Re: The facts are clear; the UN is biased towards Israel, not Palestine

Few have mastered the art of division and diversion better than Israeli governments, and even fewer have used it to greater effect. The manufactured outrage over the UN’s alleged bias against Israel is a classic example; instead of addressing the issues raised by many different UN bodies, Israel and its supporters have accused the organisation of anti-Semitism.

This is nothing new, while individual and national critics of Israel half expect to be smeared in this way, this kind of strident denunciation of the entire international umbrella organisation as a racist entity is rare. I assume that this is because the acceptance of such an accusation demands the suspension of rational and reasonable thought, as well as a predilection for conspiracy theories; or just an unhealthy dependence on a certain lobby for political survival. The current Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be more strident than ever and has a new, sycophantic US ambassador to the UN to offer unquestioned support. Thus the theory has been elevated to fact and manufactured outrage is treating the allegation as serious; so much so that every US senator, all 100 of them, have signed a letter released today asking UN Secretary-General António Guterres to address what the lawmakers in Washington call entrenched bias against Israel at the world body.

In the senators’ letter, which was published by the Washington Post, they not only accuse the UN of using its “privileged platform to advance an anti-Israel agenda” and exploiting UN institutions to target Israel, but they also connect the “anti-Israel bias” with the “broader scourge” of anti-Semitism.

According to the US senators, the UN has, at times, reinforced global anti-Semitism. This is outrageous nonsense, but very serious nonetheless.

The UN may have many problems, but inherent anti-Semitism is certainly not one of them. Israel was, after all, created by the UN in one of the first acts of the nascent organisation. It is the only state in the world to be founded in this way. Furthermore, the very structure of the UN has enabled Israel to be protected, particular by the US, from prosecution for many decades’ worth of violations of international law. Despite this, supporters of Israel not only accuse the UN of double standards and for singling out the state for undue criticism, but also accuse campaigns like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has its roots in the International Court of Justice 2004 opinion against the Israeli separation wall, of hypocrisy. The double standards and “singled out” claims follow a familiar pattern. “What about Syria, Iran, North Korea, Iraq or the dozens of other countries with a worse human rights record?” ask Israel’s supporters. “Or for that matter countless other conflicts where there has been a greater loss of life?” Criticism of Israel is disproportionate, they insist. Are they correct? I think not. Such protests are a sign of desperation. When grave accusations of human rights abuses and violations of international law simply cannot be denied any longer, then the next best thing is to divert attention from the reality on the ground towards a manufactured problem. In this case, the credibility of the individuals and institutions reporting Israeli crimes is called into question; shoot the messenger writ large. It does not matter that the people and organisations responsible are merely doing their job by monitoring breaches of international laws and conventions; what matters to the pro-Israel lobby is that they have reported the truth more often than Israel would like. Just why this is patently absurd is not rocket science. What would our response be if white South Africans had sought to divert attention from their many abuses during the apartheid era by accusing the anti-apartheid movement of racism and hypocrisy? There were, remember, many tyrants and despots around the world at that time, so why “single out” the minority white South African government for criticism? Using the pro-Israel logic, racist South Africans would have been perfectly justified in accusing the anti-apartheid movement of double standards. Racism and injustice could have been ignored when worse atrocities were being carried out in others parts of the world, or so the pro-Israel crew might have insisted; as, it must be said, happens today in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Would any reasonable person have bought that argument then? Of course not, apart from the apartheid government in Pretoria which, by the way, maintained close ties with Israel to the very end. Indeed, some Afrikaner farmers ended up moving to the Israeli-occupied West Bank precisely because they felt at one with apartheid Israel. We cannot afford to buy the argument today.

The simple fact is that Israel has ignored more UN resolutions — something like 80 plus — than any other country and yet it enjoys an enviable position within the international system. Unlike, for example, countries such as Syria, Iran, Russia, North Korea, Iraq and Zimbabwe which have faced UN sanctions at one stage or another, Israel’s violations of human rights and international law go unpunished. If Israel has been singled out for special attention at all, it is to receive unprecedented political, military and financial privileges from the US and its Western allies, despite its appalling human rights record.

If the legions of Israel’s supporters want an equal playing field, they should call for sanctions on their favoured state and not allow it to be singled out for such privileged treatment. This isn’t a question of comparable levels of human rights abuses and atrocities; it’s about what Israel is allowed to get away with, which is just about anything and everything you can think of. It is true to say that certain conflicts over the past 50 years — South Africa, Israel/Palestine, Algeria, Vietnam — have stood out as exceptional for many people in the West, especially those on the left. The common denominators, the strands that tie these conflicts together, include Western imperialism and the related phenomenon of settler-colonialism.

