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UN Chief Poses ‘Danger to World Peace,’ Has ‘Reached New Moral Low’ With Latest Gaza War Decision: Israeli Officials

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the UN headquarters in New York City, US, before a meeting about the conflict in Gaza, Nov. 6, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has “reached a new moral low” and in effect signaled his support for the Hamas terror group by invoking a rarely used clause of the UN chapter to address the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, according to senior Israeli officials.

Guterres on Wednesday announced that he was invoking Article 99 of the UN charter for the first time, citing the humanitarian situation in Gaza, the Palestinian enclave ruled by Hamas.

“Facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza, I urge the [UN Security] Council to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe & appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared,” the UN chief wrote on X/Twitter.

He also attached to his social media post a copy of a letter to José Javier De la Gasca Lopez Domínguez, the current UN Security Council president, explaining his decision and saying he expects “public order to completely break down due to desperate conditions, rendering even limited humanitarian assistance impossible.”

I’ve just invoked Art.99 of the UN Charter – for the 1st time in my tenure as Secretary-General.

Facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza, I urge the Council to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe & appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared. pic.twitter.com/pA0eRXZnFJ

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) December 6, 2023

According to the UN, invoking Article 99 allows the UN secretary-general to bring the attention of the security council to “any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

It’s unclear why Guterres, who’s served in his current role since Jan. 2017, has not activated this measure for other conflicts during his tenure that affected larger areas and had higher casualty figures.

Top Israeli officials lambasted Guterres for what they described as an obsessive bias against Israel and a decision that will only help Hamas.

“Guterres’ tenure is a danger to world peace,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen wrote on X/Twitter. “His request to activate Article 99 and the call for a cease fire in Gaza constitutes support of the Hamas terrorist organization and an endorsement of the murder of the elderly, the abduction of babies, and the rape of women. Anyone who supports world peace must support the liberation of Gaza from Hamas.”

Guterres’ tenure is a danger to world peace.
His request to activate Article 99 and the call for a cease fire in Gaza constitutes support of the Hamas terrorist organization and an endorsement of the murder of the elderly, the abduction of babies and the rape of women.
Anyone who…

— אלי כהן | Eli Cohen (@elicoh1) December 6, 2023

Cohen was referring to the crimes committing by Hamas during its surprise invasion of Israel on Oct. 7. Palestinian terrorists led by Hamas murdered 1,200 people, mostly civilians, during their rampage across southern Israeli communities and kidnapped 240 others, taking them back to Gaza as hostages. Reports of the terrorists’ brutality, including torture and rampant sexual violence, has shocked the world.

The Israeli military has been targeting Hamas in Gaza with air strikes and ground operations since the massacre, with the stated goals of destroying the terror group and rescuing all the hostages.

One problem for Israel has been Hamas’ notorious strategy of placing its weapons, command centers, and other key targets near or even inside civilian sites, leading the European Union to recently condemn the terror group for using hospitals as “human shields.”

However, Guterres has been a vocal critic of Israel’s military campaign and repeatedly called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas — a move that Jerusalem argues will allow Hamas to regroup and strengthen its position.

Cohen wasn’t the only Israeli official to sound off on the UN chief’s decision. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Guterres “reached a new moral low” with his announcement.

“The Secretary-General decided to activate this rare clause only when it allows him to put pressure on Israel, which is fighting the Nazi Hamas terrorists. This is more proof of the Secretary-General’s moral distortion and his bias against Israel,” Erdan posted on social media. “The Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire is actually a call to keep Hamas’ reign of terror in Gaza. Instead of the Secretary-General explicitly pointing to Hamas’ responsibility for the situation and calling on the terrorist leaders to turn themselves in and return the hostages, thus ending the war, the Secretary-General chooses to continue playing into Hamas’ hands.”

Erdan added that Guterres’ positions on the war “only prolong the fighting in Gaza, because they give hope to the Hamas terrorists that the war will be stopped and they will be able to survive.”

The ambassador called on Guterres to “resign immediately — the UN needs a Secretary-General who supports the war on terror, not a Secretary-General who acts according to the script written by Hamas.”

