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Contact: Jodi Bodner
JNF Director of Communications
212-879-9305 ext. 221
jbodner@jnf.org

Conference on UN’s Demonization of Israel
Jewish National Fund to Participate

October 31, 2007 -- New York, NY -- In the wake of being denied consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in May, Jewish National Fund of America (JNF) is participating in a November 18, 2007 conference titled, "Hijacking Human Rights: The Demonization of Israel by the United Nations.”

Sponsored by The Hudson Institute, Touro Law Center, and the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, the conference will be held in NYC at the Millenium UN Plaza Hotel from 9 a.m. -- 6 p.m.

“The discrimination against Israel at the UN has long been an outrage and must no longer go directly unchallenged," said Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro College Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. "Under the banner of a UN charter that requires the equality of men and women, as well as member states large and small, the Jewish state and Jewish non-governmental organizations are constantly subject to different treatment than all others."

Bayefsky, who is also the editor of http://www.eyeontheun.org/, a website that follows the UN closely, has organized the conference across the street from UN Headquarters "to coincide with the General Assembly's annual adoption of more than 20 resolutions condemning Israel and nothing criticizing Sudan despite ongoing genocide there.”

The program is broken into four parts: The UN and Israel: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism; The UN and Israel: The Real Double Standards; The UN and Human Rights: Hijacking First Principles; and The UN Message and Beyond: Other Rights Groups, Media, Campus and Responses.

Ambassadors, members of Congress, and top-level experts from three continents will present along with Joseph Hess, JNF’s vice president of government relations, who will discuss “Jewish National Fund’s Rejection at the UN: What Happened and Why?”

Currently a non-governmental organization (NGO) registered with the Department of Public Information of the UN, JNF can only participate in various meetings open to NGOs. JNF sought upgraded status so that it could testify at ECOSOC meetings and programs in areas of its expertise including water reclamation, sustainable development, and forestation. These issues are key components of the U.N. Millennium Developmental Goals of 2015.

Despite the efforts of 57 members of Congress and several large Jewish organizations that pulled out all the stops to lobby on its behalf, as well as a century of environmental work that is recognized internationally, JNF was denied consultative status by a vote of 8-7 with 3 abstentions; 1 country was not present.

“Not a single delegation complained about the quality of our work," said Hess. "Quite the opposite -- they looked at it with great admiration. No, this was about denying Israel’s right to exist and because JNF of America equals Israel, we took the hit. Because JNF is inextricably linked to the land of Israel -- the coins we collected purchased it and ever since our work has developed it -- they cannot separate us from their desire to de-legitimize the State of Israel.

“We will talk about this direct experience and help show that the UN is being taken over by nations who are using politics to take over the agenda and allocations.”

Highlights will include addresses from John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) (Chairman, House Republican Policy Committee); Ambassador Max Kampelman (former Ambassador and Head of the U.S. Delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe); and Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN).

The following information highlights the need for this conference:

  • Each year, there are 20 times more General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on earth.
  • There have been hundreds of thousands murdered and millions displaced during the ongoing genocide in Darfur and yet there has been no General Assembly resolution condemning Sudan for human rights violations in the past five years.
  • 70% of all UN Human Rights Council country-specific criticisms have been on Israel.
  • In its history, the UN Human Rights Commission never adopted a single resolution critical of states like China, Syria, Saudi Arabia or Zimbabwe; one-third of its country condemnations were directed at Israel alone.
  • Three of five special sessions of the Human Rights Council have been on Israel.
  • The only country permanently on the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council is Israel.
  • The only UN country human rights investigator with a never-ending mandate is assigned to Israel.
  • The only UN member state not permitted to be a full and equal member of any UN regional group (which determines elections to UN bodies and voting patterns, and shares information) is Israel.

Admittance to the conference is with pre-registration only. Seats are extremely limited. Requests for tickets should be sent to Lzizic@hudsonny.org.

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Jewish National Fund (JNF) began in 1901 collecting coins in blue boxes to purchase land and return the Jewish people to their homeland. In over 106 years, JNF has evolved into a global environmental leader and become the central address for the land and people of Israel. JNF has planted 240 million trees. Built over 1,000 parks and recreational areas. Constructed security roads. Educated students around the world about Israel. Created new communities so that Jews from around the world would have a place to call home. Discovered drip irrigation and new means of growing plants under arid conditions, bringing green to the desert. Built over 190 reservoirs and water recycling centers, increasing Israel’s water supply by 10%.

As a United Nations NGO, JNF sponsors international conferences on desertification, shares afforestation techniques and funds research on arid land management. Is restoring northern Israel, making it home again to its residents. Is supporting Israel’s newest generation of pioneers by developing the Negev Desert, Israel’s last frontier. For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit http://www.jnf.org/. JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.

 

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