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UN Watch Briefing

 3rd Anniversary: Goldstone Report Hits Dead-Ends, But Far From Dead

Yesterday marked the third anniversary of the notorious UN Human Rights Council session that created the Goldstone Report, a 500-page document that excoriated Israel—for defending itself from deadly rockets—while exonerating Hamas.

The core charges of the report—that Israel's leadership intentionally plotted to murder Palestinian civilians, and did so from racist motives—were famously retracted by Judge Goldstone in op-eds published last year in the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Overnight, anti-Israel intellectuals who had hailed Goldstone as a modern-day saint turned on him with a vengeance, especially those uneasy with their Jewish ancestry, such as Roger Cohen and Richard Falk.

The trajectory of the Goldstone Report as a weapon against Israel has now hit several diplomatic and legal dead ends. Nevertheless, the UN document will continue to be used against Israel in politically-motivated prosecution campaigns.

The International Criminal Court recently reported to the UN that it is considering a Palestinian request to prosecute Israelis, along with "400 communications on crimes allegedly committed in Palestine." If the ICC eventually does act against Israel over its last war with Hamas, the Goldstone Report will surely serve as Exhibit A. 

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After Recognizing "Palestine," UNESCO Lobbying to Circumvent U.S. Funding Penalty

UNESCO officials are aggressively lobbying Washington to circumvent a U.S. law that mandates funding cuts in response to the Paris-based agency’s embrace of “Palestine” as a member, diplomatic sources report.

The UN's education, science and culture organization is braced for “months” of back-and-forth with the United States.

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 / Comment

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Islamic States Pledge Tolerance as Report Says They Practice Persecution

Concerns about an Islamic-sponsored “combating intolerance” initiative at the United Nations is brought into high relief by results of a new world survey on religious persecution.

Muslim nations make up nine out of the top ten countries where Christians face the “most severe” persecution, and 38 of the top 50, reports U.S.-based Open Doors in its 2012 World Watch List.

The results lay bare the sheer incongruity of the idea that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), whose 56 member states control more than a quarter of the votes in the UN General Assembly, can be serious about promoting religious tolerance.

Yet that is what it claimed by successfully pushing for an assembly resolution titled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief.”

The measure, which passed last month, mirrored an almost identical resolution in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva last March. Continue reading / Comment





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