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PALESTINIANS - HUMAN RIGHTS
Editors Note This topic illustrates what is happening at the UN where the Palestinians use a biased vote to highlight their claims against Israel.
US threatens to quit UNHRC as Nikki Haley says it 'lacks credibility needed to be a true advocate for human rights'; PA commends motions as rejection of 'arrogance and occupation'
Times of Israel TOI staff and AFP 24 March 2018
Israel on Saturday slammed the UN Human Rights Council as a “sham” after it passed five new anti-Israel resolutions, saying the body was being used by “bloodthirsty dictatorships” to mask their own abuses.
The council “is a sham, a mockery of the noble purposes it pretends to represent,” tweeted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshon.
“It is an exclusively anti #Israel platform, manipulated by bloodthirsty dictatorships hiding their own massive human rights violations by attacking Israel,” he wrote.
Nachshon’s comments come after the United States warned Friday that it was losing patience and again threatened to quit the council after the Geneva-based body adopted five resolutions condemning Israel, one of which called on Israel to relinquish the Golan Heights strategic ridge to war-torn Syria.
Israeli Prime Minister said in a tweet Saturday night that the motions were “More resolutions detached from reality by the circus of the absurd known as the Human Rights Council.” He called to change its name to “The Council for Resolutions Against the Only Democracy in the Middle East.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a tweet that Israel “has no business being in the UN’s Human Rights Council.” He said its “presence there gives legitimacy to…anti-Semitic resolutions, and the farce must end.”
The United States and Australia voted against all five resolutions.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Emanuel Nachshon, September 1, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement that the council was “grossly biased against Israel,” noting that it had adopted only three resolutions separately targeting North Korea, Iran, and Syria.
“When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran, and Syria, it is the council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name,” said Haley.
“Our patience is not unlimited. Today’s actions make clear that the organization lacks the credibility needed to be a true advocate for human rights,” she said.
Haley has over the past year repeatedly warned that the United States was ready to walk away from the 47-member body established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights worldwide.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at the Security Council on March 14, 2018, at UN headquarters in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, welcomed the new resolutions. Ramallah spokesperson Yusuf al-Mahmoud commended nations who voted in favor of the measures “for their ability to stand in the face of injustice, arrogance and occupation and to reject the language of threats and coercion.”
He said the resolutions “reflect an international position in favor of a just and fitting solution to the conflict.”
The five resolutions were presented by the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation under the council’s “Item 7” which requires a report on Israeli actions in the West Bank each time the panel convenes.
In condemning the Council, B’nai B’rith International noted that one of the resolutions, “which seeks to call into question the legitimacy of sales of military equipment to Israel, provides new evidence that the Council is entirely indifferent to the rights and well-being of those on one side of the conflict — the citizens of the State of Israel defending their right to life, the most basic human right of all. This resolution passed with 27 votes in favor, four against and 15 countries abstaining,” it noted. “We condemn Belgium and Slovenia as the only European Union members of the Council choosing to vote in favor of this outrageous resolution.”
Israel is the only country that has a dedicated agenda item at the council, a mechanism that the United States and some European countries have criticized.
In February, Haley criticized a report by the UN’s high commissioner for human rights on 206 companies with ties to Israeli settlements. Israeli officials have described the report as a “blacklist” and said it is part of an effort to boycott the Jewish state.
“This whole issue is outside the bounds of the High Commissioner for Human Rights office’s mandate and is a waste of time and resources,” Haley said in a statement at the time.
The report was in response to a resolution adopted in 2016 by the UN Human Rights Council that called for the creation of a database of all companies doing business with the Israeli settlements, which the United Nations considers illegal under international law.
The latest threat to quit the council came after US President Donald Trump appointed UN-skeptic John Bolton as his national security adviser.
Since Trump took over at the White House, the United States has quit the UN cultural agency UNESCO, cut UN funding, and announced plans to quit the UN-backed Paris climate agreement.
List of United Nations resolutions concerning Israel Wikipedia
2017 U.N. General Assembly Resolutions Singling Out Israel – Texts, Votes, Analysis UN Watch
Many of those who parade themselves as guardians of human rights are in fact using it as a cover for ulterior purposes.
Jerusalem Post, Michael Freund, September 14 2017
After more than two decades, one of the most underreported stories in Israel is at last beginning to garner the attention that it most assuredly deserves.
Thanks to a groundbreaking decision by the Jerusalem District Court in July, the sordid saga of the Palestinian Authority’s treatment of alleged “collaborators” with the Jewish state is finally coming to light, and the picture is anything but pretty.
In a detailed ruling that is nearly 2,000- pages long, Judge Moshe Drori unambiguously concluded that more than 50 Palestinian plaintiffs could sue the Palestinian Authority in Israeli courts for their detention and mistreatment at the hands of the Palestinian security forces.
The “accumulation of evidence,” Drori wrote, “shows that the Palestinian Authority used severe violence, including harsh torture, against the plaintiffs” because of suspicions that they been cooperating with Israel.
The cruelty which many endured is chilling and demonstrates the depths of inhumanity to which the regime in Ramallah is only too happy to resort in order to punish those whom it views as traitors.
Indeed, from the accounts offered by the plaintiffs, it would appear that the Palestinian Authority has treated detainees in ways that even the most infamous of Mafia gangsters would find appalling.
