Archive for the 'UNESCO' Category

UNESCO Snubs Israel’s Jews: WSJ Live Interviews Hillel Neuer

Wall Street Journal Live interviews UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer on the U.N. cultural agency’s decision to postpone an exhibit on the history of Jews in Israel

After UNESCO invoked Arab opposition and cancelled last week’s scheduled launch of an exhibit on the Jewish people’s 3,500-year relationship with Israel, the agency came under heavy criticism from the U.S. and Canada, many NGOs, and hundreds of emails sent to director-general Irina Bokova by UN Watch followers. Now she promises to open it in June. Can UNESCO be trusted? Click above to watch UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer interviewed on Wall Street Journal Live.

Full text: UNESCO letter nixing Israel exhibit due to Arab pressure

Letter from UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, dated January 15, 2014. Click here for PDF. To read UN Watch’s analysis, click here.

Bokova Hier

Dear Rabbi Hier, Dear Rabbi Cooper,

Thank you for your letter of 14 January, 2014, regarding the postponement of the inauguration of the exhibition, co-organised with UNESCO and planned for 20 January, 2014, entitled “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land.” In this regard, I wish to say from the outset that I regret that a number of elements relating to the proposed exhibition by the Simon Wiesenthal Center were still not cleared when I received the letter from the Chairperson of the Arab Group, despite the constructive cooperation and dialogue in the preparatory phases of the exhibition. Continue reading ‘Full text: UNESCO letter nixing Israel exhibit due to Arab pressure’

Letter by Arab States to UNESCO Protesting Israel Exhibit

For the original and complete (French) text of the Arab group letter to UNESCO, sent by UAE ambassador Abdullah Alneaimi on January 14, 2014, protesting the planned UNESCO exhibition, curated with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, on the 3,500-year relationship of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel : click here.

Turkey to double UNESCO funding, due to US, Israel cuts

Turkey is becoming one of the most loyal backers of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, recently deciding to double its annual contribution, after donating an additional $5 million last year.

According to news reports, the move is aimed to compensate for the lost revenue from the US and Israel, following their suspension of payments after Palestine became a full member of the organization. According to estimates, Turkey contributes around 1.3% of UNESCO’s budget and this should go up to 2.5%. The US alone gives 22%.

It is interesting that the cut of US funds is presented as the primary consideration behind this move. Turkey, a NATO member, is a traditional friend of the United States and one is not used to reading such an explicit motivation coming from allies.

However, this is not all due to altruism for UNESCO’s mission. Turkey is home to many important cultural sites from many different cultures. Strengthening their position at UNESCO is an asset for Turkish diplomacy. Turkey was recently elected to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee for the next four years and four Turkish programs had been accepted into UNESCO’s memorial programs. This hasn’t got unnoticed and has angered its neighbor and traditional rival Armenia.

UNESCO attacks Israel again, with French support

1. UNESCO passed six anti-Israel resolutions with support from France, reports the JTA.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization passed the resolutions Friday at a meeting in Paris of its executive committee. France backed all the resolutions, as did Russia; the United States opposed all of them. Britain and Italy abstained in the votes.

2. As UN Watch recently demonstrated, France has a cynical policy at UNESCO, which is based in Paris, of voting with the world’s worst abusers.

Last year France was the only Western democracy that refused to support a Russian motion, supported by such legendary pro-Palestinian powers as Brazil and China, to postpone 5 anti-Israel resolutions. France was even more anti-Israel than Bashar al-Assad and Hugo Chavez, who voted in support of the Russian motion.

3. According to a study by UN Watch, UNESCO singles out Israel systematically.

For example:

  • In 2009, UNESCO adopted eight decisions against Israel at the 181st and 182nd sessions of the Executive Board, and two resolutions against Israel at the 35th session of the General Conference.
  • In 2010, UNESCO adopted 10 decisions against Israel at the 184th and 185th sessions of the Executive board.
  • In 2011, UNESCO again adopted 10 decisions against Israel at the 186th and 187th sessions of the Executive Board and two resolutions against Israel at the 36th session of the General Conference.

