The director of Israeli human rights group B’Tselem told a conference at the UN in New York on Friday that Israel was sabotaging efforts to combat anti-Semitism in order to retain control of the West Bank.
Speaking on the second day of a two-day forum at the UN headquarters in New York marking “50 years of occupation,” the left-wing NGO’s executive director Hagai El-Ad said that Israel tries to minimize international criticism of its West Bank policy by labeling it anti-Semitic.
“Palestinians who oppose the occupation are terrorists, Israelis who oppose the occupation are traitors, and those in the international community who oppose the occupation are of course anti-Semitic,” El-Ad said.
“The Israeli government is prepared to undermine the real fight against anti-Semitism in order to preserve the occupation with minimal repercussions from the international community,” he charged.
Earlier on Friday, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon accused the world body of “colluding with supporters of terror seeking to harm Israel” by hosting the two-day forum in association with groups Israel says have links to known Palestinian terror organizations.
“It is beyond comprehension that UN funds are supporting organizations which aid terrorists and incite against Israel,” Danon said in a statement.
On Thursday, Danon also slammed the Palestinian Authority after its chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told participants at the event that Hamas and the PFLP “are not terrorist organizations” and that the key to defeating the Islamic State is to end the “occupation.”
“They have no shame. These are lies and incitement from those who are paying terrorists to kill innocent Israelis. These obsessive attempts to besmirch our good name will not change the fact that the Palestinian leadership refuses to end their support for terror,” Danon said.
Hamas and the PFLP have both carried out numerous attacks on Israeli security forces and civilians. Most recently both groups claimed responsibility for a June 16 shooting and knife attack outside the Old City of Jerusalem in which Israeli Border Policewoman Hadas Malka was stabbed to death. On Thursday, Danon stood next to a photo of Malka as he spoke.
At the Friday panel, Joint (Arab) List Knesset member Aida Touma-Suleiman warned that Israel was “a country that is developing clear signs of apartheid.”
“There can be no democracy with occupation, there can be no social justice with the oppression of an entire people,” she said, calling on UN member states to “exert significant pressure on Israel” to ensure the future of a two-state solution.
Earlier in Friday’s sessions, keynote speaker Jody Williams urged attendees to make “life hell” for Israel until it withdraws from Palestinian territory. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate said “Israel has a right to a narrative” which “may or may not be valid,” but was dismayed by the criticism surrounding the event.
Williams did not address Hamas rule of the Gaza Strip or payments via the Palestinian Authority government to convicted terrorists and their families; nor did other panelists. Israel has been vociferously protesting payments from the Palestinian Authority to terrorists in Israeli jails and to their families and those of Palestinians killed while carrying out terror attacks against Israelis.