Prisoners reported being forced to drink from toilets and physically coerced to sit down on broken glass bottles and sharp objects. Fingernails were torn from their bodies and many were deprived of sleep, food and drink, as they were held incommunicado for extended periods. Others were stabbed with kitchen utensils, and some were tied to moving vehicles and dragged through the streets, adding to their pain and public humiliation. In an account published on the front page of this newspaper on Thursday, reporter Yonah Jeremy Bob movingly told the stories of two of the Palestinian plaintiffs, each of whom suffered unspeakable horrors.
One of the victims, using the pseudonym “Sami” to protect his identity, described an incident in which he was taken to the dentist after he complained of pain in his teeth. When the dentist was told that Sami had “helped Israel,” he “ripped out” several of Sami’s teeth, only not the ones that he said had been hurting. “This was because they said I had helped Israel,” Sami said, adding that the incident prompted him to attempt suicide.
Adding insult to injury, the NRG website reported earlier this week that in the wake of the district court’s ruling, lawyers for the plaintiffs could not find a single human-rights organization that would assist them with finding specialists who could determine the physical, psychological and emotional damage the Palestinian victims had suffered.
“Every NGO we turned to refused to help us. They said that they only assist people who sue Israel,” said Barak Kedem, one of the attorneys involved in the case.
Well, isn’t that ironic. And revealing.
After all, many of the self-proclaimed defenders of human dignity profess to be motivated by the highest ideals and deny any anti-Israel bias. They are simply defending the defenseless, they assert, when they condemn Israel for its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians.
But if that were the case, if it was truly noble principles which underpinned their work, rather than a narrow, left-wing political agenda, then one would have expected the numerous human rights groups to have gone out of their way to support the Palestinian plaintiffs.
To their lasting shame, however, apparently none of them had the courage of their purported convictions, preferring instead to give priority to their anti-Israel animus over their commitment to human dignity.
This cautionary tale merely highlights something that we already know: Many of those who parade themselves as guardians of human rights are in fact using it as a cover for ulterior purposes, exploiting the universal concern for fair treatment as a one-sided, blunt instrument with which to bash the Jewish state.
Through their actions – and selective inaction – these NGOs bring shame to the very cause they say they want to uphold. By refusing to give voice to Palestinian victims of the Palestinian Authority, they are replacing human rights with human wrongs.
And by refraining from assisting those Palestinians who have the courage to stand up to their tormentors, they betray the interests of justice and peace.
It is time to expose many of the human rights organizations for what they truly are: political wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Here’s hoping that the Palestinian victims of the PA get the justice and recompense which they seek and that the world finally realizes that the establishment of an oppressive and authoritarian Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria will not serve to free Palestinians, but rather condemn them to lawless and unconscionable brutality at the hands of their own leaders.
PALESTINIANS TORTURED; MEDIA SILENT
Gatestone Institute International Policy Council, Bassam Tawi, March 23, 2018
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.
What happens when Palestinians make allegations of torture and assaults on their public freedoms? If the finger is being pointed at Israel, the international media falls over itself to bring the story to the broadest possible audience.
The story would not even end there. Human rights organizations and United Nations agencies would blast Israel for "abusing" Palestinian human rights and the Security Council would hold an emergency session to condemn Israel.
The response, however, when Palestinians fall victim to the practices of their own governments -- the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip -- is a completely different one. That is when silence descends upon the international media community hides behind a blue wall of silence
How can one account for this sinkhole in communications? Simple: when the story is not about alleged atrocities committed by Israel, from the point of view of the Western media outlets it is presumably not a tale worthy of being told.
For most Western reporters, the only wrongdoing they see is that which takes place by Israelis. For them, a Jewish soldier who shouts at a Palestinian at a checkpoint is more worthy of a story than, say, Palestinian detainees who are tortured by the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.
Those who are familiar with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the way the international media operates in the Middle East are not surprised by this one-sided, unprofessional and biased coverage.
Middle East correspondents regularly turn a blind eye to human rights abuses committed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Some journalists are possibly afraid that if they report a story that may reflect negatively on the Palestinians, they will be accused of being "on the payroll of the Jewish lobby" or, even worse, of being "Zionist agents serving the Israeli propaganda machine."
Or perhaps they fear that they will be denied still further access to the Palestinian propaganda machine.
It is also important to note that most of the foreign correspondents rely on Palestinian assistants or "fixers" who often dictate to them the tone that their reporting on the Palestinians must take.
Local Palestinian "fixers" do not want foreign correspondents to report about the rampant abuses taking place on the Palestinian side. These "fixers" see themselves as loyal soldiers serving their people and their cause. They consider themselves to be mouthpieces for Palestinian leaders and institutions and would be horrified avoid at the idea of hanging dirty laundry out in the open.
Why is this relevant now? Because there is always a need to remind readers how the foreign media "misses" many significant stories related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The real story now is no longer about what the foreign correspondents are reporting. Rather, it is about what they are not reporting.
Take, for example, the latest report published by the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), whose duties and responsibilities are "to follow-up and ensure that different Palestinian laws, by-laws and regulations, and the work of various departments, agencies and institutions of the Palestinians meet the requirements for safeguarding human rights."
In its report -- which so far appears to have been of less than no interest to both the foreign media and international human rights groups -- the ICHR states that it has received complaints of torture and mistreatment from 46 Palestinians detained by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas during the month of February 2018 alone.