During this same time period, UN Watch’s examination of all UNESCO Executive Board decisions and UNESCO General Conference resolutions showed that not a single other country in the world was censured even once.

UNESCO honors executioner Che Guevara

Cuba held a ceremony on Friday to celebrate UNESCO’s despicable decision to include “The Life and Works of Ernesto Che Guevara” among 54 new additions to the Memory of the World Register, approved on June 18 by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

Spanish news agency EFE has the most information on the ceremony, with quotes from Che’s family members who attended the event. Here is the official UNESCO page documenting the inclusion of 431 manuscripts by Che and 567 documents about Che or related to him.

Claudia Rosett offers the best analysis, explaining the absurdity and immorality in UNESCO’s decision, and quoting historian Paul Berman’s 2004 Slate article on Guevara. Continue reading ‘UNESCO honors executioner Che Guevara’

France at UNESCO: more anti-Israel than Assad and Chavez

Award-winning investigative journalist Claudia Rosett’s latest piece, “Let the French Pay for UNESCO,” exposes UNESCO’s escalating PR blitz aimed at collecting now-frozen U.S. millions:

If UNESCO’s officials, in their lavish Paris headquarters, need the money, why not tell them to go lobby the French? France was among the member states that voted in 2011 to admit the Palestinians.

It’s actually much worse that that.

The French didn’t merely vote Yes to that fateful Palestinian resolution — thereby triggering a total American funding cut of $80 million as mandated by U.S. law — but they aggressively and successfully lobbied other countries to vote Yes as well.

And that is still nothing to what the French did the following year.

In October 2012, in a completely surprising yet welcome move, Russia, apparently annoyed with Palestinian overreaching, led a majority of countries to postpone a raft of anti-Israel resolutions. The Palestinians were shocked and outraged.

The tally of the Executive Board was 28 votes in favour of the postponement, 23 against and 4 abstentions. Even China, Chavez and Assad (who owes Moscow a thing or two) joined democracies in supporting the eminently pro-Zionist move:

[T]he following States voted for the adjournment of the debate: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Grenada, Haiti, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Slovakia, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

And the following voted against:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ecuador, France, Gambia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.
France was the only Western democracy in the batch, refusing to support a Russian motion, supported by such legendary pro-Palestinian powers as Brazil and China, to postpone 5 anti-Israel resolutions. France was more anti-Israel than Bashar al-Assad and Hugo Chavez. Simply despicable.
But France is determined to be a leader at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and the French know how it’s done.

And, it must be said, they get results. Two months ago, in February, UNESCO announced the winner of its annual peace prize: French President Francois Hollande. For what?

Having assessed the dangers and the repercussions of the situation on Africa, and on Mali in particular, as well as on the rest of the world, the Jury appreciated the solidarity shown by France to the peoples of Africa.

That’s right: France, the only remaining colonial armed force in the continent, invaded and occupied an African country and went about bombing Islamic extremists to pieces. That the war is just is beside the point. It is that they managed to do all of these things and, with military operations still underway, got a major UN agency to give them a peace prize for it, which is simply extraordinaire.

UNESCO chief hopeful that US will restore funding despite Palestine vote

Segment below from France 24 interview of UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, April 13, 2013. See video at minute 7:50.

France 24: Now let’s talk about UNESCO. As I said earlier, you’re based here in Paris, you rely heavily on the subsidies, on the funds that you get from your members. Following the adoption of Palestine as a member of UNESCO, that was in 2011, the United States stopped funding your organization. This is a terrible blow to UNESCO because the share of the US funding represents more than 20% of your budget. Can you settle this issue?

Bokova: Well, it’s a big blow, as you said, and the situation remains very complex, very difficult. Let me say that we are working with the American administration. It is not a deliberate decision taken by the administration to pull out its funding for UNESCO. There were two laws adopted in the 1990s that ban the administration of financing any organization should Palestine become a full member. So it’s a complicated process there. It’s not that the administration does not share our values. I still hope that they can resolve this issue by the end of this year, because if they don’t, they will lose their right to vote.

