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Notorious UN Committee Hosting Anti-Israel Event at European Parliament

Anne Bayefsky

The UN Committee scheduled to hold a virulently anti-Israel meeting on European Parliament premises in Brussels August 30-31, 2007 is no stranger to controversy. For the last thirty years, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) has hosted events around the world, all of which have a common theme. Israel is the problem. Palestinian “resistance” and return is the solution – UN-eze for promoting terrorism and the end of a Jewish state. This is the same UN Committee notorious for prominently displaying a Mideast map at UN headquarters missing the state of Israel. The practice was discontinued in 2006 after being photographed and disseminated by EYEontheUN.

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The Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

The CEIRPP was established in 1975 at the same time that the General Assembly adopted a resolution equating Zionism – the self-determination of the Jewish people – with racism. The Committee has been going strong ever since. Members of the Committee include such human rights paragons as Belarus, Cuba, Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Pakistan, and Tunisia. Likewise, Committee observers include Algeria, China, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Viet Nam, and Yemen.

Courtesy of the General Assembly, the majority of whose members are not full democracies, the Committee has an expansive mandate: “the convening of international meetings and conferences, including meetings with civil society, in all regions of the world, with the participation of political personalities, representatives of Governments and intergovernmental organizations, United Nations officials, academics, the media and others.” It is also mandated to establish cooperation “with a wide network of NGOs and other civil society institutions active on the question of Palestine.”

Under fire for the unprecedented exposure it is now getting as a consequence of the forthcoming Brussels meeting, the Committee has put out a public statement lying about the Committee’s association with the Zionism is racism agenda by dating its creation a year earlier than the infamous resolution. The statement reads:

“The Bureau would like to state most unequivocally that this Committee is not anti-Israeli, nor are its activities. It was established by the General Assembly in 1974 with a mandate to promote the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced and uprooted…The forthcoming Conference will provide a most timely opportunity to discuss the situation on the ground, with particular attention given to the role of elected representatives in advancing the cause of Middle East peace in concert with civil society.”

This feeble attempt to disassociate itself with the Zionism is racism resolution, despite the fact that it was created on the very same day as the implementing wing of that UN message, is made even more stark by the Committee’s obvious effort to promote Hamas – the “elected representatives” dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

Committee Activities

The Committee holds an annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People every year on November 29, the day in 1947 that the UN voted to create a Jewish and an Arab state in the region of Palestine. According to participants, this day marks the Al Naqba – the catastrophe of the creation of Israel. In keeping with this underlying theme, for decades the Committee prominently displayed at UN headquarters an Arabic map of the Mideast region without the state of Israel. They discontinued the practice only in 2006 after EYEontheUN took a photograph of the map and widely disseminated it. Other events on this day have included the screening of films at UN headquarters which promote the idea of “Palestine-Israel” – a euphemism for a one-state solution or the end of a Jewish state. Anti-semitism is never far from the Committee’s underlying agenda. In the 2005-sponsored film one Arab interviewee, treated sympathetically after describing his racist Jewish neighbors, says “All Jews seem to care about is work and money.” In the 2006-sponsored film, terrorism is glorified as Palestinian children are depicted repeating the following words in their classroom: “Jerusalem, I sacrifice myself to you, land of my grandfather, we will return.”

In 2006 the Committee sponsored an exhibit in the UN’s public entrance and marked its opening with a speech by Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization. He encouraged “resistance”, claimed anti-semitism was about Arabs, and Jewish self-determination or Zionism was unjustified mythology.

During the November 29, 2006 CEIRPP meeting in New York participants lauded Hamas, complained of the evils of “Judaization”, pressed the message of a racist Jewish state, and called for Israel’s economic strangulation. For example:

* Paul Badji, Chairman of the CEIRPP, said “the Palestinian parliamentary elections…were a major success.” Badji didn’t mention the governing charter of the electoral victors, the Hamas Covenant, which states: “The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” As far as the Committee Chairman was concerned, the electoral victory of a terrorist organization dedicated to killing Jews was a positive development.
* Prasad Kariyawasam (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories: “The Judaization of Arab culture and school curricula goes unabated in cities in Golan.”
* President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a statement through Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of the Palestinian delegation to the UN. This alleged peace partner accused Israel of “a colonial occupation that continues to devour Palestinian land through the construction of the Apartheid Wall.” The logo of the letterhead upon which his statement was officially circulated contained a map claiming all of Israel is “Palestine”.

