UNESCO Suspension of Jewish Exhibit Exposes One-Sided Policy

“Jews in front of the Wall of Solomon” by Alexandre Bida, 1880.

— by Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch

Days before its opening, under pressure from Arab states, UNESCO suspended a major exhibit at its Paris headquarters on the Jewish people and Israel.

The UNESCO chief, Irina Bokova, justified her cancellation of Monday’s Jewish exhibit by invoking UNESCO’s alleged concern not to endanger the fragile Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Yet somehow, this noble principle of caution for peace never stopped UNESCO from excoriating Israel incessantly.

Since 2009, UN Watch has counted no less than 46 UNESCO resolutions against Israel, one on Syria, and zero on Iran, North Korea, Sudan or any other country in the world.

This malicious treatment is especially tragic because UNESCO was founded after World War II with the express purpose of combating the doctrine of the inequality of men and races. Today, as sadly, it has become a serial perpetrator of inequality.

Cartoons after the jump.

Cartoons courtesy of The Cartoon Kronicles.

UN Corruption in 2013: Top 10 Worst Decisions

UN interpreter caught saying 9 resolutions on Israel are “too much.”

— by Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch

When the U.N. gives credit to oppressive regimes, millions of human rights victims pay the price.

2014 begins tomorrow with China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia taking their new seats on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Instead of elevating and legitimizing dictatorships, the U.N. should be advocating for the release of their political prisoners.

After the jump: Blaming the U.S. and Israel for the Boston Marathon bombings, questionable appointments of Iran and Syria, and blaming Israel for most of the world’s troubles in the top-10 worst decisions list.

  1. UNESCO — which has condemned no other country but Israel, and which was silent as Hamas bulldozed a world heritage site to make a terrorist training campallowed Syria to sit as a judge on UNESCO’s human rights committee.
  2. The U.N. chose Zimbabwe, a regime that systematically violates human rights, to host its world tourism summit.

    UN human rights expert, Richard Falk.
  3. The U.N. Human Rights Council elected slave-holding Mauritania to be its vice-president.
  4. The U.N. Economic and Social Council, which oversees the U.N. women’s rights commission, elected genocidal Sudan as its vice-president.  
  5. The U.N. Conference on Disarmament last May made Iran its president.  
  6. The U.N. Special Committee on Decolonization, charged with upholding fundamental human rights and opposing the subjugation of peoples, elected the murderous Syrian regime to a senior post.
  7. U.N. human rights expert Richard Falk blamed the Boston Marathon terror bombings on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”
  8. The U.N. General Assembly elected China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia to the U.N. Human Rights Council. The dictatorships will take their new seats on January 1, 2014.
  9. The same U.N. General Assembly adopted 21 condemnatory resolutions against Israel, compared to 4 on the rest of the world combined.
  10. The U.N. Human Rights Council elected Hezbollah supporter Jean Ziegler, founder and recipient of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize, as a top adviser.

Hamas Bulldozes World Heritage Site for Terrorist Training Camp‏

Previously-destroyed houses in the area

In an urgent letter sent today to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, UN Watch demanded immediate action to stop the Hamas bulldozing of a 3000-year-old Gaza harbor for use as a terrorist training camp, as reported today by Al Monitor Palestine Pulse. A copy was also sent to European Union foreign minister Catherine Ashton calling on the EU to take action.

The partial destruction of the ancient Anthedon Harbor — which includes the ruins of a Roman temple and archaeological remains from the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras-comes exactly one year after the area was nominated by new UNESCO member state Palestine as a World Heritage site.

Full letter after the jump.
UN Watch, an independent Geneva-based monitoring group, called on Bokova to bring the issue before the UNESCO executive board now meeting in Paris.

Although the biannual UNESCO meeting, which runs until April 26, lists five agenda items concerning Palestinian issues — which US Ambassador Killion has described as “highly politicized” and designed to “single out Israel” — there is currently no scheduled discussion to address the month-long Hamas bulldozing of the proposed heritage site. UN Watch’s letter as sent today to Ms. Bokova and Lady Ashton follows below:

Dear Ms. Bokova,

UN Watch is alarmed by the reported destruction by Hamas of parts of the ancient Anthedon Harbor in Gaza for use as a terrorist training camp. We urge you to bring the matter immediately before the UNESCO Executive Board, currently meeting at its 191st session in Paris, for protective action.

We note the tragic irony that this destruction by the rulers of Gaza comes exactly one year after the area was nominated by new UNESCO member state Palestine as a World Heritage site.

