Thousands gather at United Nations to oppose BDS

NEW YORK (JTA) – Thousands filled the United Nations General Assembly hall for a conference opposing the BDS movement.

The conference on Wednesday, sponsored by the World Jewish Congress and Israel’s mission to the UN, focused on ways to combat the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. Sessions concerned opposing BDS on campus, among private corporations, on social media and at the UN itself – a body Israel and the United States have accused of being biased against Israel. [Read more…]

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UN secretary-general reaffirms ancient Jewish ties to Jerusalem

(JTA) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated his recognition of ancient Jewish ties to Jerusalem during a meeting with World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald Lauder.

A statement Wednesday by the WJC said Lauder and Guterres met earlier in the week in New York, and that Guterres repeated comments he had made to Israeli radio in which he noted the existence of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. [Read more…]

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Opposition party leader says New Zealand cabinet did not sign off on anti-Israel UN resolution as required

(JTA) – New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister did not have the required approval of the country’s cabinet to support a United Nations Security Council resolution critical of Israel, an opposition party has charged.

On Tuesday, the leader of the populist political party New Zealand First cited the cabinet manual as requiring such a proposal get cabinet approval even though Prime Minister Bill English said that Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully did not need such approval to co-sponsor a measure calling for a halt to the building of Israeli settlements and the re-establishing of the pre-1967 borders. [Read more…]

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U.S. boycotts UN Human Rights Council session on Israel

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The United States is boycotting a UN Human Rights Council session on Israel and “other occupied Arab territories,” citing the body’s bias against Israel.

A U.S. State Department statement said the United States “unequivocally” opposes the council’s agenda item for Monday titled “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” [Read more…]

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UN group takes down report accusing Israel of apartheid

(JTA) – A United Nations affiliate removed a report accusing Israel of apartheid from the Internet following a request from the secretary-general of the international body.

Antonio Guterres asked the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, or EWCWA, to remove the report, which was published Wednesday and says it “establishes, on the basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid,” Reuters reported Friday. [Read more…]

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U.S. urges UN to withdraw report accusing Israel of apartheid

(JTA) – The United States called on the United Nations to withdraw a report that accused Israel of committing apartheid against the Palestinians.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) – an agency based in Beirut, Lebanon, and comprised of 18 Arab member states, including what is identified as the “State of Palestine” – released the report Wednesday. In its conclusion, the report says it “establishes, on the basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.” [Read more…]

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UN human rights office decries Israeli sentence of soldier as ‘excessively lenient’

(JTA) – The United Nations’ human rights office said it is “deeply disturbed” by the 18-month prison term given to an Israeli soldier who killed a wounded Palestinian terrorist after he had been subdued.

Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, criticized the sentence for manslaughter as “excessively lenient” and “unacceptable” on Friday in Geneva, Reuters reported. [Read more…]

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Israel reportedly permanently downgrades ties with New Zealand, Senegal over UN anti-settlement resolution

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel is reportedly permanently downgrading its diplomatic ties with New Zealand and Senegal, two of the co-sponsors of an anti-settlement resolution passed in the United Nations.

Israel recalled the ambassadors to the two countries after Resolution 2334 passed in late December. The resolution passed by a vote of 14-0 with one abstention, the United States. [Read more…]

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Iran confirms missile test, claims it does not contradict nuclear deal

(JTA) – Iran’s defence minister confirmed that the Islamic Republic recently tested a missile, but asserted it did not contradict the nuclear deal the country signed with world powers.

“The recent test was in line with our programs and we don’t allow any foreign party to interfere in our defence affairs,” Brigadier Gen. Hossein Dehqan told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday, according to Fars, the semi-official news agency of the Iranian government. [Read more…]

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