Today, the Secretary-General has reached a new moral low. He writes that he is activating, for the first time, Article 99 of the UN Charter in relation to the Israel-Hamas war, an article that can only be invoked in a situation where international peace and security are… pic.twitter.com/rQm18aT1vq

— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) December 6, 2023

For the last several weeks, the Israeli officials have repeatedly castigated Guterres and the UN’s response to the current conflict. Last month, for example, Cohen said that Guterres was unfit to lead the UN, arguing he had not done enough to condemn the Hamas terrorist group or to advance peace in the Middle East.

Cohen’s comments came three weeks after he canceled a meeting with Guterres, who in remarks the prior month seemingly blamed Israel for Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre.

Erdan went further, calling on Guterres to resign for rationalizing Hamas’ atrocities against Israeli civilians.

The backlash came in response to comments that Guterres said at a UN Security Council meeting on the Israel-Hamas war at the time.

“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” Guterres said. “The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence. Their economy is stifled, their people displaced, and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.”

Beyond Cohen and Erdan, members of both the Israeli unity government and the opposition also called out Guterres, with Minister Benny Gantz saying the UN leader “condones terror” and opposition leader Yair Lapid saying that Guterres “brought shame upon the United Nations … [with] excuses and rationalization for barbaric terrorism.”

Israeli officials have also expressed outrage at Guterres for in their view being too close to Iran, the main international sponsor of Hamas.

Last month, Guterres met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in New York.

In a recent interview, Guterres said he had appealed to Iran to intervene and stop worsening hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terror group based in Lebanon, on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Guterres told journalist Fareed Zakaria that he had asked Iran “to tell Hezbollah, ‘You cannot create a situation in which Lebanon will be completely engulfed by this conflict,’ because if Hezbollah will launch a massive attack on Israel it might create, I don’t know what kind of impact, but one thing I am sure — Lebanon would not survive.”

Asked if Iran had been responsive, the UN chief said, “I do not know. They said always that they have nothing to do with what is happening but they say publicly that there is a risk of this conflict to be extended. It’s always very mysterious, the position of Iran.”

The post UN Chief Poses ‘Danger to World Peace,’ Has ‘Reached New Moral Low’ With Latest Gaza War Decision: Israeli Officials first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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‘Despicable’: Harvard Denounces Nazi-Esque Image Shared by Anti-Zionist Faculty Group

Pro-Hamas students rallying at Harvard University. Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder

Harvard University denounced an antisemitic image depicting a Jew lynching an African American and an Arab which was released by a faculty anti-Zionist group on social media.

“The university is aware of social media posts today containing deeply offensive antisemitic tropes and messages from organizations whose membership includes Harvard affiliates,” the university said, speaking from its Instagram account. “Such despicable messages have no place in the Harvard community. We condemn these posts in the strongest possible terms.”

Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine (FSJP), a group which describes itself as a “collective” committed to falsely accusing Israel of genocide and dispossession — terms one finds on the fringes of the extreme right — initiated this latest controversy. The image it shared shows a left-hand tattooed with a Star of David containing a dollar sign at its center dangling a Black man and an Arab man from a noose. In its posterior, an arm belonging to an unknown person of color wields a machete that says, “Liberation Movement.”

“African people have a profound understanding of apartheid and occupation,” says a graphic in which the image appears. “The historical roots of solidarity between Black liberation movements and Palestinian liberation began in the late 1960s. This period was marked by a heightened awareness among Black organizations in the United States.”

It continued, “The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] linked Zionism to an imperial project while the Black Panther Party aligned itself with the Palestinian resistance, framing both struggles as part of a unified front against racism, Zionism, and imperialism.”

On Monday, Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine — whose 112 founding members include professors Walter Johnson, Jennifer Brody, Diane Moore, Charlie Prodger, Leslie Fernandez, Khameer Kidia, and Duncan Kennedy — apologized for sharing the image and suggested that it was unaware of its own social media activity.

“It has come to our attention that a post featuring antiquated cartoons which used offensive antisemitic tropes was linked to our account,” the group said. “We removed the content as soon as it came to our attention. We apologize for the hurt that these images have caused and do not condone them in any way.”

