GUEST BLOG: Lois Griffiths – Now You See It, Now You Don’t

By   /   March 21, 2017  /   4 Comments

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In mid-March, a report commissioned by the UN Agency ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) was released, that concluded unequivocally that Israel practises Apartheid policy. It saw official daylight for two days. The UN pulled the report and removed it from the UN website, after intense pressure from the US and Israel.

In mid-March, a report commissioned by the UN Agency ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) was released, that concluded unequivocally that Israel practises Apartheid policy. It saw official daylight for two days. The UN pulled the report and  removed it from the UN  website,  after  intense pressure from the US and Israel.

Now you see it , now you don’t.

The 74-page report was produced by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley.

Richard Falk is Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, as well as former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Occupied Palestine . He is  the author of many books on global issues, including Palestine: the Legitimacy of Hope. Professor Falk has always combined his academic work with political activism. Since 2005, he has chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. His wife, also a highly qualified academic, is co-director of the Project on Global Climate Change, Human Security, and Democracy

I mention all of that , to make the point that this is a man of high calibre, to be listened to with respect. The world needs people like Richard Falk .

Virginia Tilley is an American political scientist specialising in the comparative study of ethnic and racial conflict. She is Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Professor Tilley is the author of The One State Solution and Beyond Occupation

Both academics have a strong commitment to international law and justice . America has produced well educated, intelligent academics committed to speaking out for a better world. Unfortunately such people are not just ignored, but despised  by the American political and financial élite. 

Should Israel be sheltered from criticism?

South Africans with first-hand experience of living under their former apartheid regime are shocked by the treatment of Palestinians. Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in 2010, ” The abuses the Palestinians face are real and no person should be offended by principled, morally consistent, non-violent acts to oppose them. It is no more wrong to call out Israel in particular for its abuses than it was to call out the Apartheid regime in South Africa in particular for its abuses.”

Ronnie Kasrils, former Minister of Intelligence Services, Republic of South Africa, has said, “Like many fellow South Africans, while visiting the Occupied Palestinian  Territories I’ve been shocked  to see Israel following the oppressive policies of the apartheid regime that we fought for decades.”

Not everyone buckles under pressure.

Rima Khalaf, Executive Secretary   ESCWA, refused  to remove the report and resigned in protest. “I resigned because it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report. “She referred in her  letter of resignation, to the pressure the UN was under. I am unsurprised that these states, which are run today by governments with little concern for international principles and human rights, should resort to tactics of fearmongering and threats when they fail to defend their policies and practices which violate the law. It makes sense that a criminal would attack those who defend the cause of his victims, but I find myself incapable of bowing to such pressures, and not because of my role as an employee of the United Nations, but simply as a sane human being. “

The ESCWA report was saved in time from disappearing down Orwell’s Memory Hole by some alert observers. It can be found on the mondoweiss website.
BishopTutu has  said, ” If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” We know which side Richard Falk, Virginia Tilley and Rima Khalaf have chosen.



Lois Griffiths is a human rights activist and Palestinian rights activist. 

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  1. jax says:

    Rima Khalaf is an outstanding human being.

    Her resignation for refusing to remove a report the Israelis and the US did not like is yet another scandal from the corrupt and US controlled UN.
    Everyone knows about the atrocities heaped on the Palestinians by the Israelis and on the odd occasion when the UN pokes it’s head over the parapet to observe the obvious, they are threatened by toxic rhetoric from Netanyahu. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and their illegal settlements have been supported by the US for decades. They have always vetoed any Security Council resolutions that oppose Israel’s actions.

    This is the same organisation which allowed Saudi Arabia to head up the UN Human Rights Panel whilst removing Russia.
    Last year when the UN tried to blacklist Saudi Arabia for violating child rights in Yemen they were forced to remove them from the list or face withdrawal of funding from the Saudis.

    This is a toothless and craven organisation which could better be referred to as the US/UN.

    I find it strange that given NZ’s magnificent role in opposing apartheid in South Africa, we seem to have a very lack lustre position on apartheid in
    Israel. The dirth of comments on TDB of anything Israel/Palestine confirms this.

  2. Priss says:

    I saw the Rima Khalaf story on Al Jazeera (as usual, out msm couldn’t be bothered covering it). It shows the extent to which Israel and the US/Trump have captured the UN Secretary General and turned him into a pawn of their pro-Israel agenda.

    This was a bleak moment for the United Nations.

  3. Historian pete says:

    Excellent post Lois.Many people are intimidated by zionists who equate criticism of Israel with anti-semeticism.More power to you!

  4. Donna Miles says:

    Great work as always Lois. Thank you for bringing out useful details that are often missed out in hasty coverage of news by the mainstream media.