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Trustees and trustworthiness

11 June 2011

6:44 PM

11 June 2011

6:44 PM

I have been accused this week of conducting a witchhunt against London Citizens/Citizens
UK, the “citizens organisers” and darlings of the political class. It seems some people are quite content that this liberal institution has a trustee who supports Hamas. They may also turn a blind eye to concerns raised by End Child Detention Now about the
organisation’s peculiar partnership with the UK Border Agency:

The shrill cry of witchhunt comes from Independent Jewish Voices, the organisation set up to provide an alternative liberal outlet for British
Jews.

As it happens, my charity funds London Citizens via the Future Jobs Fund, so I would better be described as a “concerned stakeholder”, to use the fashionable jargon. Indeed as a
concerned citizen I worry when people are asking for an organisation to be given a free pass just because it says it does good work.

[Alt-Text]


Here is Miri Weingarten on the IJV website earlier this week. I have a lot of time for Miri, who is the
Israeli director of JNews, a member of Physicians for Human Rights and a well-informed and considered voice on Israel-Palestine.

She argues that it should not be an issue to work with an organisation with a trustee who supports Hamas and then provides a rather eloquent set of reasons why is should be:

"It’s important to remember that Hamas as a de facto government is repressive, conservative and violent. It employs the death penalty, arbitrarily detains and tortures political
opponents (as does the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in the West Bank), and employs terrorizing and bullying tactics to exert control over social behaviour (especially mixed gender
activities)."

It is quite legitimate for anyone who believes in universal human rights to challenge an organisation with a trustee who supports that catalogue of horror.

But some on the left are determined to make common cause with religious authoritarians so it’s interesting to see the argument:

“In my opinion it is important to heed and strengthen the voices of Gaza-based human rights organisations and civil society, which are struggling to expose and counter the repression by
Hamas as a government, while at the same time upholding its legitimacy as a political entity and working against political fragmentation and for unity, in the hope of achieving a representative
government that works to fulfill individual human rights as well as the collective rights of Palestinians.”

I salute Miri Weingarten for her generosity of spirit. And look forward to the first Jewish left-wing woman to serve in a Hamas-led government.


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Show comments
  • rndtechnologies786

    Nice blog.

  • ndm

    Gary Wilson asks:

    — So, ndm, then you agree with Professor Eugene Rostow. Or do you believe that the highly respected Dean of Yale Law School was also a fool?

    Respect must be earned – and it is neither earned nor deserved by someone who betrays his scholarship in the way Eugene Rostow did. He wrote:

    — But the Jewish settlers in the West Bank are volunteers. They have not been “deported” or “transferred” by the government of Israel, and their movement involves none of the atrocious purposes or harmful effects on the existing population the Geneva Convention was designed to prevent.

    This is utter hogwash. The point about Article 49(6) is not to provide a defense for settlers but to provide a defense against that settlement. As a lawyer, Rostow must have known this yet he deliberately chose to lie about it.

    Rostow is yet another example of how Hasbarbaric propagandists destroy both their intellect and their reputation when they repeat malicious lies in support of the evil that is the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people. And just as I condemn Rostow for his malice and his mendacity, so will history.

  • Gary Wilson

    So, ndm, then you agree with Professor Eugene Rostow. Or do you believe that the highly respected Dean of Yale Law School was also a fool?

  • ndm

    Julius Stone once again reminds us how even the best of minds can be betrayed by a blind loyalty to an bad idea. In writing the article, he abandoned the legal scholarship for which he was known and took up the role of Hasbarbaric propagandist.

    Note the casual manner in which Stone used the word Jew instead of Israeli when he asserted:

    “It is also important to observe, however, that even if that point is set aside, the claim that Article 49 of the convention forbids the settlement of Jews in the West Bank is difficult to sustain.”

    This is anti-Semitic because it is Israelis, not Jews, who are the Occupying Power and who are committing the war crimes consequent to their nation’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories. In suggesting that they are Jewish crimes, Stone would share the blame for these crimes among all Jews – an utterly despicable suggestion. His remains the most pervasive form of anti-Semitism among the Western elite.

    Stone also asserted that:

    “Not only does Jordan lack any legal title to the territories concerned, but the Convention itself does not by its terms apply to these territories. For, under Article 2, the Convention applies ‘to cases of… occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, by another such Party’. Insofar as the West Bank at present held by Israel does not belong to any other State, the Convention would not seem to apply to it at all. This is a technical, though rather decisive, legal point.”

