The Institute for NGO Research1 brings this submission for the List of Themes in advance of the 99th session meeting for the review of “State of Palestine” and its compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. We hope that this submission will aid the Committee in its preparation of the List of Themes to the Palestinian Authority.
This submission focuses on the rampant campaign of antisemitic and anti-Israel incitement within the Palestinian Authority (PA). This campaign of incitement is endemic throughout Palestinian society and is especially aimed at inculcating hatred within many generations of Palestinian children. Palestinian incitement undergirds the ongoing armed conflict with Israel and is responsible for countless deaths of both Palestinians and Israelis. It also underlies the extensive recruitment and use of Palestinian children as combatants. Any review of the PA’s compliance with the CERD must address this issue in depth. Failure to do so will represent a significant lapse in evaluating the PA’s adherence to and compliance with the CERD.
We are also highly disturbed that the PA’s report to the Committee and several NGO submissions appear to excuse or diminish the PA’s obligations under the CERD due to the ongoing armed conflict with Israel and control of Gaza by Hamas. More than 95% of the Palestinian population falls under the control of the Palestinian Authority and therefore under its jurisdiction and responsibility pursuant to the CERD. This jurisdiction and responsibility also includes Gaza. It is important, therefore, that the Committee does not give the PA a pass on compliance with its obligations under the CERD while shifting blame onto others. The Committee is tasked with upholding the human rights as specified by the CERD. It should not indulge excuses for noncompliance by the PA.
The CERD Explicitly Prohibits Discrimination and Incitement Campaigns Based on Religion or National Origin
The chapeau of the CERD requires all State Parties to “encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion” and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set out therein, without distinction of any kind, in particular as to race, colour or national origin…”
Article 2 of CERD requires that State Parties eliminate all forms of racial discrimination:
1. States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races, and, to this end: (a) Each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to en sure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation; (b) Each State Party undertakes not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by any persons or organizations;
(c) Each State Party shall take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists;
(d) Each State Party shall prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization;
(e) Each State Party undertakes to encourage, where appropriate, integrationist multiracial organizations and movements and other means of eliminating barriers between races, and to discourage anything which tends to strengthen racial division.
Article 4 prohibits State Parties from promoting in any way discriminatory propaganda or incitement to hatred and violence on the basis of ethnicity:
States Parties condemn all propaganda and all organizations which are based on ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form, and undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination and, to this end, with due regard to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights expressly set forth in article 5 of this Convention, inter alia:
(a) Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof;
(b) Shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law;
(c) Shall not permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination.
Article 7 mandates that State Parties must use education to promote tolerance and not hatred:
States Parties undertake to adopt immediate and effective measures, particularly in the fields of teaching, education, culture and information, with a view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination and to promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations and racial or ethnical groups, as well as to propagating the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and this Convention.
The Palestinian Authority has extensively violated all of these CERD provisions.
- Members of the Institute’s Advisory Board include Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; former Canadian Ambassador to Israel, Amb. Vivian Bercovici; Hon. Michael Danby, MP, senior member of the Australian Labor Party; Harvard Professor Prof. Alan Dershowitz; Canadian Senator, Hon. Linda Frum; best-selling author and commentator and British journalist and international affairs commentator, Tom Gross; Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan; Douglas Murray, Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, best-selling author and commentator; former Member of Italian Parliament, Hon. Fiamma Nirenstein, UCLA Professor and President of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, Prof. Judea Pearl; US Jurist and former Legal Advisor to the State Department Judge Abraham Sofaer; Dr. Einat Wilf, former member of Knesset with the Israel Labor Party and advisor to Shimon Peres; Harvard Professor Prof. Ruth Wisse; R. James Woolsey, former US Director of Central Intelligence; and Israeli Supreme Court Justice, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein.