Today, for the first time, the United Nations will name Palestine a (non-member) “observer state” by first engaging in exactly the charge that they press against Israel: apartheid.
For kick-off day and the vote at the General Assembly, which is supposed to be all about mutual respect and coexistence, “Palestine” has teamed up with the “UN Division for Palestinian Rights” and UN officials to pack the Assembly hall with Palestine supporters while denying access to a prominent Jewish organization.
Staging thunderous applause with no discernible dissent for the unsuspecting global media is evidently a top Palestinian priority.
The extraordinary scheme to deny access to the General Assembly to an unpalatable, though formally accredited, UN NGO looked like this.
Yesterday, the UN Division for Palestinian Rights sent a letter to the UN pass office to insist that they step in to deny invitees of the UN-accredited Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, the passes they had duly requested in writing. (A copy of the letter follows this article, below.)
The passes had in fact already been printed and issued (see below), but after receiving the Palestinian branch’s demand, UN security officials took the extraordinary step of insisting upon their return. The denial affects 23 Jewish young adults who were part of an educational program associated with the Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni community.
The Jewish group had requested passes for November 29, 2012 to attend separate events: the “UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” in the morning and, the General Assembly debate on “The Question of Palestine” which commences at 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Solidarity Day is an annual event that takes place on the anniversary of the General Assembly vote of November 29, 1947 to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. Sixty-five years ago, the resolution was immediately rejected by all Arab countries, but welcomed by the soon-to-be citizens of Israel.
Solidarity Day is widely advertised, including on the UN website, with the words “NGOs are invited to attend.” Furthermore, the Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni completed individual registration forms and submitted them to the host of Solidarity Day, the Division for Palestinian Rights (which is part of the UN Department of Political Affairs). And the Division sent out letters of acceptance. However, yesterday the same UN employee, one Mable Chan, reneged on the confirmations and abruptly sent emails to the suddenly-rejected Jewish and pro-Israel participants claiming the event was “filled.”
It didn’t stop there. The UN general pass and NGO offices informed the UN Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR) of a formal request by the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust to facilitate the visit to the UN of these people on November 29th, (both to Solidarity Day and the General Assembly). Through a flurry of phone calls and emails, DPR officials conducted an intense campaign of exclusion and disenfranchisement. UN security officials obliged.
In a letter, the DPR claimed that the NGO had “bypassed” the Division registration process, which in light of the individual letters of acceptance received from the Division itself (after properly submitted individual registration) was patently false.
The DPR claimed that the NGO “is not accredited to the Palestinian Rights Committee and has not received an invitation to attend the morning meeting.” In light of the fact that the meeting is advertised on the UN website itself as open to all NGOs, a lack of accreditation by this particular committee or special directed invitation was never a condition of attendance.
And then the DPR came clean – when they thought their letter was only being seen by other UN staff in the NGO and pass office. They claimed that the NGO “has proved disruptive and negative in the past.”
It is certainly true that the Touro Institute Director, Anne Bayefsky, has been a critic of the Division for Palestinian Rights, and UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in particular. For example, her reporting of the November 29, 2005 display at UN Headquarters of a map of the Middle East that omitted the state of Israel resulted in the Division and its Palestinian Committee having to mothball permanently this treasured feature of the Day’s festivities over many years. Disruptive? Only in a sense consistent with the UN Charter’s requirement of the “equal rights of nations large and small.”
More likely, what is really worrying the UN Division and its Palestinian rights committee about an open environment is what they have scheduled for today. Speaking as the one and only “representative of civil society,” according to their program, will be Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame). Waters is famous, among other things, for performing rock music accompanied by images combining bombs, Jewish stars of David and dollar signs. In 2011, he told Al Jazeera he could “applaud” Israelis provided their “humanity transcends… their religion.”
Having unilaterally decided to deny access to Solidarity Day events to anyone identifiably pro-Israel, the DPR successfully insisted that the UN pass and NGO offices refuse passes for this NGO’s invitees to attend the General Assembly itself – over which they have no jurisdiction.
The UN secretariat’s letter boldly indicates the double-standards they concocted for pro-Israel and anti-Israel would-be attendees. The former, they fabricated, had to take the bizarre step of asking the President of the General Assembly for permission to attend the vote on Palestine-the-state, while the latter could spend five minutes in the security office on their way to the meeting.
And how many seats had the DPR saved for their selected anti-Israel contingent? According to Director Wolfgang Grieger himself, a whopping one hundred seats. Packing the house for a UN-initiated disruption – a massive round of cheering and applause as soon as the Palestine vote occurs.
The symmetry is not accidental. Apartheid at the UN has been sanctioned by the UN Palestinian division staff, and this afternoon apartheid Palestine will be welcomed by the General Assembly in a formal resolution.