Fighting Anti-Israeli Bias

Countering
Item 7

THE UNHRC'S STANDING AGENDA ITEM
TARGETING ISRAEL

Claims

Claim 37: Israeli actions threaten stability of the region

examples

the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), 48th Session

“The GCC states condemn violations against the Palestinian people and settlement activities…We also consider that such practices constitute an obstacle to the endeavors to achieve peace, security, and stability in the region.”

Jordan, 47th Session

“The report of the Special Rapporteur indicated that Israel continues to expand settlements…This is considered a war crime, and this is not good for the peace process. It goes against current international efforts to bring about stability and security in the region.”

Senegal, 30th Special Session

“Israeli actions have made an unstable situation worse.”

Russia, 30th Special Session

“The current escalation is fraught with destabilization of the entire region.”

Mauritania, 30th Special Session

“All of these actions are a grave threat to international security.”

Our Response

UN Watch

Claiming that Israeli actions threaten the security of the region is absurd considering the numerous deadly conflicts in the region that have nothing to do with Israel.

In fact, Iran is the primary aggressor, threatening the stability of the entire region. Iran openly calls for the annihilation of Israel. In his annual May 2020 Quds Day speech, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called Israel a “cancerous tumor” which “will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed.”[1] On Twitter, he posted more than 25 tweets against Israel, including one comparing Zionism to Covid-19: “The long-lasting virus of Zionism will be uprooted thanks to the determination and faith of the youth. #Covid1948.”[2] In January 2021, Iranian lawmakers introduced legislation that would mandate the government to initiate steps to destroy Israel by 2040.[3]

Furthermore, Iran directly threatens Israel via the proxy terror organizations it supports, including Hezbollah in Lebanon to Israel’s North and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza and the West Bank to Israel’s South and East. It is estimated that Iran provides $700 million per year to Hezbollah and $100 million per year to other Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas and PIJ.[4]

In addition to threatening Israel, Iran also supports numerous other conflicts in the region, both directly and through terrorist proxies.[5]

In Lebanon, Iran finances Hezbollah, described as “one of the world’s most capable and worrisome terrorist groups,” which has been caught preparing attacks all over the world from Bolivia to Thailand.[6] Hezbollah, which is now part of the Lebanese government, is responsible for instability in Lebanon and the region. It was Hezbollah’s July 12, 2006 cross-border raid and kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers that sparked a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah which resulted in 1200 deaths on the Lebanese side and billions in property damage.[7] As detailed in our response to Claim 23, continued militant activity by Hezbollah threatens Israel’s security and at times necessitates a military response by Israel. Furthermore, since 2019, the Lebanese have taken to the streets to protest in the wake of the country’s deteriorating economic situation. In June 2020, the protesters accused Hezbollah of corruption and blocking necessary reforms.[8] Hezbollah was also widely blamed for the deadly August 2020 port explosion that killed 150 and injured thousands.[9]

In Syria, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) provides substantial direct support to the Assad regime, including by forming Shiite militias, recruiting soldiers – many from Pakistani and Afghani refugee populations in Iran,[10] supplying weapons,[11] and establishing military bases. During the course of the war, Iran has established at least 10 military bases in Syria and had up to 20,000 fighters in the country.[12] There have been multiple media reports about Iran building permanent military bases in different parts of Syria.[13] Several top IRGC commanders, have been killed in Syria.[14] Indeed, the survival of the Assad regime has been directly attributed to Iranian intervention in the Syrian civil war led by General Qassem Soleimani.[15]

In Iraq, Iran funds and trains a number of Shiite militias—including Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al Haq and Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba—responsible for undermining Iraqi sovereignty and carrying out numerous deadly terrorist attacks on US and coalition forces.[16] As in Syria, Iran has had its fighters and generals on the ground in Iraq.[17] Among these was General Qassem Soleimani who coordinated attacks on US troops in Iraq.[18]

In Yemen, Iran provides weapons, training and other support to the Houthi rebels which took control of the Yemeni capital in 2014. Since 2014, more than 230,000 have been killed[19] and more than four million displaced in Yemen’s civil war. According to the UNHCR, some 20 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian assistance and 16 million suffer from hunger.[20]

Iran also supports anti-government Shiite militias in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia[21] and its operatives in Europe have been caught planning attacks in Denmark and France.[22]

[1] Amir Vahdat and Jon Gambrell, Iran leader says Israel a ‘cancerous tumor’ to be destroyed, AP (May 22, 2020), https://apnews.com/article/ali-khamenei-israel-persian-gulf-tensions-tehran-jerusalem-a033042303545d9ef783a95222d51b83.

[2] Tyler Olson, Iran’s Supreme leader calls for Israel’s destruction in Twitter screed on anti-Israel holiday, Fox (May 22, 2020), https://www.foxnews.com/world/iranian-supreme-leader-calls-for-israels-destruction-in-twitter-screed-on-anti-israel-holiday.

