Update on Israeli Feud with UNESCO

As I reported in a post yesterday, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has in the past week adopted a couple of resolutions that have aroused Israeli indignation. One of the resolutions–the one which seems to have sparked the most fury–recognizes the old city of Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage site.

According to the video in the embedded tweet below, Israel has now announced a cut of $1 million in UN funding, apparently in retaliation.

 declared the obvious,  is 🇵🇸. Why is Israel even in the UN? They’ve broken so many laws — 🇮🇱 needs to be shunned & boycotted!

 As I reported in yesterday’s post–and as the video above also mentions–the World Heritage committee, in addition to designating the site as Palestinian, also declared it to be endangered. Reportedly the concern here, or at least one of the concerns, is the threat from vandalism. Given that Hebron is inhabited by Israeli settlers, who seem to be free to commit crimes against the Palestinian population with impunity, the apprehension is probably justified. But of course this aspect to the resolution’s passage in all probability had the effect of arousing Israeli anger all the more.

The Israeli official in the video I posted yesterday–the man who interrupted the proceedings by calling for a moment of silence for “six million murdered Jews” and who was accused by the representative from Cuba of turning the meeting into a “politicized circus” by way of response–this man’s name, apparently, is Carmel Shama-Hacohen, and he reportedly is Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO. According to a report here, shortly after the Hebron resolution was passed, he declared that fixing his “toilet” was more important than the vote just taken:

Israel isn’t known for its fondness of the United Nations and its institutions, but a resolution passed on Friday questioning Israel’s continued occupation of the ancient West Bank city of Hebron and the damage it might be causing to holy sites there drew an unusual response.

“Sorry … I have a very urgent … sorry, Mr Chairman … it’s my plumber in my apartment in Paris,” Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), said sarcastically while addressing the forum’s annual gathering.

“There is a huge problem in my toilet, and it’s more important than the decision you just adopted, thank you.”

Also in yesterday’s post I made an offhand observation regarding the impression that comments by Israeli officials often leave with me. Specifically, I said:

From turning a meeting into a circus sideshow by calling for a moment of silence for “six million murdered Jews,” to accusing a people living under a brutal occupation of being responsible for their own misery and suffering–there is something about the behavior of Israeli officials that somehow always seems to remind me of the proverbial rude guest who showed up for a party uninvited.

When I wrote those words yesterday, little did I know that Israel does not even hold a seat on World Heritage Committee–which would seem to lend a sort of special significance to my comment about the rude guest showing up uninvited. But indeed, I made that discovery today.

If you go to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention website, you can find a PDF document that lists the current members of the World Heritage Committee. There are 21 of them in all. Here is a screen shot from the document (click to enlarge):

As you can see, Israel is not on the list. In other words, Hacohen, who spent part of the meeting talking about his toilet and importuning silence on behalf of “six million murdered Jews,” is not even a member of the committee. But yet, according to Israelis, it is the committee members who are guilty of bad behavior.

By the way, the World Heritage Committee’s deliberations are taking place in Krakow, Poland, and they are not over yet. The session is supposed to continue through Wednesday, so there may be more to come.

Israel Turns UNESCO Meeting into ‘Politicized Circus’

Israel, not for the first time, is royally P.O.’ed at UNESCO. The UN organization’s World Heritage Committee has been holding a meeting in Krakow, Poland–and in a session on July 4, the body passed a resolution naming Israel as an “occupying power” while at the same time condemning its tunneling and underground excavation activities in the old city of Jerusalem.

Said excavations, presumably for archaeological purposes, started up several years ago. I first put up a post about them back in 2014 after it was reported that they were causing structural problems with Palestinian homes in the area, so it’s good that UNESCO is addressing the issue. But the resolution angered the Israeli representative, who threw a temper tantrum by calling for a moment of silence for “six million murdered Jews.” And this is what we see in the video below:

As you can see, the representative from Cuba charged the Israeli–rightfully in my opinion–with turning the meeting into a “politicized circus.” She then reciprocated by calling for a moment of silence for Palestinians who have died. As the video shows, the overwhelming majority of people in the auditorium rose to their feet. It did not sit well with the Israelis.

