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4th Session of the Human Rights Council

12 March – 30 March 2007




It is both shocking and depressing to witness the resurgence of old forms of racism, such as anti-Semitism, and the emergence of new ones, such as Islamophobia, engineered through the utilization of ignorance and fear. In the case of anti-Semitism, Israeli racist actions and policies against the Palestinians had the effect of attributing them to Jews in general, while, in the case of Islamophobia, the actions of marginal groups have been used to fan hatred and persecution of Muslims in general.  

What is even worse is the seeming acceptance of a new development accurately styled by the Special Rapporteur as “democratic” legitimization of racism and xenophobia. The process of legitimizing the illegitimate is on the march. This intervention is limited to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia to illustrate the dangers of this development. 

Claiming to represent all Jews, Israel has caused the attribution of its actions and policies to Jews in general in the minds of many. The actions, particularly because of their systematic implementation and enduring effect, and their association with Jews in general stick, and gradually produce their lamentable results. No wonder a British author, Alan Hart, has given his recently-published two-volume book the title “Zionism the Real Enemy of the Jews.” 

Only last week, Al-Jazeera satellite broadcast a video clip of an Israeli army dog let loose to munch at the hand of a Palestinian woman at an Israeli army check point, and of Israeli soldiers taking turns at beating a young Palestinian. What happened at this checkpoint is only just one example of an established policy of total negation of the rights of the Palestinian people in their country, which is seen by all. The soldiers are instruments of the policies of their government and deemed to act in accordance with the values behind those policies. Israel and the supporters of legitimizing the illegitimate do not seem to care about the effect of such actions and policies on Jews in general, inside and outside of Israel, or their effect on the victims and the consequences arising from them.

 In the case of Islamophobia, the perception seems to be that Muslims should submit willingly to the occupation of their countries and the negation of their rights. If they resist, as is expected from any people in similar situations, their resistance is called terrorism, and is taken as a justification for acts of racism and victimization by governments professing to uphold human rights. Terrorism by marginal groups, which choose to describe themselves as Islamic, despite the rejection of such appellation by the vast majority of Muslims and Muslim governments, is attached to Islam to spread racism. 

A rethinking process is much needed before things become truly out of control. .   



28 March 2007