On November 24, 2008 the United Nations held its annual Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This was the 60th anniversary of the UN General Assembly resolution which partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state - a resolution rejected across the Arab world. At UN Headquarters the day was marked by speeches from UN leaders in a room adorned with just two flags, the UN flag and a Palestinian flag. The flag of the UN member state of Israel was nowhere to be seen.
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Speakers included the President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua. He accused Israel of apartheid, and in an unprecedented abuse of the office of the GA President, he called for "a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions" against a UN member state. A Catholic priest and former official of the World Council of Churches, Brockmann also used a line reminiscent of a classic antisemitic slur, claiming our Palestinian "brothers and sisters are being crucified" by Israel.
Video of Brockmann statement
Text of Brockmann statement
Brockmann's offensive remarks are completely at odds with the facts. One-fifth of Israel's population is Arab with more democratic rights than in any Arab state. Arab states have been essentially rendered Judenrein since the creation of Israel. UN resolutions denounce Jews living in Arab-claimed territory as "Judaization," but make no mention of their clear goal of "apartheid Palestine.""
In addition, the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People invited only one representative from "civil society" to speak. . Rev. Edwin Makue, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches charged Israel with the crime of apartheid: "Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid State...[T]he Campaign to End the Occupation is calling for divestment..."
Text of Makue statement
The published messages of support
The rampant hatred of Israel - given full rein on Palestinian Solidarity Day - also took many other forms. The UN published "Messages Received on the Occasion of the International Day of Solidarity With The Palestinian People" from states. Here are some examples, including the publication of a denial of the Holocaust and a call for "a final solution" to Israeli occupation.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Secretary of the General People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya:
Felipe Pérez Roque, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, speaking Movement of Non-Aligned Countries; message delivered by Ileana B. Núñez Mordoche, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations:
Michel Suleiman, President of Lebanon:
The Film Screened
UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People did not end there. The UN had a public screening on UN premises of one film - a film carrying the message that Zionists are Nazi equivalents. It was entitled "La Terre Parle Arabe," or "The Land Speaks Arabic."
Comments made in the film include:
A Photo Exhibit
A photo exhibit was mounted in the public entrance to the United Nations, through which hundreds of school children and tourists pass every day. The title of the exhibit was "The Palestinians: 60 years of struggle and enduring hope". The "sixty years" of struggle puts a lie to the alleged root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict as an "occupation" that began with the 1967 war. The real complaint is the alleged wrong of the creation of the State of Israel itself. The "struggle" which is glorified actually consists of a series of deadly wars launched by Arabs seeking to annihilate Israel, and the ongoing "struggle" of Arab terrorists dedicated to the same end.
The exhibit was launched with an opening ceremony which featured a UN secretariat official as well as diplomats: Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Paul Badji, Ambassador of Senegal and Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and Riyad al-Malki, the 'Minister of Foreign Affairs' of the Palestinian Authority. Akasaka said "the Palestinian people still remain denied their unalienable right." Al-Malki told the crowd "the pictures represent our efforts....[W]hat is important for you is to be able to witness what's happening at the scene with your eyes..."
The photos indeed represent Palestinian and Arab efforts - to destroy the Jewish state. The UN-fostered narrative goes like this: instead of peaceful coexistence, Palestinian children are rightly encouraged to think that the land upon which the Jewish state sits belongs to them, that they should spend their lives thirsting to return to it, and thereby terminate any right to Jewish self-determination. (In 2008 Israel had approximately 5.5 million Jews and 1.2 million Muslims; calls for the "return" of what the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA said at that time were 4.6 Palestinian refugees, would end Jewish statehood.) The end of a Jewish state is justified, the UN-driven story line continues, by representing Israelis as children-hating villains. The exhibit casts Israeli Jews as people who erect evil barriers for no purpose other than to deny Palestinian children and their parents - who simply fly kites, throw snowballs, make tea and plant olive trees - their happiness.
