UN Rights Chief Urged to Stop Distributing Anti-Semitic Incitement by Libyan-Linked Group
GENEVA, Mar. 25, 2010 — UN Watch, the Geneva-based watchdog organization, exposed an anti-Semitic text that was circulated by the United Nations Human Rights Council this week as part of its permanently recurring debate on the Palestinian territories, which culminated yesterday in four resolutions against Israel, with a fifth on the Goldstone Report expected today. UN Watch’s letter, shown below, has mobilized international outrage with immediate coverage in Canada’s National Post and the Jerusalem Post.
Amb. Alex Van Meeuwen, President of the Human Rights Council
Ms. Navanethem Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations European Headquarters
March 24, 2010
Dear Mr. President,
Dear Madam High Commissioner,
As a human rights NGO dedicated to combating racism, UN Watch is alarmed to discover that the UN Human Rights Council, together with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, has, however unwittingly, helped to propagate an anti-Semitic blood libel by publishing it as an official United Nations document (A/HRC/13/NGO/23), which is now being distributed to country delegates—under the same Agenda Item in which they will soon vote on the Goldstone Report.
We call upon you to immediately cease circulating this racist, hateful and inflammatory text to the ambassadors and other delegates of the Human Rights Council; to gather up and destroy all existing copies; and to remove it from the Human Rights Council website.
The document in question is A/HRC/13/NGO/23, entitled “Israeli Illegal Trafficking in Organs of Dead and Kidnapped Palestinian Victims.” It was submitted by the “International Organization for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination,” also known as EAFORD. As shown on its website (www.eaford.org), the raison d’etre of this UN-accredited organization is to accuse Israel of being a racist state. (The website also links to a video on U.S. action in Iraq, which it describes as a “Holocaust.”)
The statement begins by accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing and massacres,” creating the “largest open-air prison in the world,” perpetrating “economic genocide,” and having “let loose hordes of marauding gangs of Israeli illegal settlers” in order to “launch pogroms against Palestinians.”
It then proceeds to the principal charge: “Now it is the turn of the dead, kidnapped and killed Palestinians. Their human organs, as reported in the press, can be a source of immense wealth through illegal trafficking in the world market. Israeli physicians, medical centers, rabbis and the Israeli army may be involved, according to reports published in the Swedish press and criminal investigations in the United States.”
It goes on: “After Israeli physicians remove organs they think marketable, the soldiers bury the bodies in graves that carry only numbers and no names, or place them in sealed caskets and deliver them under curfew conditions to the families and supervise the digging of the graves and burial.”
Finally, the statement concludes by calling on “physicians, medical centers and associations everywhere to condemn and boycott Israeli physicians and medical centers.”
Your Excellencies, the accusation that the Jewish state and its doctors are engaged in a racist campaign to steal Palestinian organs has no basis in fact or reality, and is nothing less than the repackaging of the medieval blood libel that was used over centuries to incite anti-Semitic hatred, violence and pogroms against Jews.
The United Nations cannot allow itself to aid or abet such blatant incitement to racism. Given that the Office of the High Commissioner carefully screens all submissions before deciding to publish them—indeed, our own submissions to this session were edited to remove certain words referring to regimes such as Iran and Libya—we are deeply disappointed that this hateful text was accepted for publication as an official UN document, and that it is now being distributed as such within the Human Rights Council chamber.
We urge you to take immediate action in accordance with the principles of human rights, equality and anti-racism upon which the United Nations was founded.
Hillel C. Neuer
Thursday, March 25, 2010
UN slammed for printing organ claims
Jewish ‘Blood Libel’; Document says bodies of dead Palestinians used
Steven Edwards, Canwest News Service
Claims that Israel is trafficking the organs of dead Palestinians are printed in an official United Nations document, exposing the world body to charges it is doing the bidding of anti-Israel countries such as Iran and Libya.
The revelation comes as Iran and Libya are leading candidates for election this year to the UN Human Rights Council, which the world body bills as the world’s foremost human rights monitoring group.
The election of Iran would be an affront to Canada, which each year leads a campaign in the UN General Assembly to have Iran’s human rights record condemned — invariably amid substantial opposition from Iranian sympathizer states such as Cuba, Venezuela and even Afghanistan.
Israel’s organ trafficking claim is alleged by the Libyafounded International Organization for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD), whose website says it is “focused on the ideological systems of apartheid and Zionism.”
But because the UN General Assembly has printed the charges in an official document, they are now part of the international record emerging from the Geneva-based Council.
Adding credence to the claims, the document also highlights that EAFORD enjoys “special consultative status” under UN rules, and that the statement is in the hands of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch yesterday condemned the text.
“We call upon you to immediately cease circulating this racist, hateful and inflammatory text to the ambassadors and other delegates of the Human Rights Council; to gather up and destroy all existing copies; and to remove it from the Human Rights Council website,” said a letter from UN Watch to Navanethem Pillay, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Ambassador Alex Van Meeuwen of Belgium, president of the Human Rights Council.
Neither office returned calls yesterday seeking comment.
Bernie Farber, the Canadian Jewish Congress chief executive, said the UN was involved in distributing allegations which reflect age-old “blood libels” accusing Jews of using human blood in certain of their rituals.
