Rima Khalaf, Head of the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, resigns after refusing to withdraw report
A Report was drawn up by Rima Khalaf, the head of the United Nation's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, that proves beyond all reasonable doubt, that Israel is an ethno-supremacist Apartheid state. The evidence is incontrovertible. The world’s main superpower, the United States, whose President, Donald Trump, is an out and out racist, doesn’t even bother to argue with the substance of the Report. How could it since everything it says is true?
Israel is Reagan’s City on the Hill. It is the shining example of democracy in the Middle East. It is everything we should aspire to. No matter that torture is routine, that children (Palestinian of course) are shackled, that Gaza and its people are used as a shooting gallery, that land is confiscated (i.e. stolen) so that Jewish settlements can be built or that Palestinians, even in Israel, are segmented in virtually every sphere of society from land to education to local government funding.
The fact is that Israel is not an apartheid society for one reason only. It is politically inconvenient to label it so and if you insist on telling the truth, then you must be an anti-Semite. Only people like the Donald, who cavort with holocaust deniers and Jew haters from Steve Bannon’s Breitbart, are free of the ‘new anti-Semitism’.
Fortunately these days, thanks to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, [see Manufacturing Consent On ‘Anti-Semitism] people like Trump don’t have to worry about the old fashioned anti-Semitism i.e. Jew hatred. ‘New anti-Semitism’ only applies to those who hate Israel, not those who hate Jews.
The Report by Rima Khalaf, both the Executive Summary and the full Report are well worth reading and I have put up both on the web for those who are interested.
|Rima Khalaf (via Facebook)|
A senior United Nations official has resigned, following pressure from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to withdraw the landmark report published earlier this week finding Israel guilty of apartheid.
Rima Khalaf, the head of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) which published the report, announced her resignation at a press conference in Beirut on Friday.
Reuters reports that Khalaf took the step “after what she described as pressure from the secretary-general to withdraw a report accusing Israel of imposing an ‘apartheid regime’ on Palestinians.”
“I resigned because it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report,” Khalaf stated.
As of Friday, a press release announcing the report remained visible on the ESCWA website, but the link to the report itself from the press release no longer works.
A full copy of the report is available below.
It concludes that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”
It finds “beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crimes of apartheid” as defined in international law.
It urges national governments to “support boycott, divestment and sanctions activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives.”
Palestinians warmly welcomed the report, but Israel angrily denounced it as akin to Nazi propaganda. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN demanded that the report be withdrawn.
That demand came just as the Trump administration announced a budget plan that includes sweeping cuts in US contributions to the UN.
Khalaf’s resignation indicates that Guterres acted obediently and swiftly to carry out the orders from the United States. In a tweet, the Anti-Defamation League, a powerful Israel lobby group in the United States, thanked Guterres for urging ESCWA to withdraw the report.
The Israeli government has long targeted Khalaf for retaliation for doing her job. In 2014, its UN ambassador demanded she be removed from her post for criticizing Israel’s policies of occupation and Jewish colonization of Palestinian territory at the expense of Muslim and Christian communities.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the civil society coalition that leads the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, condemned Guterres’ intervention.
“The fact that a UN secretary general has bowed to threats and intimidation from the Trump administration to protect Israel from accountability, yet again, is hardly news,” the BNC said. “The real news is that this time round, Israel, with all its influence in Washington, cannot put the genie back into the bottle.”
“Palestinians are deeply grateful to ESCWA’s director, Dr. Rima Khalaf, who preferred to resign in dignity than to surrender her principles to US-Israeli bullying,” the BNC added.
Khalaf’s resignation, under pressure to suppress factual and legal findings unfavorable to Israel, will send a chilling message to other UN officials that they are better off serving those in power than in upholding any mandate to advance human rights and respect for international law.