France 24: Their voting rights. So the United States would de facto become an observer within your organization.

Bokova: Yeah. Officially they will be members, but they won’t be able to vote.

Obama Administration seeks UNESCO funding as session targets Israel in 5 agenda items

In the same week that UNESCO opened its Executive Board session with five anti-Israel agenda items, the Obama Administration asked Congress to waive legislative restrictions and approve $77.7 million in funding for the Paris-based agency.

From the 2014 budget request:

The Administration seeks Congressional support for legislation that would provide authority to waive legislative restrictions that, if triggered, would prohibit paying U.S. contributions to United Nations specialized agencies that grant the Palestinians the same standing as member states or full membership as a state. Should the Congress pass this waiver legislation, the FY 2014 funding specifically requested for UNESCO would cover the FY 2014 UNESCO assessment and the FY 2013 and FY 2014 Contingent Requirements funding would cover arrears which accrued in FY 2012 and FY 2013. Continue reading ‘Obama Administration seeks UNESCO funding as session targets Israel in 5 agenda items’

UNESCO silent as Hamas bulldozes world heritage site for terrorist training camp

GENEVA, April 15 - In an urgent letter sent today to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova (see letter below), UN Watch demanded immediate action to stop the Hamas bulldozing of a 3000-year-old Gaza harbor for use as a terrorist training camp, as reported today by Al Monitor Palestine Pulse. A copy was also sent to EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton calling on the EU to take action.

The partial destruction of the ancient Anthedon Harbor—which includes the ruins of a Roman temple and archaeological remains from the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras—comes exactly one year after the area was nominated by new UNESCO member state Palestine as a World Heritage site.

UN Watch, an independent Geneva-based monitoring group, called on Bokova to bring the issue before the UNESCO executive board now meeting in Paris. Continue reading ‘UNESCO silent as Hamas bulldozes world heritage site for terrorist training camp’

UNESCO booklet still lists Assad’s Syria as human rights judge

If a government has violated your freedom of speech, opinion, thought, conscience, assembly or association, you can file a complaint with the human rights committee of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

There’s only one catch, as indicated in this recent UNESCO booklet: one of the judges deciding your case will be the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Continue reading ‘UNESCO booklet still lists Assad’s Syria as human rights judge’

OIC suspension of Syria sparks renewed call to expel Assad from U.N. human rights committee

U.S. & Britain must uphold pledge to demand UNESCO expulsion of Assad regime

Rights group: “Syria’s membership is a lingering stainupon the reputation of the U.N. as a whole”

GENEVA, Aug. 16 – Yesterday’s suspension of Syria from the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation creates a new window of opportunity for a top U.N. human rights committee to cancel its “shameful” November election of the Bashar al-Assad regime, said UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights organization which heads a campaign of 55 parliamentarians, human rights and religious groups calling for Syria’s expulsion.

“Now that both the OIC and the Arab League have suspended Syria, there is no longer any excuse — neither morally or politically — for UNESCO to insist on keeping Bashar al-Assad’s regime on its human rights committee, which is mandated to help victims worldwide. It’s time for UNESCO to stop legitimizing a government that mercilessly murders its own people,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. Continue reading ‘OIC suspension of Syria sparks renewed call to expel Assad from U.N. human rights committee’

Rare text: UN draft resolution rejects Palestinian bid to blame Israel for “endangering Church of Nativity”

Following is the United Nations draft resolution to be considered by the World Heritage Committee’s Thirty-sixth session in Saint Petersburg, Russia, 24 June – 6 July 2012. Item 8 of the Provisional Agenda: Establishment of the World Heritage List and of the List of World Heritage in Danger.  Source:  http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2012/whc12-36com-8B-Add-en.pdf

Property: Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem
Id. N° 1433
State Party: Palestine
Criteria proposed by State Party: (iv)(vi)
See ICOMOS Evaluation Book, Additional 2, May 2012, page 1.