Here is a sampling of the exhibit.
i. The message: the right of return
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ii. The message: the terrible wall erected by the Jews to harm childrenThe security fence erected by Israel as a non-violent measure to keep terrorists from blowing up Israeli children is depicted here as an ominous backdrop to innocent children. Before construction of the security fence, between 2000-2003 there were 73 major terrorist attacks, killing 293 Israelis and wounding 1,950. After construction of the fence, from 2003-2006, there were 12 such attacks, killing 64 Israelis and wounding 445. (see for example: Saving Lives: Israel's anti-terrorist fence - Answers to Questions and Israel's Security Fence). As opposed to celebrating the preservation of Jewish life that this fence has afforded - including the lives of Jewish children deliberately targeted by terrorists - the UN depicts it as an obstacle to peace and a "threat"to Palestinian children.
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iii. The message: Palestinian innocence versus Israeli villains
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iv. The catastrophe of the creation of Israel - the "naqba" - is analogous to the Holocaust
One of the plaques contains the words of one of the photographers responsible for the exhibit's content, Anne Paq.
The General Assembly continues the Palestinian Solidarity Day theme
Later in the day on November 24, 2008, the General Assembly took up the "Question of Palestine" and the "Situation in the Middle East." During the discussion the President of the UN General Assembly launched an unprecedented attack on a UN member state from the Assembly podium. Going beyond even existing UN resolutions, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, a former Sandinista foreign minister, said Israel was guilty of apartheid and called for a boycott, divestment and sanctions against it - all translated into six languages and webcast around the world. In his words:
Brockmann then made the call in effect for the political destruction of Israel in the same vein as apartheid South Africa.
Video of Brockmann:
Text of Brockmann:
The General Assembly adopts the resolutions put forward by the CEIRPP committee
Following the days of hate speech, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People transmitted four draft resolutions to the General Assembly (under the agenda item "The Question of Palestine.") The drafts were all adopted by the General Assembly on November 26, 2008. They are:
Among other things, this Resolution calls for "...the Committee to continue to extend its cooperation and support to Palestinian and other civil society organizations and to continue to involve additional civil society organizations in its work in order to mobilize international solidarity and support for the Palestinian people." The civil society organizations to which this resolutions refers include those that have been accredited to the UN through the Committee. The list of Palestinian accredited NGOs includes Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition which for example, describes known terrorist Abdul Aziz Ali Rantisi as a pediatrician who was the victim of assassination by the Israelis, without mention of his record of directing dozens of terrorist attacks against Jews. The list also includes the group Friends of Al-Aqsa which accuses Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing. These are but two of hundreds if not thousands of examples of civil society organizations working to delegitimize the existence of Israel. This Resolution confirms that this will continue for yet another year.
This Resolution mandates the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat with the "organization of international meetings and conferences in various regions with participation of all sectors of the international community; liaison and cooperation with civil society; further development and expansion of the documents collection of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine; preparation and widest possible dissemination of publications and information materials on various aspects of the question of Palestine; and conduct of the annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority." The holding of international meetings focused on the "Question of Palestine" has featured calls for a one-state solution and one-sided panels with so-called experts conveying the UN-Arab narrative that the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the occupation of Palestinian land. This resolution guarantees that the story of Palestinian victimhood travels beyond UN headquarters to cities around the world, spreading outrage against the Jewish state and mobilizing international civil society to act on anti-Israel agenda.
This resolution mandates the Special Information Program on Palestine "To organize international, regional and national seminars or encounters for journalists, aiming in particular at sensitizing public opinion to the question of Palestine..." All of the one-sided UN reports, resolutions, papers are handed over to journalists at international seminars furthering the spread of anti-semitism via the UN - and the message that Israel is a land-hungry aggressor seeking to harm innocent Palestinian victims.
The resolution does nothing to further peace, but instead condemns Israel repeatedly and worries about Palestinian freedom of movement that is apparently being limited in a vacuum. Among other things, the resolution expresses concern for "the large number of deaths and injuries, mostly among Palestinian civilians, the acts of violence and brutality committed against Palestinian civilians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, the widespread destruction of public and private Palestinian property and infrastructure, the internal displacement of civilians and the serious deterioration of the socio-economic and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people..." It makes no mention of "Palestinian terrorism."