Glenn Greenwald’s predictable dishonesty over pro-terror Tweets of Mona Seif

In April it was announced that an Egyptian woman named Mona Seif was a finalist for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders – a prize established in 1993 to honour  those “who demonstrate exceptional courage in defending and promoting human rights”.  A jury, composed of officials from several NGOs, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, selects the winner.

On May 1 UN Watch issued the following statement:

UN Watch today called on the juryof the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, comprised of Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and eight other NGOs, and chaired by Hans Thoolen, to cancel its nomination of Mona Seif, an Egyptian activist who openly advocates terrorism and war crimes, as a top contender for the 2013 prize.

Further, the United Nations watchdog organization wasn’t alone in their condemnation of Seif, as the nomination was also fiercely criticized by such notable Egyptian human rights activists as Maikel Nabil and Amr Bakly.

On May 3, the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald – parroting the predictable narrative of Electronic Intifada – tweeted the following:

First, neither report which Greenwald linked to in his Tweet (which included a post by the virulently anti-Israel NY Times commentator Robert Mackey) demonstrated that Seif’s positions were unfairly characterized by UN Watch.  

Moreover, as we’ve noted previously, Greenwald’s expansive definition of the word “smear” seems to include factually based claims about those whose political orientation he happens to be in alignment with, and this particular Tweet would suggest that he simply didn’t conduct serious research into Seif’s background before expressing his outrage at her opponents.

UN Watch’s evidence consists of the several quite unambiguous Tweets by Seif demonstrating that she did in fact defend Palestinian terrorism, including rocket attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas.

Here are  a few examples of Seif’s decidedly selective regard for human rights:

Support for Islamist terrorists involved with blowing up Egyptian gas pipelines to Israel:

Here, Seif requests the services of one of the more prolific antisemitic cartoonists, Carlos Latuff:

The following was Tweeted by Seif after Amnesty International called on both Hamas and Israel to stop attacks on civilians during the recent war in Gaza.

Finally, just in case there was any doubt regarding her position, Seif Tweeted the following just a few days ago, after the row erupted.

And, Glenn Greenwald’s patently dishonest Tweets accusing UN Watch of of engaging in a “smear” campaign won’t change the fact that Mona Seif is an open and evidently proud supporter of terrorism against Israelis.

Meet Egyptian peace activist Maikel Nabil: Pro-democracy, pro-Palestinian & pro-Israel

The word “bravery” is pranced around way too frequently these days, but a young Arab, in a country struggling to free itself from the yoke of tyranny – who defiantly promotes the causes of democracy, tolerance and peace between Arabs and Israelis deserves such recognition. 

Liberal Egyptian blogger, human rights dissident, and peace advocate Maikel Nabil spent over 302 days in prison for criticizing the Egyptian Military after it took power in early 2011. Before he was released on Jan. 24, 2012 – after a “Free Maikel” Twitter campaign captured the support of millions worldwide, and after his 130-day hunger strike – Nabil was subjected to beatings, torture and other cruel forms of abuse.

I met Nabil, one of the genuine heroes of Tahir Square, briefly today in Jerusalem while he was on a peace tour of the Jewish state – where he’s delivering lectures, meeting with leading public figures and peace activists, and visiting the Palestinian territories – and it was clear while speaking to him that he’s as passionately patriotic towards Egypt as he is sincere in his benevolence towards both Palestinians and Israelis.  


Nabil today in Jerusalem

Nabil believes there is a much greater degree of goodwill on behalf of Egyptians towards Israelis than what the media is reporting, and it would be fair to characterize his trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories (sponsored by UN Watch) as a genuine “peace mission” aimed at dispelling myths about both Egyptians and Israelis – all of which makes the disruption of his speech at Hebrew University yesterday, by “pro-Palestinian activists” almost inexplicable.

Israelis who advocate on behalf of Palestinians – either Arabs or Jews – should, it seems, be heartened by a genuine human rights activist who’s working to bring about a peaceful, democratic Middle East where the rights of all in the region are respected.

However, undeterred by such criticism, Nabil is remarkably optimistic.

Nabil believes that the Muslim Brotherhood-led government is indeed a step backwards for Egyptian democracy (and for Egyptian-Israeli relations), but he expressed confidence that the truly liberal values of the revolution will ultimately prevail.

“It might take 3 or 4 years”, he told me, but a democratic Egypt which respects the human rights of all its citizens, secular and religious, will, he fervently believes, eventually emerge.

In one blog post, written while he was in prison, Nabil reiterated his refusal to engage with the military’s interrogators, and – evoking the courageous resistance of Natan Sharansky during his imprisonment in the Soviet gulags vividly described in ‘Fear No Evil‘ – wrote “I don’t beg for my freedom from a group of killers and homeland-stealers.” He added:

The military council is the one that has to apologise for my imprisonment, my torture, silencing my mouth, spying on my life, my relatives and my friends,” he wrote. “The military council is the one that has to apologise [for] its crimes of killing, torturing and unlawful prosecutions.

Finally, I’d highly recommend reading Nabil’s blog post about Israel, also written while in an Egyptian prison, titled “Why am I pro-Israel“, which provides a fascinating insight into the mind of the truly liberal activist, and should offer a glimmer of hope even to the most cynical among us.


UNESCO feigns outrage over satirical Ha’aretz cartoon

For a body supposedly dealing with the subject of culture, UNESCO has shown remarkably little appreciation of Israeli political culture in its protest over a cartoon published in Ha’aretz (of all places) earlier this month.