As you must know, earlier last month, despite criticism from nongovernmental organizations, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas bulldozed a part of the Anthedon Harbor in northern Gaza along the Mediterranean Sea, according to yesterday’s report by Al Monitor Palestine Pulse.

Hamas damaged the harbor in order to expand its “military training” zone, which was initially opened on the location in 2002, according to your own UNESCO representative in Gaza, Yousef al-Ejla.

That the UNESCO executive has so far failed to place the Hamas destruction and cynical abuse of this site on its agenda underscores the tragic politicization and diversion of the agency’s mission to protect world culture and heritage.

According the current UNESCO session timetable, there are in fact four agenda items dedicated exclusively to Palestinian issues: Items 9, 10, 34, and 35, while Item 5 includes a fifth report on this issue. Israel is the only country in the world that is targeted for specific criticism in this session.

Previous UNESCO resolutions on these five items were rightly described by US Ambassador David Killion as “highly politicized” and designed to “single out Israel.” The extreme politicization even prompted Russia to successfully oppose discussion of these items, despite vehement Palestinian opposition, at the previous 190th session in October.

UNESCO’s admission of Palestine as a member state in 2011, which caused the organization to lose almost a quarter of its budget when the US suspended its contributions, was justified as a measure to help protect world heritage sites in Palestinian areas. Yet as Hamas turns a cultural heritage site into a terrorist training ground-the antithesis of culture-the silence of UNESCO now places the very credibility of the organization at stake.


Hillel C. Neuer
Executive Director

UNESCO Cuts Off Funding to Pro-Nazi Palestinian Magazine

— by Sharon Bender

B’nai B’rith welcomes the cut-off of funding from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to the Palestinian children’s magazine Zayzafuna after a deeply disturbing story came to light that glorified Hitler. We also praise the U.S. mission to UNESCO for taking swift, strong action in its condemnation of this hateful publication, one which UNESCO should never have funded in the first place.

More after the jump.
Since August 2011, UNESCO has financially supported the magazine. Once this hateful message was revealed, UNESCO issued a statement saying: “UNESCO is shocked and dismayed by the content…UNESCO strongly deplores and condemns the reproduction of such inflammatory statements in a magazine associated with UNESCO’s name and mission and will not provide any further support to the publication in question.”

In a statement today from the U.S. mission condemning the story’s blatant anti-Semitic nature, Ambassador David T. Killion, U.S. permanent representative to UNESCO said: “The decision that UNESCO took today to condemn this magazine’s hateful content will, I hope, be a strong signal to the Palestinian leadership that its messages to the international community and the messages it teaches to its young must be the same, and must move towards peace.”

As reported in the Palestinian Media Watch’s new book “Deception: Betraying the Peace Process,” the Palestinian children’s magazine Zayzafuna included an essay by a teenage girl who portrays Hitler as a role model. In her dream, the girl asks Hitler, “You’re the one who killed the Jews?” Hitler says: “Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world. And what I ask of you is to be resilient and patient, concerning the suffering that Palestine is experiencing at their hands.” The girl responds: “Thanks for the advice.”

While the Palestinian Authority touts its readiness to be a member of this U.N. agency, it simultaneously violates the organization’s founding principles through appalling actions like this magazine article.

“We praise U.S. mission officials for swiftly bringing this to the attention of UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and welcome the U.N. agency’s announcement that it will cut off the funding to this publication,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “This is yet another promotion of hate-filled messages that only serve to undermine the peace process. Not only is the story itself despicable, but equally deeply disturbing is the fact that the magazine found it a suitable message to publish.”

B’nai B’rith also calls upon the director-general to fully investigate the situation to ensure that procedures are in place to prevent a repetition of such hateful behavior.

“This is an extreme example of contemporary anti-Semitism. Notwithstanding the promises Palestinians made 18 years ago when they signed the Oslo Accords, incitement against Israel and Jews continues. UNESCO should never have funded this to begin with, and we urge it to look into all other Palestinian publications that they may be funding,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.

B’nai B’rith, accredited as a non-governmental organization at the United Nations since 1947, swiftly raised this issue with officials of both the U.S. mission and UNESCO as soon as we became aware of the article in the magazine.

“Emergency Committee for Israel” Treats Truth Like a Punching Bag

A response to ads placed by the so-called “Emergency Committee for Israel” in major American newspapers today.

