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July 3, 2019 2:04 pm

In UNHRC Speech, Ex-Miss Iraq Sarah Idan Blasts Antisemitism, ‘Biased’ Media Coverage Against Israel


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan, right, speaking alongside former Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman at the AJC Global Forum in June 2018. Photo: Screenshot / YouTube.

Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan criticized media bias against Israel and antisemitism taught in Muslim countries while speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, recently.

Idan, recently named an Ambassador for Peace by the monitoring NGO UN Watch, began her speech at the UNHRC on June 26 by recalling the death threats she received after posting on social media a photo with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant. The Iraqi government ordered her to take down a photo and denounce Israel, both of which she refused to do. Since then she has not been able to return to her homeland, she said.

“Why did the Iraqi government fail to condemn the threats, or allow my freedom of speech?” the 29-year-old asked. “The issue between Arabs and Israelis goes beyond policy disagreements. It’s deeply rooted in the belief systems taught in Muslim countries, which are antisemitic.”

Idan spoke at the UNHRC after representatives from Syria, Pakistan, Qatar, the Palestine Liberation Organization and Venezuela accused Israel of “grave violations of human rights” and “state terrorism.”

Idan said hatred and intolerance were reinforced by “biased media,” adding, “When I watched the news last month, why did they never report that the Hamas terrorist organization fired nearly 700 rockets at Israeli civilians in one weekend or that Hamas used Palestinians in Gaza as human shields? Why do they never condemn Hamas for initiating the attacks? Instead, they only show those killed by the response, in self-defense, and blame Israel.”

The former beauty queen has been called a “traitor” for her peace advocacy, and she pointed out that “Arab media” never asked for her opinion on Middle East issues, and instead only “publish false translations of my statements.”

“I’d like to remind Arab countries that today you share more common interests with Israel than the terrorist militias,” she said. “Negotiating peace for both states isn’t betraying the Arab cause, but a vital step to end conflict and suffering for all. Thank you.”

Watch Sarah Idan’s full speech below:

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