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Israel in danger of delegitimisation over UN apartheid lie

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The United Nations (UN) has launched “the most egregious [awful] anti-Israel effort” in history through the latest UN Human Rights System, the general name of the UN council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanism.

So said Anne Bayefsky, the president of Human Rights Voices, on Tuesday, 8 February. Bayefsky has been keeping tabs on the UN for almost four decades.

She’s referring to the UN’s latest effort to create an unprecedented open-ended inquiry into systematic abuses in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The inquiry is ongoing after being established in late May 2021. It’s tasked with scrutinising alleged abuses and their “root causes” in the decades-long Middle East conflict. The inquiry is chaired by South African jurist Dr Navi Pillay, who, Bayefsky said, “is notorious for her anti-Israel bias”.

The inquiry is “operationalised in a way which is dedicated to the destruction of a Jewish state through lethal politics”, Bayefsky said.

Bayefsky, also director of the Turo Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, was speaking in a webinar titled “The UN’s War on Israel”, organised by the South African Zionist Federation.

“It’s no secret that the UN is anti-Israel,” said Olga Meshoe Washington, the chief executive of DEISI (Defend Embrace Invest Support Israel) International. “It makes its bias very clear. We see it with Israel being a standing item on the agenda for meetings of the UN Human Rights Council. We see its anti-Israel bias in the number of ridiculous resolutions that condemn Israel for human-rights abuses, never mind the fact that real abusers of human rights get a free pass.”

Bayefsky recounted how the UN responded when Hamas launched about 4 300 rockets at Israel last spring. “It convened an emergency session at the behest of Islamic states and, in UN terms, the so-called ‘state of Palestine’. The UN Human Rights Council convened this emergency session within days. [The organisation] takes years, if ever, to deal with grotesque human-rights violations around the world, but when Israel had the audacity to fight back, the council held an emergency session, even though by then, there was already a ceasefire agreement.

“The UN adopted a resolution over the objection of every Western state, not a single one voted for the resolution. It created a commission of inquiry that virtually didn’t have anything to do with the conflict that had just taken place. It was an inquiry on all the root causes of the conflict, ever, with no start and end date.”

Bayefesky said this inquiry was “permanently based at the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, composed to a great extent by lawyers who have essentially created an in-house law firm to victimise, delegitimise, and criminalise Israel and Israelis when they act in self-defence”.

She said this was part of a four-pronged plan. “Number one, label Israel as a racist state guilty of apartheid. Number two, because that’s a crime against humanity, take Israel to the International Criminal Court. Three, get the entire global community on board with the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions [BDS] organisation. Lastly, encourage a complete arms embargo on the state of Israel, so Israelis can’t engage in self-defence.”

Bayefsky said people could respond to this by telling the truth and making the facts available to the UN, whether it wanted to listen or not. Through Bayefsky’s website, www.humanrightsvoices.org, anyone can submit their experiences of living in or visiting Israel to the Pillay-chaired inquiry.

“This will allow us to say that we gave it the information, which it ignored,” said Bayefsky. “Your submissions will reach media and ordinary people who are open-minded and want to hear the facts.

“You experienced apartheid in South Africa. The other side is now attempting to appropriate your history and experience. You are one of the only ones who can speak with an authoritative voice.”

Bayefsky said Israel wasn’t an apartheid state because, “Arabs sit on the Supreme Court and are ambassadors who represent the country abroad, voluntarily. If they wish to do so, they can serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Arabs currently have a political party represented in the ruling governing coalition in Israel.”

The UN is tying itself into knots to figure out how it can apply the word “apartheid” to Israel, she said. “Apartheid is a crime, and it wants to haul Israel before the International Criminal Court. If it can criminalise the country, an arms embargo will ensure Israel has no military victory.”

“Israel is in imminent danger, real danger of delegitimisation through this apartheid lie,” Bayefsky said.

Pamela Ngubane, a historian and the general manager of the South African Friends of Israel, said, “I know from my own experience that Israel isn’t an apartheid state. I would never have dreamed of seeing someone who looks like me being an ambassador for South Africa abroad. Yet, Israel’s diplomatic core is representative of the entire demography, so there are so many things that could be said about how it’s just a libellous lie.”

Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, the leader of the African Christian Democratic Party, said, “We should do our best to ensure that we increase the presence of those who love Israel. Start new chapters. You go to many universities, and don’t see anything or any group of people who love Israel. But those who hate Israel are on every campus.

“We need to ensure that educational programmes reach all universities, to increase knowledge about what’s happening in the Middle East. I can assure you that the majority of South Africans love Israel.

“The UN is biased. It claims to be promoting peace and security in Israel, when it’s part of the problem. Until it’s told to its face, ‘You are the problem’, the problem in the Middle East won’t be solved. The UN needs to take the position of facilitator of peace because at the moment, it’s not doing so. It’s anti-Israel.”

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