UN bowed to‘fearmongering and threats’ from powerful governments to cover up ‘painful truth’ of Israeli apartheid — UN official’s resignation letter
Yesterday Rima Khalaf resigned as executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia after the agency was forced to retract a report stating that Israel is an “apartheid regime.” Khalaf’s letter of resignation to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was translated and posted by poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha today on her Facebook page. Here is that translation:
Honorable Secretary General,
I have given a great deal of consideration to the letter I received from your office, and I assure you that I in no way question your right to issue instructions to remove the report from the ESCWA web site, as I do not question that as employees of the United Nations, we must all execute the orders of our Secretary General.
I know very well your commitment to the principles of human rights in general and your position on the rights of the Palestinian people specifically. And I also understand the anxiety you must have in these difficult times that leave you with few good choices.
It is clear to me the kinds of pressures and threats to which the United Nations and you personally are subjected by states with authority and influence, because of the publication of the ESCWA report (Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid)[still available here]. I am unsurprised that these states, which are run today by governments with little concern for international principles and human rights, should resort to tactics of fearmongering and threats when they fail to defend their policies and practices which violate the law. It makes sense that a criminal would attack those who defend the cause of his victims, but I find myself incapable of bowing to such pressures, and not because of my role as an employee of the United Nations, but simply as a sane human being. For I believe—as you do—in the values and noble principles that have always represented the forces of good throughout history, and upon which our organization, the United Nations, was founded. And, like you, I also believe that discrimination against any human being on the basis of religion or skin color or gender or ethnicity is absolutely unacceptable, and cannot be made acceptable by political maneuvering or brute force. And I believe that to speak truth to power is not only a human right, it is our obligation.
Over the course of two months, I have been instructed to withdraw two reports published by ESCWA, not for any error or shortcomings within the reports themselves and not necessarily because you yourself disagree with their content, but because of political pressures from countries implicated by their blatant violations of the rights of people in the region and human rights in general.
You have seen with your own eyes how the people of this region are enduring episodes of pain and suffering unprecedented in their modern history, and that the deluge of catastrophes that has overtaken them today is a direct result of unchecked oppression which has been ignored, or covered up, or openly engaged in by governments with dominance and force within the region and outside of it. These same governments are the ones pressuring you today to silence the voice of truth and the calls for justice represented by this report.
In view of all that I have stated here, I can only insist on the findings of the ESCWA report, which state that Israel has built an apartheid regime which aims to give one ethnic group control over another. The evidence provided in the report is incontrovertible, and here it is sufficient to point out that anyone who has attacked the report has been incapable of calling into question a single word of its actual content. I see it as my obligation to shine a light on the truth and not to hide it or obscure the testimony and evidence it provides.
The painful truth is that an apartheid regime still exists in the 21st century, and this is unacceptable under any law and is morally unjustifiable.
As I make this statement, I claim no moral superiority and no greater clarity than you possess, the matter is simply that my statements are a result of an entire life spent here, in this region, witnessing the horrific consequences of stifling people and preventing them from expressing the truth of their suffering through peaceful means.
As such, and after great consideration, I realize that I too have no choice. I cannot withdraw, once again, a United Nations report, an exceptionally researched and well-documented report about grave violations of human rights. I also realize that the clear directives of the Secretary General of the United Nations must be executed. And so the only way to resolve this tangle is for me to step aside and leave it to someone else to do what my conscience prevents me from doing. I realize I have only two weeks of service remaining in my post, so my resignation is not meant to exert any political pressure on you. I am simply resigning because I believe my duty to the peoples of the region that we serve, and to the United Nations, and to myself, is not to silence the testimony about a crime that causes such suffering to so many human beings. For this reason, I submit to you my resignation from the United Nations.
Translator Lena Khalaf Tuffaha prefaced the posting with these words:
Dr. Rima Khalaf, career diplomat extraordinaire, personal hero, and Executive Secretary of ESCWA, resigned today after the UN Secretary General tried to withdraw a report that correctly identified Israel as an apartheid regime. Anyone who cares about freedom and equality should read her letter of resignation, which I have translated here. Her letter is a document that is now part of the history of the struggle for freedom. And anyone in the west who’s super worried about women in the Arab world should sit down, because we have Rima and many women like her who just need everyone to get out the way so we can get our work done. Khalaf women don’t play. Palestinian women don’t play.
Thanks to Nada Elia.