    He was lucky that he was not alive when the International Court of Justice drove a stake through the heart of his argument in its 2004 Advisory Opinion which stated:

    “101. In view of the foregoing, the Court considers that the Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable in any occupied territory in the event of an armed conflict arising between two or more High Contracting Parties. Israel and Jordan were parties to that Convention when the 1967 armed conflict broke out. The Court accordingly finds that that Convention is applicable in the Palestinian territories which before the conflict lay to the east of the Green Line and which, during that conflict, were occupied by Israel, there being no need for any enquiry into the precise prior status of those territories.”

    He was, however, around when Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention:

    “reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

    Curiously, I have never heard any retraction from Julius Stone. I guess a correction would have been appropriate for a genuine legal academic but would be a sign of weakness in the Hasbarbaric propagandist.

    Stone continued with yet another repetition of the central lie of the Zionist anti-Semite:

    “On that issue, the terms of Article 49(6) however they are interpreted, are submitted to be totally irrelevant. To render them relevant, we would have to say that the effect of Article 49(6) is to impose an obligation on the state of Israel to ensure (by force if necessary) that these areas, despite their millennial association with Jewish life, shall be forever judenrein. Irony would thus be pushed to the absurdity of claiming that Article 49(6) designed to prevent repetition of Nazi-type genocidal policies of rendering Nazi metropolitan territories judenrein, has now come to mean that Judea and Samaria the West Bank must be made judenrein and must be so maintained, if necessary by the use of force by the government of Israel against its own inhabitants.”

    The purpose of Article 49(6) is to prevent an occupying power oppressing the inhabitants of occupied territory by transferring its own citizens into it, in precisely the manner Israel has done over four decades of occupation. However much Stone chose to deceive himself, the illegality of the Israeli settlement of the Occupied Palestinian Territories has absolutely nothing to do with Judaism and keeping them “forever judenerein.”

    The only irony and absurdity here is that we have forgotten that there were many serious intellectuals who supported Nazism and many serious intellectuals who supported Communism – just as there are now serious intellectuals like Julius Stone. The sane among us recognize them for the fools they were. Yet we still appease and promote those who support the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people and the evils that are its consequence.

  • Ehad Ha’am

    Erica Blair (June 15th, 2011 11:05pm) writes: “Who are these ‘reputable international jurists’ who think differently? Please list them for us.”

    I am sure that you don’t really expect me to list them all, but here are just two of the hundreds that you can readily find by searching the web:

    The late Professor Eugene Rostow, legal scholar and public servant, was Dean of Yale Law School, and served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
    http://maurice-ostroff.tripod.com/id45.html

    Professor Julius Stone, who was Challis Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Sydney, and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the Hastings College of Law, University of California
    http://www.aijac.org.au/resources/reports/international_law.pdf

    Of course, none of this is to say that there are not many jurists who support Erica Blair’s view and believe differently, and that includes the ICJ’s non-binding opinion on the matter. As I said in my previous post, many of the most reputable international jurists differ on whether the West Bank and East Jerusalem are occupied or disputed territory.

    All this is, of course, purely academic, as I hope and choose to believe that eventually there will be peace between Arab and Jew in the land between the Jordan and the sea, based on a fair and viable two-state solution with secure and recognized borders negotiated by both sides. It may well take the Palestinians a while to reach this conclusion too, but I am confident that they will, because there is no other sustainable solution to the conflict.

  • Erica Blair

    ‘This is not the place to debate the legal status of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but suffice it to say that many of the most reputable international jurists differ on whether they are occupied or disputed territory.’

    No, the International Court of Justice recognises the West Bank and East Jerusalem as ‘occupied territories’.

    Who are are these ‘reputable international jurists’ who think differently?

    Please list them for us.

  • Ehad Ha’am

    Ndm: the International Red Cross is an excellent organization that does some great work. But it’s declarations, opinions, and interpretations are not binding on Israel or on any other country. Declarations of the ICRC have been rejected at times by most of the world including the United States, Russia, China, and India. Similarly, Israel does not accept some of the ICRC’s interpretations.

    This is not the place to debate the legal status of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but suffice it to say that many of the most reputable international jurists differ on whether they are occupied or disputed territory.