Two other student groups have apologized for sharing the image, according to The Harvard Crimson. In a joint statement, the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee and the African and American Resistance Organization said “our mutual goals for liberation will always include the Jewish community — and we regret inadvertently including an image that played upon antisemitic tropes.”

The past four months have been described by critics of Harvard as a low-point in the history of the school, America’s oldest and, arguably, most prestigious institution of higher education. Since the October 7 massacre by Hamas, Harvard has been accused of fostering a culture of racial grievance and antisemitism, while important donors have suspended funding for programs. Its first Black president, Claudine Gay, resigned in disgrace last month after being outed as a serial plagiarist. Her tenure was the shortest in the school’s history.

As scenes of Hamas terrorists abducting children and desecrating dead bodies circulated worldwide, 31 student groups at Harvard, led by the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) issued a statement blaming Israel for the attack and accusing the Jewish state of operating an “open air prison” in Gaza, despite that the Israeli military withdrew from the territory in 2005. In the weeks that followed, anti-Zionists stormed the campus screaming “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “globalize the intifada,” terrorizing Jewish students and preventing some from attending class.

In November, a mob of anti-Zionists — including Ibrahim Bharmal, editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review — followed, surrounded, and intimidated a Jewish student. “Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” the crush of people screamed in a call-and-response chant into the ears of the student who —as seen in the footage — was forced to duck and dash the crowd to free himself from the cluster of bodies that encircled him.

The university is currently being investigated by the US House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce. It was recently subpoenaed by the body after weeks of allegedly obstructing the inquiry.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post ‘Despicable’: Harvard Denounces Nazi-Esque Image Shared by Anti-Zionist Faculty Group first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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The Red Cross Has Abandoned Israeli Hostages and Its Pretense of Neutrality

A Red Cross vehicle, as part of a convoy believed to be carrying hostages abducted by Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, arrives at the Rafah border, amid a hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel, as seen from southern Gaza, Nov. 24, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

The Red Cross has once again failed the Jewish people by choosing to appease its enemies rather than help those in need.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in its mission statement, claims to be “an impartial, neutral, and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.”

The actions of the Red Cross since October 7, however, show that it does not consider the lives and dignity of all victims to be equal. Instead, the Red Cross has fallen in line with those who refuse to condemn Hamas and ignore the atrocities perpetrated against Israelis.

This isn’t the first time that the Red Cross has ignored the suffering of Jewish people to avoid offending those who seek to eliminate the Jewish people. The Red Cross has received three Nobel Peace Prizes, including one in 1944 for its services in World War II, but decades later, we know the whole truth.

Documents released after the war revealed that the Red Cross was well aware of the Nazis’ genocide of the Jews and chose to remain silent. The Red Cross defended itself by claiming that if it had disclosed what it knew, “it would have lost its ability to inspect prisoner-of-war camps on both sides of the front.” Although the Red Cross has apologized for its inaction in confronting the Holocaust, the bias the ICRC has shown against Israel makes that apology ring hollow.

Magen David Adom, Israel’s official emergency service, was founded in 1930 and ratified as a National Red Cross Society by the Knesset in 1950. However, the Red Cross refused to allow Magen David Adom entry to the international organization because the latter wanted to use the Star of David as its symbol in place of a red cross.  Even though Muslim Red Cross organizations use a red crescent as their symbol, Israel is singled out for refusal.  Only after 76 years of life-saving work was Magen David Adom finally accepted by the ICRC in 2006.

The Red Cross has conducted itself similarly since Hamas took Israeli hostages. The Red Cross gained much acclaim for bringing Israeli hostages home after they were released. However, the Red Cross played no part in the negotiations that led to the release, and made no effort to visit the hostages while they were imprisoned.

This is in stark contrast to past hostage crises. During the Iranian hostage crisis, the Red Cross visited the occupied US embassy in Tehran. When 72 Japanese hostages were kidnapped by guerrilla forces in Peru in 1996, the Red Cross provided food and medical assistance. When New York Times reporter David Rohde was held by the Taliban in 2008, the Red Cross delivered him a letter from his wife. When more than 240 hostages were taken from Israel, however, the Red Cross did nothing.

