Tillerson to UN Human Rights Council: Shape up or we’re shipping out
Hamas using Muslim Brotherhood network in Europe to gain legitimacy, funds
Turkish ambassador to Israel: We share concerns about Iranian ambitions
30,000 runners set for Jerusalem Marathon
The United States will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) unless the agency undertakes significant reforms, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote in a letter to advocacy groups this week.
The letter, which was first reported by Foreign Policy, states that the Trump administration “continues to evaluate the effectiveness” of the council, especially when the group’s membership includes nations with terrible human rights records.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said last month that the United States would not “turn a blind eye” to anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, decrying the fact that during her first session in the Security Council, the organization’s hearing “was not about Hizballah’s illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon. It was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how we defeat ISIS. It was not about how we hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians. No, instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East.”
The UN has long been accused of having a systemic bias against the Jewish state. In 2016, the General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions against Israel and only six on the rest of the world combined, according to the monitoring group UN Watch.
In December, then-Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged his organization’s bias against Israel, saying, “Decades of political maneuvering have created a disproportionate number of resolutions, reports and committees against Israel.” Ban also 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.”
Brotherhood with the Brotherhood--
The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has been seeking legitimacy and money in Europe by leveraging networks affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, its parent organization, Avi Issacharoff reported Tuesday in The Times of Israel.
One of the goals of this campaign, which is ongoing in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, is to replace the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominating faction Fatah as the sole legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people. “Hamas, in this way, is slowly but surely establishing a global infrastructure of supporters who are providing not only encouragement and legitimacy, but also quite a bit of financial assistance,” Issacharoff wrote.
More of these “semi-official” events for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are hosted in the United Kingdom than anywhere else in Europe. Many of them are carried out under the cover of the innocuous sounding “Global Anti-Aggression Campaign.”
While many of these Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations do not acknowledge their ties with the Egyptian group, they nonetheless “operate according to the long-established model of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas,” according to Issacharoff.
According to Dr. Ehud Rosen, an expert on political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Brotherhood-related groups in Europe lack “a centralized command structure or a prominent commander,” but “there are definite networks here, with major nexuses, such as London or Germany. They cooperate with the official Muslim Brotherhood and with Hamas.”
“Hamas’s place in the enormous organization known as the global Muslim Brotherhood is growing right now,” Rosen explained. “Hamas is the movement’s own flesh and blood, and it wants to take control of the PLO. This is why its global activity has taken on a new importance. The Palestinian organization is trying to re-invent itself, with a new platform and a supposedly more moderate direction, but they are still the same organization.”
Turkey shares Israel’s fears about Iran’s nuclear and regional ambitions, the Turkish ambassador to Israel said Wednesday. Iran’s “nuclear file is a concern for everyone,” said Ambassador Kemal Okem. Turkey does differ with Israel in wanting to contain and not isolate Iran, however: “We have a common border [with Iran] for hundreds of years which remain unchanged. They see us as a strategic competitor…We saw the need for engaging and containing their ambitions.”
When Ambassador Okem presented his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in December, he said, “This is a new beginning in our bilateral relations and in our joint efforts, in this region in which we have close ties, historical ties.” He pledged, “I will do my best to enhance our relations in every field – regardless of any difficulties that we may face, we will be able to overcome together with our partners and friends Israel.”
Turkish-Israeli ties had been strained since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, when a flotilla under the control of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation—a group designated as a terror organization by the Netherlands and Germany—attempted to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. IDF troops faced an “organized and violent” assault from a group of passengers after boarding the ship, according to a UN report. Ten crew members were killed in the ensuing fight, and several Israeli soldiers were injured.
After the reconciliation agreement was reached this past June, Israeli leaders noted the significant economic potential of closer ties. “Trade between Israel and Turkey has more than doubled from the Marmara event up until today,” said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, adding that the deal will bolster that growth with “joint projects in government level. People are speaking about gas and there are other issues that might emerge.”
The Seventh International Jerusalem Winner Marathon is all set for tomorrow, March 17th, 2017, with an expected 30,000 runners to take part in seven routes. The Jerusalem Marathon includes the full marathon (42.2 km), half-marathon (21.1 km), 10 km race, competitive 5 km race, popular 5 km race, family 1.7km race and an 800m community race. “Every year, I am newly invigorated to see the thousands of runners, young and old, who come from all over the country and around the world to participate in the Jerusalem Winner Marathon. “Each year, participants run through the very streets where kings and prophets walked, against the backdrop of Jerusalem’s cultural and historical landscapes. It is a unique and breathtaking experience,” Barkat said in his greeting to the marathon. (via Israel21c)