According to a report here, one Israeli official accused the UNESCO committee of being “detached from reality,” while the Zionist state’s Foreign Ministry is quoted as saying, “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people, and no decision by UNESCO can change that reality.”

That all was, as I say, on July 4.

Three days later, on July 7, Israel again had a hissy fit over a resolution–passed by the same committee. This time the measure had to do with Hebron, specifically recognizing its old city as an endangered World Heritage site. Hebron’s old city includes a site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque (or Mosque of Abraham) and to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs. In that regard it has significance to both religions. But the committee voted to recognize the old city of Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage site–rather than an Israeli one. This of course makes perfectly logical sense because Hebron is in the West Bank and the West Bank is internationally recognized as rightfully belonging to the Palestinians. But again Israelis resorted to tantrums.

“Not a Jewish site?!” thundered Netanyahu. “Who is buried there? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah – our patriarchs and matriarchs!”

Of course, the committee didn’t say it wasn’t a Jewish site; they just said it was a Palestinian site–because the site is, after all, in Occupied Palestine. In fact, according to a report here, the resolution–which passed by a vote of 12-3 with six abstentions–“emphasized the importance of the site to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.”

But Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotoveli charged the committee with attempting to “appropriate the national symbols of the Jewish people,” and she went on to further accuse the UNESCO delegates of maliciously spreading lies.

“This is a badge of shame for UNESCO, who time after time chooses to stand on the side of lies,” she is quoted as saying.

You might recall I put up a post about Hotoveli a week ago.  This was after she did an interview with 60 Minutes Australia in which she expressed the view that “it’s not because of the Israelis” that Palestinians live under such abject conditions. No, “it’s really dependent on them,” she insisted, adding that “their leadership doesn’t give them the ability to live under democratic values.”

From turning a meeting into a circus sideshow by calling for a moment of silence for “six million murdered Jews,” to accusing a people living under a brutal occupation of being responsible for their own misery and suffering–there is something about the behavior of Israeli officials that somehow always seems to remind me of the proverbial rude guest who showed up for a party uninvited.

By the way, in case you missed it, Israel recently confiscated an array of solar panels that had been donated by the Dutch government to a Palestinian village in the West Bank. Despite being surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements, the village in question, Jubbet al-Dhib, is not connected to the national electric grid. The Dutch government has called the action “unacceptable,” and Holland’s prime minister, Mark Rutte, has reportedly now lodged a formal protest. The solar panels cost approximately $600,000.

Netanyahu Slams ‘Delusional’ UNESCO Vote on Al-Khalil (Hebron)

July 7, 2017

Zionist PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday slammed a UNESCO vote declaring the Old City ofAl-Khalil (Hebron) Netanyahu Slams ‘Delusional’ UNESCO Vote on Al-Khalil (Hebron)Hebron an endangered world heritage site, calling it a “delusional decision”.

“It is another delusional decision by UNESCO,” Netanyahu said in a Hebrew video posted online. “This time they ruled the Tomb of the Patriarchs is a Palestinian site, meaning not a Jewish site, and it is in danger.”

Source: AFP

UNESCO Votes to Declare Palestine’s Al-Khalil ‘a Heritage Site’

July 7, 2017

Al-Khalil-1

UNESCO has declared the Old City of al-Khalil (Hebron) a protected heritage site in a secret ballot despite Israeli attempts to thwart the vote.

On Friday, the UN’s cultural arm voted 12 to three — with six abstentions — to give heritage status to al-Khalil in the occupied West Bank, which is home to more than 200,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Israeli settlers.

On Thursday, a Palestinian official said the Zionist entity was seeking to thwart Palestinian efforts to include the Old City of al-Khalil (Hebron) on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger.

Deputy Mayor of al-Khalil Yousef al Jabari made the remarks to a group of journalists visiting the Old City of al-Khalil on Thursday, one day prior to UNESCO’s vote on the matter.

The Old City of al-Khalil is also home to the Ibrahimi Mosque, one of the key holy sites in the Muslim world.

Jabari described Ibrahimi Mosque as a “pure Muslim” site and said, “We will do everything we can [for] this place to remain a mosque, and a mosque for Muslim worshipers only.”

If the Palestinian Authority (PA) succeeds in its bid on Friday, the Old City of al-Khalil would become the third site registered under “Palestine” since the UNESCO recognized it as a member state in 2011.

Source: Press TV

History: How African Muslims “Civilized Spain”

Today marks the anniversary of the end of nearly 700 years of African Muslim rule over Spain, Portugal and Southern France.

Four hundred and eight years ago today King Phillip III of Spain signed an order, which was one of the earliest examples of ethnic cleansing. At the height of the Spanish inquisition, King Phillip III ordered the expulsion of 300,000 Muslim Moriscos, which initiated one of the most brutal and tragic episodes in the history of Spain.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, it was ancient Africans that brought civilization to Spain and large parts of Europe and not the other way around.

The first civilization of Europe was established on the Greek island of Crete in 1700 BC and the Greeks were primarily civilized by the Black Africans of the Nile Valley. The Greeks then passed on this acquired culture to the Romans who ultimately lost it; thus, initiating the Dark Ages that lasted for five centuries. Civilization was once again reintroduced to Europe when another group of Black Africans, The Moors, brought the Dark Ages to an end.

Related image

When history is taught in the West, the period called the “Middle Ages” is generally referred to as the “Dark Ages,” and depicted as the period during which civilization in general, including the arts and sciences, laid somewhat idle. This was certainly true for Europeans, but not for Africans.

Renowned historian, Cheikh Anta Diop, explains how during the Middle Ages, the great empires of the world were Black empires, and the educational and cultural centers of the world were predominately African. Moreover, during that period, it was the Europeans who were the lawless barbarians.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire multitudes of white warring tribes from the Caucus were pushed into Western Europe by the invading Huns. The Moors invaded Spanish shores in 711 AD and African Muslims literally civilized the wild, white tribes from the Caucus. The Moors eventually ruled over Spain, Portugal, North Africa and southern France for over seven hundred years.

Although generations of Spanish rulers have tried to expunge this era from the historical record, recent archaeology and scholarship now sheds new light on how Moorish advances in mathematics, astronomy, art, and philosophy helped propel Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance.

One the most famous British historians Basil Davidson, noted that during the eighth century there was no land “more admired by its neighbours, or more comfortable to live in, than a rich African civilization which took shape in Spain”.

The Moors were unquestionably Black and the 16th century English playwright William Shakespeare used the word Moor as a synonym for African.

Education was universal in Muslim Spain, while in Christian Europe, 99 percent of the population was illiterate, and even kings could neither read nor write. The Moors boasted a remarkably high literacy rate for a pre-modern society. During an era when Europe had only two universities, the Moors had seventeen. The founders of Oxford University were inspired to form the institution after visiting universities in Spain. According to the United Nations’ Education body, the oldest university operating in the world today, is the University of Al-Karaouine of Morocco founded during the height of the Moorish Empire in 859 A.D. by a Black woman named Fatima al-Fihri.

In the realm of mathematics, the number zero (0), the Arabic numerals, and the decimal system were all introduced to Europe by Muslims, assisting them to solve problems far more quickly and accurately and laying the foundation for the Scientific Revolution.

The Moors’ scientific curiosity extended to flight and polymath, Ibn Firnas, made the world’s first scientific attempt to fly in a controlled manner, in 875 A.D. Historical archives suggest that his attempt worked, but his landing was somewhat less successful.

Africans took to the skies some six centuries before the Italian Leonardo Da Vinci developed a hang glider.

Clearly, the Moors helped to lift the general European populace out of the Dark Ages, and paved the way for the Renaissance period. In fact, a large number of the traits on which modern Europe prides itself came to it from Muslim Spain, namely, free trade, diplomacy, open borders, etiquette, advanced seafaring, research methods, and key advances in chemistry.

