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Envoy: Israel threatened by efforts to delegitimize it
Question of the Day
Ms. Shalev, who will leave her post on Aug. 31, said the “first challenge” Israel faced was the campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state, a campaign she said has taken the form of lawsuits brought against Israeli officials in European courts, and unfair attention paid to Israeli misdeeds within the U.N. and its various committees.
She said the other major challenges for Israel included the threat from Iran as both a potential nuclear power and a leading sponsor of terrorism, as well as the lack of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. But because from her perspective the international community is acting to pressure Iran with the latest sanctions resolution at the United Nations, the biggest threat to Israel now is the campaign to question Israel’s right to exist and defend itself.
Susan E. Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, praised Ms. Shalev during a reception in New York last week and noted that being U.S. ambassador in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan is not always easy, but that “being Israels ambassador to the United Nations is never easy.”
Mrs. Rice said that the United States will continue to bolster Israel’s “qualitative military advantage so that Israel can always defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats.” Mrs. Rice’s remarks were reported in Haaretz.com.
Diplomatically, Mrs. Rice said, the United States also will defend Israel. “We will continue U.S. efforts to combat all international attempts to challenge the legitimacy of Israel - including and especially at the United Nations,” she said.
Last year, the U.N. Human Rights Council released a report authored by a South African judge, Richard Goldstone, that was critical of Israel’s conduct in the war.
In particular, the report said Israel deliberately targeted civilians, a claim that relied on testimony from Hamas.
Israel contends that Hamas deliberately placed military targets among the civilians and points out that citizens were sent text messages urging them to leave areas of the strip that would be bombarded.
After the Goldstone report, some Palestinian groups began bringing civil lawsuits against high Israeli officials for the conduct in the Gaza war in European courts.
“They did not succeed in the wars, then the economic boycott failed, then the terrorism failed; now it is delegitimization,” she said.
“I think this really depends on what delegitimization constitutes. If its criticizing the occupation, the wall or the settlements, then it is perfectly legitimate and totally fine. If it is broad-based calls for boycotts of Israel that question the legitimacy of Israel as a state, then it is delegitimization and it is problematic and counterproductive,” said Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine.
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