With conflicts like those mentioned, there was no moral or legal ambiguity. Colonisation, occupation and discrimination is just plain wrong and illegal. Because of the anti-colonial struggles and civil rights movements of the past, there thus exists a near-reflexive response when states — such as Israel — employ the tactics of the pre-civil rights era in the post-colonial age.It is also true that the UN does have a special responsibility when it comes to Israel and Palestine, a fact about which former UN special rapporteur Richard Falk reminded US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley: “Immediately after World War II, a war-weary Britain, then the Mandatory authority in Palestine as a result of arrangements following World War I, turned over the future of Palestine to the UN for resolution,” recapped Falk in a letter to Haley. “The UN was, therefore, from the outset of its existence, given a responsibility for finding a solution to the conflict in Palestine. This was unlike any comparable responsibility the UN possesses anywhere else in the world.”

Given the unique and special role it had in the creation of Israel and the subsequent commitment to end the conflict it helped to create, the UN is morally and legally obliged to ask, as Falk does, why seven decades of human suffering and insecurity have resulted from the its failure to discharge this obligation. The bigger question, which the “anti-Semitism” diversion tries to avoid, is not why the UN has paid too much attention to Israel but why the UN has repeatedly failed to do enough to bring its influence to bear for Israel to be called to account and produce a sustainable and just peace. With such an abysmal record over Palestine — towards which it has most certainly not been biased; the facts are there for all to see — it is both pertinent and more accurate to ask why the UN is biased towards Israel and complicit in the protection of what is fast becoming a rogue state.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170429-the-facts-are-clear-the-un-is-biased-towards-israel-not-palestine/#comment-3281119673

Re: UN calls on Iran to stop executing children

The UN called on Iran yesterday to “immediately” cancel death sentences against minors and children, and called on Tehran to abide by its obligations under international human rights law, officials from the UN High Commission for Human Rights said.

At the same time, the UN demanded that Iran immediately halt the carrying out of death sentences passed on two persons who committed their offences and were sentenced when they were children.

“These executions must be halted immediately and the death sentences quashed. We also call on Iran to commute without delay all such sentences imposed on children,” officials from the UN said.

“We are dismayed by the unprecedented rise in the number of cases of execution of juvenile offenders in Iran,” the experts said, noting that one of the two persons, Mehdi Bohlouli, was 17-years-old when he was condemned to death in 2001.

Bohlouli’s execution was scheduled to take place on 19 April, the high commissioner’s office said, but it was temporarily stayed a few hours before it was due to be carried out.

The other condemned prisoner, Peyman Barandah, was 15 when he was sentenced to death in 2012, also for the fatal stabbing of a teenager. His execution has been scheduled for 10 May.

“These two cases bring the total of juvenile offenders scheduled for execution that we have become aware of in Iran since January to six. They include the cases of two young persons whose executions was carried out,” the UN noted.

Iran has a long history of executing children, as well as having the world’s highest per capita execution rate. In one particularly infamous example, The Guardian reported last year that an Iranian minister confirmed that Tehran had ordered and carried out the executions of all males in a single village for various drug offences.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170429-un-calls-on-iran-to-stop-executing-children/#comment-3281118069

Re: UN calls on Iran to stop executing children

The UN called on Iran yesterday to “immediately” cancel death sentences against minors and children, and called on Tehran to abide by its obligations under international human rights law, officials from the UN High Commission for Human Rights said.

At the same time, the UN demanded that Iran immediately halt the carrying out of death sentences passed on two persons who committed their offences and were sentenced when they were children.

“These executions must be halted immediately and the death sentences quashed. We also call on Iran to commute without delay all such sentences imposed on children,” officials from the UN said.

“We are dismayed by the unprecedented rise in the number of cases of execution of juvenile offenders in Iran,” the experts said, noting that one of the two persons, Mehdi Bohlouli, was 17-years-old when he was condemned to death in 2001.

Bohlouli’s execution was scheduled to take place on 19 April, the high commissioner’s office said, but it was temporarily stayed a few hours before it was due to be carried out.

The other condemned prisoner, Peyman Barandah, was 15 when he was sentenced to death in 2012, also for the fatal stabbing of a teenager. His execution has been scheduled for 10 May.