At a time when the Moors built 600 public baths and the rulers lived in sumptuous palaces, the monarchs of Germany, France, and England convinced their subjects that cleanliness was a sin and European kings dwelt in big barns, with no windows and no chimneys, often with only a hole in the roof for the exit of smoke.

Image result for Cordoba MoorIn the 10th century, Cordoba was not just the capital of Moorish Spain but also the most important  and modern city in Europe. Cordoba boasted a population of half a million and had street lighting, fifty hospitals with running water, five hundred mosques and seventy libraries, one of which held over 500,000 books.

All of these achievements occurred at a time when London had a predominantly illiterate population of around 20,000 and had largely forgotten the technical advances of the Romans some six hundred years before. Street lamps and paved streets did not appear in London or Paris until hundreds of years later.

The Catholic Church forbade money lending which severely hampered any efforts at economic progress. Medieval Christian Europe was a miserable lot, which was riffe with squalor, barbarism, illiteracy, and mysticism.

In Europe’s great Age of Exploration, Spain and Portugal were the leaders in global seafaring. It was the Moorish advances in navigational technology such as the astrolabe and sextant, as well as their improvements in cartography and shipbuilding, that paved the way for the Age of Exploration. Thus, the era of Western global dominance of the past half-millennium originated from the African Moorish sailors of the Iberian Peninsula during the 1300s.

Long before Spanish Monarchs commissioned Columbus’ search for land to the West, African Muslims, amongst others, had long since established significant contact with the Americas and left a lasting impression on Native culture.

One can only wonder how Columbus could have discovered America when a highly civilised and sophisticated people were watching him arrive from America’s shores?

An overwhelming body of new evidence is emerging which proves that Africans had frequently sailed across the Atlantic to the Americas, thousands of years before Columbus and indeed before Christ. Dr. Barry Fell of Harvard University highlights an array of evidence of Muslims in America before Columbus from sculptures, oral traditions, coins, eye-witness reports, ancient artifacts, Arabic documents and inscriptions.

The strongest evidence of African presence in America before Columbus comes from the pen of Columbus himself. In 1920, a renowned American historian and linguist, Leo Weiner of Harvard University, in his book, Africa and the Discovery of America, explained how Columbus noted in his journal that Native Americans had confirmed that,

“black skinned people had come from the south-east in boats, trading in gold-tipped spears.”

Muslim Spain not only collected and perpetuated the intellectual advances of Ancient Egypt, Greece and Roman civilisation, it also expanded on that civilisation and made its own vital contributions in fields ranging from astronomy, pharmacology, maritime navigation, architecture and law.

The centuries old impression given by some Western scholars that the African continent made little or no contributions to civilization, and that its people are naturally primitive has, unfortunately, became the basis of racial prejudice, slavery, colonialism and the ongoing economic oppression of Africa. If Africans re-write their true history, they will reveal a glory that they will inevitably seek to recapture. After all, the greatest threat towards Africa having a glorious future is her people’s ignorance of Africa’s glorious past.

Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on garikai.chengu@gmail.com.

Misrepresenting Russia Promo (very interesting project)

February 05, 2017

 

British radio station interviews the Saker

January 19, 2017

Turkey remove Assyrian sculpture from front of local city hall

Turkish authorities have removed an Assyrian sculpture of a mythological winged bull known as Lamassu, from the front of a local council building in Diyarbakir, home to many of Turkey’s Assyrian minority.

No official explanation has been provided by the Turkish government by the symbolic Assyrian sculpture was removed.

The sculpture was erected by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which has many Assyrian members and a strong presence in Diyarbakir, but was removed after Turkey placed unelected government loyalists in charge of the municipality, under the emergency decree issued after the failed military coup in July 2015, which gave sweeping powers to the government, AINA reported.

Erol Dora, an Assyrian member of the Turkish Parliament from HDP, raised the issue of the sculpture in parliament. He asked the interior minister why the sculpture was removed and what has become of it, but no response to his inquiry has been made, the AINA report continued.

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