BDS Advocates, Terror ‘Partners’ to Speak at UN Forum on ’50 Years of Occupation’
A UN-sponsored forum at the global organization’s headquarters in New York City on Friday will provide a platform for Palestinian NGOs associated with terrorist groups, including Hamas, as well as Western advocates of the BDS campaign known for inflammatory statements concerning both Jews and Israel.
Funded from dues paid by UN member states, the forum — which takes place on the second day of a two-day parley entitled “Ending the Occupation: The Path to Independence, Justice and Peace for Palestine” — was condemned by Israeli diplomats on Monday for prominently featuring Palestinian NGOs with alleged ties to both Hamas and the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
“The UN is colluding with supporters of terror seeking to harm Israel,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon declared. “It is beyond comprehension that UN funds are supporting organizations which aid terrorists and incite against Israel. We call on the secretary-general to intervene immediately and prevent these individuals from appearing at the UN.”
Danon specifically named two Palestinian NGOs as “partners” of terrorist organizations — Al Haq, a legal organization with links to the PFLP, and the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, which works with Hamas.
According to the Israeli watchdog NGO Monitor, Al Haq’s director Shawan Jabarin has close ties with the PFLP. The organization has not released any information about its funding sources since 2009. Al Mezan, meanwhile, has played an active role in the campaign accusing the IDF of war crimes in Gaza — while its funding is not entirely transparent, it has received $415,000 from donor agencies in Norway, Denmark and other European countries. Both NGOs enjoy formal consultative status at the UN.
The forum is being hosted by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), headed by Senegal’s Ambassador to the UN, Fode Seck. Serviced by the member states-funded Division for Palestinian Rights, the committee’s history goes back to November 1975, when it was created as part of a series of UN General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel — including the notorious resolution 3379, which declared Zionism to be a form of “racism and racial discrimination.”
Though the committee claims to support a two-state solution, its mandate is to promote Palestinian independence based on the “return” of the descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 war.
Speakers from Western organizations advocating for BDS — and for the replacement of Israel by a single state of Palestine — will also be featured at the forum.
Among them is Rebecca Vilkomerson, the head of “Jewish Voice for Peace” — a rabidly anti-Zionist group allied with extremist and antisemitic American campus organizations, such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Supporters of Vilkomerson’s group were arrested at the Salute to Israel parade in New York on June 5, after they physically confronted members of a pro-Israel LGBT group. Funders of “Jewish Voice for Peace” include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Violet Jabara Charitable Trust, which also provides financial support to the Electronic Intifada website.
Also appearing at the UN forum is Jessica Nevo, who works for Zochrot, an Israeli anti-Zionist NGO that operates a pro-Palestinian political campaign and exhibition space in Tel Aviv. An open supporter of BDS and of the so-called “one-state solution,” Zochrot has something of a reputation for abusing and lampooning the Holocaust. In 2014, the organization’s founder, Eitan Bronstein, appeared in a YouTube video as the “bodyguard” to an actress playing “The Holocaust,” who shrieked political slogans at visitors to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust.
“Who have you learned from to collect people according to their ethnic background and throw them into concentration camps?” the actress yelled at one point.
Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor’s president, told The Algemeiner, “These UN-NGO propaganda events spread hate against and make peace efforts even more difficult.”
“Most of these NGOs are funded irresponsibly by European governments under the false flag of human rights,” he continued. “The addition of the so-called ‘Jewish Voice for Peace,’ a product of the radical Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, highlights the immoral nature of these events.”
Five months after taking office in December 2016, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made clear his distaste for those who deny Israel’s right to exist.
“A modern form of antisemitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist,” Guterres said in an April address to the World Jewish Congress. “As secretary-general of the United Nations, I can say that the State of Israel needs to be treated as any other state, with exactly the same rules.”