The Palestinian Authority Joins the Chemical-Weapons Convention to Spite Israel

June 14 2018

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an independent international body that generally works in tandem with the UN, recently announced that it has admitted the “State of Palestine” as a member. To Raphael Ofek, allowing a nonexistent state to join the OPCW “borders on the absurd.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has no access to either offensive or defensive chemical-weapons technology and is not itself threatened by chemical weapons. Furthermore, it is 30 years since the Saddam Hussein regime murdered thousands of Iraqi Kurds in a chemical attack on the city of Halabja, but the PA has never uttered a word of condemnation. Nor has the PA ever condemned the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s army in the Syrian civil war against either armed opposition forces or the civilian population. . . .

The PA’s accession to the OPCW can thus only be explained as one more step in its campaign to win recognition from international organizations so as to use them as springboards for denigrating Israel. [For instance, the] PA joined the UN’s cultural agency, UNESCO, on November 23, 2011. Note UNESCO’s subsequent one-sided approach against Israel. . . . On April 1, 2015, the PA became a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which it seeks to exploit to sue Israel for alleged war crimes. . . .

While part of the drive behind these moves is the desire of senior PA officials to come and go in the halls of international organizations, their central object is to advance the PA’s agenda by using these various forums to denounce and delegitimize Israel.

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More about: Bashar al-Assad, Chemical weapons, ICC, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, Saddam Hussein

Israel’s Nation-State Law and the Hysteria of the Western Media

Aug. 17 2018

Nearly a month after it was passed by the Knesset, the new Basic Law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” is still causing outrage in the American and European press. The attacks, however, are almost uniformly incommensurate with this largely symbolic law, whose text, in the English translation found on the Knesset website, is barely over 400 words in length. Matthew Continetti comments:

Major journalistic institutions have become so wedded to a pro-Palestinian, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu narrative, in which Israel is part of a global trend toward nationalist authoritarian populism, that they have abdicated any responsibility for presenting the news in a dispassionate and balanced manner. The shameful result of this inflammatory coverage is the normalization of anti-Israel rhetoric and policies and widening divisions between Israel and the diaspora.

For example, a July 18, 2018, article in the Los Angeles Times described the nation-state law as “granting an advantageous status to Jewish-only communities.” But that is false: the bill contained no such language. (An earlier version might have been interpreted in this way, but the provision was removed.) Yet, as I write, the Los Angeles Times has not corrected the piece that contained the error. . . .

Such through-the-looking-glass analysis riddled [the five] news articles and four op-eds the New York Times has published on the matter at the time of this writing. In these pieces, “democracy” is defined as results favored by the New York Times editorial board, and Israel’s national self-understanding as in irrevocable conflict with its democratic form of government. . . .

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. . . .  The New York Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said [that] “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish state.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel's Basic Law, Israeli democracy, Media, New York Times