Draft Decision: 36 COM 8B.5

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-12/36.COM/8B.Add and WHC-12/36.COM/INF.8B1.Add2,

2. Does not consider that the conditions required by paragraph 161 of the Operational Guidelines are fully met, concerning damage or serious and specific dangers to the Church of the Nativity that make its condition an emergency that needs to be addressed by the World Heritage Committee with immediate action necessary for the survival of the property;

3. Decides not to inscribe the Birthplace of Jesus: the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem, Palestine, on the World Heritage List on an emergency basis;  [...] Read more

“Jesus’ Birthplace in Danger”: Will UNESCO choose PA hype over expert findings?

Under intense pressure by the PLO and its allies, the upcoming meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, from  June 24 to July 6, is liable to find that the “Birthplace of Jesus: the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route, Bethlehem” is under urgent danger and worthy of special UN protection, a declaration that could only further inflame the region.

What news reports fail to mention, however, is that the PLO’s submission — its first nomination to the World Heritage List since UNESCO voted to admit “Palestine” as a member in October 2011 — has been completely rejected by the professional body charged with evaluating country applications.

In its submission, the PLO claims that “the Israeli occupation,” which is “hampering the supply of appropriate materials,” creates an “emergency situation” that needs to be addressed by “an emergency measure.” Continue reading ‘“Jesus’ Birthplace in Danger”: Will UNESCO choose PA hype over expert findings?’

Scandal: UNESCO vote keeps Assad regime on human rights committee

Despite US-led bid to expel Syria, UNESCO voted 35-8 for watered-down resolution, allowing Syria to stay on human rights panel

GENEVA, March 8, 2012 – The UN’s education, science and culture organization has just voted 35 to 8 for a resolution that condemns Assad for abuses, yet — despite vigorous efforts led by the U.S. — keeps the regime on its human rights committee. Click here for resolution; here for U.S. statement.

“For UNESCO to keep President Bashar al-Assad on a human rights committee while his regime mercilessly murders its own people is immoral, indefensible and an insult to Syria’s victims,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, the Geneva human rights group that heads a campaign of 55 parliamentarians, human rights and religious groups demanding Syria’s expulsion. Continue reading ‘Scandal: UNESCO vote keeps Assad regime on human rights committee’

Ros-Lehtinen: UNESCO Fails to Kick Syria Off Human Rights Panel and Backs Anti-Israel Measures; Ros-Lehtinen Reaffirms Opposition to Funding

WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today after UNESCO’s Executive Board voted to adopt a resolution on Syria that, contrary to initial U.S. efforts, failed to expel Syria from the UNESCO committee dealing with human rights. Earlier this week, the Executive Board reportedly adopted multiple anti-Israel resolutions. Continue reading ‘Ros-Lehtinen: UNESCO Fails to Kick Syria Off Human Rights Panel and Backs Anti-Israel Measures; Ros-Lehtinen Reaffirms Opposition to Funding’

Exclusive: UNESCO vote today will keep Syria on human rights committee

Despite bid by US & UK to expel Assad regime, UNESCO waters down draft resolution; Syria to keep seat on UNESCO board and rights panel

GENEVA, March 7 – Despite vigorous efforts led by the US and Britain, a resolution on Syria to be adopted today by the UN’s education, science and culture agency will keep the Assad regime on its human rights committee, revealed UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization, which exclusively obtained a copy of the draft. Click here for draft resolution.

“That UNESCO will keep President Bashar al-Assad on its human rights committee — at the same time as the regime mercilessly murders its own people — is a moral outrage,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group.

“Today’s appalling decision calls into question the credibility of UNESCO as an agency dedicated to human rights, and casts a shadow upon the reputation of the UN as a whole.”