More than half of the complaints, 27 in number, come from Palestinians who were arrested by the Palestinian Authority, while 19 come from Palestinians living under Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Had such a report of torture been published by the Israeli left-wing group B'Tselem, it would have won the attention of the international community. Why? Because the group appears fixated only on Israeli violations, while rigorously ignoring what is happening in Palestinian-controlled detention centers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The report notes that during February, the ICHR also received complaints from 31 Palestinians about arbitrary and unlawful detentions, both at the hands of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Again, most of the arrests took place in areas controlled by the Western-funded and trained Palestinian Authority security forces. Some of the detainees were taken into custody on the basis of an arrest warrant signed by a senior Palestinian official, usually the governor of a city.
The report also found that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas were continuing to harass Palestinian journalists and political activists because of their views and their postings on social media.
One journalist, who was not identified by name, was arrested in the Gaza Strip for posting remarks critical of Hamas. Another journalist was arrested by Hamas for reporting about human rights violations committed by the terrorist group.
In the West Bank, during February, Palestinian Authority security forces arrested two Palestinian university students from Hebron for their activities on campus, according to the report.
During the same month, the ICHR also received complaints from Palestinians that their homes had been raided by Palestinian Authority security officers, who illegally seized computers, mobile phones, cash and other personal belongings.
The report also details other forms of human rights violation committed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, such as travel bans and failure to implement court orders.
On several occasions, for instance, the Palestinian Authority security forces chose to ignore court verdicts ordering the release of detainees. This mockery of the judicial system is common under both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
The ICHR report is not confidential. On the contrary, it has been released for public consumption and is available for review on the organization's website. Everyone has access to it.
One would assume that Middle East correspondents might be interested in such reports — no, far from it.
In the eyes of foreign correspondents, this ICHR report is "problematic" because it deals with a topic that is not in line with their agenda, which considers Israel solely responsible for all human rights violations in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Some foreign correspondents may argue, in their defense, that they cannot report such stories because to do so they would need to go to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and this could endanger their lives. In other words, the correspondents admit that the Palestinians implicitly threaten them into avoiding such stories.
One can only wonder about the professionalism of journalists who consciously and consistently fail to report abuse on the part of the Palestinians.
One also wonders how they think they are doing a service to the Palestinians by turning a blind eye to the human rights abuses committed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Are the journalists familiar with term "free pass"?
The Palestinians are, first and foremost, victims of their dictatorial and abusive leaders.
Sadly, they are done no service by a biased and unprofessional media that acts as sort of collective "yes-men" to widespread human rights violations under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Both Palestinian dictatorships, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, therefore have nothing to worry about; they can go about their business of torturing and illegally detaining their own people. No one is watching.
Gatestone institute .Denis MacEoin, April 27, 2018
The history of human rights, albeit fragmented, is a long and often honourable expression of religious and civic endeavour. The scriptures of most religions refer to the ways in which we should treat our fellow man, from the Bible in antiquity to the broadly liberal Baha'i scriptures written in Persian and Arabic in the late nineteenth century. Religious precepts have served to protect human beings from arbitrary mistreatment in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other faiths.
Modern human rights declarations and legislation developed in a secular context, above all as an expression of democratic values, and informed by Judaeo-Christian ethics. The earliest formulations of secular human rights legislation are to be found in the 1789 French Declaration on the Rights of Man and the Citizen and the 1791 US Constitution, the first 10 amendments of which form the Bill of Rights.
It was not until after the Second World War, however, that an even wider formulation of human rights came into being. Like the French and American declarations, these fresh formulas had much to do with the notion of individual rights: rights that were lodged in the political and legislative strategies of modern democratic states. Prior to that, rights tended to be located in communities, with individuals being subject to the laws and pressures of the tribe – as in the limitation of rights for Jews and Christians within Muslim societies, or for Jews in Europe, notably in ghettoes. This new construction of rights -- through religious or ethnic identity -- has, for some decades now, found expression in democratic states in "multiculturalism".
The Swiss academic Elham Manea has identified this new denial of individual human rights as "essentialist multiculturalism", in her book Women and Shari'a Law. This "Essentialist Multiculturalism" is defined by the notion that individuals must be understood through their culture, not as independent citizens.
According to Manea:
I use essentialist to describe this paradigm because of the prism through which it sees the world. It:
The last one seems to mean that because these attributes apply to all people, they cannot be authentic enough for specific communities.
Manea's reference to "international standards of human rights" is particularly pertinent to democracy, a system through which it has been possible to extend rights to all individuals. The abolition of slavery, the extension of suffrage to women, and the entire civil rights movement all represent landmarks in the path towards universal rights.
The main document of that movement is, many of us might agree, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an international instrument created to spread the democratic values of individualism to the world as a whole. Adopted by the United Nations at the end of 1948 and expanded as the International Bill of Human Rights, the UDHR has brought into existence a raft of organizations and legislation working to enforce the rights to which it claims all people are entitled. Of those organizations, the most influential is the UN Human Rights Council, a 47-member inter-governmental body that includes, or has included among its member states, some of the countries that most abuse human rights.
Although the UNHRC may have done much to improve the situation for some human rights internationally, something perverse has taken place. The UNHCR itself has also become a prime motivator and enforcer of the rejection of human rights -- not only for many individuals, such as children being trained to be terrorists, but also for a single country, Israel. Much of that animus seems to have originated in the Arab and wider Muslim worlds. This is surely odd if we consider that Israel has one of the best human rights records and -- while not giving Russia, China, North Korea or Cuba a pass -- that many Arab and Muslim states (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan among others) have been among the most conspicuous violators.