In fact we are informed that an official complaint has been filed by UNESCO. 

Of course anyone with any understanding of the Israeli political scene would immediately recognise that this cartoon is in fact a criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defence Minister Barak whom the Left-leaning Ha’aretz is taking to task for what it sees as too hawkish a position on the subject of the Iranian nuclear issue and over-sensitivity towards the recent UNESCO acceptance of the Palestinian bid for membership.

UNESCO, however, elected to relate to it somewhat differently.

“A cartoon like this endangers the lives of unarmed diplomats, and you have an obligation to protect them,” Falt said, according to an Israeli source. “We understand that there is freedom of the press in Israel, but the government must prevent attacks on UNESCO.”

‘Endangers the lives’?


Yes, air raids on UNESCO offices?!

However, I am happy to report that the Israeli Foreign Ministry responded to the complaint in a wholly appropriate manner.

“After Barkan [the Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO] reported the conversation to the Foreign Ministry, it cabled back: “What exactly does UNESCO want of us – to send our fine boys to protect UNESCO’s staff, or to shut down the paper? It seems your work environment is getting more and more reminiscent of ‘Animal Farm.'”

Joking aside, one must echo the concerns of UN Watch on this subject.

“In June 2010, UN Watch raised the issue of anti-Semitic and racist caricatures that regularly appear in the state-controlled press of Jordan, Syria, Qatar, Oman and elsewhere. Our compelling testimony before the UN Human Rights Council described several cartoons that we showed were “reminiscent of the Nazi era.” We wonder whether the UNESCO chief or her spokesman have ever said anything about those cartoons.

Many of the cartoons depict the UN as being controlled by evil Jewish forces. We are not aware of any UN agency having ever been concerned about the safety of its staff based on what they show.”

Al-Watan, Oman, 2009

Double standards and selective outrage at the UN? Well, that long since ceased to be a culture shock.

Hillel Neuer confronts moral “pathologies” which inform the UNHRC’s obsession with Israel

UN Watchs Hillel Neuer addresses the UN Human Rights Council to decry its special agenda item on Israel, at a time when the surrounding Middle East nations are aflame with massacres against their own civilians. Geneva, June 14, 2011. (See text of speech below clip)

Mr. President,

History will record that the highest human rights body of the United Nations met today for no objective reason. Nothing in recent events, nothing in logic, nothing in human rights justifies today’s debate.

Our meeting is automatic—the consequence of a decision adopted four years ago, shortly after this council was created, to keep a permanent agenda item on one country only: Israel.

History will record that at a time when citizens across the Middle East were being attacked by their own government—by rifles, tanks, and helicopters—the UN focused its scarce time and attention on a country in that region where this is not happening; the only country in the region which, despite its flaws, respects the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion; the only country in the region with free elections, an independent judiciary, and the equal treatment of women; the only country where gays are not persecuted, arrested or stoned to death, but, on the contrary, march in their own annual parade, as they did in Tel Aviv three days ago.

Mr. President, that is why the logic of this agenda item represents the opposite of human rights, and why it embodies the pathologies that so discredited this council’s predecessor.

Indeed, this item is so unjust, so biased, so selective, so politicized, and so contradictory to this council’s own principles of equality and universality, that it was condemned by the Secretary-General himself, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on 20 June 2007, the day after its adoption.

And so we ask: In its recent 5-year review, despite everything happening in the Middle East, why did the Council decide to perpetuate this item, an act that will be finalized this week by the General Assembly?

Mr. President, 

History will record that when citizens were being persecuted or massacred by their own governments—in Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and elsewhere—the UN chose to turn a blind eye to the victims, and instead endorsed the cynicism, hypocrisy and scapegoating of the perpetrators.

Thank you, Mr. President

Then: Guardian Newspaper Slammed ‘Richard-Richard’ Goldstone Inquiry as ‘Rubbish Bin’

This is a cross post by Hillel Neuer of UN Watch

That the U.N.’s Goldstone Report on alleged war crimes in Gaza is a travesty of justice is best demonstrated by analyzing its skewed contents, method, and conclusions, as well as its tainted political framwework, one-sided mandate, and prejudiced mission members.

I do not believe, as some do, that there is much to gain by casting aspersions on Goldstone’s widely respected career, although it is certainly relevant to counter the false claim that he has a record of pro-Israel actions. (In fact, he has a record of significant actions harshly critical of Israel.)

I am perfectly willing to recognize that Goldstone has accomplished many good things in his life, as those close to him have attested to me, even if his actions surrounding the report have been disreputable in the extreme.

That said, it is remarkable to observe how Goldstone is being lionized by certain circles solely because that is seen as useful to skewer Israel.

For example, these days, The Guardian of London has shown itself to be one of the most enthusiastic admirers of Richard Goldstone, running countless news articles, op-eds and editorials supporting his UN report on alleged war crimes in Gaza, including this one from December, which invokes the Goldstone Report to support the thesis that the UK’s public interest lies in prosecuting visiting Israelis for war crimes.

Interestingly, however, when there was no incentive to skewer Israel, the same Guardian of London once accused Richard Goldstone of running a “much vaunted judicial commission of inquiry” that “failed dismally,” and that was a “rubbish bin” used by the South African government; of Goldstone’s “disturbing” practice by which he acted with “overt political ’sensitivity’,” including his being “at pains to involve the politically distinguished in the conduct of his inquiry”; and of harboring such ambition to succeed Boutros-Boutros Ghali’s post as UN Secretary-General, that Goldstone’s legal colleagues gave him the nickname of “Richard-Richard.”

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