TEL AVIV – At a United Nations panel on racism, the Palestinian Authority re-invoked the decades-old charge that “Zionism is racism” and further claimed that Israel is “weaponizing” antisemitism in order to prevent the Palestinians from having their own state.
“What we face is the Zionist movement,” PLO Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ibrahim Khraishi said. “I would like to remind you that in 1975, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379, indicating that Zionism is a form of racism. That is the root of the problem that we face.”
The 1975 resolution was repealed in 1991 by the UN, a fact that Khraishi failed to mention.
Khraishi made his remarks at the end of a panel, the first of its kind, investigating the PA’s record on discrimination and racism.
According to Khraishi, the Palestinians are the “victims” of Zionism.
“It was the Zionist movement that was behind the creation of the State of Israel,” Khraishi said.
Several NGOs, including monitoring groups UN Watch, NGO Monitor and IMPACT-se, presented at the panel, which was overseen by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). They demonstrated the PA’s systemic antisemitism, bringing examples of the PA’s use of anti-Jewish stereotypes as well as its so-called “pay-for-slay” scheme paying terrorists and their families a monthly stipend for murdering Jews.
The committee also probed the PA over charges that its education ministry disseminated antisemitism in textbooks and classrooms, including naming schools and sporting tournaments after terrorists.
UN Watch’s legal adviser Dina Rovner told the committee that PA media “perpetuates antisemitic stereotypes such as that Jews are greedy, that they are part of a conspiracy to control the world, that they are baby killers, and that they poison Palestinians and steal their organs.”
“The Palestinian media also glorifies and encourages martyrdom in the fight to liberate Palestine from the River to the Sea — meaning to eliminate Israel — and broadcasts songs and videos advocating to kill Jews and Israelis,” she said, adding that Christians are a persecuted minority in PA areas.
At Wednesday’s hearing, the Palestinians defended the right to use hate speech and antisemitism against Israel as a legitimate response to Israel’s “illegal occupation,” which is the “ugliest form of racial discrimination.”
“It is our right to use all tools to resist occupation, this is accordance with international law,” Khraishi said.
PA Foreign Ministry representative Ammar Hijazi said that “advocating for Palestinian rights and criticizing Israeli violations is not antisemitic, rather it is an expression of moral consistency and a rejection of racist notions of exceptionalism that attempt to justify oppression of any people or group while granting others a cover for violating human rights.”
The accusations of antisemitism and hate speech were nothing more than a “ruse” and used to “silence righteous dissent,” Hijazi said, adding that he rejects all the charges.
Khraishi also referenced the arrival earlier in the day of new immigrants from the U.S. to Israel.
“A few hours ago, at the Ben-Gurion [International] Airport in Tel Aviv, 242 American Jews immigrated to Israel, pretending that they are facing antisemitism in the U.S. It is in the U.S., not in Palestine, that there is antisemitism,” Khraishi said.
“We are victims. We are the victims of the European victims,” he said, employing a common theme used in Palestinian rhetoric that claims that all Jews, as victims of the Holocaust, are now perpetrating the same crimes on Palestinians. The comparison, apart from being patently false, does not take into account the 800,000 Jews who fled to Israel after facing persecution in Arab lands and neither does it account for the segment of Jews who have lived in the land of Israel for 3,000 years.
Khraishi promised that once the Palestinians were free from “occupation,” they will be a “beacon of light for the region and for the world.”
You can watch the complete panel on racism at the UN here.