“These two cases bring the total of juvenile offenders scheduled for execution that we have become aware of in Iran since January to six. They include the cases of two young persons whose executions was carried out,” the UN noted.

Iran has a long history of executing children, as well as having the world’s highest per capita execution rate. In one particularly infamous example, The Guardian reported last year that an Iranian minister confirmed that Tehran had ordered and carried out the executions of all males in a single village for various drug offences.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170429-un-calls-on-iran-to-stop-executing-children/#comment-3281115594

Hamilton Leithauser announces new live record and fall tour

Singer-songwriter Hamilton Leithauser has added onto an already busy 2017 tour schedule with a slew of fall dates, and for good reason. The former Walkmen frontman announced that he is releasing his first live album as a solo artist. The live LP documents one of a three-night run at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in New York City. Leithauser describes the performance as “the band’s best to date.” Leithauser is offering a ticket and vinyl bundle until May 3. You can find bundle info via Hamilton Leithauser’s website.

The fall tour around the live record gets kicks-off Oct. 18 in Washington D.C. and will see Leithauser and his band through the South, Midwest, Canada, Northeast, and West Coast. The tour will close at the Wonder Ballroom in Portland, Oregon on Nov. 16. Tickets for the fall tour go on sale Friday, May 5 at 10:00 a.m. local time. Click here to browse AXS for select Hamilton Leithauser tickets. You can find a full list of fall dates below.

Hamilton Leithauser 2017 fall tour dates:

Oct 18 9:30 Club Washington, DC
Oct 19 Visulite Theatre Charlotte, NC
Oct 21 Saturn Birmingham, AL
Oct 23 Delmar Hall Saint Louis, MO
Oct 24 Turner Hall Ballroom Milwaukee, WI
Oct 26 First Avenue Minneapolis, MN
Oct 28 Majestic Theater Detroit, MI (Get Tickets)
Oct 30 Danforth Music Hall Toronto, Canada
Nov 01 Brooklyn Steel Brooklyn, NY (Get Tickets)
Nov 02 Union Transfer Philadelphia, PA
Nov 03 Royale Nightclub Boston, MA (Get Tickets)
Nov 04 Port City Music Hall Portland, ME
Nov 09 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach, CA
Nov 10 The Fonda Theatre Los Angeles, CA (Get Tickets)
Nov 15 The Neptune Theatre Seattle, WA
Nov 16 Wonder Ballroom Portland, OR

Source Article from https://www.axs.com/hamilton-leithauser-announces-new-live-record-and-fall-tour-117990

Maroon delivering playoff magic for the Oilers

Patrick Maroon of St. Louis, Missouri scored the game winning goal for the Edmonton Oilers in game two of the Oilers’ second round playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday evening. The Oilers won the game 2-1 to take a 2-0 lead in their best out of seven series. Both of the Oilers wins came at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, which is mightily impressive when you consider the fact that the Ducks only lost eight times in regulation at home during the entire regular season. 

Maroon scored his game winning goal for the Oilers on Friday on the power play from Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at 6:41 of the second period. The goal went off of Maroon’s skate and past Ducks goaltender John Gibson of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

This was Maroon’s second career game winning goal in the National Hockey League postseason. His first career postseason game winning goal came as a member of the Anaheim Ducks on April 30, 2015 in a 6-1 Ducks win over the Calgary Flames. Maroon was then traded from the Ducks to the Oilers for Martin Gernat and the Oilers’ fourth round draft pick in the 2016 National Hockey League Draft on February 29, 2016. 

A major reason why the Oilers have the series lead on the Ducks is because Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot has outplayed Gibson. Talbot has a series save percentage of .947 and Gibson has a series save percentage of .889. 

 

 

Source Article from https://www.axs.com/maroon-delivering-playoff-magic-for-the-oilers-117989

Kendrick Lamar becomes fifth artist to have 14 or more songs charting on the Hot 100 chart

Kendrick Lamar is having a solid week after releasing his latest album DAMN  which debuted at the top of the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. In its third week, lead single “Humble” moved up into the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 songs chart becoming his second chart leader and first as a solo artist dethroning Ed Sheeran’s 12-week reign. Now thanks to streaming increasing and the hip-hop and rap genres benefitting greatly, all songs from DAMN  are appearing on the Hot 100.

