Who in their right mind would listen to ANYTHING Syria has to say about human rights?
At Human Rights Council, ‘Regime’ Not Allowed, But ‘A State Built on Hatred’ Is Okay
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor
Syrian representative Rania al-Rifai tells the Human Rights Council on Tuesday that Israel is “a state built on hatred, discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority.” (Image: HRC Webcast)
(CNSNews.com) – The diplomat chairing a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting Tuesday allowed a Syrian delegate to call Israel “a state built on hatred, discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority,” but a few minutes earlier scolded another speaker for referring to the Burmese “regime.”
During her statement in Geneva condemning Israel, Syrian envoy Rania al-Rifai also accused Israelis of teaching their children to hate Arabs, and cited what critics said amounted to a “blood libel.”
“Hatred [in Israel] is widespread, taught to even small children, who are taught to use weapons, and who are taught to sign missiles that will be fired at Arabs,” she said. “Let me quote a song that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school. And I quote, ‘With my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood.’ End of quote.”
Alex van Meeuwen, the Belgian ambassador who holds the HRC presidency, made no comment during, or after, Al-Rifai’s presentation.
Minutes earlier, Van Meeuwen chastised the Canadian delegate for using the term “regime” in his comments about rights abuses in Burma.
“Before moving to the next speaker I would like to ask once again all speakers to refrain from using words such as ‘regime’ in reference to member states and uphold U.N. standards when referring to countries,” the Belgian said.
Tuesday’s “general debate” was one which allows countries to raise “human rights situations that require the council’s attention.” Twenty-nine speakers spoke briefly, listing situations of concern to their governments.
The U.S. mentioned Iran, Burma, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Israeli speaker cited situations in Iran, Pakistan and Syria, where he raised concerns about political prisoners, freedom of expression, press, assembly and movement.
When Syria’s Al-Rifai took the microphone six speakers later, she began by saying Syria found it strange to listen to Israelis criticize their country just days after the “high seas piracy” – the deadly raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla – to which the council had paid special attention last week.
She went on to accuse Israel of torture, quoted former President Carter as saying – during a visit to Hamas-ruled Gaza last year – that Palestinians were treated like animals.
After the comments about the children singing about sucking blood, Al-Rifai finished by saying that Israel’s “violations of human rights and illegitimate occupation have destabilized the whole region” and calling on the international community to “put an end to Israeli impunity and their extremely brutal policy inside and outside occupied Arab territories.”
“Thank you,” said Van Meeuwen, then called on the next speaker.
U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization monitoring the HRC, called on top U.N. officials and member states to condemn the Syrians’ remarks, addressing the appeal in particular to Van Meeuwen, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“Allegations of Israeli blood-sucking echoes the medieval blood libel about Jewish murder of children,” said the organization’s executive director, Hillel Neuer. “Such statements, absurd and patently false, are historical incitements to prejudice and violence.”
“We deeply regret that the council, whose founding mission is to end intolerance toward any religious, racial, or ethnic group, was the venue for the expression of such crude and hateful allegations,” Neuer said. “It is now incumbent on all responsible U.N. authorities to speak out immediately and forcefully to condemn this bigotry.”
“Blood libels” refer to legends of ritual abuse by Jews in medieval Europe, typically accusing Jews of using the blood of gentile children to make Passover matza bread. Historians say the allegations frequently led by pogroms, trials, mob violence and murder.
They emerged again in later centuries, notably in Syria in the 19th century.
An episode of a Syrian-produced anti-Zionist documentary series called Al-Shatat (the Diaspora), which has aired in Syria, Lebanon and Iran in recent years, depicts rabbis as cannibals, cutting the throat of a boy and catching the blood to make matza.
Queries sent to Van Meeuwen and Pillay had not brought any response by press time.