Over the years, however, it is Israel -- not the dictatorships or fundamentalist regimes around it -- that has been singled out for criticism by the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. In its 70th session, 2015-2016, the UN General Assembly passed a single resolutions each condemning the human rights situation in Iran, Syria and North Korea. Alongside these, it passed no fewer than 20 resolutions singling out Israel.
What are a few reasons for this disparity? If one takes the admirable resolution on human rights abuses in Iran, one can see there were 76 votes in favour, but a larger figure for the combined 'no' and 'abstain' votes: 103 in total. The 'yes' votes tended to come from Western nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland and Italy; the 'no' votes, were from majority Sunni Muslim countries or ones (such as India) with large Muslim minorities; fifteen abstentions were from Muslim majority states, including several (such as Saudi Arabia), which consider Iran their enemy.
Now take one of the resolutions directed against Israel. Resolution 70/141 , on "The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination", received far more plenary votes than the single one directed against Iran (177 as against 76). Many of these came from the EU, but it is important to note that one of the countries that proposed it was Egypt, "On behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation" -- that is to say, a bloc of 57, just under one third of the overall "yes" vote, and backed by such stalwarts of human rights as North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and "the state of Palestine".
This outcome is far from coincidental. Behind that bloc vote (and its many supporters) lurks the uncomfortable fact that there are several quite different charters of human rights in the world.
The other charters of human rights are to be found exclusively in the Muslim world. Some are presented in national constitutions such as those of Iran or Afghanistan; others in official documents that reflect a trans-national Islamic identity, expressing the principles of the umma, the international body of all Muslims construed as a unified community. On the surface, most of these charters appear to endorse much the same raft of human rights as the International Bill. In reality, however, they do not. On close examination, they do exactly the opposite -- and for a very simple reason. Every single right they claim to offer (in imitation of the wording of the UDHR and its companion charters) is made subject to the provisions of Islamic shari'a law. Anything that falls within shari'a is a human right; anything that does not fall within shari'a is not a human right. This provision makes a world of difference.
Professor Ann Elizabeth Mayer's classic study, Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics, is a painstaking study of the many Islamic Human Rights charters, in both English translations and Arabic or Persian originals. They expose serious concerns about the impact of Islam and Islamic law in both the Muslim world and increasingly in the West. The contradictions she has found between original texts on the other, is invaluable.
Mayer examines seven major Islamic declarations, including:
The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights (UIDHR, 1981)
The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (1993)
Again and again, claims that Islamic values support Western human rights standards are contradicted by the texts and statements of Muslim jurists and diplomats. Here, for example, is a statement by the former Iranian representative to the United Nations, Sa'id Raja'i-Khorasani, presented before the UN General Assembly on December 7, 1984:
The new political order [in Iran] was... in full accordance and harmony with the deepest moral and religious convictions of the people and therefore most representative of the traditional, cultural, moral and religious beliefs of Iranian society. It recognized no authority... apart from Islamic law... conventions, declarations or decisions of international organizations, which were contrary to Islam, had no validity in the Islamic Republic of Iran.... The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which represented secular understanding of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, could not be implemented by Muslims and did not accord with the system of values recognized by the Islamic Republic of Iran; his country would therefore not hesitate to violate its provisions. (Emphasis added.)
Reza Afshari, a professor of history at Pace University, New York, has documented
"how the Islamic Republic of Iran has used cultural and religious relativism to circumvent the UN Human Rights Council's attempts to inspect and report on the regime's human rights abuses, including the harassment, imprisonment, and torture of journalists and activists; and the repression of religious minorities, sexual minorities, and women. Iran has regularly denied and countered the accusations of by United Nations human rights monitors by defending its acts as authentic 'cultural practices'".
According to the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, "What they [Westerners] call human rights is nothing but a collection of corrupt rules worked out by Zionists to destroy all true religions". Iran's current Supreme Leader, 'Ali Khamene'i, while serving as president of the republic, was even stronger in his refutation of human rights:
"When we want to find out what is right and what is wrong, we do not go to the United Nations; we go to the Holy Koran. For us the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is nothing but a collection of mumbo-jumbo by disciples of Satan". 
Strong words indeed, words that harbor no illusions about the gulf between radical Islamic values and those of the Judaeo-Christian West.
Even the more formal statements on Islamic human rights bear clear signs of this same disinclination to accept Western values. The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights, for example, says much the same thing in more moderate language, first in its foreword:
Islam gave to mankind an ideal code of human rights fourteen centuries ago. These rights aim at conferring honor and dignity on mankind and eliminating exploitation, oppression and injustice.
Human rights in Islam are firmly rooted in the belief that God, and God alone, is the Law Giver and the Source of all human rights. Due to their Divine origin, no ruler, government, assembly or authority can curtail or violate in any way the human rights conferred by God, nor can they be surrendered.
These rights are not those conferred by the UDHR, but rights sanctioned by Islamic law. In the preamble, we are told that "by virtue of their Divine source and sanction these rights can neither be curtailed, abrogated or disregarded by authorities, assemblies or other institutions, nor can they be surrendered or alienated" --no trace of democracy, debate, rational planning, secular tolerance, or human rights there.
