At UN, robot Sophia joins meeting on artificial intelligence and sustainable development

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has a brief dialogue with Sophia at the “The Future of Everything – Sustainable Development in the Age of Rapid Technological Change” meeting. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Artificial intelligence has the potential to accelerate progress on global development goals, but also poses a range of complex challenges, including ethical questions, human rights issues and security risks, speakers told a United Nations event today that featured a robot as one of the panellists.

A moment that drew big applause during the day-long event, ‘The future of everything – sustainable development in the age of rapid technological change,’ came when Sophia, a humanoid robot, had brief interaction with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed.

To Ms. Mohammed’s question about what the UN can do to help people in many parts of the world who have no access to the Internet or electricity, Sophia said “the future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed […],” quoting renowned science fiction writer William Gibson. “If we are smarter and focused on win-win type of results, A.I. [artificial intelligence] could help proficiently distribute the world’s existing resources like food and energy.”

Sophia is Hanson Robotics’ latest and most advanced robot. Sophia has also become a media sensation, having given numerous interviews to multiple media outlets, performed in concert, and even graced the cover of one of the top fashion magazines.

In her opening speech, Ms. Mohammed warned that despite profound potential for accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), if technological progress is not managed well, it risks exacerbating existing inequalities.

“The influence of technology on our societies should be determined by the actions of us, humans, not by machines,” she said. “Technology is here for us to explore and use for the benefit of all.”


VIDEO: Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed interviews Sophia at the UN General Assembly Second Committee and the Economic and Social Council joint meeting.

The meeting was co-organized by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN General Assembly’s main economic and financial body (Second Committee).

ECOSOC President Marie Chatardová said that the long-term consequences of the deep technological changes underway, for economies and societies at large, are unknown.

“We are only starting to see the benefits, but we do need to assess the risks of these technologies,” she said.

Sven Jürgenson, of Estonia, Second Committee Chairman, said that AI-based solutions are taking his country’s digital society to the next level.

He said the Government is working on a full legal and cyber-risk management framework for using fully autonomous vehicles in regular road and traffic conditions. And door-to-door robot transport will reshape how goods are shipped and delivered locally.

“Today, Internet access is a social right in Estonia. Every Estonian resident has an electronic ID and nearly all public services are accessible online, including i-Voting in Estonian Parliamentary elections,” he said.

“The development of e-Estonia has not happened in one day – it took us 17 years to start from changing legislation and creating our first e-solutions,” he added.

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Article Title: Humanoid Robot Sophia’s UN Speech Shows the Future of AI Is NowRead Here outerplaces.com

Article Titles: Humanoid robot ‘Sophia’ makes surprise appearance at United Nations to share her views on artificial intelligence Read Here mirror.co.uk

Article Titles: Sophia from “Hanson Robotics” see below

Sophia

Date-stamped: 2017, October, 11 | Article Link: un.org | Article Title: At UN, robot Sophia joins meeting on artificial intelligence and sustainable development
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Video & Transcript: President Trump gives first speech to UN General Assembly



No. 01: Strong Sovereign Nation


No. 02: We the People.
No. 03: A Friend to the World.



The president minced no words when it came to his feelings on the dealIRAN NUCLEAR DEAL


“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”

President Trump

“The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.”

President Trump

Here is the speech in full, as prepared for delivery.1)source of text http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/donald-trumps-full-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly/news-story/db79d1934727c5ad520c8d287a3c0d38


Mr Secretary General, Mr President, world leaders, and distinguished delegates: Welcome to New York. It is a profound honour to stand here in my home city, as a representative of the American people, to address the people of the world.

As millions of our citizens continue to suffer the effects of the devastating hurricanes that have struck our country, I want to begin by expressing my appreciation to every leader in this room who has offered assistance and aid. The American people are strong and resilient, and they will emerge from these hardships more determined than ever before.

Fortunately, the United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8th. The stock market is at an all-time high — a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time. And it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defence.

Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been. For more than 70 years, in times of war and peace, the leaders of nations, movements, and religions have stood before this assembly. Like them, I intend to address some of the very serious threats before us today but also the enormous potential waiting to be unleashed.

We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity. Breakthroughs in science, technology, and medicine are curing illnesses and solving problems that prior generations thought impossible to solve.

But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.

Authority and authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom since World War II.

International criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons, people; force dislocation and mass migration; threaten our borders; and new forms of aggression exploit technology to menace our citizens.

To put it simply, we meet at a time of both of immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights, or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.

We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions from poverty, to help our citizens realise their dreams, and to ensure that new generations of children are raised free from violence, hatred, and fear.

This institution was founded in the aftermath of two world wars to help shape this better future. It was based on the vision that diverse nations could co-operate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security, and promote their prosperity.

It was in the same period, exactly 70 years ago, that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe. Those three beautiful pillars — they’re pillars of peace, sovereignty, security, and prosperity.

The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent, and free. As President Truman said in his message to Congress at that time, “Our support of European recovery is in full accord with our support of the United Nations. The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members.”

To overcome the perils of the present and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty to promote security, prosperity, and peace for themselves and for the world.

We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government. But we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation. This is the beautiful vision of this institution, and this is foundation for co-operation and success.

Strong, sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side-by-side on the basis of mutual respect.

Strong, sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny. And strong, sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God.

In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch. This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution — the oldest constitution still in use in the world today.

This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law.

The greatest in the United States Constitution is its first three beautiful words. They are: “We the people.”

Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country, and of our great history. In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people, where it belongs.

In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens — to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values.

As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first.

All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.

But making a better life for our people also requires us to work together in close harmony and unity to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.

The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else.

But in fulfilling our obligations to our own nations, we also realise that it’s in everyone’s interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous, and secure.

America does more than speak for the values expressed in the United Nations Charter. Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall. America’s devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies, from the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia.

It is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerged victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion, or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others. Instead, we helped build institutions such as this one to defend the sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.

For the diverse nations of the world, this is our hope. We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are guided by outcomes, not ideology. We have a policy of principled realism, rooted in shared goals, interests, and values.

That realism forces us to confront a question facing every leader and nation in this room. It is a question we cannot escape or avoid. We will slide down the path of complacency, numb to the challenges, threats, and even wars that we face. Or do we have enough strength and pride to confront those dangers today, so that our citizens can enjoy peace and prosperity tomorrow?

If we desire to lift up our citizens, if we aspire to the approval of history, then we must fulfil our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their interests, and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow. And just as the founders of this body intended, we must work together and confront together those who threaten us with chaos, turmoil, and terror.

The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries.

If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.

No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more.

We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America only to die a few days later. We saw it in the assassination of the dictator’s brother using banned nerve agents in an international airport. We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea’s spies.

If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life.

It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict. No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles.

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.

It is time for North Korea to realise that the denuclearisation is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved.

But we must do much more. It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behaviour.

We face this decision not only in North Korea. It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime — one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people.

Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbours. This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran’s people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship, fuel Yemen’s civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East.

We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilising activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. (Applause.) The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me.

It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbours.

The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict Internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters, and imprison political reformers.

Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror? Or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a centre of civilisation, culture, and wealth where their people can be happy and prosperous once again?

The Iranian regime’s support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbours to fight terrorism and halt its financing.

In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honoured to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamist extremism that inspires them.

We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation, and indeed to tear up the entire world.

We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nations. It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban and others that slaughter innocent people.

The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the re-emergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people.

Last month, I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operations, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians.

I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups. In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined.

We seek the de-escalation of the Syrian conflict, and a political solution that honours the will of the Syrian people. The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens — even innocent children — shock the conscience of every decent person. No society can be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to spread. That is why the United States carried out a missile strike on the air base that launched the attack.

We appreciate the efforts of United Nations agencies that are providing vital humanitarian assistance in areas liberated from ISIS, and we especially thank Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees from the Syrian conflict.

The United States is a compassionate nation and has spent billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort. We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people, and which enables their eventual return to their home countries, to be part of the rebuilding process.

For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region. Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region, and we support recent agreements of the G20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach.

For decades, the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere. We have learned that, over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries.

For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform, and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms.

For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are borne overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.

I want to salute the work of the United Nations in seeking to address the problems that cause people to flee from their homes. The United Nations and African Union led peacekeeping missions to have invaluable contributions in stabilising conflicts in Africa. The United States continues to lead the world in humanitarian assistance, including famine prevention and relief in South Sudan, Somalia, and northern Nigeria and Yemen.

We have invested in better health and opportunity all over the world through programs like PEPFAR, which funds AIDS relief; the President’s Malaria Initiative; the Global Health Security Agenda; the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery; and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, part of our commitment to empowering women all across the globe.

We also thank the Secretary General for recognising that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security, and prosperity. Too often the focus of this organisation has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process.

In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution’s noble aims have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them. For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 per cent of the entire budget and more. In fact, we pay far more than anybody realises. The United States bears an unfair cost burden, but, to be fair, if it could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it.

Major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell. But the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems.

The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world. In the meantime, we believe that no nation should have to bear a disproportionate share of the burden, militarily or financially. Nations of the world must take a greater role in promoting secure and prosperous societies in their own regions.

That is why in the Western Hemisphere, the United States has stood against the corrupt and destabilising regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom. My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms.

We have also imposed tough, calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse.

The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives to preserve his disastrous rule.

The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch.

As a responsible neighbour and friend, we and all others have a goal. That goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy. I would like to thank leaders in this room for condemning the regime and providing vital support to the Venezuelan people.

The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.

We are fortunate to have incredibly strong and healthy trade relationships with many of the Latin American countries gathered here today. Our economic bond forms a critical foundation for advancing peace and prosperity for all of our people and all of our neighbours.