The 14-track set makes Kendrick Lamar the fifth artist in history to have at least 14 songs on the chart since it began. The Beatles of course were the first in 1964 when the group exploded onto the scene in America. It would take another 50 years before another act would accomplish that feat and that as noted is fueled by streaming platforms. Drake has the most tracks at one time on the chart with a total of 24. The Weeknd charted 18 songs at the same time when he released the No. 1 album Starboy in 2016 and Justin Bieber landed 18 chartings upon the release of Purpose.

Lamar has 13 debuts with “DNA” debuting at No. 4 with 51 million streams and five tracks in the top 20. The lowest charting track from DAMN, “Duckworth,” debuts at No. 63 with 14.1 million listens. In all, the tracks received nearly 339 million streams on official platforms such as Spotify. Additionally, those streams accounted for the album debuted at No. 1 on the Top 200 with 603,000 units, 227,000 of that in streaming units equating to 340 million hits.

Source Article from https://www.axs.com/kendrick-lamar-becomes-fifth-artist-to-have-14-or-more-songs-charting–117988

Bonino delivers for Penguins in playoff win over Capitals

Nick Bonino of the Pittsburgh Penguins is once again delivering his playoff magic. On Thursday evening, Bonino of Hartford, Connecticut, scored the game winning goal with 7:24 left in the third period as the Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in game one of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. 

It was Bonino’s sixth career game winning goal in the National Hockey League postseason. It was also his first postseason game winning goal since the Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in game one of the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals. The goal scored by Bonino a year ago will go down in hockey history as one of the very best broadcasting calls for a goal ever. Harnarayan Singh of Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi bellowed “Bonino, Bonino, Bonino, Bonino, Bonino” like a South American soccer announcer, and the play-by-play call simply went viral. Forever Singh and Bonino will be linked. 

The Capitals and Penguins will play in primetime on Saturday evening, with the game being shown on NBC at 8 p.m. ET. It is a must win for the Capitals as they obviously do not want to go down two games to none in their best out of seven series. 

 

Source Article from https://www.axs.com/bonino-delivers-for-penguins-in-playoff-win-over-capitals-117987

Listen to three brand new Foster the People songs

When it rains new Foster the People music, it pours. It’s been three long years since they’ve put out any new music, but that all changed this week when they released not one, but three brand new tracks. All three were uploaded to their VEVO YouTube channel at the same time and as expected, each song is ridiculously catchy. 

Foster the People’s three brand new songs are “SHC,” “Pay the Man,” and “Doing it for the Money.” Based off YouTube views, “SHC” has been streamed the most, but not by much. That track has been listened to almost five thousand more times than “Pay the Man,” which isn’t a big margin considering both have been heard over two hundred thousand times. 

Coming in third is “Doing it for the Money,” which is just shy of cracking the two hundred thousand streams mark. All three songs are expected to be on Foster the People’s upcoming third studio album. No official album title, or release date has been announced.

What has been announced is a summer tour. Dates for Foster the People’s summer 2017 tour were revealed at the beginning of April, and tickets for select shows are on sale now at AXS here.  

Not only will they perform headlining shows this summer, but the band is also set to appear at a number of festivals, which includes Chicago’s Lollapalooza, Mad Cool Festival, Rock for People, and Osheaga Festival. With the tour starting June 2, details of when the new album is going to be released should be announced soon. 

Source Article from https://www.axs.com/listen-to-three-brand-new-foster-the-people-songs-117986

The Austrian President’s Proposal to Fight Islamophobia: Wearing the veil

Reacting to a recent law that prohibits women from wearing a Burkha (a complete veil), the Austrian President, Alexander Van der Bellen has expressed his wish that all Austrian women would all wear the veil on one day, marking resistance to Islamophobia.

Contrary to what President Van der Bellen believes, the veil forms no part of Islam in its traditional form. None of the Prophet’s wives covered herself with the veil. It was only in the VIII century, in Bagdad, with the Abbasid caliphs, that this tradition appeared. It was then gradually integrated into various schools of jurisprudence.

Despite this, since the Second World War, the Muslim Brotherhood made it the symbol of its political project in Muslim societies. It follows that wearing a veil is not stricto sensu, a religious issue, but a political choice.
Alexander Van der Bellen belongs to the family of ecological politicians which rose in the mid-nineties, around the German Joseph Fischer. De Bellen has provided support to Nato’s illegal intervention in Yugoslavia, siding with the Muslim minority.

Source Article from http://www.voltairenet.org/article196173.html