    Personally, I believe that Israel should relinquish control of most of these territories to the Palestinians in return for a fair and sustainable peace agreement; one such as was negotiated by the two sides in the post-Annapolis negotiations in 2007/8.

    Unfortunately, the Palestinians have consistently walked away from every opportunity for a two-state solution, beginning with their rejection of the 1947 United Nations Resolution 181 (the partition plan), through President Clinton’s 2000 Camp David proposals, then the 2001 Taba negotiations, and then the 2007/8 post-Annapolis negotiations, which included an independent Palestinian state (the first ever in history) on a contiguous 95% of the West Bank including Arab East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip with a land link between the two territories, with land swaps from Israel proper for the remaining 5% (along the proposed border, where most of the Israeli settlements are located), and with compensation for the descendents of Palestinian refugees.

    The Palestinians seem to be holding out for the day when they can implement their dream of the annihilation of the Jewish state, as entrenched in the charter of their elected leadership, Hamas. Any further misery and hardship of the Palestinian people can be directly attributed to their intransigence and to their dreams of someday annihilating Israel. That will never happen.

  • ndm

    FACT:

    The final paragraph of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:

    — The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

    FACT:

    The ICRC, the organization responsible for maintaining the convention, has declared that the Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable in the Occupied Palestinian Territories including East Jerusalem.

    FACT:

    The intent of this paragraph was and remains the prevention of situations such as the Israeli colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

    REALITY:
    The denial of this by self-described “friends of Israel” merely serves to show the moral depravity forced on them by their support of the indefensible.

    It is precisely because my comments are grounded in fact that Ehad Ha’am resorts to the word salad of dissemblance and dissimulation that typifies the arguments of those who support the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.

  • Ehad Ha’am

    NDM (June 14th, 2011 8:56am), what in your post refutes anything in mine (of June 14th, 2011 6:08am)? And what in your post corroborates anything in your first post (of June 11th, 2011 7:28pm)?

    I am familiar with the tactic that you use whereby when you cannot corroborate false statements that you have made, you instead try to distract readers by trying to defend a totally different statement, hoping that no one will notice.

    To accuse Israelis of being war criminals and to claim that they have subjected the Palestinians to “brutality and horrors” that are comparable or exceed those of Hamas is ignorance, malice, or both. And to try to condemn Israel for its lack of human rights (compared to Hamas and the rest of the Arab world) is both outrageous and preposterous. Human rights in Israel is light years ahead of the Arab world, not to mention many western countries too.

    When given the choice of becoming part of a future Palestinian state the residents of Israeli Arab villages argued their case on Israel television clearly stating that they would prefer to remain a minority within Israel than to become part of a majority in a future Palestine (and this refers only to the redrawing of the borders without the villages having to move even one inch).

    Israel’s Arab citizens understand well that nowhere in the Arab world would they have more human rights and freedom than in Israel. And the same is true regarding the Palestinians of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, when compared to Palestinian-Hamas run Gaza.

    NDM, I can without a doubt assure you that in your posts you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

  • ndm

    I will remind Andy Gill that the most pervasive and pernicious form of neo-Nazism in the Western World today is that of the war criminals Israel has transferred into the Occupied Palestinian Territory in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In supporting their war crimes over a period of decades, the Israeli people has allowed ZioNazism to supplant Zionism as the central ideology of the State of Israel.

    I will remind Andy Gill that the most pervasive and pernicous form of anti-Semitism among the Western elite is the Zionist Anti-Semitism that apologises for and appeases the Israeli oppression ofthe Palestinian people BECAUSE Israel is a “Jewish” state. In doing so, they seek to blame all Jews for the atrocities they support – and that is classic anti-Semitism.

    I will remind Andy Gill that the most deadly user of force in the Occupied Palestinian Territories remains the State of Israel. When it rains terror on the Palestinian people, as it does frequently and wantonly, the State of Israel does not care whether its shells. bombs and bullets hits babies, children, women, men – or indeed gays and lesbians. The Israel armed forces remain the most deadly state-sponsored terrorism force in the World today.

    So, Andy Gill, don’t pretend you give a rat’s arse about the people of Palestine and what Hamas is doing to them because you clearly don’t care about the far worse horrors visited on them over four decades of Israeli oppression. The great tell of the Islamophobic bigot is that they care so much about the Palestinian people they are willing to support their further sufferance under the Israeli yoke.