I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis. We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela.

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.

America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their wellbeing, including their prosperity.

In America, we seek stronger ties of business and trade with all nations of good will, but this trade must be fair and it must be reciprocal.

For too long, the American people were told that mammoth multinational trade deals, unaccountable international tribunals, and powerful global bureaucracies were the best way to promote their success. But as those promises flowed, millions of jobs vanished and thousands of factories disappeared. Others gamed the system and broke the rules. And our great middle class, once the bedrock of American prosperity, was forgotten and left behind, but they are forgotten no more and they will never be forgotten again.

While America will pursue co-operation and commerce with other nations, we are renewing our commitment to the first duty of every government: the duty of our citizens. This bond is the source of America’s strength and that of every responsible nation represented here today.

If this organisation is to have any hope of successfully confronting the challenges before us, it will depend, as President Truman said some 70 years ago, on the “independent strength of its members.” If we are to embrace the opportunities of the future and overcome the present dangers together, there can be no substitute for strong, sovereign, and independent nations — nations that are rooted in their histories and invested in their destinies; nations that seek allies to befriend, not enemies to conquer; and most important of all, nations that are home to patriots, to men and women who are willing to sacrifice for their countries, their fellow citizens, and for all that is best in the human spirit.

In remembering the great victory that led to this body’s founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil also fought for the nations that they loved.

Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain.

Today, if we do not invest ourselves, our hearts, and our minds in our nations, if we will not build strong families, safe communities, and healthy societies for ourselves, no one can do it for us.

We cannot wait for someone else, for faraway countries or far-off bureaucrats — we can’t do it. We must solve our problems, to build our prosperity, to secure our futures, or we will be vulnerable to decay, domination, and defeat.

The true question for the United Nations today, for people all over the world who hope for better lives for themselves and their children, is a basic one: Are we still patriots?

Do we love our nations enough to protect their sovereignty and to take ownership of their futures? Do we revere them enough to defend their interests, preserve their cultures, and ensure a peaceful world for their citizens?

One of the greatest American patriots, John Adams, wrote that the American Revolution was “effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.”

That was the moment when America awoke, when we looked around and understood that we were a nation. We realised who we were, what we valued, and what we would give our lives to defend. From its very first moments, the American story is the story of what is possible when people take ownership of their future.

The United States of America has been among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world, and the greatest defenders of sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.

Now we are calling for a great reawakening of nations, for the revival of their spirits, their pride, their people, and their patriotism.

History is asking us whether we are up to the task. Our answer will be a renewal of will, a rediscovery of resolve, and a rebirth of devotion. We need to defeat the enemies of humanity and unlock the potential of life itself.

Our hope is a word and world of proud, independent nations that embrace their duties, seek friendship, respect others, and make common cause in the greatest shared interest of all: a future of dignity and peace for the people of this wonderful Earth.

This is the true vision of the United Nations, the ancient wish of every people, and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul.

So let this be our mission, and let this be our message to the world: We will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the nations of the world. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

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1. source of text http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/donald-trumps-full-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly/news-story/db79d1934727c5ad520c8d287a3c0d38

The UN Declares War on Judeo-Christian Civilization

How is it that Western jurisprudence, created after the Second World War to prevent more crimes against humanity, is now being used to perpetuate more crimes and against democracies?

It is a dreadful manipulation to try erase all Jewish and Christian history, to make believe that all the world was originally and forever only Islamic. That is what a jihad looks like. It is not just orange jumpsuits, beheadings and slavery. If one can erase and rewrite history, one can redirect the future.

If Palestinian men beat their wives, it’s Israel’s fault, argued UN expert Dubravka Simonovic with a straight face.

Last month, the President of the UN General Assembly sported the famous keffiyah scarf, a symbol of the “Palestinian resistance” (read terrorism). This is simply the continuation of the cultural obliteration of Israel, which is supposed to justify next its physical obliteration.

The UN’s war on the Israel’s Jews is, at heart, a war against the West. The UN and its backers are briskly paving the way for the European Caliphate.

2016 has been a sumptuous year for the anti-Semites at the United Nations. The UN Security Council just targeted the only democracy in the Middle East: the State of Israel. The outgoing Obama Administration reportedly orchestrated what even Haaretz called a “hit and run” campaign in UN to denigrate the Jewish State and leave it to a fate where only conflict and hate loom. This is a cultural genocide that is no less dangerous than terror attacks. It is based on anti-Semitic lies and creates the atmosphere not for achieving “peace”, as disingenuously claimed, but for perpetuating war.

UNSC Resolution 2334 is the culmination of a dizzyingly fruitful year for anti-Semites. Last November, committees of the UN General Assembly in a single day adopted 10 resolutions against Israel, the only open society in the Middle East. How many resolutions have been approved against Syria? One. How many against the rogue state of North Korea? One. How many against Russia when it annexed Crimea? One.

“Even as Syrian president Bashar Assad is preparing for the final massacre of his own people in Aleppo, the U.N. adopted a resolution — drafted and co-sponsored by Syria — which falsely condemns Israel for “repressive measures” against Syrian citizens on the Golan Heights. It’s obscene.”

Not a single resolution was approved for those states which really abuse human rights, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Venezuela, China or Cuba, not to mention many virtual tyrannies throughout Africa. Only one resolution was approved for the “Palestinian refugee properties”, but not even a single mention for the property of the Iraqi Christians in Mosul.

Another resolution in this racist banquet of the United Nations concerned the “application of the Geneva Convention in the occupied territories”. There are hundreds of territorial disputes in the world, from Tibet to Cyprus, but only Israel deserves to be called out?

According to the liars at the United Nations, the most evil country in the world is Israel. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad, and Jordan’s Prince Zeid al Hussein are sponsoring even now a “blacklist” of international companies that have ties with Israeli companies in Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, to facilitate boycotting Israel in the evident hope of economically exterminating the only democracy and pluralistic nation in the region: the Jewish State.

The UN Envoy for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, suggested also including the Israeli army in the blacklist of countries and groups that regularly cause harm to children, along with Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Islamic State, the Taliban, and countries such as the Congo and the Central African Republic, infamous for their child-soldiers — but of course not the Palestinians, who continue to promote using children as combatants and children as “martyrs“. How is it that Western jurisprudence, created after the Second World War to prevent more crimes against humanity, is now being used to perpetuate more crimes and against democracies?

The UN women’s rights commission condemned Israel as the world’s only violator of women’s rights. Not Syria, where Assad’s forces use rape as a tactic of war, or the Islamic State, which enslaves women from religious minorities. Not Saudi Arabia, where women are punished if they do not wear the Islamic full-covering clothing in scorching temperatures, or drive a car or even leave the house. Not Iran, where “adultery” (which can include being raped) is punishable by being stoned to death. And if Palestinian men beat their wives, it’s Israel’s fault, argued UN expert Dubravka Simonovic with a straight face.

The UN’s World Health Organization also singled out Israel as the only violator in the world of “mental, physical and environmental health”, despite Israel being the only state in the world actually to give medical care to its enemies (ask Hamas leaders’ children).

Canadian law professor Michael Lynk was then appointed as the UN’s “impartial” investigator of alleged Israeli human rights violations despite his long record of anti-Israel lobbying, including his board membership on many pro-Palestinian organizations, including Friends of Sabeel and the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations.

Last October, the UN cultural agency, UNESCO — by magically declaring ancient Biblical Jewish sites “Islamic”, even though Islam did not historically exist until the seventh century, hundreds of years later — pretended, with the villainous complicity of the West, to erase the Jewish-Christian roots of Jerusalem.

It is a dreadful manipulation to try erase all Jewish and Christian history, to make believe that all the world was originally and forever only Islamic. It is a jihad. That is what a jihad looks like. It is not just orange jumpsuits, beheadings and slavery. If one can erase and rewrite history, one can redirect the future. If you do not know where you are coming from, what values will you defend or fight for?

Names matter. If it is Jewish, then it is called “Judea and Samaria”; if it is “Palestine”, you can say the “Jews stole it” and that Israel is a “colonialist construct” based on “injustice”. Why then is no one is pointing to the entire continent of South America, conquered from the native Indians by Cortés, Pizarro and Europeans with guns?

The latest UN Security Council resolution against Israel is not only about “settlements”, but the Old City of Jerusalem. Its members want to reset history not at 1967, but at 1948, the year Israel was born.

When Marcel Breuer and Bernard Zerfuss designed UNESCO’s building in concrete and glass at the Place Fontenoy in Paris, and Pablo Picasso donated frescoes to it, they most likely imagined the rebirth of Western culture after the tragedies of war, the Holocaust and the Nazi nightmare. Never in any other spot on earth were words such as “education”, “science”, “culture”, “freedom”, “peace” and “brotherhood” repeated so many times. There was hope and commitment that the future would be better — not worse. But the dream lasted no longer than the few minutes of the announcement.

The Soviet Union had in fact already stained UNESCO’s cultural programs with the red of Communism, such as when UNESCO promoted a “new world information order“, the goal of which goal was to end the dominance of the Western press — presented as a “threat” to the “cultural identity” of “Third-World” nations. Under the Eiffel Tower, the authoritarian and anti-Western Third World then took control of the UN cultural center, which became, according with the Washington Post, “overly bureaucratic, costly, wasteful and imbued with an anti-Western, anti-capitalist bias”.

Since then, Israel continues to be treated as a pariah by these ideological and corporeal criminals on the Seine. Even after that, in 1975 the UN body “tipped its hand” by propagating the anti-Semitic blood libel of “Zionism is racism“.

