) via a recorded message and stated that Iran’s policy is “to preserve stability, and territorial integrity of all regional countries.”

“Any violation of the rights of nations will, more than anything, endanger global peace and security,” the Iranian president said.

In response, the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated that “Iran’s ayatollah regime constitutes a clear and immediate threat to the Middle East and world peace.”

“The new government in Iran, headed by the ‘Butcher of Tehran’ Raisi, and consisting largely of ministers suspected of terrorism and on global-sanction-lists, is the extremist face of a regime that has brought harm to Iranian citizens for over forty years, and which encourages and finances terrorism, which is destabilizing the entire Middle East,” Israeli  Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lior Haiat said in a statement.

Raisi has been denounced by the international community for his direct role in the extrajudicial executions of over 30,000 people.  He is designated by the US Treasury for these crimes.

“Raisi continues to fool the international community in a speech filled with lies and cynicism,” Israel warned, calling on the international community to “condemn the Iranian regime and prevent any possibility of nuclear capabilities and weapons falling into the hands of these extremists.”



Hebron Turning Into Major Boiling Point For Opposition To PA

The Palestinian Authority is desperately trying to stave off an open internal conflict that could evolve into a civil war.  One place that could be the flashpoint for any internal violence is Hebron, where the locals are complaining about what they say is the incompetence and neglect of their city on the part of a corrupt PA leadership.

According to a Palestinian source, the Egyptians are also aware of the attacks on PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and his political difficulties at home.  Because of this, they recently told Muhammad Dahlan, Abbas’ opponent for the leadership of Fatah, not to hold a meeting in Egypt, and so Dahlan’s men were forced to meet in Abu Dhabi.

Two days ago, Fatah secretary general in the Hebron district, Imad Harouat, threatened to close the city and placed armed men at checkpoints that would prevent Palestinian Authority (PA) personnel from entering Hebron.  This was done, he claimed, due to discrimination and neglect on the part of the PA against the city.

Hebron has long-complained that the PA invests its resources mainly in the ruling districts of Ramallah and Nablus.  The people in Hebron say that the PA is guilty of severe neglect in all areas of government: economic, civil, and security.  Residents and officials in the city claim that the PA is responsible for the security chaos that is currently raging in the city, including constant shootings by armed gangs.

A Fatah source said that Harouat himself is responsible for the deteriorating situation in the city and that the Palestinian Authority is now paying the price for the “Fatah riots.”

Abd al-Habr Rith, one of Hebron’s tribal chiefs, said in defiance of the Palestinian Authority, “if the PA is unable to stop the violence, even though other mayors have addressed the issue many times, then it must let Hebron residents find alternative ways to govern and calm the city.”

Against the background of the growing unrest in Hebron, a spokesman for the Palestinian government said that its next meeting will take place in the city according to the directive of Abbas.  

“The Palestinian government is expected to hear city representatives and their demands on a wide range of issues, as well as to work to improve water and electricity and health infrastructure, and increase the presence of security mechanisms,” the spokesman stated.



Poll: Arabs See Terrorists Who Escaped Prison As ‘Inspiring’

A survey by he Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research led by Khalil Shikaki showed that no less than 87% of Palestinian Authority (PA) residents are inspired by the escape of six terrorists from the Gilboa Prison on September 6.

Those same residents also said that the terrorists’ escape has encouraged them to take an active part in the fight against Israel.

The survey included hundreds of Arabs from both the Palestinian Authority and Gaza.

Seventy-one percent of respondents said that in their opinion, the Hamas terror group won May’s Operation Guardian of the Walls, while 63% said Hamas achieved its goals when it attacked Israel with rockets, since Israel paused the eviction of the Arab squatters in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.

However, the poll also showed that 78% would like to see PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas resign his position – 10% more than in the last poll.



Survey: US Jewish Students Feel Unsafe On Campus, Half Hide Identity

A new survey has found an alarming level of anti-Semitism experienced by Jewish students on college campuses, with students who claim a strong sense of Jewish identity and connection to Israel feeling unsafe and the need to actively hide their identity. 

The survey, which polled 1,027 members of the predominately Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) and the leading Jewish sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi), found that nearly 70% of the students surveyed personally experienced or were familiar with an anti-Semitic attack in the past 120 days, with more than 65% of these students feeling unsafe on campus and one-in-10 fearing physical attack.  Furthermore, 50% of students said they have felt the need to hide their Jewish identity.

The poll was conducted between April 14-20 by the Cohen Research Group in conjunction with Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.  It was the first to specifically examine rates of anti-Semitism among college students who claim a strong sense of Jewish identity, with more than 60% of the students surveyed belonging to Hillel and nearly half to Chabad on Campus, and more than 80% supportive of Israel and 60% having visited the Jewish state.

Kenneth L. Marcus, former assistant US secretary of education for civil rights, and founder and chairman of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, said the findings ring some “consequential alarms” and more “closely resemble previous dark periods in our history, not the 21st century in the US.”

The survey findings reveal that students for whom being Jewish is a central or important aspect of their identity are feeling increasingly unsafe to visibly express their Judaism for fear of harassment, social bullying and other anti-Semitic attacks,” he said.

Similarly, Jim Fleischer, CEO of AEPi, called the results “staggering and alarming.”

He said more needs to be done not only to “push back against the rise of anti-Semitism on campuses but to make sure that every Jewish student who wants to express their pride in their heritage or religion can do so without fear of violence or harassment.”

“In 2021, Jewish undergraduates should not have to hide their identity,” said Sharon Rapheal, national president of AEPhi.  “We are in a time when college students are leading the way in inclusion, so Jewish students must be included in that activism”