    They are the heirs of Oswald Mosley and his continental peers. The tragedy is that tribal loyalty has blinded far too many well-educated Jews who have taken the wrong lesson from their own history and joined the forces of racial bigotry. Their disgrace is coming with history.

  • Augustus

    Many Muslim Arabs have been put to death by their own families and leaders just for selling land to Jews in Gaza and the West Bank. That is real Apartheid. That shows a real moral depravity. And frankly, who cares
    who or what ndm, a traitor to the only democratic state in the ME, and an ally of the West, takes seriously? Melanie Philips is always right on target when it comes to Israel, and that’s what gets up his socialist nose, for ever sniffing out ways to expiate the ‘original sin’ of Israel’s founding.

  • Andy Gill

    ndm

    “I have yet to see him utter any condemnation of the bigoted tripe Melanie Phillips, one of Britains leading public intellectuals, writes in this very magazine.”

    Probably because pointing out that Hamas is a racist neo-nazi organization, and Palestinian society is anti-semitic, homophobic, misogynist and brutal is not bigotry, it’s a fact.

  • Andy Gill

    Keep the pressure up Martin. Islamic extremists have their tentacles everywhere these days and need to be exposed.

  • ndm

    For the benefit of Ehad Ha’am, whose ignorance appears to be as boundless as his mendacity, the final paragraph of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:

    — The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

    The ICRC, the organization responsible for maintaining the convention, has declared that the Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable in the Occupied Palestinian Territories including East Jerusalem. The intent of this paragraph was and remains the prevention of situations such as the Israeli colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The denial of this by self-described “friends of Israel” merely serves to show the moral depravity forced on them by their support of the indefensible.

  • Ehad Ha’am

    Of all the weapons in the arsenals of the world, the one I most fear is ignorance.

    That is why I am more alarmed by ndm’s post here (June 11, 2011, 7:28pm) than by the horrors of Hamas. NDM is typical of many people who express opinions about the Middle East while having little or no idea of what they are talking about.

    While I would not deny that there is much to criticize in Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, to attempt to find some sort of parallel between liberal democratic Israel and fanatical Islamist Hamas takes the word ‘ignorance’ to a new level. (Ndm, for good measure, also adds his ignorance of the Fourth Geneva Convention.)

    Ndm clearly has absolutely no real idea about the situation in the Gaza Strip nor about the situation on the West Bank. My only advice to him is: if you are ever given the choice of living in Gaza under Hamas rule or on the West Bank under Israeli rule, choose the latter. Unhesitatingly.

  • Erica Blair

    Sarah AB,

    Yes there is one – one Arab member of a Kibbutz. She was admitted in 2008 to the most liberal Kibbutz in Israel. Up until then every, every Kibbutz operated the equivalent of a colour bar – and every other still does.

    Likewise the Histadrut ‘Trade Union’ excluded Arab workers for over 50 years, and tried to stop Arabs even obtaining work.

    So called ‘Left’ Zionism was thoroughly racist.

  • Hugh

    That’s an interesting list of charges: “repressive, conservative and violent”.

    Can anyone spot the odd one out?

  • elixelx

    I live in Karmiel in the Galillee, where half the shops are Arab-owned, three quarters of the workers in the construction, food, electronics businesses are Arab, where my next door neighbour is Arab, where the best winery is Arab(Druze) and where 3members of the local council are Arab. Hell, most of the gun-toting security guards outside the banks and malls are Arab!
    The City pays local Arabs RENT for the land on which the biggest Mall sits! In the banks and post offices the clientele and the staff are indistinguishable, Arab from Jew.
    If there are no Arab members of kibbutzbim, or the Army, or Shin Beth, Erica, it’s because THEY choose not to be members. There is no restriction here on their Freedom of Choice to join any profession!
    And lest you say that Arabs are doing the jobs that Israelis won’t do..that’s right..and it’s everywhere..but the alternative for those Arabs is having a job within Israel, or living in Israel without any kind of job and seething with unjustifiable resentment–rather like you are on their behalf!
    No more lies from you, please, Erica!

  • Sarah AB

    But Erica – MB was talking about Jewish women in a Hamas-led govenment – you refer to a Christian Palestinian in the West Bank.

    I did find an example of an Arab joining a kibbutz quickly on the internet though I’m sure it is an exception. But more to the point would be to ask how many Arab/Palestinian members of Knesset there are, surely.