The overriding sanctity of Islamic law is reinforced by other charters and statements from individuals. For example, the Pakistani strongman, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who came to power in 1977 through a coup d'état and served as that country's president from 1978 until his death ten years later, imposed shari'a law on the country. He asserted the supremacy of Islamic law thus:
[In Islam] there are no 'human rights' or 'freedoms' admissible to man in the sense in which modern man's thought, belief, and practice understand them: in essence, the believer owes obligation or duties to God if only because he is called upon to obey the Divine Law and such Human Rights as he is made to acknowledge seem to stem from his primary duty to obey God.
Restrictions on the behaviour of individuals, including non-Muslims, are characteristic of Islamic rights charters. According to Mayer:
The underlying thesis in all the Islamic human rights schemes is that the rights afforded in international law are too generous and only become acceptable when they are subjected to Islamic restrictions. Curiously, there is no explicit articulation of the thesis that international law has granted people excessive rights. Because invoking Islam either to eliminate or to narrow rights is such a central and distinctive feature of Islamic human rights schemes, it is also curious that exactly what these Islamic restrictions on rights entail is not precisely delineated. [Mayer, p. 69]
Just how do these restrictions work? Here are some statements from the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, issued by the member states of the Islamic Conference:
Article 6: Woman is equal to man in human dignity, and has rights to enjoy as well as duties to perform...
Article 8: Every human being has the right to enjoy his legal capacity...
Article 11 A: Human beings are born free, and no-one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them...
Article 18 A: Everyone shall have the right to live in security for himself, his religion, his dependants, his honor and his property.
Article 19 A: All individuals are equal before the law, without distinction between the ruler and the ruled.
On the surface, these and many other passages from the Cairo Declaration seem entirely consistent with the UDHR. Unfortunately, a second look shows quite the opposite. One only need look at the final two articles in Cairo: 24 and 25:
Article 24: All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah.
Article 25: The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration
In Part Two, we shall examine just how this double human rights system impacts on the West.
Dr. Denis MacEoin is a former university lecturer in Islamic Studies and a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Gatestone Institute.
 Her approach is echoed by Dutch political scientist Machteld Zee in another study Choosing Sharia? Multiculturalism, Islamic Fundamentalism, & Sharia Councils [The Hague, 2016]
 UN General Assembly. Thirty-Ninth Session. Third Committee. Sixty-fifth meeting, held on Friday, December 7, 1984, New York A/C.3/39/SR.65
 Cited Mayer, p. 36
 Quoted, Edward Mortimer, 'Islam and Human Rights', Index on Censorship, 12, October, 1983, p.5.
 Cited A. K. Brohi, 'Islam and Human Rights', PLD Lahore, 28, 1976, p. 151.
Gatestone Institute Denis MacEoin, May 15, 2018
We have seen in Part One of this article how far Western standards of human rights differ from those guaranteed by Islam. One obvious outcome of this disparity is, of course, that citizens of Muslim countries are accorded fewer rights than their counterparts in liberal democracies. Thus, women, girls, gays, members of religious minorities, "blasphemers", bloggers (notably in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia) reformers and others may be subjected to partial or total deprival of what the rest of the world considers to be unquestionable or God-given rights. Women may be forced to dress in all-encompassing clothing or hijabs. Minorities may be imprisoned or killed. Women even alleged to have committed adultery – but often just the victims of rape – may be flogged or else stoned to death. LGBT individuals may imprisoned or killed, while bloggers, reformist intellectuals, moderate Qur'an interpreters face flogging and murder by mobs.
All the while, the UN Human Rights Council does little or nothing to encourage Muslim member states to rethink these views; it even adopts resolutions that contradict the Universal Declaration, such as the 2009 resolution to treat "defamation of religion" as a rights violation. This resolution, launched by Pakistan on behalf of a group of Islamic states, while purportedly aiming to protect criticism of all religions, in reality seems aimed at preventing people worldwide from ever criticizing the Islamic religion.
Meanwhile, writing in 2017, human rights lawyer Anne Bayefsky describes how the Human Rights Council is actually focused elsewhere:
According to the U.N.'s top human rights body, Israel is the worst human rights violator in the world today. That's the result of the latest session of the UN Human Rights Council which wrapped up in Geneva on Friday by adopting five times more resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on earth.
Bizarre as that may sound, it is, in the UN, normal procedure. In some ways even more bizarre is the revelation the same year of another Human Rights Council report, which shows violations by 29 countries that attack people working with the UN on human rights issues:
It was reported to OHCHR that these people had been abducted, detained, held incommunicado, or had disappeared, according to Andrew Gilmour, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.
Other victims lost their jobs, had their homes or offices raided, were targeted by travel bans and asset freezes, and forced to undergo unwanted psychiatric "treatment." Many cases involved arbitrary detention and torture, sometimes by sexual assault or rape.
Israel is, for no apparent reason, on that list of 29. Out of that same number, however, more than half were Muslim-majority countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. That should not be surprising, given the Islamic human rights standard already examined in Part One.
Pictured: A session of the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Image source: United Nations/Flickr)
There is still one more bizarre feature: the insistence in some quarters that Israel is the leading violator of rights. There seem to be more human rights organizations in the West Bank than possibly anywhere else in the world, together with masses of international bodies that support the Palestinians and condemn Israel -- usually in a distinctly one-sided, ant-Israel way. There are so many organizations that one can never be sure of an accurate tally, but it certainly seems disproportionately large for one small pluralistic democracy to be the target of so much criticism, given the number of genuine abusers of human rights -- including the Palestinian Authority and Hamas -- across the Middle East.
