NEW YORK – Israel holds the record for ignoring United Nations Security Council resolutions, according to a study by San Francisco University political science professor Steven Zunes.
On the eve of a possible U.S.-British assault on Iraq, Zunes decided to examine in depth one of the main arguments used by the Bush administration to justify changing the Baghdad regime – Iraq’s deliberate refusal to implement UN Security Council resolutions. He systematically went through all the states given instructions by the security council to find out how common a phenomenon it was. His results were somewhat surprising: “Some of the countries are considered and are known to be friendly to the U.S.,” he told Ha’aretz yesterday. “In the vast majority of cases I examined, the governments violating UN Security Council resolutions are countries that receive significant military, diplomatic and financial aid from the U.S.”
Israel leads the list. Since 1968, Israel has violated 32 resolutions that included condemnation or criticism of the governments’ policies and actions. Turkey is in second place, with 24 violations since 1974, and Morocco is third with 17 resolutions it ignored.
Newsday newspaper published the ranking yesterday, but Zunes said that he did not rank the states and claimed it was newspaper that came up with the grades. According to Zunes, out of some 1,500 UN Security Resolutions passed since 1947, 90 were openly, blatantly, and continually violated without the governments being held accountable for their actions.
Zunes specifically avoided counting resolutions that are vague or unclear so that governments could claim different interpretations to the meaning of the resolutions. Thus, the famous UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 are not included in his study. He also did not count resolutions that only included condemnations. Instead, he focused on those that included specific calls for changes in the subject governments’ policies.
The resolutions Israel violated were either about its annexation of East Jerusalem or settlements in the territories. Israel also ignored UN Security Council resolutions that called for Israel to cease using harsh measures against the Palestinian population and to cease expelling Palestinians.
In response, Israel’s deputy chief of mission at the UN, Aharon Yaakov, said yesterday that there are big differences between the decisions that refer to Israel and those that refer to Iraq. “Israel is the only democracy in the region and is fighting for its existence, while Iraq is a brutal dictatorship that attacked its neighbors and violates human rights, including the use of chemical weapons against its own citizens,” he said.
53 Congressional reps, a dozen Latino leaders, & top political operatives on all expense paid trips to Israel
At least 53 Congressional representatives are on a week-long trip to Israel, paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), an arm of the powerful lobbying group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
AIEF’s budget is approximately $80 million, which it uses to take diverse groups to Israel. More than a dozen Latino leaders from the Southwest U.S. have just returned from an AIEF funded five-day trip to Israel that ended Aug 6, and a trip for top political operatives was conducted in June.
The Tampa Bay Times reports about the Congressional trips:
“AIPAC gets around restrictions on privately paid travel by using the educational arm, an arrangement government watchdogs have criticized.”
“A decade ago, the House banned groups from paying for extended trips as part of the fallout from the scandal over lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But a loophole allowed educational foundations to pick up the tab. The Israel trips are estimated at $10,000 per person.
“Members of Congress feel indebted to someone who provides them with a week’s long vacation. It’s lobbying and it’s more effective than direct lobbying on Capitol Hill,” Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen, who helped draft the 2007 laws, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2013.
He said the loophole has been steadily abused and privately-paid travel is back to pre-reform levels.
“This is not what lobbying should be about,” Holman said. “It should be about providing information and expertise so lawmakers can make better decisions, not trying to buy their favors with gifts and travel junkets.”
House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are leading the groups. Eighteen Democrats met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, with Republicans scheduled to meet with him on Aug. 9.
Some Congressional members on the trip are John Rutherford, Brian Mast and Charlie Crist of Florida; James Comer of Kentucky, John Faso of New York, and Darin LaHood of Illinois. The full roster of participants is unknown. The Congressional press office has refused to release the names of those participating, and so far national media have ignored the trip.
The AIEF website is extraordinarily sparse, containing only a short mission statement. It does not have any notices or information about these or any of the many other trips the organization has sponsored.
More than a dozen Latino leaders from the Southwest US have just returned from a trip to Israel intended to deepen their “understanding of the country and its relationship with the U.S, while building ‘a partnership’ with the Jewish community.”
One participant on the trip was Celina Vasquez, who teaches state and government courses part time at Blinn College in Bryan Texas. The local newspaper reports:
“As a Latina leader in the Bryan community, this is important for me,” Vasquez said, speaking to The Eagle by telephone from Israel. “I believe it’s going to be a transformative experience, to continue to learn the bonds that tie Israel and the relationship with the USA.”
Vasquez, who teaches state and federal government courses part-time, is participating in the one-week gathering of community leaders and political activists sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, or AIEF.
She said she thinks the foundation’s emphasis on Southwest Latino leaders is because they know what the future is, since “the future of America includes Latino leadership” at local, state and federal levels.
June trip for top political operatives from both parties
A June 2017 AIEF trip took 16 American political operatives from both parties to Israel.
Trump campaign alumni Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, former Obama White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton, and Clinton advisor Paul Begala were among the participants, according to Politico.