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August 15, 2019 9:57 am

Human Rights Experts Hail Challenge to Palestinian Authority Antisemitism at UN Committee Session

avatar by David Gerstman

A view of the UN’s Geneva headquarters. Photo: Reuters/Salvatore Di Nolfi.

Human rights experts on Thursday praised a United Nations’ committee for its pointed questioning of the Palestinian Authority over its antisemitic incitement.

The UN’s Committee to End Racial Discrimination (CERD) grilled the PA’s delegation in Geneva earlier this week over its official incitement, including in schools.

The PA was subject to the review on Tuesday and Wednesday, having signed on to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Prior to the review by the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), a number of pro-Israel NGOs submitted documentation of Palestinian violations of the convention, prompting searching questioning of the Palestinian delegation on Tuesday.

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On Wednesday, the Palestinian delegation seemed to be surprised by the adversarial tone of many of the questions and insisted that “96 percent of the Palestinian curriculum is in with UN and international standards.”

“Palestinian officials have a standard set of phrases and accusations about Israel, which they repeated in the first round. They almost never have to respond to detailed criticism, particularly in the UN. So in this case, they were obviously surprised when the committee asked real questions,” Gerald Steinberg — president of Israeli research institute NGO Monitor — explained to The Algemeiner.

He added: “To respond, they could only invent ridiculous claims that had no factual support to defend themselves. The Palestinians and their allies, including the committee chair from Algeria, clearly lost this round. The question is whether the final report will reflect this outcome.”

In his statement to the CERD, Steinberg noted that the Palestinians in their submission used the term “apartheid” 32 times.

Given that an apartheid state has no right to exist, Steinberg said, “It is a call for the elimination of a member state of the United Nations. It is a form of racism itself.”

“Any society exposed to the levels of hatred and violence present in the PA and Hamas controlled territories cannot be expected to seek peace,” Hillel Neuer and Dina Rovner, respectively the executive director and the legal advisor to UN Watch, wrote in their submission to CERD. “The only way future generations of Palestinians will be able to pursue peace with Israel is if they are educated with messages of peace and tolerance rather than hatred. We hope the Committee will address these important issues in its review.”

Marcus Sheff — CEO of IMPACT-SE, a non-profit organization that monitors the content of school textbooks — told The Algemeiner that an informal meeting with the UN committee members on Tuesday was decisive. During that meeting, Sheff showed them textbooks with examples of the antisemitism that is rife in the Palestinian educational system.

In particular, he noted that the South Korean committee member, Chinsung Chung, was prompted to ask the Palestinian delegation about the official anti-Semitism after viewing the books.

Chung also delivered a rebuke to the Palestinians saying, “The Palestinian Authority should undertake serious reforms in its political system.”

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