The Red Cross responded to a recent lawsuit filed by Israeli hostages, which claims that the Red Cross neglected its duty to visit prisoners of war, by saying: “The more public pressure we seemingly would do, the more they [Hamas] would shut the door.”

The evidence shows that the Red Cross did not try very hard. UN Watch compiled a report showing that the ICRC’s social media posts were heavily biased in favor of Hamas, and refused to acknowledge Hamas’ atrocities and the plight of the Israeli hostages.

When families of the hostages asked the Red Cross to deliver life-saving medications to their family members in captivity, they were scolded and told to “think about the Palestinian side.” by the ICRC.

Since the beginning of the current war, the Red Cross has pumped millions of dollars into Gaza, along with supplies, infrastructure, and medical teams. Hamas, of course, has a long history of shamelessly stealing money and supplies that were intended for civilians, a fact that the ICRC knows, and, unsurprisingly, Hamas has continued to do so during this current war.

The Red Cross has both the leverage and the stature to gain access to the Israeli hostages and even to push for their release. They were even able to leverage the Taliban into granting access to hostages in the past. People listen to the Red Cross. But they also hear the Red Cross’ silence.

When the Red Cross speaks about the Israel-Hamas conflict without mentioning Hamas’ attacks, and its president meets with Hamas’ leader but does not advocate for Israeli hostages, the message is clear.

The Red Cross’ historical and current actions seem to suggest that it does not value Israeli lives as much as other people’s. It is time for the international community to ask the Red Cross why it looks out for all of those in need, except for Jews.

Gregg Roman is director of the Middle East Forum and a former official in the Israeli Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense.

The post The Red Cross Has Abandoned Israeli Hostages and Its Pretense of Neutrality first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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The Media Is Still Swallowing Hamas’ Lies About Israel

A supporter of Hamas demonstrates outside the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. Photo: Reuters/Piroschka van de Wouw

While Israel is winning its war to eliminate the existential threat posed by Hamas’ massive tunnel complex/fortress in Gaza, Israel is losing the propaganda battle against a pro-Palestinian narrative demonizing Israel’s conduct of the war. That narrative puts aside Hamas’ horrific crimes against humanity that triggered Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, and adopts an account that Israel is “indiscriminately killing” Gazans as part of a “genocidal” campaign.

Hamas displays emotional images of Gazans massed in crowded hospital wards, or combing ruins for lost loved ones, and then proclaims to the world that there have been more than 25,000 innocent victims of Israel’s invidious conduct.

To begin with, there is no way to verify any of those numbers, or to tell who among the actual numbers killed are innocent civilians, and who are associated with Hamas and other terror groups. (Remember the hospital bombing at the start of the war, where they claimed 500 casualties, but we later learned from US intelligence analysts that far fewer were killed, and the “attack” was the result of a misfired terrorist rocket).

Furthermore, the issue is not whether Gazans have experienced dreadful suffering. They clearly have. The issue is whom to blame.

Major media outlets have frequently adopted the portrayal of Israel’s conduct in the war as a wanton destruction of Gaza, and the purposeful targeting of civilians.

Unlike Hamas, however, Israel never intentionally targets civilians — nor does it aim for wanton destruction in Gaza.

Any fair assessment of Israel’s military behavior must account for Hamas’ decision to fight in civilian areas, and use civilians and civilian infrastructure as human shields. Hamas’ vast underground fortress is accessed through shafts in or near residential buildings and public structures. Hamas also stores weaponry in civilian structures, and launches rockets and mortars from populated areas.

Experts in urban warfare confirm that the IDF has taken considerable measures to avoid civilian casualties. John Spencer teaches urban warfare at West Point Military Academy. Spencer wrote in Newsweek last week that the IDF, “has implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other military in history.”  He marvels that the IDF has delayed scheduled assaults, furnished copious advance warnings, and provided designated civilian evacuation routes before attacks.

