Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) welcomes the report of the UN special rapporteur Francesca Albanes condemning the Israeli occupation crimes in Palestine.
AOHR UK condemns the ferocious campaign, led by Israel and its supporters, to silence Albanese – including attempts to ban her from entering the Occupied Palestinian Territory, demanding the UN to remove her from her position, as well claiming that she is antisemitic.
Albanese presented her report on Israel’s oppression of Palestinians at the UN General Assembly in October. In it, most explosively, she branded Israel’s occupation as “settler-colonialism” – an attempt to irreversibly drive Palestinians from their land and to replace them with Jewish settlers.
This goes beyond claims that Israel is “just” an apartheid state – it is not only that equality between Jews and Arabs is lacking in Palestine, but a concerted attempt by Israel to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from the occupied region.
The report also calls on NGOs operating in occupied Palestine to ensure they are in no way complicit with the apartheid/settler-colonial Israeli regime.
As is often the case when Israel’s brutal killing and abuse of Palestinians is called into question, the Israeli media and politicians were quick to brand Albanese as “antisemitic”.
For example, the pro-Israel “human rights group” the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) has said that Albanese “must be removed” from the UN if it “hopes to retain credibility”. One SWC official went as far as saying: “Albanese’s anti-Jewish propaganda is straight from the [Joseph] Goebbels playbook.”
The claim that defending Palestinian rights against a horrific occupation is somehow antisemitic merely cheapens the very real and serious disease of antisemitism. Her report is not an attack on Jews, but an attack on a state that falsely claims to represent all Jewish people. This is a dangerous attempt to make all Jews bear responsibility for the crimes of Israel, which is, ironically, antisemitic in itself.
However, Albanese has continued to expose Israeli crimes against Palestinians. Just last week, she contributed to a UN statement condemning the “record year of Israeli violence in the occupied West Bank”.
The latest statement says: “We remind Israel that pending the dismantlement of its unlawful occupation, Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory must be treated as protected persons, not enemies or terrorists.”
It adds: “No peaceful settlement can be pursued under Israel’s repressive occupation: a reality that should be a wake-up call for all decision-makers.”
AOHR UK offers its solidarity and support to Albanese as she faces the onslaught of abuse and misinformation directed towards her by the occupation and its supporters.
It also welcomes the harder line now taken by the UN against Israel – it is long overdue.
However, AOHR UK also recognise that words alone will do little to ease the suffering of Palestinians in the occupied territory and beyond. The United States, much of Europe and other western allies still back Israel’s unlawful occupation and provide the settler-colonial state with the weaponry to murder and oppress Palestinians for the simple crime of being Palestinian.
AOHR UK calls on world leaders to adopt the findings of Albanese’s work and to stand up for human rights, and that means standing up to Israel and cutting off all financial and military support for it.