Last month, the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, sported the famous checkered scarf, the keffiyah, a symbol of the “Palestinian resistance” (read terrorism). This is simply the continuation of the cultural obliteration of Israel, which is supposed to justify next its physical obliteration.

 

Last month, the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, sported the famous checkered scarf, the keffiyah, a symbol of the “Palestinian resistance” (read terrorism). This is simply the continuation of the cultural obliteration of Israel, which is supposed to justify next its physical obliteration. (Image source: UN/Manuel Elias)

 

The fate of Judeo-Christian civilization — Christianity as well as Judaism — on which all our values are based, is tied to the fate of the State of Israel. If Israel ceases to exist, so does Christianity. The world has been witnessing how the few Christians and other non-Muslims still remaining in the rest of the Middle East — once the glorious Christian Byzantium — are being slaughtered, now that the Jews and Greeks are gone.

The United Nations’ war on the Israel’s Jews is, at heart, a war against the West. The UN and its backers are briskly paving the way for the European Caliphate.

DATE-STAMP: 2016, December 27. | TIME-STAMP: 05:30 am | AUTHOR: Giulio Meotti | SOURCE: gatestoneinstitute.org | ARTICLE TITTLE: The UN Declares War on Judeo-Christian Civilization
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(Transcript) (Defiant) (Seething) Israel says: (Proof) and (President is history, President Elect is future) and (Israel won’t be anyone’s punching bag)

TRANSCRIPT  Israel says: We ‘ironclad’ information that shows US actively helped craft last week’s UN resolution with Palestinians. Kerry and Rice were advising senior Palestinians on strategy at UN and after Trump takes power

DEFIANT Israel says: No Country has as solid a link to its land as Israel, including those that supported the UN Security Council’s anti-settlement resolution

SEETHING Israel says: “It was Obama and we have Proof” and “Obama is history, we have Trump” and understand this “Israel won’t be Obama’s ‘punching bag”


Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו

(עברית למטה)

The anti-Israel resolution that just passed in the UN Security Council is based on the argument that Israel is “altering the demographic composition” of Judea and Samaria.

The United Nations has consistently ignored the fact that Jews were ethnically cleansed from these territories in 1948, which is why there were no Jews in the area until after 1967.

Some context: In 1929, Arabs carried out a massacre in Hebron against the Jews who were living there, including women and children, while the British police stood by.

In 1948, during Israel’s War of Independence, the Jewish residents of Gush Etzion were expelled and murdered. The Arab Legion from Jordan destroyed the Jewish villages of Kalya (near the Dead Sea) and Atarot (north of Jerusalem). The Arab Legion also ethnically cleansed the Jews who were living in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, and then blew up all of the synagogues there.

Not a single Jew remained in any of the territories conquered by the invading Arabs in 1948. The reaction of the United Nations to this reality? Silence.

Another important reminder: The terms of the British Mandate awarded national rights to the Jewish people – and only the Jewish people – in the Land of Israel. The Mandate, which expanded upon the Biblical and historical connection of the Jewish people to its land, was ratified in 1922 by the League of Nations. It was later adopted by the United Nations and until today it is a binding document under international law that defines the international legal status of the Land of Israel.

The United Nations has no legal justification for its decisions, only ignorance and malice.
Statement in Hebrew below


Land of Israel

ההחלטה האנטי-ישראלית באו״ם מתבססת על טענה משפטית לפיה ההתיישבות ביהודה ושומרון משנה דמוגרפית את תא השטח. האו״ם מתעלם במופגן מהעובדה שהערבים ביצעו טיהור אתני ביהודים בתא השטח הזה בין 1948-1967 ועוד קודם לכן, וזו הסיבה להיעדר הנוכחות היהודית באזור זה באותן שנים.

בשנת 1929 טבחו הערבים ביישוב היהודי בחברון – כולל נשים וילדים – בזמן שהמשטרה הבריטית עמדה מנגד. תושבי גוש עציון גורשו ונרצחו ב-1948 במלחמת השחרור. היישובים היהודיים בקליה ועטרות הוחרבו באותה מלחמה והליגיון הירדני ביצע טיהור אתני ביהודי הרובע היהודי – כולל גירוש ופיצוץ כל בתי הכנסת.

הסיבה שמלכתחילה בשנת 1967 לא היו יהודים בתא שטח זה, היא תוצאה של אותו טיהור אתני שבוצע בו, שנים קודם לכן, כלפי בני העם היהודי. על איזה טיעון מוסרי ומשפטי מתבסס האו״ם?

אני רוצה להזכיר לאו״ם שהוא אימץ את כל כתבי המנדט של חבר הלאומים, כולל כתב המנדט הבריטי שהעניק זכויות לאומיות לעם היהודי – ורק לו – בארץ ישראל. עד היום הוא מהווה המסמך המחייב והבסיסי מבחינת המשפט הבינלאומי, שמגדיר את מעמדה החוקי הבינלאומי של ארץ ישראל.

אין לאו״ם שום הצדקה משפטית אלא רק בורות ורשעות לשמה.

 

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Land of Israel

Facts feature (08)

The Land of Israel (Hebrew: אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל‎ [Mishnaic/ Yemenite/ Masoritic Hebrew] ʼÉreṣ Yiśrāʼēl, [Modern Hebrew] Eretz Yisrael) is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant. Related biblical, religious and historical English terms include the Land of Canaan, the Promised Land, the Holy Land, and Palestine (q.v. Israel (disambiguation)).

The definitions of the limits of this territory vary between passages in the Hebrew Bible, with specific mentions in


  Genesis 15  ESV

  Exodus 23  ESV


  Numbers 34  ESV

  Ezekiel 47.  ESV


Nine times elsewhere in the Bible, the settled land is referred as “from Dan to Beersheba, and three times it is referred as “from the entrance of Hamath unto the brook of Egypt”

1 Kings 8:65 ESV

1 Chronicles 13:5 ESV

2 Chronicles 7:8 ESV

Etymology and biblical roots

 

1916 map of the Fertile Crescent by James Henry Breasted. The names used for the land are “Canaan” “Judah” “Palestine” and “Israel” click image to enlarge

Map of Eretz Israel in 1695 Amsterdam Haggada by Abraham Bar-Jacob. click image to enlarge

The Hebrew Bible provides three specific sets of borders for the “Promised Land”, each with a different purpose. Neither of the terms “Promised Land” (Ha’Aretz HaMuvtahat) or “Land of Israel” are used in these passages: (Genesis 15:13–21 ESV) , (Genesis 17:8 ESV) [21] and (Ezekiel 47:13–20 ESV); use the term “the land” (ha’aretz), as does (Deuteronomy 1:8 ESV) in which it is promised explicitly to “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… and to their descendants after them,” whilst (Numbers 34:1–15 ESV) describes the “Land of Canaan” (Eretz Kna’an) which is allocated to nine and half of the twelve Israelite tribes after the Exodus. The expression “Land of Israel” is first used in a later book, (1 Samuel 13:19 ESV). It is defined in detail in the exilic Book of Ezekiel as a land where both the twelve tribes and the “strangers in (their) midst”, can claim inheritance.1)Rachel Havrelock, River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line,University of Chicago Press, 2011, p.21. The name “Israel” first appears in the Hebrew Bible as the name given by God to the patriarch Jacob (Genesis 32:28 ESV). Deriving from the name “Israel”, other designations that came to be associated with the Jewish people have included the “Children of Israel” or “Israelite”.

Biblical interpretations of the borders

 

Genesis 15

click image to enlarge

Genesis 15 (describing “this land”)

Note: Interpretations of the borders of the Promised Land, based on scriptural verses

(Genesis 15:18–21 ESV) describes what are known as “Borders of the Land” (Gevulot Ha-aretz),2)Kol Torah, vol. 13, no. 9, Torah Academy of Bergen County, 8 November 2003 which in Jewish tradition defines the extent of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob.3)See 6th and 7th portion commentaries by Rashi The passage describes the area as the land of the ten named ancient peoples then living there.

More precise geographical borders are given (Exodus 23:31 ESV) which describes borders as marked by the Red Sea (see debate below), the “Sea of the Philistines” i.e., the Mediterranean, and the “River”, the Euphrates), the traditional furthest extent of the Kingdom of David.4)Stuart, Douglas K., Exodus, B&H Publishing Group, 2006, p. 549 5)Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Walter A. Elwell, Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2001, p. 984

Genesis gives the border with Egypt as Nahar Mitzrayimnahar in Hebrew denotes a large river, never a wadi.

Exodus 23

click image to enlarge

Num. 34 (“Canaan“)

Eze. 47 (“this land”)

Note: Interpretations of the borders of the Promised Land, based on scriptural verses

A slightly more detailed definition is given in (Exodus 23:31 ESV), which describes the borders as “from the sea of reeds (Red Sea) to the Sea of the Philistines (Mediterranean sea) and from the desert to the Euphrates River”, though the Hebrew text of the Bible uses the name, “the River”, to refer to the Euphrates.

Only the “Red Sea” (Exodus 23:31 ESV)) and the Euphrates are mentioned to define the southern and eastern borders of the full land promised to the Israelites. The “Red Sea” corresponding to Hebrew Yam Suf was understood in ancient times to be the Erythraean Sea, as reflected in the Septuagint translation. Although the English name “Red Sea” is derived from this name (“Erythraean” derives from the Greek for red), the term denoted all the waters surrounding Arabia—including the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, not merely the sea lying to the west of Arabia bearing this name in modern English. Thus the entire Arabian peninsula lies within the borders described. Modern maps depicting the region take a reticent view and often leave the southern and eastern borders vaguely defined. The borders of the land to be conquered given in Numbers have a precisely defined eastern border which included the Arabah and Jordan.

Numbers 34

(Numbers 34:1–15 ESV) describes the land allocated to the Israelite tribes after the Exodus. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh received land east of the Jordan as explained in (Numbers 34:14–15 ESV). (Numbers 34:1–13 ESV) provides a detailed description of the borders of the land to be conquered west of the Jordan for the remaining tribes. The region is called “the Land of Canaan” (Eretz Kna’an) in (Numbers 34:2 ESV) and the borders are known in Jewish tradition as the “borders for those coming out of Egypt”. These borders are again mentioned in (Deuteronomy 1:6–8 ESV), (Deuteronomy 11:24 ESV) and (Joshua 1:4 ESV).

According to the Hebrew Bible, Canaan was the son of Ham who with his descendents had seized the land from the descendents of Shem according to the Book of Jubilees. Jewish tradition thus refers to the region as Canaan during the period between the Flood and the Israelite settlement. Eliezer Schweid sees Canaan as a geographical name, and Israel the spiritual name of the land. He writes: The uniqueness of the Land of Israel is thus “geo-theological” and not merely climatic. This is the land which faces the entrance of the spiritual world, that sphere of existence that lies beyond the physical world known to us through our senses. This is the key to the land’s unique status with regard to prophecy and prayer, and also with regard to the commandments.6)The Land of Israel: National Home Or Land of Destiny, By Eliezer Schweid, Translated by Deborah Greniman, Published 1985 Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, ISBN 0-8386-3234-3, p.56. Thus, the renaming of this landmarks a change in religious status, the origin of the Holy Land concept. (Numbers 34:1–13 ESV) uses the term Canaan strictly for the land west of the Jordan, but Land of Israel is used in Jewish tradition to denote the entire land of the Israelites. The English expression “Promised Land” can denote either the land promised to Abraham in Genesis or the land of Canaan, although the latter meaning is more common.

The border with Egypt is given as the Nachal Mitzrayim (Brook of Egypt) in Numbers, as well as in Deuteronomy and Ezekiel. Jewish tradition (as expressed in the commentaries of Rashi and Yehuda Halevi, as well as the Aramaic Targums) understand this as referring to the Nile; more precisely the Pelusian branch of the Nile Delta according to Halevi—a view supported by Egyptian and Assyrian texts. Saadia Gaon identified it as the “Wadi of El-Arish”, referring to the biblical Sukkot near Faiyum. Kaftor Vaferech placed it in the same region, which approximates the location of the former Pelusian branch of the Nile. 19th century Bible commentaries understood the identification as a reference to the Wadi of the coastal locality called El-Arish. Easton’s, however, notes a local tradition that the course of the river had changed and there was once a branch of the Nile where today there is a wadi. Biblical minimalists have suggested that the Besor is intended.

Deuteronomy 19

(Deuteronomy 19:8 ESV) indicates a certain fluidity of the borders of the promised land when it refers to the possibility that God would “enlarge your borders.” This expansion of territory means that Israel would receive “all the land he promised to give to your fathers”, which implies that the settlement actually fell short of what was promised. According to Jacob Milgrom, Deuteronomy refers to a more utopian map of the promised land, whose eastern border is the wilderness rather than the Jordan.7)Jacob Milgrom, Numbers (JPS Torah Commentary; Philadelphia: JPS, 1990), 502.

Paul R. Williamson notes that a “close examination of the relevant promissory texts” supports a “wider interpretation of the promised land” in which it is not “restricted absolutely to one geographical locale.” He argues that “the map of the promised land was never seen permanently fixed, but was subject to at least some degree of expansion and redefinition.”8)Paul R. Williamson, “Promise and Fulfilment: The Territorial Inheritance”, in Philip Johnston and Peter Walker (eds.), The Land of Promise: Biblical, Theological and Contemporary Perspectives (Leicester: Apollos, 2000), 20–21.

Ezekiel 47

(Ezekiel 47:13–20 ESV) provides a definition of borders of land in which the twelve tribes of Israel will live during the final redemption, at the end of days. The borders of the land described by the text in Ezekiel include the northern border of modern Lebanon, eastwards (the way of Hethlon) to Zedad and Hazar-enan in modern Syria; south by southwest to the area of Busra on the Syrian border (area of Hauran in Ezekiel); follows the Jordan River between the West Bank and the land of Gilead to Tamar (Ein Gedi) on the western shore of the Dead Sea; From Tamar to Meribah Kadesh (Kadesh Barnea), then along the Brook of Egypt (see debate below) to the Mediterranean Sea. The territory defined by these borders is divided into twelve strips, one for each of the twelve tribes.

Hence, Numbers 34 and Ezekiel 47 define different but similar borders which include the whole of contemporary Lebanon, both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and Israel, except for the South Negev and Eilat. Small parts of Syria are also included.

From Dan to Beersheba

The common biblical phrase used to refer to the territories actually settled by the Israelites (as opposed to military conquests) is “from Dan to Beersheba” (or its variant “from Beersheba to Dan”), which occurs many times in the Bible.

It is found in the biblical verses

Judges 20:1 ESV

1 Samuel 3:20 ESV

2 Samuel 3:10 ESV

2 Samuel 17:11 ESV

2 Samuel 24:2 ESV

2 Samuel 24:15 ESV

1 Kings 4:25 ESV

1 Chronicles 21:2 ESV

2 Chronicles 30:5. ESV

Division of Tribes

The 12 tribes of Israel are divided in 1 Kings 11. In the chapter, King Solomon‘s sins lead to Israelites forfeiting 10 of the 12 tribes:

vs.30 and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. vs.31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. vs.32 But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. vs.33 I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molek the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in obedience to me, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my decrees and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did. vs.34 “‘But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon’s hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who obeyed my commands and decrees. vs.35 I will take the kingdom from his son’s hands and give you ten tribes. vs.36 I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name.

— 1 Kings 11:30- 369) “1 Kings 11 NIV – Solomon’s Wives – King Solomon”. Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2013-08-11.

sources: wikipedia.org

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References   [ + ]

1. Rachel Havrelock, River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line,University of Chicago Press, 2011, p.21.
2. Kol Torah, vol. 13, no. 9, Torah Academy of Bergen County, 8 November 2003
3. See 6th and 7th portion commentaries by Rashi
4. Stuart, Douglas K., Exodus, B&H Publishing Group, 2006, p. 549
5. Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Walter A. Elwell, Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2001, p. 984
6. The Land of Israel: National Home Or Land of Destiny, By Eliezer Schweid, Translated by Deborah Greniman, Published 1985 Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, ISBN 0-8386-3234-3, p.56.
7. Jacob Milgrom, Numbers (JPS Torah Commentary; Philadelphia: JPS, 1990), 502.
8. Paul R. Williamson, “Promise and Fulfilment: The Territorial Inheritance”, in Philip Johnston and Peter Walker (eds.), The Land of Promise: Biblical, Theological and Contemporary Perspectives (Leicester: Apollos, 2000), 20–21.
9. “1 Kings 11 NIV – Solomon’s Wives – King Solomon”. Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2013-08-11.

RED ALERT: The U.N.’s General Assembly met 20/10/2016 to discuss whether to take steps to override the Security Council on the Syrian conflict

Red Alert Master feature 02

Any act like this makes the UN security council a irrelevant organisation.

The security council was established to ensure that there was never again a World War!

And any action which by passes the security council by its members can only be seen as an rogue nation action!

Which should require the rogue nations immediate expulsion from the UN.

The U.N.’s General Assembly met informally 20th October 2016 Thursday to discuss whether to take steps to override the Security Council on the Syrian conflict

This action is being floated because they can not deceive Russia and China to overthrow Assad in Syria!

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World Council of Churches Struggles with the Truth – Again

The open letter from the World Council of Churches (WCC) should have first quoted the three points from my article, then answered them one by one. Such a letter, however, was impossible, because all three points are simply and obviously correct. Instead, the WCC wrote a letter that completely ignored Tveit’s mistakes and falsely claimed that he was using only UN sources, apparently trusting that nobody would read my article.

If the WCC is truly thirsty for Palestinian water justice, why has it not rushed to the defense of Najat Abu Bakr?

Suppose, however, that the WCC wants to start a dialogue based on truth rather than “narratives.” Then there is a way for it to do so.

Two recent Gatestone Institute articles were addressed to the current campaign of the World Council of Churches (WCC) called “Seven Weeks of Water 2016.” In response, the WCC has issued an open letter to Gatestone. This author is responsible only for what his article stated. Conversely, we can examine the WCC’s response exclusively as referring to that article.

The article concerned the “sermon” preached by the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Olav Fykse Tveit, when he launched the campaign in a Jerusalem church. The sermon can be downloaded from the WCC’s website.

From this viewpoint, the WCC’s open letter contains a plainly false statement. It says: “The information and statistics we employ in the campaign are derived from United Nations sources. None are from the Palestinian Water Authority.”

Read the sermon from beginning to end and back, and you will find only one reference to a United Nations source: that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 100 liters of water per day per person (a target that is missed in many parts of the world). Regarding Palestinian water, Tveit’s “information and statistics” are drawn, as the sermon explicitly says, from the “advocacy group of Palestine, EWASH” (that is, from the Palestinian website “Thirsting for justice”). So, contrary to what the open letter states, Tveit’s sermon, which constituted the opening statement of the campaign and sets the tone for whatever follows, is based on a source openly engaged in pro-Palestinian agitation.

The criticism in my article was addressed to what Tveit unhesitatingly accepted from that source. So note, too, that the open letter makes no attempt to answer, or even to mention, what that criticism was. How could it, since it alleges that Tveit’s sermon is part of a campaign that cites UN data alone?