Of the 20 organizations, for example, listed as pursuing rights claims against Israel by the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice to commemorate a young American woman described as a "peace activist" but who was in reality an anti-Israel campaigner -- several are international, but the rest are based in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel. None is an advocate of Israel's excellent human rights achievements, but are instead composed of political activists who often seem to place Palestinian rights -- such as a supposed right to violent protests -- above those of their fellow Israelis, including the Arab citizens of Israel -- to defend themselves. Given that Israel is where Jews have lived for more than 3,000 years -- and which only in the last century became the sole safe haven for Jews in a world of historically so many antagonists -- this antagonism seems deeply perverse.
A wider survey shows that in countries such as the United States, the UK, and Egypt, at least eleven international organizations have a remit to investigate what are claimed to be Israeli human rights violations in the disputed territories, even though the Gaza Strip has been long-unoccupied, and is now ruled by the Islamic group Hamas, a Foreign Terrorist Organization, according to the U.S. Department of State. No one, it often seems, has a good word to say about Israel, or a less-than-good word to say, about Palestinian mayhem, terrorism or internal human rights abuses.
Although genuine and widely praised for their advocacy of human rights internationally, even Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, FIDH [Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme] and the humanitarian relief body Oxfam International have reputations of extreme bias against Israel. Amnesty regards Israel as an "apartheid" state, actively supports the international Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to strangle Israel economically and academically, accuses Israel of "war crimes", defends terrorists, and more. Human Rights Watch does much the same. Even its founder, Robert L. Bernstein, has condemned it for its unjustified attacks on Israel and its failure commensurately to criticize groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The respected French international organization, FIDH has issued anti-Israel statements in collaboration with highly politicized Palestinian NGOs.
Most of these international organizations show genuine concern about human rights violations elsewhere, including North Africa and the wider Middle East. Here, for example, is a sample of FIDH's current issues in that region. But when it comes to Israel, they portray far greater sympathy for Palestinian "victims" than for the countless Israelis who have been killed or injured by some of these "victims".
Their bias often seems to originate in exposure to highly propagandistic, frequently counter-factual claims by the many Palestinian, Israeli, and left-wing Jewish organizations with whom the international bodies consult and with whom they periodically act in tandem. Likewise, it is not surprising that organizations which work on a daily basis to right the wrongs suffered by the world's genuine victims of human rights abuses find themselves open to persuasion by Palestinians and their supporters, who often portray themselves as passive victims of Israeli actions without taking the smallest responsibility for their own provocative actions. For more, the psychologist Johanna Vollhardt has examined the role of victim beliefs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Some of the smaller international organizations focus only on Israel and the Palestinians. The British Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, citing the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights and the World Organization Against Torture, recently delivered a joint written statement to the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council. The statement calls for the Council to act on what it calls "impunity for torture, ill-treatment and related practices in Israel", and relates to "the Israeli government's policy and practice in regard to torture and ill-treatment". In Israel, in fact, torture has been completely banned by Israel's High Court since 1999.
As in the United States, however, moderate physical pressure is not. Israel is a country under constant terrorist attacks and threats of attacks. By ignoring these important distinctions and pretending not to know the truth about actual Israeli law and Israeli practice, such "rights organizations" only serve -- possibly deliberately -- to confuse the international public.
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights has an extensive Gaza Accountability Project which aims "to secure justice and legal accountability for Palestinian victims of alleged serious violations of international law", even as it says not a word about Palestinian persecution of Christians or Hamas's abuses against women, children and Israelis. Even the Palestinian Authority claims that Hamas are reckless gamblers who sacrifice the lives of Gazan women and children.
Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, based in Portland, Oregon, characterizes recent measures taken by Israeli border security as "the Passover Massacre", when even Hamas and Israel effectively agree that 80% of the protesters shot were members of terrorist organizations, not civilians. See here. There was no "massacre" over Passover or any other period. Israel does not commit massacres. This simple fact, however, seems to make no impact on activists, the media, so-called human rights groups or the international community.
As some Americans recently wrote:
"For decades Zionists have blamed the Palestinians for Israel's ongoing colonial project. 'If only the Palestinians had a Mahatma Gandhi,' many Israeli liberals have exclaimed, 'then the occupation would end.'"
They then proceed to claim:
"But if one truly wished to find Palestinian Mahatma Gandhis all one needed to do is look at the images of protesters on Friday night's news broadcasts."
Not surprisingly, they fail to mention that these Palestinian Gandhis belonged to or were manipulated by terrorist organizations such as Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
The AUPHR applies the "apartheid" charge even to the situation of Arab Israelis as well as those on the West Bank. Many authors have used this argument, a claim unsupported by actual evidence and rejected by several, such as the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, who have had direct experience of South African apartheid.
Of the human rights organizations working in Gaza and the West Bank, three stand out as spokesmen for anti-Israel propaganda and lawfare. These are Al-Dameer, Al-Haq, and Al-Mezan, all of which are well funded by a succession of international so-called human rights and humanitarian bodies. None of them gives any financial details, but, according to NGO Monitor , Al Dameer has received donations from Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the European Union, the US, and the UN Development Program.
Al-Mezan, in 2014, listed "Core Programme Donors" from the same countries, as well as Germany, the UK, the EU, Oxfam GB, Save the Children, and several other humanitarian institutions.
