Tony Greenstein | 22 March 2017 | Post Views:

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?

But labelling the United State’s favourite guard
dog as an apartheid state is, well, politically inconvenient.  The US doesn’t pay Israel over $4 billion a
year to safeguard its interests only to have the  UN, a 2 bit player if ever there was one,
come and call its pet rotweiller a racist bitch.

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.
Report by Rima Khalaf, both the Executive
and the full
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
published earlier this week finding Israel guilty of apartheid.
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

resigned because it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all
the conclusions of the report,”
As of
Friday, a press
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.
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.”

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.
demand came just as the Trump administration announced
a budget plan
that includes sweeping cuts in US contributions to the UN.
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.
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.”

are deeply grateful to ESCWA’s director, Dr. Rima Khalaf, who preferred to
resign in dignity than to surrender her principles to US-Israeli
the BNC added.
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.

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: 

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.
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.
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

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Tony Greenstein

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