— by Marc R. Stanley and David A. Harris

Why does the “Emergency Committee for Israel” treat the truth like a punching bag? Why do they spread fictions and smears about President Barack Obama and his powerfully pro-Israel record? The answer is simple; because they are far-right Republican partisans. When members of their own party repeatedly suggest that foreign aid should ‘start at zero’ and then make no mention of the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding between Israel and the U.S., they’re silent as can be. When 100 percent of House Republicans repeatedly side with business over strengthening Iran sanctions, they’re nowhere to be found. But they have plenty of cash on hand to spread myths about this President, and to shamefully turn support for Israel into a partisan football.

They have been called out by mass media for their lies and innuendo, and by non-partisan Jewish organizations trying to shame them towards a better path. But the sad truth is that they’re more committed to hurting this President than they are to helping the U.S.-Israel relationship, and that’s reprehensible.

More information on ECI’s false attacks follows the jump.

Watch live streaming video from sabanforum2011 at livestream.com

ECI: Wrong on Panetta.

Fact: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta delivered a staunchly pro-Israel address recently at the Saban Center. He:

  • Reaffirmed this Administration’s iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security, and detailed the many steps-such as Iron Dome-this Administration has taken;
  • Emphasized that all options remain on the table for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran;
  • Discussed how “President Obama has stood steadfastly in the way” of efforts to delegitimize Israel at the United Nations; and
  • Expressed strong opposition to cutting foreign aid.

ECI: Wrong on the UN.

Fact: President Obama and his Administration have a perfect voting record at the United Nations, proactively defending Israel’s legitimacy at the UN. No other President since 1967 has a perfect voting record.

ECI: Wrong on Sarkozy and UNESCO.

Fact: The President used his time with Sarkozy to make the case to the world to place “unprecedented” pressure on Iran, and-behind the scenes-to argue to Sarkozy himself that he was wrong not to support the President and the Administration in firmly rejecting Palestinian efforts to gain membership in UNESCO. The President instructed the Administration to condemn UNESCO’s acceptance of Palestinian membership immediately, resulting in the withdrawal of one-fifth of UNESCO’s funding from the U.S.

ECI: Wrong on Clinton.

Fact: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an off-the-record and closed-door discussion with friends at the Saban Center, is reported to have voiced concern over Israeli legislation limiting foreign funding of Israel’s non-governmental organizations, and regarding women’s rights in Israel. In fact, leadership throughout the American Jewish community share precisely the same concern regarding pending legislation in Israel, and both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres have spoken this week about the importance of complete women’s equality in Israel.

ECI: Wrong on making Israel a partisan political football.

Fact: In truth, as NJDC Chair Marc Stanley argued in The Hill</a> last week, ECI is sadly nothing more than a GOP advocacy organization. The American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, two major American Jewish non-partisan organizations, recently offered a “unity pledge” to help prevent this issue from becoming partisan; ECI notably, angrily refused to sign. The Forward reported in September about the criticisms leveled at ECI from many non-partisan pro-Israel advocates after ECI’s last dangerous ad. The American Jewish Committee in particular called their previous ad “highly objectionable.” The Forward has independently editorialized that each ECI “claim is either an outright falsehood or one that irresponsibly distorts the truth.” ECI puts partisanship above the U.S.-Israel relationship, and today’s ad proves it yet again.

ECI: Wrong on President Obama.

Fact: This President has a stellar pro-Israel record; just ask Prime Minister Netanyahu. This President doesn’t start foreign aid at zero; he has lifted aid to Israel to unprecedented levels. He’s gotten the funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system that’s saving Israeli lives today. He has a perfect voting record at the UN, defending Israel’s legitimacy there and around the world. He personally intervened to save the lives of Israeli diplomats in Cairo. He has restored Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge which eroded during the previous Administration. He secretly got Israel the bunker-busting bombs it needed. He has ordered the largest-ever U.S.-Israel joint military operation (to occur in 2012). He has built a global coalition supporting withering sanctions against Iran.

The list goes on and on.  

UNESCO Should Revoke Syrian Membership

— by Sharon Bender

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted to allow the Arab bloc candidate, Syria, to serve on the body’s Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, which “examines communications relating to cases and questions concerning the exercise of human rights.”

This election, by consensus, should never have happened while Syria further intensifies its violation of human rights. In yet another sign of moral obtuseness and incoherence in policy at the U.N., the business-as-usual approach to Syria at UNESCO soon preceded a General Assembly committee’s condemnation of the Damascus regime’s continuing domestic brutality. Indeed, the Arab League itself has decided to suspend and possibly sanction Syria.

