BBC ignores UN SG’s admission of bias against Israel

Readers may recall that in February 2016 the BBC’s UN correspondent Nick Bryant told listeners to BBC World Service radio that:

“The Israelis always believe that they are victimized at the UN; that they are singled out unfairly; that they are isolated…”

However, as has been noted here before, Bryant did not provide BBC audiences with any relevant factual information which would enable them to understand the reality behind his portrayal of what Israelis “always believe”.  

As the current UN Secretary General’s term of office comes to an end, the BBC has found a ‘hint’ made at a final press conference newsworthy.ban-art-2

“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has hinted that he may shortly run for the presidency of his native South Korea.

Mr Ban’s term as the world’s top diplomat expires at the end of December.

In his final press conference as UN chief, Mr Ban said that after some rest he will return to South Korea and consider how best to help his country.”

Not newsworthy for the BBC, however, was Ban’s acknowledgement of bias against Israel at the body he has headed for a decade in his last address to the UN Security Council.

“During the past ten years, I have argued that we must never accept bias against Israel within UN bodies.  Decades of political maneuverings have created a disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticizing Israel.  In many cases, rather than helping the Palestinian cause, this reality has hampered the ability of the UN to fulfill its role effectively.” 

As noted at the Tower:

“Ban criticized the UNHRC’s singular focus on Israel shortly after assuming his post in 2007, saying that he was “disappointed at the council’s decision to single out only one specific regional item, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.” […]

Earlier this year, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power underscored the injustice of the UN’s singular focus on Israel:

“As you all know, the UN Charter guarantees “the equal rights of nations large and small,” and yet we have seen member states seek to use the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, and even the most arcane UN committees in ways that cross the line from legitimate criticisms of Israel’s policies to attempts to delegitimize the state of Israel itself. The only country in the world with a standing agenda item at the Human Rights Council is not North Korea, a totalitarian state that is currently holding an estimated 100,000 people in gulags; not Syria, which has gassed its people – lots of them. It is Israel.

Bias has extended well beyond Israel as a country, Israel as an idea – it even extends to Israeli organizations. Some of you may know the group ZAKA – an Israeli humanitarian group that helps save lives in disasters and ensures proper burial for the victims of those tragedies. ZAKA not only works here in Israel, but it responds to natural and manmade disasters worldwide, as it did in New York after 9/11, and in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Yet when ZAKA was nominated in 2013 for accreditation by the UN’s NGO committee – and this accreditation is what gives NGOs the right to participate in UN meetings, the right to assert their voices, the right to raise causes that really can matter in the world – when ZAKA was put forward it was denied approval. Five subsequent times the committee met, and five times member states blocked ZAKA – not because of the quality of its work, people weren’t that interested in the quality of its work, but simply because ZAKA is an Israeli organization.”

Particularly as the BBC is prone to frequent uncritical amplification of UN officials’ statements concerning Israel, Ban’s acknowledgement of anti-Israel bias at that body is precisely the type of information that audiences need in order to enhance their understanding.

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What BBC audiences aren’t told about the UNHRC

Readers may recall that in February 2016 the BBC’s UN correspondent Nick Bryant told listeners to BBC World Service radio that:

“The Israelis always believe that they are victimized at the UN; that they are singled out unfairly; that they are isolated…”

Bryant did not however provide BBC audiences with any relevant factual information which would enable them to understand the reality behind his portrayal of what Israelis “always believe”.  

In his recent testimony to the US Congress on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the UN Human Rights Council, Hillel Neuer of UN Watch noted the tally of UNHRC condemnations over the last decade.Hillel Neuer UNHRC

“Despite the promise of ending selectivity, the Council’s pathological obsession with demonizing Israelis, and denying their human rights, has never been worse. Since its creation, the Council has adopted 67 resolutions condemning Israel—and only 61 on the rest of the world combined. The texts on Israel are uniquely suffused with the suppression of any countervailing facts that might provide balance.

Its commissions of inquiry like the Goldstone Report, which excoriated Israel while exonerating Hamas, initiated a new era whereby a terrorist group has come to rely on the Council as an effective international tool to achieve its deadly goals. Hamas is incentivized by the UN to launch rocket attacks against Israeli civilians while placing its own civilian population in harm’s way.

And just now, the Council instituted a UN black-list of Israeli companies, to have the UN implement the anti-Israeli BDS campaign—boycott, divestment and sanctions—and to strangle the economic life of Israeli citizens.” [emphasis added]

That is information which BBC audiences obviously need to know in order to be able to put statements such as the one above from Bryant into their correct context and its inclusion in the BBC’s profile of the UN would be a good place to start.

 

 

 

 

 

No BBC reporting on Hamas entryism at UN

On July 20th the United Nations gave its final approval to the application for accreditation submitted by the London-based Palestinian Return Centre.

“US Deputy UN Ambassador Michele Sisson said the center only applied for consultative status a year ago and the United States has “serious concerns” about its background and activities that haven’t been answered.”

As has been noted here before, those “serious concerns” are very well founded.

However, the BBC’s UN correspondent has to date shown no interest in telling audiences about the UK-based organization with close Hamas ties that has just been granted the UN accreditation which gives it “access to U.N. premises and opportunities to attend or observe many events and conferences at United Nations sites around the world”.  

The prospect of supporters of an internationally recognised terrorist organization gaining access to the United Nations in order to expand its influence and promote its ideology of elimination of a UN member state (as portrayed in the NGO’s logo) is apparently not news. 