[3] Proposed Bill at Iran’s parliament calls for Israel’s ‘destruction,’ Iran International (January 4, 2021), https://iranintl.com/en/iran-in-brief/proposed-bill-irans-parliament-calls-israels-destruction.

[4] Ashley Lane, Iran’s Islamist Proxies in the Middle East, Wilson Center (December 17, 2020), https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/irans-islamist-proxies; David Adesnik, Iran Spends $16 Billion Annually to Support Terrorists and Rogue Regimes, FDD (January 10, 2018), https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2018/01/10/iran-spends-16-billion-annually-to-support-terrorists-and-rogue-regimes/.

[5] Ashley Lane, Iran’s Islamist Proxies in the Middle East, Wilson Center (December 17, 2020), https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/irans-islamist-proxies;

[6] Nathan Sales, Tehran’s International Targets: Assessing Iranian Terror Sponsorship, Washington Institute (November 13, 2018), https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/tehrans-international-targets-assessing-iranian-terror-sponsorship.

[7] James Haines-Young, The 2006 Lebanon War: Hezbollah’s expensive ‘victory’ ten years on, Al Arabiya (July 15, 2016), https://english.alarabiya.net/features/2016/07/15/The-2006-Lebanon-War-Hezbollah-s-expensive-victory-ten-years-on.

[8] Orna Mizrahi and Yoram Schweitzer, Hezbollah Embroiled in Challenges, at Home and Abroad, INSS (July 8, 2020), https://www.inss.org.il/publication/hezbollah-challenges/.

[9] Rafiq Hariri’s son blames Hezbollah, ‘corrupt’ elite for Beirut explosion, Arab News (August 8, 2020), https://www.arabnews.com/node/1716576/middle-east; Tobias Siegal, Former Lebanon justice min blames Hezbollah for deaths of hundreds, Jerusalem Post (December 19, 2020), https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/former-lebanon-justice-min-blames-hezbollah-for-deaths-of-hundreds-652582.

[10] Navvar Saban, Factbox: Iranian influence and presence in Syria, Atlantic Council (November 5, 2020), https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/factbox-iranian-influence-and-presence-in-syria/.

[11] Iran Sends Missiles to Iraqi Hezbollah in East Syria, Asharq Al-Awsat (January 30, 2021), https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2774006/iran-sends-missiles-iraqi-hezbollah-east-syria; Louis Charbonneau, Exclusive: Iran steps up weapons lifeline to Assad, Reuters (March 14, 2013), https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-crisis-iran-idUSBRE92D05U20130314.

[12] Michael Bachner, Iran has 10 military bases in Syria, two near Israel border – analyst, Times of Israel (February 19, 2018), https://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-has-10-military-bases-in-syria-two-near-israel-border-analyst/.

[13] Report: Iran Building New, Classified Military Base in Syria, Haaretz (September 3, 2019), https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/iran/report-iran-building-new-classified-military-base-in-syria-1.7795875; Gordon Corera, Iran building permanent military base in Syria – claim, BBC (November 10, 2017), https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41945189.

[14] Jack Khoury, Iranian Commander Killed by Drone Strike in Syria-Iraq Border, Reports Say, Haaretz (December 1,, 2020), https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-iranian-commander-killed-by-drone-strike-in-syria-iraq-border-reports-say-1.9338563; Prominent Iran Guards Commander killed in Syria Ambush, Asharq Al-Awsat (June 5, 2021), https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3010526/prominent-iran-guards-commander-killed-syria-ambush.

[15] Sarah EL Deeb, Iranian general transformed Syria’s war in Assad’s favor, AP (January 7, 2020), https://apnews.com/article/syria-ap-top-news-tehran-international-news-iraq-a0557de2499d53eb9d298bbea35bb9d8.

[16] Ashley Lane, Iran’s Islamist Proxies in the Middle East, Wilson Center (December 17, 2020), https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/irans-islamist-proxies;

[17] Yonah Jeremy Bob, Iran loses thousands, 10 generals in Syria-Iraq wars, Jerusalem Post (March 19, 2017), https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/iran-news/iran-loses-thousands-10-generals-in-syria-iraq-wars-484611.

[18] Sam Fellman, Why Iran’s Qassem Soleimani was no a not-so-secret trip to Iraq when he was assassinated, Business Insider (January 6, 2020), https://www.businessinsider.com/what-qassem-soleimani-was-doing-in-iraq-before-assassination-2020-1.

[19] UN humanitarian office puts Yemen war dead at 233,000, mostly from ‘indirect causes,’ UN News (December 1, 2020), https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/12/1078972.

[20] Yemen Humanitarian Crisis, UNHCR (last visited June 17, 2021), https://www.unrefugees.org/emergencies/yemen/.

[21] Ashley Lane, Iran’s Islamist Proxies in the Middle East, Wilson Center (December 17, 2020), https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/irans-islamist-proxies.

[22] Nathan Sales, Tehran’s International Targets: Assessing Iranian Terror Sponsorship, Washington Institute (November 13, 2018), https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/tehrans-international-targets-assessing-iranian-terror-sponsorship.

UN Watch