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StandWithUs Holds Press Conference on UN Human Rights Council’s Injustice Against Israel

StandWithUs (SWU), an international nonpartisan education organization that supports Israel and fights antisemitism, held a press conference on October 27. In cooperation with dozens of other organizations, the purpose of the press conference was to raise awareness about the virulent anti-Israel agenda of the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), whose modern-day antisemitism and obsession with Israel constantly distract the council’s attention and resources from glaring human rights abuses in other countries.

The press conference was held at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in Manhattan prior to Navi Pillay, chair of the UNHRC’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) presenting her latest report to the U.N. General Assembly. Similar to the findings of its first scandal-riddled, anti-Israel report, which was released on June 7, 2022, this report, released October 20, reflects the same bias, hate, intolerance, demonization of Israel, propaganda and antisemitism, minimizing the role of Palestinian terrorism and instead overwhelmingly blaming Israel for the conflict.

UNHRC consistently condemns and investigates the Jewish State more than all other governments in the world combined. The UNHRC has only one standing agenda item, dedicated to defaming just one country: Israel.

The U.S. State Department and bipartisan members of Congress have criticized the June 7 report; 22 nations have opposed it.

Carly Gammill, director of the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism and host of the press conference, stated that she was “beyond appalled at the kangaroo court that is the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on Israel. This Commission of Inquiry epitomizes the definition of antisemitism. While claiming to seek the underlying causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead it has applied a blatant double standard to the State of Israel.

“Unfortunately, while real and egregious human rights violations are happening all over the world, the UNHRC is abusing its power by ignoring those violations and wasting valuable resources in its obsessive attempt to slander Israel. The Commission’s latest report blames Israel alone for the conflict. Astoundingly, it fails to mention Hamas or even the word ‘terrorism’ a single time. It is no wonder that the governments of multiple countries have condemned the Commission of Inquiry. And we are grateful that just yesterday, President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ own strong opposition to the ‘open-ended and biased nature’ of the Commission,” said Gammill.

The COI was established by the U.N. in May 2021 and has an open-ended, indefinite mandate and therefore no incentive to consider its investigations closed.

Sarri Singer, the daughter of New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer, survived the June 11, 2003 Palestinian suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed 17 people. She is the founder and director of Strength to Strength. She said at the press conference, “It is 19 years since that attack and I’m still witnessing the lifelong wounds and trauma that thousands of people continue to experience as a result of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority promoting hate and murder on an ongoing basis.”

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said: “The Council is a mockery, just like this commission is a mockery. The members of the COI were not chosen for their investigative skills. They were chosen specifically because of their very public hatred of Israel and their very poisonous antisemitism.

“Today it’s no longer politically correct to blame Jews for all the world’s problems, so antisemites adapt,” Erdan continued. “Rather than burning Jews at the stake, antisemites burn the Jewish State at the stake. This is exactly what [the U.N.] constantly does; 30% of COIs established by the U.N. are directed at Israel. This is a council that has condemned Israel, a liberal democracy, more than Iran, Syria and North Korea combined.”

At the press conference, a petition was handed to Erdan, signed by over 10,000 people from countries around the world who are disgusted with the COI and are standing up for Israel, the Jewish people, human rights and peace.

Professor Anne Bayefsky, director, Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president, Human Rights Voices, handed Erdan evidence of hundreds of thousands of individual submissions to the COI from Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism: from suicide bombings to thousands of rockets launched at Israeli cities, to plane hijackings, to massacres like the Munich Olympics, Hebron and Maalot. The COI has completely ignored these voices.

Bayefsky said: “In an unprecedented response in the history of the U.N. human rights system … a group of eminent research centers and organizations submitted over 5 million unique submissions … [including] almost 50,000 submissions … meticulously demonstrating Palestinian Arab antisemitism and remorseless violence directed at Israelis over the past 75 years … [Navi] Pillay openly told the press in June she ‘hadn’t seen them’ and dismissed them as ‘pro-Israel.” This U.N. is a sham … [with] modern antisemitism, erasing the human rights of Jews.”

Shani and Asaf Avigal, parents of Ido, a 5-year-old boy murdered in his home in Sderot by one of Hamas’ thousands of rockets in May 2021, flew in from Israel to speak at the press conference. “In Gaza, candy was handed out in celebration of the death of our son,” said Shani. “Celebrating the death of a 5-year-old boy, candy was also distributed by the same terror organization immediately after the tragic 9/11 terror attacks. But the U.N.’s Commission of Inquiry doesn’t see that as a problem.”

William Daroff, CEO, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, called the findings that the COI was preparing to present to the U.N. “prejudicial, free of essential facts and devoid of context, devoid of any mention of Ido or the thousands of other Idos who have been victims of terror.” He continued, “We urge the nations of the world to condemn the COI’s one-sided report and support efforts to disband this malicious and illegitimate body.”

Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO, The Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) stated: “It is my honor and responsibility to stand here to represent 146 Federations across North America. We are standing here to expose the lies. We appeal to others to join together with the real voices of human rights to spread the word that what is done at the U.N. is nothing but lies.”

Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, director of United Nations Relations and Strategic Partnerships, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, said: “The UNHRC’s double standards, hypocrisy and vile prejudice is only directed at the State of Israel, even as the UNHRC ignores human rights abuses by China, Russia and Syria, just to name a few.” He spoke about fellow Jewish organizations and allies joining “to help expose the dangerous witch hunt directed against the State of Israel and the Jewish people by the United Nations Human Rights Council and its latest embarrassment, a discredited panel officially called the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in Israel. This commission is an embarrassment to the U.N., a body created out of the ashes of the Holocaust.”

Colonel Richard Kemp, retired British Army commander, began his speech by asking: “Was this report written in Moscow by the Kremlin? It might as well have been because Pillay’s propaganda is the equivalent of Putin’s propaganda that justifies his invasion of Ukraine. This propaganda justifies unprovoked terror attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers … Israel’s lawful defenses are branded by this report as illegitimate. But at the same time, this report ignores the attacks on Israel that require this defense … the people who wrote this report and anyone who supports it will have blood on their hands.”

Pastor Robert Stearns, founder of Eagles’ Wings Ministries and president of Israel Christian Nexus said: “I’m honored to be here today representing the tens of millions of Christians in America and hundreds of millions of Christians around the world who stand firmly and resolutely behind Israel and the Jewish State”

He concluded, “As we work together towards a future of peace and together imagine that hope, I would like to sing the song of hope—Israel’s National Anthem, ‘Hatikvah’.” And then he did.

The entire press conference can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3sMmdW2. Learn about StandWithUs: https://www.standwithus.com.

By Susan R. Eisenstein

 

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