Moreover, the web page of the campaign contains various “reflections” by Palestinian clerics and WCC employees in the same spirit as Tveit’s sermon. The contribution of Bishop Younan, for instance, makes the same claims about water as Tveit does. It is absurd to claim that the campaign is based exclusively, or even mainly, on UN sources.

The WCC does, however, have good reason for not attempting to deal with my criticism. It is that my criticism is so evidently correct, and Tveit’s claims are so lamentably wrong, that the WCC would make itself look absurd if it quoted the criticism and struggled to find any way around it.

To save the reader time, let us briefly review three main claims made by Tveit and why they are wrong.

First, Tveit claims that “80% of the ground water from Palestine’s mountain aquifer is pumped underneath all the way to Israel.” Likewise Younan: “80% of the water is pumped to Israelis.” You have to be a blind believer in Israeli iniquity not to notice that this statement is prima facie incredible. The suggestion is that Israel has created a network of pumps and pipelines that gather water from wherever it can be found and transfers it all to Israel. Of course, there is no such network.

The truth of the matter is that water falling in the hills, where the main Palestinian cities lie, goes underground, and some of it, thanks to the geology, emerges far away in Israel. This issue was addressed in the Oslo II agreement of 1995, where Israel committed itself to pump a fixed proportion of the estimated annual rainfall in the opposite direction: to connections with the water grid of the Palestinian Authority. So the only question is whether Israel has fulfilled that commitment. It has. That is the end of the matter. All claims that Israel “steals” Palestinian water are based on credulous ignorance or conscious dishonesty. [For more details, see “Palestinian Water (and Martin Schulz): The Lack of Logic“]

Second, Tveit claims that Palestinians enjoy less water per capita than Israelis. Here the point is that his figures may be true or false, but that per capita comparisons are anyway irrelevant. Israel’s obligation is based on the actual amount of rainfall. How much that works out to per capita depends upon how fast the Palestinian population grows, a factor for which the Palestinians themselves are solely responsible.

Third, Tveit complains that Israel strictly limits permits to sink wells in Area C of the West Bank. Why Israel is right to do so can be seen from the case of Gaza, where uncontrolled digging of wells has made the ground water undrinkable because the drop in the water level led to contamination by an inflow of sea water.

The proper form of response from the WCC would have been to write an open letter that first quoted the three points from my article, then answered them one by one. Such a letter, however, was impossible, because all three points are simply and obviously correct. Instead, the WCC wrote a letter that completely ignored Tveit’s mistakes and falsely claimed that he was using only United Nations sources, apparently trusting that then nobody would read the article itself.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) published an open letter to Gatestone Institute last week, concerning a pseudo-Christian political sermon given by WCC General Secretary Olav Fykse Tveit (pictured left) at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem (right). Image source: Vidar Ellingsen/Innovasjon Norge (Tveit), Wikimedia Commons (Church)

The WCC makes much of how Palestinians are “thirsting for justice.” Only it has turned its eyes away from the thirst of Palestinians for justice from the Palestinian Authority (PA) itself. These very days, a Palestinian legislator, Najat Abu Bakr, sought refuge in the building of the Palestinian Legislative Council after PA President Mahmoud Abbas ordered her arrest. Her offence was to accuse one of Abbas’s ministers of — wait for it — stealing Palestinian water and selling it privately.

There have been various protests on her behalf, one of them in a Gatestone article by Israeli Arab writer Khaled Abu Toameh. If the WCC is truly thirsty for Palestinian water justice, why has it not rushed to the defense of Najat Abu Bakr?

The “open letter” of the WCC proposes the opening of a dialogue. What does that mean? If the WCC envisages a meeting of Palestinians and Israelis in which each participant mouths his or her “narrative,” then — first of all — it can hardly take place, since the Palestinians have imposed a ban on all such “normalization” of Israeli-Palestinian relations. They also impose sanctions upon any Palestinian who, nevertheless, ventures to talk with Israelis. Second, a “narrative” in that sense, as this author wrote elsewhere, is often “a pack of lies that demands immediate uncritical assent.” In a publicly staged debate of “narratives,” the one who shouts loudest walks away as the acclaimed victor, but neither truth nor justice is served.

Suppose, however, that the WCC wants to start a dialogue based on truth rather than “narratives.” Then there is a way for it to do so. It should send Gatestone a fresh open letter that includes the following three points:

• A statement that the WCC has removed from its website that section of Tveit’s sermon which was based on EWASH and that such allegations will no longer be part of Seven Weeks of Water 2016. The WCC will also have to withdraw the Order of Worship that it sent out. In this worship, hundreds of millions of Christians are requested to chant Israel’s guilt and the innocence of Palestinians, including the lie that “80% of the water is pumped to Israelis.”

• An admission that its original open letter was mistaken in claiming that Tveit’s sermon was based only on United Nations sources.

• A call for the persecution of Najat Abu Bakr to cease and for an impartial investigation of her claim that a Palestinian minister has been stealing Palestinian water. This call, the WCC should also promise, will be made part of Seven Weeks of Water 2016.

If the WCC can do those three things, then a dialogue based on truth, as opposed to “narratives,” could emerge.

March 6, 2016 | by Malcolm Lowe | Source: gatestoneinstitute.org "World Council of Churches Struggles with the Truth - Again"
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World Council of Churches Starts Seven Weeks of Brainwashing

General Secretary Tveit Recycles Dirty Old Water Lies

Palestinian propagandists constantly disseminate false accusations that Israel steals Palestinian water. Those allegations have been thoroughly refuted many times and are to be catalogued under the rubric of typical Palestinian propaganda lies.

If General Secretary Tveit seriously wants to help Palestinians, he should explain why Israelis enjoy so much more water per capita — to contrast the brilliance of Israel’s elimination of its former water problems with the utter incompetence of the Palestinian Authority to deal with its own problems. And to exhort the Palestinians to learn from Israel instead of vainly slandering Israel.

Israel now recycles 80% of waste water. Desalination plants have been erected along the Mediterranean coast, so that now Israel has an abundance of water. All this costs money, so Israelis pay more for their water and there is a punitive water price for anything above a legally defined level of domestic per capita water. Under the Palestinian Authority, it is the opposite. Up to 30% of their water has been estimated to go lost in their water delivery systems. Waste water is released to pollute the PA’s land, and some flows downhill to pollute Israel as well. Large numbers of Palestinians either do not pay water bills or simply steal water by illegal connections.

February 12, 2016, was a day of fresh hope for the suffering Christians of the Middle East. Pope Francis of Rome and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow met in Havana, Cuba, to issue a joint message to the world. After pledging themselves to change the history of schism between Eastern and Western Christianity, they placed the contemporary merciless persecution of Christians at the top of their agenda:

“Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed…”

Pope Francis of Rome and Patriarch Kirill

These were not empty words. The Moscow Patriarchate has collected large sums of money from its faithful to help the persecuted Christians of Syria. Likewise, the Roman Catholic Church, and specifically the Franciscan Order, is working at its own peril on the ground in Syria to relieve the suffering.

By coincidence, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Olav Fykse Tveit (pronounced to rhyme with “state,” not “twit”), was on the ground in the Middle East. Only he was not there to show any concern for the Christians victims of Islamic militias in Syria and Iraq. Nor had he time for the persecution of Copts in Egypt, which continues despite the efforts of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to suppress attacks by Muslims upon Christian churches.

As many will have guessed, Tveit came to Jerusalem to pursue the decades-old obsession of the WCC with Palestine, Palestine and Palestine, to the detriment of Middle East Christians elsewhere, as an earlier article detailed. At a service in a Jerusalem church, hosted by Lutheran Arab Bishop Munib Younan and accompanied by the Archbishop of Sweden, Tveit was there to launch “Seven Weeks of Water 2016.”

We can let others describe the solemnly nonsensical ceremony and concentrate on the “sermon” (or rather pseudo-Christian political harangue) delivered by Tveit. It is available for download from the relevant webpage of the WCC. But first, consider some basic definitions.

Palestinian propagandists constantly disseminate false accusations that Israel steals Palestinian water. Those allegations have been thoroughly refuted many times and are to be catalogued under the rubric of typical Palestinian propaganda lies. This does not worry the propagandists themselves, who continue to repeat the same lies to every newcomer.

A person who hears such lies for the first time, maybe from a Palestinian cleric, and naively believes them is to be defined as an innocent dupe. Someone who repeats such lies year in and year out, despite being given every opportunity to know the truth, and who even sets up a long-term mechanism to perpetuate them, is a shameless liar.

To the former category, in a moment of uncharacteristic hasty judgment, belonged Martin Shulz, the otherwise prudent President of the European Parliament. When he visited Israel in February 2014, he was confronted in Ramallah with such a false statement by a Palestinian youngster, himself a victim of the Palestinian education system. This is the same education system, in place for two decades, that currently produces wave after wave of deluded teenage terrorists.

Shaken by what he heard, Shulz inserted that statement at the last moment into a speech that he was about to give to the Knesset. The Israeli legislators, who recognized the lie immediately as such, broke into a hubbub and some later walked out. Subsequently, Shulz added to the published version of his speech a disclaimer, to the effect that he was merely repeating what he had heard without having time to check the facts. Also the leader of the walkers-out, Naftali Bennett, went to Brussels to seek reconciliation with Mr. Shulz and even presented him with an ancient coin as a sign of friendship. Both men realized that they had made their respective mistakes and both made due amends.

Among others, this author then explained in a readily available article the truths and falsehoods of the matter. Moreover, the WCC has had for years a mechanism, its Ecumenical Water Network (EWN), to deal with water in general, but above all with Palestinian water. Such a mechanism, we may assume, must be aware of the refutation of all the Palestinian lies and irrelevant claims on the matter, at least since 2014. Nonetheless, Tveit’s so-called “sermon” merrily repeated them.