B’nai B’rith calls on UNESCO’s Executive Board to immediately revoke Syrian membership in all committees at the U.N. agency.

VP Joe Biden at Yeshiva Beth Yehuda 75th Anniversary Dinner

Remarks by Vice-President Joe Biden

Ladies and gentlemen, 97th anniversary — I’m told you began with a weekly class of just five students some 97 years ago.  And now, you’re the largest Jewish school system in the state.  And nearly a century — for nearly a century you’ve set a standard for excellence not just in Jewish education, but in education period, preparing each generation for leadership and service in the community, which is an unyielding Jewish tradition.

    I’m probably one of the few Christian members of the Congress who can say the motzi.  (Laughter.)  I’ve attended more Jewish dinners than some of you have.  (Applause.)  I’ve raised more money from AIPAC than some of you have.  (Applause.)  I have spent more money raising money for the Federation than some of you have.  (Laughter.)  You think I’m kidding, don’t you.  I’m not.

More after the jump.
      It’s a testament to all of you that so many of Michigan’s leaders are assembled here today — your master of ceremonies indicated, reading off all of the people who are here.  It is a testament to the great, great work that you do.

    Although I was not educated here, I was not educated in the tradition — I was not educated in a Jewish school, I was educated in the traditions of Judaism.  I was educated about the oppression and genocide committed against the Jews, the historic ties between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.  I was educated at my dinner table by what my Jewish friends at home refer to — and you would — as a righteous Christian, a man who taught us that without vigilance, the safe haven of Israel, it could happen again without Israel.

    I got in trouble some years ago and Carl may remember.  About 18, 20 years ago, I was speaking to the Zionist Organization of Baltimore.  And I said, I am a Zionist, for I learned you do not have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.  The fact of the matter is that the man who raised me was absolutely committed to the notion that it should never happen again, the man who could not understand why there could even be a debate about the establishment of the state of Israel.  That man was my dad.

    So it was no surprise to my friends when I was elected to the Senate in a state less than 1 percent of the Jewish — less than 1 percent of the population is Jewish, that I got so deeply involved early on in the Senate with the business of Israel.  I was elected when I was 29 years old.  And I continued my education, because I had the opportunity to get there and be educated by men like Hubert Humphrey, like Abe Ribicoff, like Jack Javits — people who were my mentors as a young kid in the United States Senate.

    And like all of you, I feel we have an obligation to educate all of our children about the darkest moments of the past, so we can avoid them in the future.  That’s why when children — when my children were old enough, I took them — as Carl remembers — my first trip taking my oldest son at 15, then my second son when he turned 15 to Europe.  We literally flew into Germany, went down to Munich, got in a car and drove to Dachau, the first place they ever visited, because I wanted them to understand what mankind is capable of, the incredible humanity.

    But I also wanted them to understand that the most horrible circumstances imaginable that occurred there and in other concentration camps is only paled by the endurance of the human spirit.  Folks, it’s more than just Zachor.  It’s more than just remembrance.  It’s an American national security interest that Israel remain free, secure in a democratic state in the Middle East.  As I said when I — (Applause.)

    If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one.  As I said in a speech I recently made at Tel Aviv University, American support for Israel is not just an act of friendship; it’s an act of fundamental national self-interest on the part of the United States, a key component of our broader efforts to secure this region and the wider world as well as secure our own security.  President Obama feels exactly the same way.

    When we came to office, when it came to standing up for Israel’s security both in terms of the threat it faces and countering those who seek to delegitimize Israel — this is the most concerted effort in my 36 years in the Senate and two and a half years as Vice President that I have seen an effort to literally delegitimize Israel as a nation state.  It’s occurring in Europe.  It’s occurring around the world.

    The commitment we have made — all my colleagues in the Senate and House that are here, all our administration — is equal to and surpasses that of any of our predecessors.  Early in our administration when the President gave his speech in Egypt to the Muslim communities around the world, he made our commitment plain as day, standing in Cairo in the midst of an Islamic audience.

    He told the audience in the heart of the Arab world, and I quote, that “America’s bond with Israel is unbreakable.”  Now listen — (Applause.)  Listen to what he said this September at the United Nations General Assembly.  He said, “Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it.  Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombers on their buses.  Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region other children are taught to hate them.  Israel, a small country with less than 8 million people looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten and are committed to wipe it off the face of the map.”

    That statement was not made at a Jewish dinner.  That statement was made for the whole world to hear before what was a mildly hostile General Assembly.

