United Nations

Egyptian who threatened to burn Israeli books to get UN job

By Ben Lynfield, September 10, 2009

Egypt’s culture minister, Farouk Hosni, who last year said he would burn any Israeli books he found in the country’s libraries, is the favourite to win the UN’s top cultural post in an election that begins next week.

Surprisingly, Mr Hosni’s chances of becoming head of Unesco have been boosted by Israel, of all countries, despite being for years an object of his scorn.

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Dispute over 'biased' Gaza inquiry professor

By Bernard Josephs, August 27, 2009

A row has broken out over the inclusion of a UK law professor in a United Nations inquiry into the Gaza conflict.

The monitoring group, UN Watch, claimed the LSE professor, Christine Chinkin, was biased against Israel and demanded that she should be removed from the UN’s fact-finding mission into alleged human rights violations, headed by the South African judge Richard Goldstone.

But this week a spokesperson for the mission dismissed as “misplaced” the claims by UN Watch against Professor Chinkin.

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Israel fourth from bottom of peace index

By Jessica Elgot, July 31, 2009

Israel has been placed a dismal 141st out of 144 on a list of the world’s most peaceful countries, beating just Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Countries which ranked higher in the 2009 Global Peace Index included Sudan, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, North Korea, and Iran.

The index was compiled by the think-tank Vision of Humanity, with the data compiled and analysed by the Economic Intelligence Unit.

The survey is endorsed by ex-United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former US President Jimmy Carter.

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Bibi and Ahmadinejad may clash at UN

By Jessica Elgot, July 16, 2009

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu may speak at the UN's General Assembly session in September, which could see him go head-to-head with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The meeting of world leaders, including the US President Barack Obama, will open on September 23, and Mr Ahmadinejad plans to give a speech at the opening.

If he does attend, Mr Netanyahu will use the opportunity to meet Arab leaders such as Jordan's King Abdullah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

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UN divided over Gaza ‘war crimes’ report

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 7, 2009

Israel has created a rift in the higher echelons of the United Nations over the investigation of alleged “war crimes” in the Gaza operation.

Israeli diplomats, backed by President Shimon Peres and American diplomats at the United Nations, have persuaded the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon not to investigate further the allegations of illegal actions carried out by the Israeli army during Operation Cast Lead. But Mr Ki-moon is under intense pressure from many in his own organisation to announce a new investigation.

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Calls for ‘Durban III’ rejected after Geneva rows

By Leon Symons, April 30, 2009

The United Nations should set up its own antisemitism unit, according to one of Britain’s leading antisemitism campaigners.

John Mann, chair of the Commons All-Party Committee on Antisemitism, told MPs in a debate in the House on Tuesday that antisemitism was one of the reasons that the UN was created after the Second World War.

The short debate was an assessment of the UN’s racism review conference held in Geneva last week, eight years on from its 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, known as Durban I.

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Ahmadinejad to attend ‘Durban II’

April 14, 2009

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will attend the United Nations anti-racism conference in Geneva next week.

The news increased Jewish concerns about the conference, which is a follow up to the 2001 conference held in Durban dominated by heated rows over the Middle East.

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The UN campaign trying to make insulting a faith an international crime

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

It became an iconic image: a book by an award-winning writer burned on the streets of Britain. In September 1988, Salman Rushdie published his novel The Satanic Verses, which contained an irreverent alternative life of the Prophet Muhammad. While literary critics debated its artistic merits, elsewhere a storm was gathering. Many Muslims felt deeply affronted by what they saw as an assault on their faith and, in January 1989, some took to the streets in Bradford to demonstrate, culminating in the now notorious book-burning.

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