After UNESCO elected Syria to its human rights committee in November, UN Watch led a campaign of 55 parliamentarians, human rights and religious groups calling on the agency to reverse its decision. In response, the US and Britain initiated today’s debate at UNESCO.

“While today’s text rightly condemns Syria, the promised call to oust the regime from UNESCO’s human rights panel has been completely excised. We’re left with words, but no teeth. By maintaining Assad in a position of global influence on human rights, UNESCO today is sending absolutely the wrong message. It an unconscionable insult to the suffering people of Syria,” said Neuer.

Today’s vote is expected around 4:30 pm Paris time. The weakened resolution is expected to pass with numbers similar to last week’s vote, when Russia tried but failed to remove the Syria discussion from the agenda.

UN Watch predicts that some 34 nations, headed by the US and Britain, will vote in favour of today’s watered-down resolution, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Egypt, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.

Some seventeen are expected to oppose, including Syria itself (it is also a member of the Executive Board), Russia, Cuba, China, Brazil, Angola, Namibia, India, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Several weeks ago, UN Watch had received notice from the British Foreign Office that it would seek to cancel Syria’s “abhorrent” membership. In an email to UN Watch, the UK said it “deplores the continuing membership of Syria on this committee and does not believe that Syria’s presence is conducive to the work of the body or UNESCO’s reputation. We have therefore joined with other countries in putting forward an item for the first meeting of the Executive Board at which we will seek to explicitly address Syria’s membership of the body.” The UK also expressed hope that other members of the executive board will join London in ending what it called “this abhorrent [and] anomalous situation.”

“We applaud the efforts of the US and Britain, but it’s sad that a moral majority at UNESCO could simply not be found today,” said Neuer.

UNESCO praised participation of Syria

On Nov. 22, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova distanced herself from UNESCO’s election of Syria to two human rights committees, with her spokesperson telling UN Watch, ”given the developments in Syria, the Director-General does not see how this country can contribute to the work of the Committees.”

However, only three weeks earlier, her approach toward Syria’s role at UNESCO appeared very different. This is from the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), November 1, 2011: Continue reading ‘UNESCO praised participation of Syria’

Syria may be kicked off UNESCO rights panel thanks to UN Watch campaign

GENEVA, Jan. 25 – For the first time in its history, the UN’s culture and education agency is preparing to condemn Syria and expel it from a human rights committee, revealed a Geneva-based human rights organization today, releasing a motion filed by the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Qatar, Kuwait and six other countries, now backed also by Japan and South Korea.

After UNESCO in November elected Syria, which already sits on its 58-member executive board, to a committee that judges human rights complaints, the independent UN Watch monitoring group launched a campaign of 55 parliamentarians, religious groups and human rights activists urging member states to reverse the decision.

In response, according to diplomatic documents obtained exclusively by UN Watch, the U.S., its EU allies, Canada, Japan and a handful of Arab states are now among a growing coalition of countries that is formally requesting an agenda item for next month’s UNESCO board meeting to “review” Syria’s controversial membership.

Continue reading…

After Embracing PLO, UNESCO Lobbies to Circumvent U.S. Funding Penalty

UNESCO officials are braced for “months” of back-and-forth with the United States as they seek restoration of U.S. funding following mandated cuts in response to the Paris-based agency’s embrace of “Palestine” as a member, diplomatic sources report.

One confirmed that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has been seeking ways to effect a waiver of the law that mandates immediate cessation of Washington’s contributions to any UN agency that allows Palestinian membership. But this official added that the one key person holding out is Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Indeed, the Florida Republican launched a call this week for the United States to “strengthen and preserve” the funding prohibition law. In a press release, she says that the Obama administration has “failed” in what she describes as efforts to “gut” the law and restore Washington’s UNESCO contributions. Continue reading ‘After Embracing PLO, UNESCO Lobbies to Circumvent U.S. Funding Penalty’

UNESCO inconsistency in protesting Haaretz cartoon

In a letter of protest handed to Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO on Wednesday, the agency’s director general complained about a cartoon published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, saying it constituted “incitement” and “endangers the lives of unarmed diplomats.”