The threats against the Jewish state have changed dramatically since I first became a senator in 1973.  Then, there was no concern about a nuclear armed Iran, Hamas armed with sophisticated rockets, Hezbollah with longer range missiles, uncertainty among Israel’s neighbors during what has become known as the Arab Spring.

    So now, as a consequence of those changes our commitment to Israel’s security must and does reflect those new threats.  In spite of our own tough economic times — I need not tell folks in Detroit about tough economic times.  In spite of these tough economic times, the President with the help of the Congress has secured $3 billion in annual assistance for Israel, the most ever.  (Applause.)

On top of that, the President asked for an additional $205 million to help Israel produce what is referred to as the Iron Dome, the short range rocket defense system that has intercepted dozens of rockets along the Gaza border, rockets that could have struck hospitals, schools, or homes.  And it is now being installed along the Lebanese border.

    President Obama saw firsthand the need for a system back in 2008, when he was — when he actually visited the region.  He saw how the residents of the border areas were perpetually in the cross hairs of Hamas and Hezbollah.  And he worked with Israel on two new missile defense systems — Arrow and David’s Sling — on a high-powered radar system that could detect missiles by satellite and give the Israelis early warning of a launch against them.

    It’s not just the technology, but the human relationships that will ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge.  Since taking office, we’ve launched the most comprehensive and meaningful strategic and operational consultations across all levels of our government, unprecedented in their scope, frequency and character.

    The largest ever joint military exercise in our joint history — Juniper Cobra, it was referred to as.  The most visits by senior high-level Department of Defense officials and their Israeli counterparts — over 200.  Such cooperation, as you observed, only exists with the closes allies; cooperation that a friend of mine for 39 years, Benjamin Netanyahu himself, has rightly called unprecedented.

    The President is also keenly aware of the existential threat that Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons could and would pose to Israel.  It would also be, I might add, a direct and serious threat to the United States.  That’s why President Obama is absolutely determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, period.  (Applause.)

    We have built up the strongest and most far-reaching sanctions that Iran has ever seen.  As a result, Iran is increasingly isolated, and we are not — we’ve severely set back its ability to buy technology to continue its nuclear and missile programs.  We’ve made it increasingly difficult for Iran to do basic business transactions around the world.  For example, major multinational companies have suspended or stopped some $60 billion worth of energy projects with Iran, while banks, insurers and other financial institutions have ceased doing business altogether, just in the last 18 months.

    And don’t take my word for it.  Here’s what President Ahmadinejad — after saying initially the sanction had no consequence — here’s what he recently told the Iranian parliament, just two weeks ago.  And I quote, “the West as imposed the most extensive and dastardly sanctions.”  He went on to say, “Every day our banking and trade activities and our agreements are being monitored and blocked.  This is the heaviest economic onslaught,” he went on to say, “in our nation’s history.  Our banks cannot make international transactions anymore.”  And he went on.

    The Israelis know that they can count on us and on this President.  As recently as this September, when demonstrations in Cairo turned violent, and protestors breached the wall of the Israeli embassy there, tearing down Israel’s flag and threatening the security of the embassy staff, the Israeli’s asked for our help.  President Obama immediately responded.

Afterwards Bibi, I should refer — I’ve known him so long — the Prime Minister, Netanyahu, said of the President, I quote, “I requested his assistance at a decisive, I would say even fateful moment.  He said he would do everything possible, and that’s exactly what he did.  He activated all the United States’ means and influence, which are certainly considerable.  I believe we owe him a special debt of gratitude.”

Even — even as we remain vigilant to any and all threats to Israel’s security, we will have — and I can tell you for eight Presidents we always have had — tactical disagreements over policy.  But none of these disagreements go to the heart of our relationship.  They never have.  And we will never allow it to occur.

That’s more important than it ever has been today, because, as I said, we are witnessing the most sustained aggressive attempt to de-legitimize Israel that I have ever seen.  And I have been more deeply involved in this issue than anyone but four people who are still in the United States Congress.

The United States is fighting these efforts with everything we have.  It was one thing to help stop the sale of AWACS to the Saudis — I voted against AWACS to the Saudis years ago.  It’s a very different thing — it’s a very different thing to meet the pernicious undermining of Israel’s statehood that is occurring subtly all around the world.

We stood by Israel when the Goldstone Report on the 2009 Gaza War was issued, because we will always support Israel’s right to self-defense.  We refused to attend events that — (applause) — and by the way, this has been bipartisan — we’ve refused to attend events that legitimize the flawed — excuse me — 2001 World Conference Against Racism, which outrageously singled out Israel for criticism.