Leaving aside the window dressing of biblical quotations and theological platitudes, let us proceed to the heart of the “sermon,” Tveit’s allegations against Israel, which he takes unhesitantly as gospel truth from the “advocacy group of Palestine, EWASH.” Says he: “80% of the ground water from Palestine’s mountain aquifer is pumped underneath all the way to Israel; and, the Palestinians are left with only 20% of the available water.”

This is an incredible claim: that Israel steals 80% of the water of the Palestinians and pumps it all the way to Israel. Needless to say, no such apparatus of pumps and pipelines exists. The truth, here totally garbled, is quite different. Almost all the Palestinian population is concentrated in a series of cities and villages on the central mountain range running from north to south (Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron). It is also here that rainfall is concentrated, brought by prevalent winds from the west. Much of this water, however, passes through underground rock formations either to the east (mainly to Jericho) or to the west, where it emerges in springs in pre-1967 Israel. So the only person that Tveit can denounce for this “theft” is the Creator of the World.

Nor is the situation unique. Similar cases exist elsewhere on the planet. The standard answer is an agreement whereby the beneficiaries of the situation give a certain percentage of their water to those who live where the rain fell. Naturally, there is no standard formula to calculate the percentage, since it must depend on local factors. Moreover, Israel and the Palestinians made exactly such an agreement in 1995 as part of the Oslo II Accord. In recent years, the amount of rainfall has decreased, but Israel continues to transfer the agreed amount of water and even more.

In other words, the central accusation of Palestinians – that Israel steals water from them – has been refuted for more than twenty years. Nevertheless, Palestinian propagandists – since truth matters neither to them nor to their eager audiences of Israel haters – continue to propagate the lie.

Says Tveit further, also quoting EWASH: “on an average, Ramallah receives more rainfall than London. However, the average per capita water consumption in London is 150 litres/day compared to that of only 70 litres/day for an average Palestinian. On the other hand, the per capita consumption for Israel is 300 litres/day.”

It does not matter whether these figures are true or just more lies. The point here is that the figures are utterly irrelevant. Israel’s obligation to the Palestinians is based exclusively upon the volume of rain that falls in the mountains. How much this works out per capita depends upon something else: how many Palestinians there are to use it. The obligation is the same whether the areas of the Palestinian Authority contain just one hundred Palestinians or one hundred million Palestinians. If the Palestinians are engaged in a population explosion that doubles their population every twenty years, as they claim (whether truthfully or not), that is entirely their own responsibility and not Israel’s.

Consequently, any accusations against Israel that allege per capita figures of water usage are null and void and should be immediately rejected and ignored. Whenever Palestinians confront you with such per capita data, as they invariably do, you should know that they are attempting to blind you with irrelevant information. As does Tveit.

What Tveit should have thought and spoken about, if he seriously wanted to help Palestinians, was to explain why Israelis enjoy so much more water per capita – to contrast the brilliance of Israel’s elimination of its former water problems with the utter incompetence of the Palestinian Authority to deal with its own problems. And to exhort the Palestinians to learn from Israel instead of vainly slandering Israel. Indeed, his whole Ecumenical Water Network, if it is worth anything, should be recommending the Israeli model worldwide.

Until a few years ago, Israel was highly susceptible to sharp variations in annual rainfall. It has now solved the problem by a combination of legislation and technical initiatives. Recycling now reclaims some 80% of waste water. New desalination plants have been erected along the Mediterranean coast, so that now Israel has an abundance of water to start with. All this costs money, so Israelis do pay more for their water and there is a punitive water price for anything above a legally defined level of domestic per capita water.

Under the Palestinian Authority, it is all the opposite. Up to 30% of their water has been estimated to go lost in the systems that deliver their water. Waste water is released, polluting the Palestinian Authority’s land and some of it flows downhill to pollute Israel as well. What is recycled, as in Tveit’s case, are just dirty old water lies. While the Palestinian Authority (PA) lacks a coast, Oslo II did permit it to exploit the eastern mountain aquifer, which it barely does. In addition, very large numbers of Palestinians either do not pay water bills or simply steal water by illegal connections to the water grid. It is the same with Palestinian electricity: bills are not paid and illegal connections are made with impunity.

Rather than enforce whatever laws it has, the Palestinian Authority simply orders more water and electricity from the Israeli grids. Yet it, too, does not pay its bills: it is typically hundreds of millions of shekels in arrears.

Israel spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the last few years to build water desalination plants on its Mediterranean coast, so that now Israel has an abundance of water. At the same time, Palestinian propagandists constantly disseminate false accusations that Israel steals Palestinian water. Pictured above, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro tours the Hadera Desalination Plant on July 26, 2012. (Image source: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

And do not let anyone deceive you with claims that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are stealing Palestinian water. The major settlement blocks have been connected to the Israeli water grid, so they are receiving and paying for Israeli water.

The third claim taken by Tveit from EWASH is that “only 1.5% of the applications by the Palestinians for digging wells and other water facilities in Area C have been approved by Israeli authorities over the past 4 years.” Anyone with an understanding of hydrology should applaud this fact, if fact it be. Area C (the Palestinian population of which has always been small) comprises arid or semi-arid regions, where the sinking of wells has to be strictly controlled.

This situation can be seen in Gaza. Here the natural rock formations are the reverse: rainwater falling in Israel is funnelled underground to Gaza. That is why Gaza was a fruitful oasis throughout millennia of human history. Since the Palestinian Authority was set up in Gaza in 1993 (under the Oslo I Accord), and since Hamas seized power in 2007, the proliferation of uncontrolled well-drilling by Palestinians has led to a drop in ground water level and an encroachment of sea water. It has made the ground water undrinkable. The Gazans have destroyed God’s gift, taken from Israel and given to them. So they now only import drinkable water from water-thrifty Israel.

The WCC’s Seven Weeks of Water will be in effect Seven Weeks of Brainwashing. As the WCC’s dirty water pours into member churches, it will pollute the minds of naïve ignorant Christians and it will be lapped up by pretend-Christian Israel haters, as if they were giving themselves shots of a Class A drug. As for the miseries of Middle East Christians, the WCC will succeed, as usual, in removing them from the agenda for the sake of “Palestine.”

Regarding Tveit himself, he no longer has any excuse for repeating lies. If he truly was utterly ignorant of the truth, he can show it by admitting ignorance hitherto, expressing remorse and cancelling his seven wet weeks. We have no confidence, however, that any such thing as a true evaluation of the matter is of any interest to him and his like.

One of Tveit’s predecessors, Konrad Raiser, did once admit that the WCC had wrongly disregarded the truth. It had done so, he said, in its attitude to Soviet dissidents. But his was merely a sin of omission, easier to regret. In any case, he admitted it only after he had left office and the Soviet Union had disappeared.

The current WCC has multiplied sins of commission by founding an alphabet soup of subsidiaries that militate against Israel: EAPPI, KP, EWN, PJP… (never mind the inventive titles that they stand for). EAPPI, for instance, recruits volunteers from churches all over the world to have their heads stuffed for three months with Palestinian allegations. (Three months – because that is the longest visa that Israel grants to visitors who claim to be tourists.) The well-intentioned volunteers are afforded no opportunity of verifying those accusations against Israel. They are then obliged to spend another three months touring their own churches and repeating the allegations. Truth is not merely ignored, it is of systemic insignificance.

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Free Speech vs. Islamic Law?

• The law regarding freedom of speech and of religion, as it exists in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, is already compelled to protect all citizens and to extend that protection to non-citizens who come to American shores.

• Are Muslims in need of greater protection? According to the FBI’s 2014 Hate Crime Statistics, there were 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes in the U.S. that year: Of those, 56.8% were victims of crimes motivated by the offenders’ anti-Jewish bias. 16.1% were victims of crimes motivated by the offenders’ anti-Muslim bias.

• “We cannot agree that prohibiting speech is the way to promote tolerance, and because we continue to see the ‘defamation of religions’ concept used to justify censorship, criminalization, and in some cases violent assaults and deaths of political, racial, and religious minorities around the world.” — U.S. Ambassador Eileen Donahoe.

• Again and again, Muslim individuals and organizations have released documents to define Islamic human rights, and in each instance, all rights are restricted to those given by God and are subject to the phrase “according to the Shari’a.”

House Resolution 569 was introduced to the U.S. Congress on December 17, 2015 and was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. The resolution is headed: “Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.” The problem is that the law regarding freedom of speech and of religion, as it exists in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, is already compelled to protect all citizens and to extend that protection to non-citizens, be they businessmen or tourists who come to American shores: “Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” No democracy should believe otherwise.

The House of Representatives’ Resolution 569 introduces the following Whereas clauses:

(1) expresses its condolences for the victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes;

(2) steadfastly confirms its dedication to the rights and dignity of all its citizens of all faiths, beliefs, and cultures;

(3) denounces in the strongest terms the increase of hate speech, intimidation, violence, vandalism, arson, and other hate crimes targeted against mosques, Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslim;

(4) recognizes that the United States Muslim community has made countless positive contributions to United States society;

(5) declares that the civil rights and civil liberties of all United States citizens, including Muslims in the United States, should be protected and preserved;

(6) urges local and Federal law enforcement authorities to work to prevent hate crimes; and to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those perpetrators of hate crimes; and

(7) reaffirms the inalienable right of every citizen to live without fear and intimidation, and to practice their freedom of faith.

The resolution seems above criticism — every clause in it could seemingly have the wholesale approval approbation of anyone — yet something feels incredibly wrong. That something is the question of why the U.S. House of Representatives has issued such a resolution for Muslims and Muslims only. They and everyone else — Christians, Jews, Mormons, Buddhists, and Scientologists, right through to the adherents of satanic cults — are already granted the full protection of the law so long as they do not break it.