    Bank.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Arab_members_of_the_Knesset

  • Erica Blair

    Bright writes sarcastically, ‘I salute Miri Weingarten for her generosity of spirit. And look forward to the first Jewish left-wing woman to serve in a Hamas-led government. ‘

    For your information.

    Janet Mikhail (Arabic: جانيت مخائيل‎; born 1945) or Janet Michael, sometimes known as Janet Khouri (جانيت خوري) is the mayor of Ramallah in the West Bank.

    She is the first woman to hold this post. She was head teacher of the girls’ school in Ramallah for 20 years, now retired. She is a Palestinian Christian (Roman Catholic).

    She was chosen as mayor on 29 December 2005 by the newly elected 15-member city council. She ran as a political independent (although some sources have associated her with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine movement), and was the head of the “Ramallah for All” independent list, which won six seats in local elections held earlier in December. The Fatah-associated “Homeland (Watan)” faction, headed by Palestinian Legislative Council member Ghazi Hanania, also won six seats, while the Hamas-affiliated faction of “Change and Reform” headed by Khaldoun Khader won three seats. The new council voted 9-6 to elect Mikhail as mayor, after the three “Change and Reform” council members allied themselves with her “Ramallah for All” faction.

    Women MPs vow to change face of Hamas
    Sexual discrimination is tradition not Islam, say new Palestinian leaders

    Share

    Chris McGreal in Bureij refugee camp, Gaza
    The Guardian, Saturday 18 February 2006
    Article history
    Ask Huda Naeem how she intends to use her influence as a newly elected MP for Hamas and she ticks off a list of wrongs done to women in the name of religion.
    Forced marriage, honour killings, low pay and girls being kept out of school are her priorities for change in the Palestinian parliament. That is when she is not preparing her 13-year-old son to die in the fight against Israel.

    “A lot of things need to change,” she said. “Women in Gaza and the West Bank should be given complete rights. Some women and girls are made to marry someone they don’t want to marry. This is not in our religion, it’s our tradition. In our religion, a woman has a right to choose.

    Meanwhile, Martin Bright might like to tell us how many Arabs have been allowed to become members of Kibbutzim.

  • zakisbak

    Time has shown that those who support the universality of human rights are invariably on the right side of history. –
    Yes,which means that Hamas clearly are not,you utter moron.

  • AY

    There is one absolutely astounding video on youtube, it shows Douglas Murray’s critics of “religion of peace” – one must admit, he reached perfection of mechanism in doing that.

    After his speech at 3:41 one COVERED woman is instinctively APPLAUDING.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6IH9E43V2A

    .. so is there hope, for us “CITIZENSuk”?
    (note BTW how designers take every opportunity to diminish “uk”, writing it in small letters..)

    ..or does it just confirms importance of being handsome, and wear rosy shirt?

  • Rik

    IJV claim anybody who dares to disagree with them is part of a witch-hunt. It’s their standard tactic for closing down debate.

  • AY

    So what is your point Martin? – “citizen uk” are legitimate political movement because, eeh, they are citizens here.

    But why don’t you continue.

    Yes they are citizens – and very wrong ones, who deserve firm opposition, scrutiny, boycotts, sanctions, and isolation. Exactly as Hamas whom they support.

  • ndm

    Martin Bright writes:

    – Quite how anyone who believes in universal human rights would want to work with an organisation with a trustee who supports that catalogue of horror.

    I hope Martin Bright has a similar opinion of those who so fervently support an Israel that has made the oppression of the Palestinian people its national project. I will remind Mr. Bright that, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has transferred more than 400,000 of its citizens into the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These citizens are not good Israelis and they are certainly not good Jews – because they are not good people.. They are, however, indictable war criminals. Yet the brutality and the horrors visited upon the Palestinian people as a direct consequence of this crime are appeased and apologized for by those who use Judaism as a mask to cover their support for Israeli bigotry.

    Time has shown that those who support the universality of human rights are invariably on the right side of history. Martin Bright needs to think about why he is on the wrong side of history.

    I have yet to see him utter any condemnation of the bigoted tripe Melanie Phillips, one of Britains leading public intellectuals, writes in this very magazine. Frankly, I will take more seriously his concerns if public figures of her stature started giving Hamas the support that she and other self-described “friends of Israel” give to Israeli atrocities. After all, Melanie Phillips shares with Hamas a desire for a single state west of the Jordan River. Yet she is feted for her bigotry while Hamas is condemned for its.

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