We vetoed the U.N. Security Council resolution that declared Israel’s settlements illegal, and we’re working around the clock to prevent the United Nations and its agencies from further isolating Israel, and from prematurely endorsing a Palestinian bid for statehood.  (Applause.)

And we are strongly — strongly — opposed to the decision by UNESCO to in fact recognize Israel as part of its organization to approve the Palestinian bid for full membership.

We have repeatedly made clear to the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the international community, that long-lasting peace can only be achieved — as Israeli leaders have argued from the beginning — by negotiations between the two parties themselves, period.  Period.  (Applause.)  As the President said of the United Nations last month, There are no shortcuts to peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we know, as our Israeli friends know, and I think everyone knows, that the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is not sustainable.

For the Palestinians, statehood will not just fulfill legitimate, long-sought aspiration common to all people’s, it will restore the fundamental dignities and self-respect that their current predicament denies them and their current actions keep them from achieving.  For Israel, this is about both preserving its identity as a Jewish state, and achieving the lasting security that Israel deserves.

It is no secret that demographic realities make it increasingly difficult for Israel to remain both a Jewish homeland and a Democratic country, in the absence of a Palestinian state and an agreement.

Like many Americans, I’ve experienced the magic of Israel many, many times.  But at a relatively young age, when I had just turned 30, I first visited on the eve of the Yom Kippur War.  My very first meeting was with a woman I’ve always admired — had always admired — from afar, as millions of Americans did.

I remember being ushered into her office where she sat me down in front of her desk, and she had behind her a series of maps that she kept pulling back, up and down, while she chain-smoked.  She, Golda Meir, explained to me what had happened in the Six-Day War.  She read to me the most woe-some tales and letters from young men, young Israeli soldiers, and women who had been killed on the front.

There was a young man sitting next to me named Yitzhak Rabin, who I met for the first time.  As the Prime Minister spoke, I think she could see my sense of apprehension as I thought of the daunting threats that faced Israel at the time.

About an hour and a half into our meeting, she suddenly looked at me and she said, Senator, would you like a photo — would you like a photo opportunity?  I thought, What in the heck did that come from?  (Laughter.)  I said, Of course I would, Madame Prime Minister.  Many of you have been in her office, the same office.  We got up, they opened the double doors and walked out into that hallway, and there are all kinds of press there.

And as we’re standing next to one being photographed like it was a press conference — not speaking, just being photographed — she looked straight ahead, and talked to me while I was looking straight ahead.  And she said, Senator, you look worried.  And I said, Well, I am — I looked at her and I said, I am, Madame Prime Minister, after what she had just told me.  She said, Don’t worry, Senator.  We Israelis have a secret weapon in our conflict with the Arabs.  We have nowhere else to go.  We have nowhere else to go.

With the United States, past Presidents and this President know, that Israel has nowhere else to go.  That’s why we have done more than any administration on the security front with Israel because we know it has nowhere else to go.  To make sure that Israel can stay exactly where she is — a Jewish state, secure and free.  And that is why the bond between America and Israel is absolutely unshakeable.

So, ladies and gentlemen, as my dear grandfather used to say every time I walked out his door, he’d say, Joey, keep the faith.  Ladies and gentlemen, keep the faith.  I commit to you, as a supporter of Israel for 40 years, and the record to show it, that I can match against any man or woman who ever served in the United States Senate, I guarantee you we will stand with Israel because we know she has nowhere else to go.  And we want her to stay right where she is.  (Applause.)

God bless you all, and may God protect our troops.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  

UNESCO Withdraws Sponsorship of World Philosophy Day in Iran

— Sharon Bender

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova withdrew its support from World Philosophy Day events set to take place in Tehran Nov. 21-23. UNESCO’s decision recognizes the unacceptability of Tehran as a location to celebrate peace and free exchange of ideas, given the regime’s long history of censorship, domestic repression, and hateful rhetoric toward Israel, a U.N. member state.

This change in UNESCO’s course followed implementation of new restrictions on Iranian university courses and curricula, including prohibiting the establishment of new departments teaching law, political science, and philosophy-key tenants for discussion within World Philosophy Day events.

“UNESCO has made the right choice in withdrawing support for Iran’s World Philosophy Day events,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “Philosophy cannot be celebrated in an environment where free exchange of ideas is suppressed and hatred reigns.”

“Tehran does not deserve the honor of holding UNESCO-sponsored events extolling freedom and open-mindedness,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “It is impossible to have a philosophical event under a cloud of repression where tolerance is absent.”