Are Muslims, then, in need of greater protection than everyone else? Are they more subject to assaults, hate speech, arson attacks than any other religious community? If they were, this resolution might be welcome, even though it would not add a single article to existing legal protections.

HOWEVER, ACCORDING TO THE FBI’S UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS:

2014 Hate Crime Statistics, of the 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes that year in the U.S.:

56%
 were victims of crimes motivated by the offender’s anti-Jewish bias.

16.1%
 were victims of crimes motivated by the offender’s anti-Muslim bias.

 06.2%
 were victims of crimes motivated by the offender’s bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).

 06.1%
 were victims of crimes motivated by the offender’s anti-Catholic bias.

 02.5%
 were victims of crimes motivated by the offender’s anti-Protestant bias.

1.2%
 were victims of crimes motivated by the offender’s anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.

11.0%
 were victims of crimes motivated by the offender’s bias against other religions (anti-other religion).

On that basis, we might expect there to have been quite a few House Resolutions concerning Jews.

All I have been able to find are:

H.Res.293
“Expressing concern over anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement within the Palestinian Authority” and

H.Res.354 
“Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the safety and security of Jewish communities in Europe.”

Again, both Senate and Congress have issued resolutions to condemn the persecution of the Baha’i religious minority in Iran.1)S.Res. 148 [also dated December 17, 2015] “Condemns the government of Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.” It was preceded by H.Res. 220 of May 20, 2015. But as the Baha’is are not persecuted in the U.S., one might not expect a resolution concerning their protection under U.S. law. These might be worthy resolutions, but have no relevance for the United States as such.

Surely, then, there should be laws protecting Jews! However, neither H.Res. 293 nor H.Res. 354 addresses that issue in distinction to H.Res. 569, which specifically concerns Muslims “in the United States.” The disparity between anti-Jewish hate crimes and the much smaller incidence of anti-Muslim crimes stands in stark contrast to the indifference of Congress towards Jews in an age of rapidly rising anti-Semitism and what appears excessive (though decent) concern for Muslims.

In reality, of course, there is no need for extra legislation to protect Jews. They are already protected by existing laws, as are all other religious communities, as noted above.

Why, then, did not a single member of Congress get up on the floor to point out this manifest discrepancy? Surely it must be obvious that, should the resolution pass into law, Muslims will be the only group (religiously, politically, ethnically, or what you will) in the United States to be ring-fenced from anything that might offend them.

We know that Muslims and Muslim authorities are not robust in taking criticism or satire, but are, rather, seemingly hypersensitive to almost anything non-Muslims say of them.

The only conclusion one can draw from this is that the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/1 seems to have influenced Congress. Do not forget that the OIC is the only international religious body to have campaigned ceaselessly for legislation to protect believers of Islam from physical and verbal abuse, with verbal abuse determined according to shari’a principles rather than the traits of international or national democratic values.

In Great Britain, a landmark judgement was passed on January 5, 2016, in a court in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when a judge ruled that evangelical pastor James McConnell was not guilty of hate speech directed at Muslims. McConnell had been arrested last May after remarks during a sermon about Islam at his church. In his sermon, he had spoken of Islam as “satanic,” “heathen” and “a doctrine spawned in hell.” These may be sentiments with which most of the world would not agree, but entirely within the bounds of evangelical Christian theology, not least in that frequently bigoted region of fundamentalist, belief, where even the majority of fellow Christians are despatched to hellfire, with Catholics at the bottom of the heap. It is also not that different from what many Muslim clerics say about Jews and others.

As his sermon had been posted online, McConnell was charged under the Communications Act 2003 of making improper use of a public electronics communications network and of causing a grossly offensive message through those channels. But even though the judge found his remarks offensive, he was exonerated and walked out of a court a free man.

In Europe, criticisms of Islam have been met with a range of penalties. Individuals have been prosecuted and sometimes been found guilty of “Islamophobic” speech or writing — notably Elizabeth Sabatisch-Wolff and Susanne Winter in Austria, Geert Wilders and Gregorious Nekschot in the Netherlands, Lars Hedegaard and Jesper Langballe in Denmark, Michel Houellebecq and Brigitte Bardot in France, Oriana Fallaci in Italy, and others elsewhere. Some have been exonerated, others jailed or fined. Pastor McConnell has been fortunate in avoiding jail. So far the UK has been tolerant, but further trials — very often for what really amounts to nothing more than blasphemy as perceived by Muslim groups or individuals — are very likely. Today, more than ever, there are forces at work that seek to make these prosecutions a certainty, not just in Europe, but in the United States, Canada, and other countries in the West.

The threat to freedom of speech a comes mainly from one quarter: an international body known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In recent years, one of the core activities of the OIC has been repeated attempts to introduce via the United Nations Human Rights Council a law forbidding any form of blasphemy, criticism, or negative comment, especially about the Islamic religion. To understand this, it is important to note that, from the time of the prophet Muhammad to the present day (and more strongly within modern radical Muslim movements), the Islamic religion has been predicated on a call for domination over all other religions and political systems. Here, for example, are some explicit expressions of that demand in radical websites: a YouTube video and a website linked to the British extremist,Omar Bakri Muhammad.

In the video, Omar Bakri declares “We must live by and make a domination and die (?) on in our da’wa (missionary work) and jihad in order to spread it [Islam] all over. The video page is entitled “Proclaim openly for Izharudeen”, meaning “proclaim openly for making the faith victorious over all others,” and displays a photograph of several Muslims carrying placards declaring “Islam will dominate the world: Freedom go to hell. A website publishing extracts from the classical Qur’an commentary of Ibn Kathir is headed with the words: “Islam is the Religion that will dominate over all Other Religions” and below that cites a Qur’anic verse declaring that God will “make it [Islam] victorious over all religions” before quoting several traditions declaring the same thing in various formulations. Finally, a Facebook page titled “In sha Allah, Islam will dominate the world” from which several more sites with the same statement are revealed below the main heading.

Islamic policy from the time of the seventh-century Arab conquests through the later empires was to set Muslim rulers above native populations, even if at first Muslims were in a minority. Pagans could choose to convert or die, but Jews, Christians, and before long Zoroastrians, were treated (under the oppressive terms of the Pact of ‘Umar) as dhimmi people, forced to pay a protection tax, the jizya, in order to preserve their lives and property.

There were different laws for people of a different religion, in addition to numerous restrictive conditions fordhimmis, including these:

We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks’ cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims.


We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way for three days.


We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our dwellings to any spy, nor bide him from the Muslims.


We shall not teach the Qur’an to our children.


We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it. We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it.


We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and we shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit.


We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments, the qalansuwa, the turban, footwear, or the parting of the hair. We shall not speak as they do, nor shall we adopt their kunyas [honorific name derived from one’s eldest child, such as Abu, father of]


We shall not mount on saddles, nor shall we gird swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our persons.


We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals.


We shall not sell fermented drinks.


We shall clip the fronts of our heads.


We shall always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and we shall bind the zunar [a kind of belt] round our waists


We shall not display our crosses or our books in the roads or markets of the Muslims. We shall use only clappers in our churches very softly. We shall not raise our voices when following our dead. We shall not show lights on any of the roads of the Muslims or in their markets. We shall not bury our dead near the Muslims.


We shall not take slaves who have been allotted to Muslims.

We shall not build houses overtopping the houses of the Muslims.

A Muslim, under shari’a regulations, cannot be brought to trial or punished for killing a non-Muslim.2)See Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, ‘Umdat al-salik, trans. Nuh Ha Mim Keller as Reliance of the Traveller, Amana, Maryland, rev. ed. 1994, p. 584 o1.2 (2).

Given this classic formulation, it is easy to see that non-Muslims living in Islamic states or empires risked their lives should they say anything whatever detrimental to Islam, considered insulting to the prophet, or thought derogatory of the Qur’an, the Hadith, shari’a law or the Muslim clerical elite.

This attitude — that no-one is permitted to speak ill (however that be defined) of Islam or its many elements without facing condign punishment (which includes death even for Muslims who are deemed to have crossed the lines of offense and have thereby become “apostates”) — has in the past placed enormous restrictions on what may be said or written about the religion. These restrictions did not matter in the least to anyone living in a Christian country, where there was little likelihood of retaliation from Muslims. But today most Western countries have large Muslim populations, and relations between the West and the Islamic world are carried out on the world stage. The riots, assassinations, and death threats that followed Ayatollah Khomeini’sfatwa [religious legal opinion] in 1989 to kill the British writer, Salman Rushdie, for his novel, The Satanic Verses, were indicative of a new direction.

Since the Enlightenment, open debate and free speech have been enshrined in the laws and practices of all democracies. It is central to the American way of life since the 1791 first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which also guarantees freedom from religious coercion. To Westerners — both legislators and the general public — freedom of speech (and writing) seems axiomatic as a basic human right. But for Muslims, human rights are very differently understood. Again and again, when Muslim individuals and organizations have released documents to define Islamic human rights, in each instance, all rights are restricted to those given by God and are subject to the phrase “according to the Shari’a.”3)A comprehensive, scholarly and eye-opening survey of these documents may be found in Ann Elizabeth Mayer’s Islam and Human Rights. For a broader discussion of the many issues involved, see the essays in International Law and International Human Rights Law. One of the best known statements of this kind is the 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. Its last two articles read thus:

ARTICLE 24:
All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah.

ARTICLE 25:
The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.

In the present context, Article 22 is also of particular interest:

ARTICLE 22:

(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.

1. Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.

(c) Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical Values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.