The November 4 cartoon depicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak sending an air force squadron to attack Iran, with Netanyahu ordering, “And on your way back, you’re gonna hit the UNESCO office in Ramallah!”

First of all, Haaretz is a frequent critic of the Israeli government, and this cartoon was clearly meant as a wry referral to the government’s anger at UNESCO for having accepted Palestine as a full member. And so it’s ironic that the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, whose mandate includes press freedom, should object to such legitimate commentary – especially since it appears in a country whose laws protect freedom of speech.

But most shocking is UNESCO chief Irina Bokova’s display of inconsistency in having Eric Falt, the agency’s assistant director general for external relations and public information, summon Ambassador Nimrod Barkan to make the protest.

In June 2010, UN Watch raised the issue of anti-Semitic and racist caricatures that regularly appear in the state-controlled press of Jordan, Syria, Qatar, Oman and elsewhere. Our compelling testimony before the UN Human Rights Council described several cartoons that we showed were “reminiscent of the Nazi era.” We wonder whether the UNESCO chief or her spokesman have ever said anything about those cartoons.

Al-Watan, September 30, 2011 (Qatar)

Many of the cartoons depict the UN as being controlled by evil Jewish forces. We are not aware of any UN agency having ever been concerned about the safety of its staff based on what they show.

Finally, in many similar instances in the past, UN officials used a traditional and effective way to response to news stories that they did not agree or wanted to clarify: they submitted a letter to the editor.  Edward Mortimer, Director of Communications for Kofi Annan, publilshed several such letters to the New York Times. Imagine if they had summoned the US Ambassador…

UNESCO vote to admit Palestine: Who objected?

Following is the full count of yesterday’s vote at UNESCO to admit Palestine as a member.

No: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu.

Abstentions: Albania, Andorra, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cook Islands, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Georgia, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Liberia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand, Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Zambia.

Yes: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Absent: Antigua and Barbuda, Central African Republic, Comoros, Dominica, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Madagascar, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Confederated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Niue, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan.

Today: Palestinians fire rockets on Beersheva, win UNESCO membership

GENEVA, Oct. 31 – “On a day when Palestinians continued firing rockets against Israeli civilian centers,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, in reaction to the vote by UNECO to admit the non-existent state of Palestine as a member, “the United Nations sent the wrong message about state privileges and responsibilities.”

A week-long assault from armed groups based in Gaza, part of the territory claimed by President Mahmoud Abbas to be under his jurisdiction, has injured 20 Israelis, and killed Moshe Ami, 56, who was mortally injured by flying shrapnel from a rocket fired Saturday at a residential neighborhood in the southern city of Ashkelon.

“The long-sought peace that the Palestinian and Israeli peoples so rightly deserve cannot be achieved by unilateral actions at the UN, but only by face-to-face talks,” said Neuer.

“The UNESCO decision may be a victory for rhetorical point-scoring on the international stage, but it does nothing to help Palestinians resolve the real issues on the ground. It’s time for Abbas and the Palestinians to choose the path of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Jordan’s King Hussein and return to the negotiating table.”

Out of 173 countries voting, 107 voted in favor of the Palestinian request, sufficing under UNECO rules but falling short of the two-thirds support that many expected. There were 14 opposed, including the US, Germany and Canada, and 52 abstentions, including the UK.

UNESCO: The Shame of a Disaster Foretold

By Bernard-Henri Lévy (Source: Huffington Post)

Here is an open letter I have co-signed along with Elie Wiesel and Claude Lanzmann:

Who declared in April 2001: “Israel has never contributed to Civilization in any era, for it has only ever appropriated the contributions of others” — and added almost two months later: “the Israeli culture is an inhumane culture; it is an aggressive, racist, pretentious culture based on one simple principle: steal what does not belong to in order to then claim its appropriation”? Continue reading ‘UNESCO: The Shame of a Disaster Foretold’