Colonel Richard Kemp is a former British infantry battalion commander with 30 years of experience, including rounds of urban combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kemp commends the IDF on its adherence to the laws of armed conflict — in its choice of munitions, proportionality in choosing targets according to strategic gain versus civilian risk, and advance warnings enabling civilians to evacuate. As to the leveling of civilian structures, Kemp points to the nature of Hamas’ current operations — fighters in civilian clothing moving on thoroughfares to collect weapons stashed in civilian buildings in order to carry out ambush attacks. The structures look abandoned, but may well be booby trapped or may house anti-armor weaponry.

Hamas regularly employs the stratagem of distorting and manipulating casualty figures to suit its narrative that Israel is maliciously and unjustifiably killing civilians. Hamas’ casualty counts are consistently inflated and do not distinguish between combatants and civilians. The intended implication is that only civilians have been targeted by the IDF. Mass media regularly buys into this Hamas stratagem by simply reciting Hamas’ asserted casualty figures and not mentioning when people killed are terrorists or affiliated with terror groups.

An article in the Feb. 12 New York Times by Patrick Kingsley and Hiba Yazbeck typifies the media’s willingness to slant reportage in favor of a pro-Hamas narrative. (“Israeli Raid in Rafiah Rescues 2 Hostages and Kills Dozens.”) The article was prompted by an IDF special forces raid into a Hamas stronghold, Rafah, in order to rescue two Israeli men, aged 60 and 70, who had been kidnapped on October 7 from their kibbutz and held captive for 125 days. The Times report devotes no attention to the incredible sophistication of the rescue operation — the intelligence that pinpointed the locus of captivity, the daring dispatch of a special forces unit to the heart of Hamas’ Rafah, and a coordinated execution that extracted the hostages from their heavily armed Hamas captors without unnecessarily harming civilians.

The Times article’s first sentence mentions a rescue raid, and then promptly shifts to an accusation that Israel “launched a wave of attacks that killed dozens of Palestinians…” Like Hamas in its casualty reports, the article makes no distinction between combatant and civilian deaths. There’s no mention of the fact that many of those Palestinian deaths were Hamas combatants killed as the IDF burst in to rescue the hostages, and as the IDF escaped through armed resistance in the city.

The Kingsley/Yazbeck story also glosses over the Hamas war crimes that necessitated the IDF raid. Two-thirds of the way through the article, it notes in passing that the two freed hostages had been held in captivity for over 120 days (but the article does not note that they had been violently wrenched from their kibbutz homes along with their spouses who were later ransomed or that other family members were murdered on October 7). In short, the focus on “dozens of Palestinians killed” in the rescue mission is a parroting of Hamas propaganda that Israel is engaged in malicious killing of innocent Gazan civilians.

While experts like Spencer and Kemp credit Israel with commendable adherence to the norms of warfare, there have been some ostensible IDF deviations from those norms. An IDF spokesman has acknowledged that at least on one occasion, an excessively large bomb was employed that caused unnecessary civilian casualties. In another incident, Israelis were shocked and disturbed when an IDF unit killed 3 bare-chested men advancing toward the unit while waving a white flag. (The victims turned out to be Israeli hostages who had escaped from their Hamas captors). Another report exists of an Israeli soldier shooting and killing a captive Hamas fighter following an interrogation — a clear war crime if confirmed. These possible crimes are being probed by the IDF military police and, if documented, hopefully will be punished. Hamas, by contrast, proudly flaunts its most glaring war crimes by celebrating the intentional massacre of civilians, and by demanding the return of terrorist murderers in exchange for the remaining civilian hostages.

There is no equivalence between the two sides; but the media will never tell you that story.

Norman L. Cantor is Professor of Law Emeritus at Rutgers University Law School where he taught for 35 years. He also served as visiting professor at Columbia, Seton Hall, Tel Aviv University, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published five books, scores of scholarly articles in law journals, and dozens of blog length commentaries in outlets like The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, and The Algemeiner. His personal blog is seekingfairness.wordpress.com. He lives in Tel Aviv and in Hoboken, NJ. 

The post The Media Is Still Swallowing Hamas’ Lies About Israel first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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