All year round, across the globe, the Committee organizes meetings, publishes papers and multiplies its flow of hatred and intolerance through a UN website and links to like-minded NGOs. It provides a constant platform for statements objecting to a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, likening Israel to apartheid South Africa, and encouraging violence. Examples from recent meetings include:

* 5-6 February 2007, the United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, Doha, Qatar, Nabil Sha’ath, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council lamented the negative reaction of the international community to Hamas. Ahmad Tibi, Head of Arab Movement for Change Party in Israel labeled terrorists “martyrs”. Sari Nusseibeh, President, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, called for “the imposition of a boycott on Israeli merchandise.”
* 22-23 March 2007, UN International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Rome, Italy, Committee Chairman Paul Badji promoted the UN revisionist claim that Israel is to blame for the Arab-Israeli conflict: “The continuing occupation, now in its fortieth year, remained the root cause of the conflict.” Palestinian representative Qais Abdul-Kareem compared Israel to apartheid South Africa and called for the right of return. Tunisian Ambassador Habib Mansour was concerned about “Judaization”. The Syrian representative claimed Israel was acting “under the pretext of self-defense and the war against international terrorism.” Not unusual in CEIRPP meetings is language likening Israelis to Nazis, in which Israel is accused of “unprecedented racial discrimination against Palestinians” (Taysir Al-Tamimi, Supreme Judge of Sharia Courts in Palestine) and “dehumanization of the Palestinian people”. Ismail Vadi, Member of the National Assembly of the Parliament of South Africa compared Israel to the racist South African regime.
* 9-10 May 2007, The United Nations African Meeting on the Question of Palestine, Pretoria, South Africa, Committee Chair, Paul Badji, compared Israel to the apartheid regime. The Libyan Ambassador said “Palestinian struggle was not terrorism.” And Ronald Kasrils, Minister of Intelligence Services of South Africa condoned Palestinian violence: “What Israel should also know was that “oppression breeds resistance”.

The Committee also specializes in magnifying the voice of NGOs who tow the party-line, by issuing selective UN accreditation to self-styled representatives of civil society. One such Committee-accredited NGO, benefiting from the increased exposure from the UN’s website linking directly to its homepage, is Al-Awda. Al Awda’s home page boasts a key that must be liberated to unlock the door to Israel – all of Israel – which is portrayed as belonging to Palestinians. This is coupled with a call to violence “by any means,” “everywhere.”

The Brussels Meeting

Undoubtedly, the Brussels Committee meeting will be more of the same. For example, the agenda of the meeting includes participation by Christopher Doyle, the Director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding and a Committee favorite. Invited as the only NGO to speak at UN headquarters during their annual November 29th session in 2005 – along with the Presidents of the Security Council and General Assembly – he pontificated that terrorism – aka “resistance” – was inevitable and boycotts and sanctions of Israel a positive step.

Joining Doyle will be the coordinator of BADIL, a UN-accredited NGO, best known for directly advocating that Zionism is racism, the end of a Jewish state and the glorification of terrorism. BADIL approves, for example, of “special reverence…to the martyrs of the intifada, whose sacrifice is paving the way to the ultimate victories of freedom and return…”

The UN festivities will also include many boycott advocates, such as, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees. They disseminate the following kind of rhetoric: “The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)…would like to express their full support to the proposal of the largest British Association of University Teachers (AUT) to boycott two Israeli universities…We wish to stress our respect and high appreciation of this courageous and moral position, which signaled the globally rejected racist and colonial policies of the State of Israel…analogous to the practices of the old South Africa Apartheid regime.”

Other speakers include the “coordinator of the Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign.”

The Brussels August 30-31, 2007 meeting is one more in a long line sponsored by a unique UN Committee, the only one dedicated to promoting the claims of a single people. It represents yet a further attempt by the United Nations – this time through a choice of venue intended to enlist the support of the European Union – to spread a dangerous historical revisionism and the violence such a message is certain to spawn.

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