(d) It is not permitted to excite nationalistic or doctrinal hatred or to do anything that may be an incitement to any form or racial discrimination.

It is on the basis of this attitude to human rights, including the supposed right to express one’s opinion freely, that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has tried many times to introduce legislation within the United Nations that controls free speech in accordance with the demands of shari’a. The OIC has advocated bans on the “defamation of religion” in general, but in reality, it is defamation of Islam that matters. In Geneva, from 19 to 30 October 2009, the Ad Hoc Committee of the Human Rights Council on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards met to update the measures for combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance that the Durban I conference had formulated. During the discussion, the United States, Sweden and France all agreed that legal protection could not be provided for systems of belief or religions. However, the Syrian delegate stated clearly that “in real terms defamation means targeting Muslims”.

What is deemed to be defamatory is, of course, hugely restrictive, whether it be in the form of a novel, a cartoon, or even an academic study. As experience has shown, nothing is off limits.

Between 1999 and 2010, several Muslim states, at the instigation of the OIC and supported by a range of Third World countries, introduced resolutions at the UNHRC on “the defamation of religion” no fewer than 16 times. Initially, these resolutions were passed by majority votes, with delegates from Muslim states and developing countries supporting them. Western states for the greater part opposed them on the grounds that they threatened to restrict free speech. As time passed support for the resolution began to weaken. In 2009, for example, no fewer than 200 civil societies from 46 countries urged the UNHRC to reject an upcoming resolution on the subject.

In the same year, during the debate on another resolution, the European Union’s delegate, Jean-Baptiste Mattei, declared that the EU “rejected and would continue to reject the concept of defamation of religions.” He went on to say that “human rights laws did not and should not protect belief systems.” In the same debate, Carlos Portales from Chile noted that “the concept of the defamation of religions took them in an area that could lead to the actual prohibition of opinions.” However, the UNHRC adopted the resolution — without taking a vote.

Again, in 2010, Pakistan introduced a resolution “Combating the defamation of religion” on behalf of the OIC. Once more Jean-Baptiste Mattei opposed it. He argued that the “concept of defamation should not fall under the remit of human rights because it conflicted with the right to freedom of expression.” The U.S ambassador, Eileen Donahoe, declared with great clarity that

“The United States will vote against this resolution because we view it as an ineffective way to address these concerns. We cannot agree that prohibiting speech is the way to promote tolerance, and because we continue to see the ‘defamation of religions’ concept used to justify censorship, criminalization, and in some cases violent assaults and deaths of political, racial, and religious minorities around the world. Contrary to the intentions of most Member States, governments are likely to abuse the rights of individuals in the name of this resolution, and in the name of the Human Rights Council.”

Eileen Donahoe

Despite these many resolutions, members of the OIC were possibly starting to see that they were getting nowhere and that opposition to their attempt to introduce a ban on free speech through the back door was growing. They had to find a formula that would deflect criticism and win the support of Western states for whom freedom of speech was a non-negotiable condition. The answer was simple yet immensely effective. Instead of a focus on the protection of beliefs, why not stress the need to protect individual believers? On March 24, 2010, the UNHRC adopted (again without a vote) Resolution 16/18, entitled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion and belief.”

Overnight, everyone was playing a totally different ball game. Who could refuse to support a resolution with a title like that? The OIC had, as it were, slipped past customs checks and delivered something which apparently no one could reject.

A meeting was convened on July 15, 2011, hosted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the OIC Istanbul Office in the Yildiz Palace. The affair was co-chaired by OIC Secretary-General H.E Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs.4)Others attending the meeting included foreign ministers and officials from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Sudan, United Kingdom, the Vatican [Holy See], UN OHCHR, Arab League, and African Union. The OIC was home and dry, backed by just about everyone who had previously expressed concern about its plan. A joint statement was released, calling for international support for Resolution 16/18.5)“Participants resolved to… reaffirm their commitment to freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression by urging States to take effective measures, as set forth in Resolution 16/18… to address and combat intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion or belief…. Participants are encouraged to consider to provide updates… on the elimination of religious intolerance and discrimination.”

Resolution 16/18 has since become the gold standard according to which the international community may identify religious hatred, stereotyping, or incitement to hatred on racial or religious grounds. Understood in terms of international human rights law as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the thrust of the resolution appears unimpeachable. It is hard, if not impossible, openly to disagree with it in that context without seeming opposed to such rights.

There are, in fact, serious grounds for concern. These relate in part to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which entered into force ten years later, in 1976. This lengthy and important expression of human rights re-asserted the fundamental prescriptions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The rights it demands include:

• physical integrity, in the form of the right to life and freedom from torture and slavery (Articles 6, 7, and 8);

• liberty and security of the person, in the form of freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention and the right to habeas corpus (Articles 9 – 11);

• procedural fairness in law, in the form of rights to due process, a fair and impartial trial, the presumption of innocence, and recognition as a person before the law (Articles 14, 15, and 16);

• individual liberty, in the form of the freedoms of movement, thought, conscience and religion, speech, association and assembly, family rights, the right to a nationality, and the right to privacy (Articles 12, 13, 17 – 24);

• prohibition of any propaganda for war as well as any advocacy of national or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence by law (Article 20);

• political participation, including the right to the right to vote (Article 25);

• Non-discrimination, minority rights and equality before the law (Articles 26 and 27).

Unexpectedly, the International Covenant came to play a role following the passage of UNHRC Resolution 16/18. Four months after the passage of the, the UNHRC itself adopted General Comment 34 on the International Covenant with respect to freedoms of opinion and expression. The Comment places strong emphasis on the importance of those freedoms.

Paragraph 48 declares that:

“Prohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion or other belief system, including blasphemy laws, are incompatible with the Covenant, except in the specific circumstances envisaged in article 20, paragraph 2, of the Covenant. Such prohibitions must also comply with the strict requirements of article 19, paragraph 3, as well as such articles as 2, 5, 17, 18 and 26. Thus, for instance, it would be impermissible for any such laws to discriminate in favor of or against one or certain religions or belief systems, or their adherents over another, or religious believers over non-believers. Nor would it be permissible for such prohibitions to be used to prevent or punish criticism of religious leaders or commentary on religious doctrine and tenets of faith.”

These cautions certainly restrict the application of the OIC-instigated Resolution 16/18 from a Western human rights perspective. Viewed from that perspective, Resolution 16/18 is, at heart, hypocritical. On the surface, it makes it seem that the OIC has adopted a Western approach to human rights. In fact, it has not. Hidden from many people, including, I am sure, most of the Western members of the UN Human Rights Council is the OIC’s real position on human rights. It relies solely on Islamic legal prescriptions to determine what is and what is not a right. This is easy to see.

On its own website, the OIC publishes the full text and advocates the use of the Cairo Declaration mentioned above as the basis for its actual understanding of such rights. However, as all rights under the Cairo Declaration are declared subject to shari’a laws, this can only mean that the OIC regards the Western interpretation of Resolution 16/18 as invalid. If we then add that the freedoms of opinion, speech, and other expression are nowhere permitted within the Islamic world and are often punished in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sudan and elsewhere by imprisonment, flogging, and execution, one does have to question the sincerity of the OIC in promoting freedoms that it nowhere actually recognizes.

In theory, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Baha’is and some other religious communities will resort to the terms of the resolution when they are genuinely applicable to cases of being demonized and subjected to real incitement to violence. Unfortunately, for many years now we have seen that, in reality, it is most often Muslims who try to use anti-hate legislation to condemn perfectly reasonable criticism, satire, attempts to question shari’a, or to protest Islamic extremism. Resolution 16/18 will very likely assist many Muslims in bringing even more prosecutions against non-Muslim critics or even against moderate Muslims who oppose much that is done in the name of Islam.

There are, indeed, signs that Resolution 16/18 may already be bringing its influence to bear in some democratic states, not least that former bastion of free speech, the United States.

Our natural concern for the protection of the weak and vulnerable, a concern rooted in Western Judaeo-Christian and Enlightenment values, makes it easy for legislators from different political positions to sign a document such as the US Congress H.Res. 569. They may not have seen the hidden implications of their attempt to render it illegal to offend (as defined by Muslims) the members of just one religion. The legislators may not even have seen the exceptionalism granted to Muslims but to no other religious community.

Given the existence of the First Amendment, the United States remains capable of resisting attacks on free speech and expression. It would be regrettable if H.Res. 569 could prove to be a Trojan Horse, just as was Resolution 16/18.

Legislation such as H. Res, 569 would not only end America’s long tradition of free and open debate; worse, it would reverse the protection of the First Amendment.

Denis MacEoin is a scholar of Islam and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.


February 13, 2016 | by Denis MacEoin | gatestoneinstitute.org "Free Speech vs. Islamic Law?"
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References   [ + ]

1. S.Res. 148 [also dated December 17, 2015] “Condemns the government of Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.” It was preceded by H.Res. 220 of May 20, 2015.
2. See Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, ‘Umdat al-salik, trans. Nuh Ha Mim Keller as Reliance of the Traveller, Amana, Maryland, rev. ed. 1994, p. 584 o1.2 (2).
3. A comprehensive, scholarly and eye-opening survey of these documents may be found in Ann Elizabeth Mayer’s Islam and Human Rights. For a broader discussion of the many issues involved, see the essays in International Law and International Human Rights Law.
4. Others attending the meeting included foreign ministers and officials from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Sudan, United Kingdom, the Vatican [Holy See], UN OHCHR, Arab League, and African Union.
5. “Participants resolved to… reaffirm their commitment to freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression by urging States to take effective measures, as set forth in Resolution 16/18… to address and combat intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion or belief…. Participants are encouraged to consider to provide updates… on the elimination of religious intolerance and discrimination.”