“Not only is there no proof, it is a take-off of the historical calumny of the Jewish blood libel, and that this is coming out under the auspices of the United Nations, and from an accredited UN organization, is breathtaking in its shame,” Mr. Farber said.
The UN paper containing the EAFORD statement says that Israel has conducted “ethnic cleansing and massacres” of Palestinians, and created the “largest open-air prison in the world” with its West Bank wall.
But EAFORD seeks to make a new case for international action against Israel by presenting organ-trafficking allegations as a new dimension to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Now it is the turn of the dead, kidnapped and killed Palestinians,” says the paper. “Their human organs, as reported in the press, can be a source of immense wealth through illegal trafficking in the world market. Israeli physicians, medical centres, rabbis and the Israeli army may be involved, according to reports published in the Swedish press and criminal investigations in the United States.”
The Human Rights Council routinely presents statements submitted by accredited nongovernmental organizations as official documents — but only after the language has been screened.
In contrast to what the UN reviewers approved for the EAFORD statement, they told UN Watch recently not to use the word “regime” when referring to the governments of Sudan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Zimbabwe because it would offend those countries, said Hillel Neuer, the group’s executive director.
EAFORD’s “Swedish press” reference appears linked to an op-ed piece the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet ran last year. In it, freelance journalist Donald Bostrom called for an investigation into claims that Israeli soldiers may have harvested organs from dead Palestinians. But the author later told CNN he had no proof any such thing had gone on, and said he sought an investigation solely to clear up numerous claims of organ theft in the 1990s.
March 25, 2010 Thursday 10 Nisan 5770 2:15 IST
UN site posts organ harvesting claim
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Allegations that Israel harvests Palestinian organs have re-surfaced and are posted on the UN Human Rights Council Web site in the form of a statement written by an NGO.
The International Organization for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination [EAFORD] accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing and massacres” before it moved on to the issue of what it called “dead, kidnapped and killed Palestinians.”
“Their [Palestinian] human organs, as reported in the press, can be a source of immense wealth through illegal trafficking in the world market,” wrote EAFORD.
“Israeli physicians, Medical Centres, rabbis and the Israeli army may be involved,” it stated.
“After Israeli physicians remove organs they think marketable, the soldiers bury the bodies in graves that carry only numbers and no names, or place them in sealed caskets and deliver them under curfew conditions to the families and supervise the digging of the graves and burial,” stated the NGO document, which is posted on the UNHRC’s Web site.
EAFORD called for a boycott of Israel physicians and medical centers. It also asked the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to report on the matter to the Security Council and to demand that it be sent to the International Criminal Court for action.
EAFORD’s statement along with that of other NGOs can be found on the UNHRC Web site in a section for documents, which were submitted for the council’s 13th session, which is taking place this March in Geneva.
NGOs regularly submit documents to the UNHRC relating to matters under debate. In this session the council is debating the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories.
The fact that the allegations were on the site was first publicized by UN Watchin Geneva, which on Wednesday sent a protest letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the council’s president.
The council and the commissioner’s office, “however unwittingly, helped to propagate an anti-Semitic libel by publishing [the EAFORD’s charges] as an official UN document,” wrote UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer.
He called on the UN council and high commissioner to “immediately cease circulating this racist, hateful and inflammatory text to the ambassadors and other delegates of the UNHRC.”
Neuer told The Jerusalem Post that the UNHRC in the past has askedUN Watch to change the language in documents that UN Watch plans to submit, including in this session where UNHRC asked UN Watch to edit their words with reference to Iran and Libya.
If UN Watch can’t use the word “regime” when talking about Iran, then one would think that a “blood libel” would be unacceptable, Neuer said.
Allegations that Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians to harvest their organs were widely publicized this summer in an article written by Swedish journalist Donald Bostrom for the country’s largest circulated daily, Aftonbladet.
Israel has denied the story. Bostrom later admitted that he relied solely on the testimony of Palestinian families for his story.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said it was “outrageous” that the allegations were published on a UN Web site.
“The only organ that was stolen is in people’s brains,” said Palmor.
“The most preposterous, ridiculous and horrendous of all lies can gain respectability at the UN,” he warned.
“I am deeply revolted by the fact that anyone in their right mind can actually advance such horribly surrealistic accusations,” said Palmor.
According to the NGO Eye on the UN, EAFORD was founded in Libya and accredited at the UN in 1981. Its Web site states that it has focused on the ideological systems of Apartheid and Zionism.
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had no response to the matter.
Separately on Wednesday, the US chastised the UN Human Rights Council for its continued focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as it opposed four resolutions on that matter which the council passed.
Since the council’s inception in 2006, most of its resolutions censuring countries have focused on Israel.
US Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe told the council “it is too often exploited as a platform to single out Israel, which undermines its credibility.”
Out of the four resolutions which passed Wednesday, one focused on the “occupation of the Golan [Heights],” two focused on alleged human rights violations in the West Bank including settlement construction and Israeli actions against Palestinians in east Jerusalem, and the fourth called for the Palestinian right to self-determination.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Aharon Leshno Yaar, said, “we have witnessed today another anti-Israel show of the human rights council.”