PRC logo  

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The UN, the PRC and Hamas: a postscript with a twist

The UN, the PRC and Hamas: a postscript with a twist

As was noted here last week, on June 1st the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations approved the first stage of the application by the London-based Palestinian Return Centre for UN accreditation.

Reuters subsequently reported that:

“The British-based Palestinian Return Centre on Tuesday threatened Israel’s U.N. mission with legal action after the Jewish state accused it of having ties to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, an allegation the group said was false.

The Israeli accusations came after a United Nations committee that oversees non-governmental organizations voted to approve U.N accreditation for the PRC, which Israel’s mission said was not only linked to Hamas but promoted “anti-Israel propaganda in Europe.”

“We announce that PRC is considering legal action against the Israeli delegation at the U.N.,” the group said in a statement circulated to the 19-member U.N. Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.

“We also hold them accountable for the safety and security of our members worldwide,” the group said. “Such allegations and defamation where we are described as terrorist and affiliated to Hamas are dangerous, baseless and will have negative ramifications on our work and members.”

The statement offered no details on the type of legal action the group might take against the Israeli mission.”

The PRC – which was outlawed in Israel in December 2010 due to its Hamas connections – also published its own histrionic statement on its website.

Click to enlarge. Photo credit: ITIC

Click to enlarge. Photo credit: ITIC

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center however informs us that Hamas claims that the head of the organization which denies being affiliated to Hamas received a congratulatory phone call… from Hamas.

“Hamas’s English-language and Arabic-language media announced on June 3, 2015, that Ismail Haniya, deputy chief of Hamas’s Political Bureau, congratulated Majed al-Zeer, the general director of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), for having been granted a non-governmental observer status in the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations. The congratulations were conveyed on a telephone call, apparently on June 2.”

The story then took a peculiar turn:

“AP (as well as other media outlets, including Reuters) reported that PRC’s spokesman Sameh Habeeb claimed that Majed al-Zeer had not received a telephone call from Ismail Haniya. According to AP, later on that day (June 2, 2015), Ismail Haniya’s spokesman sent a message to reporters asking them “‘not to deal’ with the earlier announcement about the phone call”.”

One does hope that the representatives of the 54 member states of ECOSOC tasked with deciding next month whether to approve the PRC’s application are managing to keep up with the plot.

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Hamas entryism at the UN

As readers may be aware, on June 1st the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations approved the application of the London-based Palestinian Return Centre for UN accreditation.

“Some 12 countries voted in favour, including Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey, Venezuela, China and Cuba, while three voted against – the United States, Uruguay and Israel. India, Russia and Greece abstained, and Burundi was absent. […]

Official U.N. status as an NGO gives groups access to U.N. premises and opportunities to attend or observe many events and conferences at United Nations sites around the world.”

This vote, however, is only the first stage in the process.

“The 54-nation ECOSOC, which meets in July, has the power to approve or reject the committee’s recommendations and to make the final decision.”

The Palestinian Return Centre has been an illegal organization in Israel since 2010 because of its connections to Hamas. PRC activists and staff regularly crop up in connection with assorted delegitimisation projects and are active in other organisations too – as anyone monitoring and documenting anti-Israel activity well knows. Below, for example, is a photograph from a 2011 visit by British parliamentarians to Lebanon which was jointly organised by the Palestinian Return Centre and the Council for European Palestinian Relations and which included in its itinerary a meeting with Osama Hamdan of Hamas. 

PRC & Hamdan

Among the PRC’s current projects is a campaign to have Britain apologise for the Balfour Declaration.  Previous initiatives have included a public relations campaign on behalf of Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel which was launched at a conference organized by the PRC in 2012.  As was noted on our sister site UK Media Watch at the time:

“The conference’s president was Majed al Zeer of the PRC and also of the Hamas-linked European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) which was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm in 2007 and takes part in organizing the various flotillas, including the fatal one of 2010. […]

PRC spokesman and chair of trustees Zaher al Birawi recently acted as spokesman for the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’. He has also functioned as spokesman for George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ convoys, is an official of the Palestinian Forum in Britain and trustee of a UK charity named ‘Education Aid for Palestinians’ which is a member of the Hamas-supporting ‘Union of Good‘

The PRC’s operational director, Arafat Madi Shoukri, is also connected to the ECESG as well as director of the Brussels-based European parliament lobbying group called the ‘Council for European Palestinian Relations‘. Ghassan Faour – a trustee of the PRC – is also linked to the UK charity ‘Interpal’ which is a member of the ‘Union of Good’. Another PRC trustee Majdi Akeel – a known Hamas activist and also connected to ‘Interpal’– was mentioned in the Holy Land Foundation trial in the US. The PRC’s senior researcher and editor, Daoud Abdallah, is also the director of MEMO and well-known as a signatory of the Istanbul Declaration.” 

According to the UN’s own criteria for establishing relations with non-governmental organizations:

“The aims and purposes of the organization shall be in conformity with the spirit, purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

The same document states:

“57. The consultative status of non-governmental organizations with the Economic and Social Council and the listing of those on the Roster shall be suspended up to three years or withdrawn in the following cases:

(a) If an organization, either directly or through its affiliates or representatives acting on its behalf, clearly abuses its status by engaging in a pattern of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations including unsubstantiated or politically motivated acts against Member States of the United Nations incompatible with those purposes and principles;”

Such activities are of course the entire raison d’etre behind the PRC’s existence and this current exercise in entryism is highly unlikely to be fuelled by different motivations. That such an organisation’s application – whilst not yet finalised – has proceeded so far speaks volumes.  

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