Regarding Al-Mezan itself, a central actor in Palestinian human rights enterprises incorporating Gaza and the West Bank, there is not room here for an exhaustive account. But NGO Monitor has provided a valuable summary, from which useful information can be extracted.
Al-Mezan's activities are truly bewldering. Over the years, it has accused Israel of war crimes, including Israeli Defence Forces' "massacres" in Gaza, further "massacres" and "slaughtering civilians" there in 2009, a "despicable disregard to civilian life" by what they term "the Israeli Occupation Forces" -- years after Israel had ended its occupation of Gaza.
Al-Mezan has, in addition, played an active role in the BDS movement to try to crush Israel economically. It submits blatantly anti-Israel material to international bodies such as the European Parliament and the UN. In 2016, along with another West Bank organization, Badil (Badeel), it hosted a forum at the European Parliament in Brussels, in which discussions were held about Israel's alleged violations of international law. These violations included businesses operating in Israeli settlements (which they considered "illegal", in line with a recent UN resolution to that effect).
Earlier that year, al-Mezan co-signed a joint statement on supposed infractions of international law:
For decades, Israel has failed to uphold its duties as Occupying Power and has instead deepened its occupation and regime of colonialism and apartheid. Human rights violations rising to the level of international crimes, including unlawful killings, torture, forced transfer, and other forms of collective punishment have become the norm.
The rest of the statement advocated smothering Israel economically on the totally false grounds that no governments or international bodies had the political will to hold Israel accountable for its "crimes".
This supposed exemplar of human rights activism could not be more opposed to the state of Israel, about which it perpetuates a large battery of falsehoods and distortions. It claims, for instance, that Israel is an "apartheid" state;; accuses it, wrongly, of "ethnic cleansing"; reports purported Israeli "war crimes"; repeats the historically false narrative of the 1948 Palestinian nakba [catastrophe - that of losing a war it started] which it characterizes as "a catastrophe born of discrimination and impunity". In reality, five Arab states had sent in armies to destroy Israel on the day of its birth, but lost. A flight of Arab refugees took place because Arab authorities ordered civilians to leave to allow those Arab armies a freer hand wresting the area from Jews. 
Al-Mezan is also highly active in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns. These try, for example, to use courts and international legal bodies to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials, and to lobby against Israel in the International Criminal Court.
Al-Mezan's "war crimes" accusations use biased and emotive rhetoric alongside falsified statistics, especially for casualties in Gaza during warfare. Al-Mezan has gone so far as to allege that "Israel killed more children than fighters" during the 2014 Gaza conflict. In fact, a later analysis has shown that civilian figures were grossly inflated and militant casualties hidden:
The IDF's analysis of fatalities demonstrates that while the 2014 Gaza Conflict did unfortunately result in civilian fatalities, the number and percentage of Palestinian civilian fatalities is actually much lower than has been reported in many channels. As discussed below, the IDF's preliminary analysis has determined that 2,125 Palestinians were killed during the 2014 Gaza Conflict. Of these fatalities, the IDF estimates that at least 936 (44% of the total) were actually militants and that 761 (36% of the total) were civilians; efforts are still underway to classify the additional 428 (20% of the total), all males aged 16-50
These and other accusations, couched in bombastic "human rights" terminology and made in a parade of reports to the international media, are woefully short of evidence and context, but Al-Mezan and its associates, using what appear to be hard facts despite a serious lack of documentary evidence, claim the moral high ground. Needless to say, Hamas has used civilians as human shields (as openly admitted in 2008 by Hamas leader Fathi Hammad) and has launched missiles from inside civilian sites, such as school, hospitals, and mosques – all, according to Canadian law professor Irwin Cotler, war crimes.
If Al-Mezan's allegations were even moderately true, Israel would deserve the obloquy that is repeatedly dumped on it. A high-level military group, however, made up of senior military personnel from many countries declared in 2015 that the Israeli Defence Force is "the most ethical army in the world". These experts, presumably vastly more knowledgeable about military affairs than Al-Mezan and other Palestinian rights groups, also stated in 2016 that the IDF had acted in combat entirely within the rules of international military law. Needless to say, Hamas has used civilians as human shields and launched missiles from inside civilian sites such as schools, hospitals and mosques.
Al-Mezan also declines to focus on what are argued as human rights issues, such as women's rights, LGBT rights, or basic rights for all Palestinians living under the rule of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. Instead, it Al-Mezan involves itself with overtly political activities that support efforts to destroy Israel economically. Although such efforts may be interpreted as a response to others' human rights breaches, they are tightly linked to the untrue accusations of apartheid and the false claim that the Wall section of Israeli's security fence is an "apartheid wall", rather than a barrier Israel was forced to erect to defend itself from countless terrorist attacks. A wall is a passive form of defence that has proven effective over many years and saved countless lives.
According to the American politician Scott Walker, Israelis have "seen something like over a 90% reduction in terrorist acts in that country that they attribute to having an effective fence."
More is happening here than might at first meet the eye. Palestinian human rights organizations such as Al-Mezan, along with their many supporters abroad and even within a substantial part of the Jewish diaspora, have turned the very concept of human rights upside down. All around the world, a majority of people and countries slam Israel as a country that violates human rights, when by any rational measure it does the precise opposite. Israel is the only country in the Middle East and far beyond to provide full rights, true pluralism, and equal justice under the law to all its citizens. The security measures Israel has been forced to take since 1948 can hardly be called -- with few possible exceptions -- human rights abuses.
