Monday, December 27, 2010

Interview with Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren (Part 2)

Jennifer Rubin
Right Turn/Washington Post
26 December '10

On Friday, I shared the first half of my interview with Israeli ambassador Michael Oren.

In the remainder of the interview, Oren discussed the onslaught Israel now faces -- not on the battlefield, but in the court of public opinion and in international bodies. In recent years, efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state, that is, to challenge its legitimacy as a state and ability to act in its own interests, as does every other country, have increased dramatically.

The most visible platform on the international stage for defamation of Israel is the UN Human Rights Council. Oren observed: "Israel has been more frequently condemned by the Human Rights Council than all of the other countries combined. The council is the only UN entity which in its charter -- article 7 -- is specifically committed to condemning and investigating Israel." He cited some of the recent anti-Israel actions of the UNHRC, including the Goldstone Report and the flotilla investigation, as evidence of the body's distorted mission. Should the U.S. leave? Oren declined to offer the U.S. advice, saying only, that "while the [Obama] administration has made robust effort to defend Israel, there has been no change in the Human Rights Council itself."

We then to turned to the subject of non-governmental organizations with shadowy funding that challenge the legitimacy of Israel. A bill in the Israeli Knesset to require that groups operating in the country disclose their funding set off a firestorm of protest from Israel-bashing groups and some European governments, which have been shown to provide funding (directly or indirectly) to groups seeking to undermine Israel's legitimacy. Oren said, "The question is whether they are operating as foreign agents. We have freedom of expression. Members of the Knesset can be anti-Zionist. Professors can say these things. Public employees can say these things." He contended, however, that it is legitimate for Israel to determine if groups that are acting in ways "inimical not to the politics but to the polity of Israel are being funded by foreign governments."

(Read full "Interview with Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren")

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