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Joseph and Mary can’t make it to Bethlehem, on Banksy’s Christmas card

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | other press author Monday December 10, 2012 14:39author by Zionism-Nazism Report this post to the editors

Yesterday an image that is purportedly British street artist Banksy’s Christmas card this year started making the rounds on Twitter.
banksyxmas.jpg

The artwork in question is, in many ways, a conventional Biblical landscape painting, which shows what are presumably the figures of Joseph and Mary — she astride a donkey — making their way toward Bethlehem, only to find their route blocked by the graffiti-covered Israeli West Bank Concrete Wall.

The Hebrews of Yore can be genetically & ancestrally found in the Palestinians of today. They simply speak Arabic, and now have a major component of Arab identity.

So today, in the name of supposedly protecting a political ideology that is essentially Militant Judaic Separatism and Racial Supremacy the ancestors of those same Biblical Hebrews of yore would be prevented from entering Bethlehem

But not only Joseph and Mary of the biblical tale would have problems today trying to get to Bethlehem.

The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Prof Richard Falk, is Jewish – and he has never been able to get to Bethlehem despite the fact that Israel is a state party to “The Convention On The Privileges And Immunities Of The United Nations”. Article VI provides that:

    Experts performing missions for the United Nations shall be accorded such privileges and immunities as are necessary for the independent exercise of their functions during the period of their missions, including the time spent on journeys in connection with their missions. In particular they shall be
    accorded:
    (a) Immunity from personal arrest or detention and from seizure of their personal baggage;


See “Israel’s detention of UN expert ‘unprecedented and deeply regrettable’ – rights chief”, 16 December 2008 – – - http://www.un.org/en/ethics/pdf/convention.pdf -

Israel’s refusal to allow a United Nations expert to transit to carry out his officially mandated functions in the occupied Palestinian territory, his detention and subsequent expulsion is “unprecedented and deeply regrettable,” — - http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/26D5CA4D5AB90242852...D8D6F -

The image evokes a powerful sense of how the life of a Palestinian is affected – even shared religious wisdom (ie: The Christian story) cannot escape the powerful grips of racist Israeli government policy.

The town of Bethlehem (like other Palestinian towns and villages) is being choked by an 8-metre-high concrete wall. In the minds of Christians and non-Christians in Palestine and around the world, Bethlehem is also inexorably bound to the stories and traditions surrounding the birth of Jesus (which include themes of oppression and exclusion).

=====

To the left, a shepherd tends his sheep, while in the distant sky a cross-shaped star lights up the heavens over the imposing an illegal concrete wall.

attachment Joseph and Mary Walled-out of Bethlehem by Israeli State 0 Mb

author by Falkpublication date Mon Dec 10, 2012 15:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In Defense of Richard Falk - http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/05/in-defense-of-ri...falk/
by LAWRENCE DAVIDSON

Richard Falk is the present United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories. His job is to monitor the human rights situation in the territories, with particular reference to international law, and report back to both the U.N. General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and well qualified for his United Nations post.

Professor Falk was appointed in 2008 to a six year term in his present position. That means he has been telling the unsettling truth about Israeli behavior for four years now, with another two to go. Repeatedly he has documented Israeli violations of international law and its relentless disregard for Palestinian human rights. For instance:


    – In his 2008 report Falk documented the “desperate plight of civilians in Gaza.”

    – In his 2009 report Falk described Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip as a “war crime of the greatest magnitude.”

    – In his 2010 report Falk documented Israel’s array of apartheid policies.

    – In his 2011 report Falk documented Israeli policies in Jerusalem and labelled them “ethnic cleansing.”

    – And finally, in this latest report for the year 2012, Falk has concentrated on two subjects:

    First, Israel’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners which, he concludes, is so bad as to warrant investigation by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It should be noted that Israel does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICJ. However, condemnation by this organization would, within the context of growing awareness of Zionist crimes, help further educate public opinion.

    Second, Falk documents the assistance given Israel’s expansion of colonies on the Palestinian West Bank by a number of multinational corporations, including Motorola, Hewlett-Packard and Caterpillar Inc. This assistance may be profitable, but it is also manifestly illegal. The CEOs and board members of these companies stand in violation of international laws including provisions of the Geneva Conventions. Since no nation, nor the UN itself, seems ready to prosecute them, Professor Falk has recommended a boycott of the guilty firms “in an effort to take infractions of international law seriously.”


In a sane world this work would make Richard Falk a universally acclaimed defender of justice. But ours is not a sane world. And so you get the following sort of responses from both Israel and its supporters:

Karaen Peretz, the spokeswomen for the Israeli Mission at the United Nations, found Professor Falk’s latest report “grossly biased.” This is a sort of response used by someone who cannot dispute the evidence and so must resort to attacking the character of the one presenting the evidence. Peretz also asserted that “Israel is deeply committed to advancing human rights and firmly believes that this cause will be better served without Falk and his distasteful sideshow. While he spends pages attacking Israel, Falk fails to mention even once the horrific human rights violations and ongoing terrorist attacks by Hamas.”

Actually, this is not true. Back in 2008 Falk requested that his mandate from the UN Human Rights Council be extended to cover infringements of human rights by Palestinian governments just so he would not seen as partisan. Subsequently, Mahmoud Abbas’s pseudo Palestinian Authority called for Falk’s resignation. In this job, you just can’t win.

In any case, Falk’s documenting of Israel’s crimes puts the lie to Peretz’s claim that Israel is “deeply committed to advancing human rights” and that documentation cannot be dismissed as a “sideshow.” Relative to sixty four years of ethnic cleansing, it is the militarily insignificant missiles out of Gaza that are the “sideshow.” And, can we honestly assume that Ms Peretz’s attitude toward Professor Falk would turn for the better if in this report he had mentioned Hamas “even once”?

Then there is United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice. She echoed Peretz by describing Falk as being “highly biased,” Well, what sort of attitude is one suppose to have toward overwhelming evidence persisting over many years? Isn’t one supposed to be “biased” in favor of such evidence? To ignore it doesn’t make you balanced or fair. It makes you either corrupt or in a deep state of denial.

Ms Rice goes on to say that “Mr. Falk’s recommendations do nothing to further a peaceful settlement…and indeed poison the environment for peace.” These are pretty strong words, but if considered critically they make little sense. First of all, Falk’s mandate requires him to reveal the facts about human rights violations in the Palestinian territories. It makes no reference to “furthering a peaceful settlement.” That is what the U.S. government claims to be doing. And its record in this regard is pitiful. Second, just why should conclusively documenting practices that may well be standing in the way of a settlement, be equated with “poisoning the environment for peace”? That doesn’t add up at all.

There are many other spokespeople who have reacted negatively to Falk’s latest report ranging from the Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister to representatives of the companies caught on the wrong side of the law. And, remarkably, they all sing the same song: Falk is bias, ad nauseum. They can do no better because they cannot refute the professor”s evidence. Thus, all of these well positioned, well paid representatives of nations and multinational businesses are reduced to sounding like lawyers defending the mafia.

Professor Falk’s experience should serve as a warning to both those who would, on the one hand, make a career out of being a spokesperson for governments or companies, and on the other, those who would dedicate themselves to “speaking truth to power.” Taking on the role of the former is the equivalent of selling your soul to leadership whose sense of right and wrong goes no further than their own local interests. Taking on the role of the latter is to face seemingly endless frustration for, as Noam Chomsky once noted, power already knows the truth and doesn’t care one jot for it.

author by fredpublication date Mon Dec 10, 2012 17:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting and informative comment.

However, I don't think the author was criticising Falk. Just pointing out how Israel has acted towards him.

 
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