What Israel's enemies are doing is to repurpose claims of "human rights abuses" by turning the world's attention away from their own abuses and trying to generate instead a fictitious image of Israel as supposedly the world's greatest abuser. If one examines Freedom House's 2018 report on the Middle East and North Africa, only one North African country – Tunisia – is listed as fully free, and only one Middle Eastern state – Israel – is fully free. The rest are mainly not free at all, with one or two partly free. The West Bank is recorded as not free. This is partly because the Arabs agreed in the Oslo II accord, also known as the Oslo Interim Agreement of 1995, that Israel would have "overall responsibility for external security and for the security of Israelis and settlements throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip".
Since then, however, as Freedom House adds: "The PA itself has grown more authoritarian, engaging in crackdowns on the media and human rights activists who criticize its rule." Why then do human rights activists focus on Israel rather than on the abuses under the Palestinians' own leadership?
There are many abuses in Gaza and the West Bank. Honor killings of girls and women in the West Bank are a serious concern. After 2014, there was a major upsurge in such murders, carried out by members of the woman's own family. The Palestinian Authority remains obstinate in its refusal to intervene in the matter. Protests are made, but the abuses continue. More generally, women's rights are violated in both the West Bank and Gaza, as are children's rights. In the West Bank and Gaza, homosexuality is a capital offence. In Gaza, a recent report on gay men shows them forced to live double lives out of fear of Hamas agents. Many head for Israel, where, since 1963, LGBT rights -- made fully legal in 1988 -- are assured.
Religious minorities, mainly Christians suffer much abuse in Gaza and the West Bank, where Islamic shari'a law and social attitudes that are profoundly discriminatory to non-Muslims inform popular and political opinion. Israel is the only country in the region where religious minorities have full freedom to worship and live without hindrance. The Baha'is, murdered, imprisoned and economically oppressed in Iran and banned in all Muslim states, have their world-famous international headquarters, their holiest shrines, and pilgrimage centers in Haifa and outside Acco.
The "human rights" bodies in the West Bank, such as Al-Mezan, Al Dameer, and Al-Haq, never involve themselves in complaints about any of the human rights abuses listed above. Instead, they do all they can to persuade the rest of the world that the world's worst offender is Israel.
These organizations and their supporters have been trying, in fact, to repurpose the very concept of human rights, and in so doing, have turned them upside-down. These activists appear to have adopted a broad range of attitudes – many with their roots in an Orwellian ideology that turns white to black and good intentions to evil conspiracies. Thus, for example, we see how Iran is sending weapons, including missiles, to Hezbollah under the guise of humanitarian aid, even while Israel sends tons of genuine aid into Gaza every day, yet \ is accused of imposing a "crippling blockade".
Similarly, some Western feminists have been claiming that the Islamic veil supposedly empowers Muslim women. To some, it is seen as a "feminist accessory", or as a protection against harassment. This sort of thinking, however, seems based on the assumption that traditional conservative Islamic culture must take precedence over Western values, and ignores the male domination and repression that can often accompany it – such as forced obedience to men.
In the UK, we have witnessed a traditionally progressive, anti-racist political party, Labour, become deeply mired in the racism of anti-Semitism. Almost all of this is due to a well-intended but under-informed obsession with the suffering of the Palestinians and a deeply corrupt understanding of Israel. What are any of these people doing actually to help the Palestinians – such as creating jobs, assuring good governance, ending the corruption of the Palestinian leadership, protecting human rights in Palestinian courts, establishing schools, hospitals, health care and dental clinics, adequate electricity and how to care for drinking water drinking water; upgrading agriculture, safeguarding legal standards of proof in courts, stopping the arrests of journalists or others who dare to criticize the current governments, preventing torture in prison, and so on? Rather, the issues they address seem more a rationalization to destroy Israel. That attitude also seems linked to a sad ignorance of, wholesale indifference to, and even hatred of modern definitions of anti-Semitism. The 2016 International Holocaust Alliance Definition includes several clauses relating to false, bigoted, and extremist views of Israel, including the following:
Those are only a few examples of a fatal slip in the Western democracies, where extreme ideologies on both the left and the right have come to invert the real values of classic Western liberalism. The Palestinians and their supporters have taken advantage of this; they seem to know that much of the media, a goodly section of the political establishment, and people in Christian churches will swallow their views on human rights to perpetuate a "victimhood" – not to solve the problem but to perpetuate a modern assault on the Jewish people, whose rights have never been fully recognized in either the Islamic world or the West.
Israel is not a perfect country -- no country is -- and no country is above criticism when that criticism is just and based on fact. The United States is not perfect and is the subject of daily criticism, especially from within. The UK and Europe are not perfect either. All of that is normal if we bear in mind that democracies are, by their very nature, subject to changes and shifts. Freedom of speech is a central value in all genuine democracies, and now even that is being dangerously eroded in the West.
For all this, autocracies and theocratic regimes fall even shorter when it comes to human rights. The widespread inability to see the difference between occasional lapses on the one hand -- with the democratic freedom to repair them -- has served both to shelter ruthless dictatorships and to expose one of the most decent countries to unending obloquy. A wake-up call is long overdue.
Denis MacEoin PhD is a former lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies and the author of numerous books and articles on those and related subjects. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.
 For a thorough explanation, see Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed, London, 2011.
 For a more detailed analysis, see here.
NICKY HALEY AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
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