The Associated Press reports that Canada has withdrawn from next year’s planned United Nations Conference on Racism planned for South Africa. Like the previous UN Conference on Racism in 2001, this one is slated to be yet another UN Conference on Israeli Bashing.
As Salon noted in its coverage of the 2001 Conference, the Conference in fact featured incidents of anti-Semitism,
Inside the U.N. conference grounds and within its tents, the rhetoric and agitprop were also white hot. Fliers were found with Hitler’s photo above the question: “What if I had won? There would be no Israel, and no Palestinian bloodshed.” A press conference held by the Jewish caucus was cut short by a rowdy group of Iranian women, one of whom screamed, “Six million dead and you’re holding the world hostage!”
This time around, the UN has ensured that a similar debacle with Libya elected to chair the event, Cuba as vice-chair, and Iran on the organizing committee. Presumably, the Sudanese government may be offered the keynote this time around.
Reuters notes that gay and lesbian NGOs have a rather difficult time being credentialed by the United Nations which usually has almost no standards at all for such determinations (based on some of the odd groups that do have NGO status).
For example, Canada’s Coalition of Gays and Lesbians of Quebec was rejected as an NGO by an 8-6 vote. The vote in this case is extremely revealing.
Voting yes to credential the group — Colombia, Israel, Peru, Romania, Britain and the United States (hmm…and here I thought the U.S. was run by a fascist theocracy?)
Voting no — Burundi, China, Egypt, Guinea, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia and Sudan.
Given the tenor of the United Nations, the best bet for gay and lesbian groups would probably be to adopt anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic planks. Egypt, Pakistan and Qatar may not be thrilled by a gay and lesbian group, but if that group, say, argued that Jews were behind a worldwide plot against gays and lesbians, they’d probably win immediate approval.
Canadian and Swedish gay groups frowned on at UN. Evelyn Leopold, Reuters, February 2, 2007.
In March, Israeli animal rights group Anonymous for Animal Rights succeeded in persuading Tel-Aviv to ban animal circus acts within the city.
According to a press release from the group,
We are happy to announce that we successfully completed our campaign against animal circus acts, as the Municipality of Tel-Aviv banned animal circus acts.
The Mayor of Tel-Aviv, Ron Huldai, instructed the municipality to avoid any future contracts with circuses that use animals of any sort in their shows.
Its unclear, however, how permanent such a ban is if it depends on the whims of a single individual.
Tel-Aviv bans circus animal acts. Press Release, Anonymous for Animal Rights, March 13, 2005.
Following a 2003 Supreme Court decision that found foie gras violated Israel’s animal welfare law, the Israeli parliament this month passed legislation that will end the force-feeding of geese effective at the end of January 2005.
The Israeli Agriculture Minister had requested that the ban not go into effect until the end of March, but the Knesset Education Committee stuck fast to an end of January deadline to stop the practice.
Knesset Education Committee chair Meli Polishook-Bloch was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying of the ban,
The time has come to put an end to the drawn-out period of many years during which the geese have suffered.
Agricultural Ministry Director-General Yossy Ishay, on the other hand, was troubled by the influence that animal rights activists have had on this issue, telling the Jerusalem Post,
This is the first time the Knesset has decided that an entire sector of agriculture is illegal. If we don’t stop the animal rights groups, tomorrow you won’t be able to milk cows or keep chickens in coops.
Israel is among the world leaders in foie gras exports, with over 70 producers that export about $8 million worth of foie gras annually.
What’s bad for the goose . . . must stop, committee rules. Stuart Winer, The Jerusalem Post, January 4, 2005.
Israel to ban force-feeding of geese. Agence-France Presse, January 4, 2005.
The BBC reported in October on efforts by a former Israeli army dog trainer to develop bomb-sniffing pigs.
Greva Zion told the BBC that he believes he can not only train pigs to detect explosives, but that they may actually be easier to train than dogs. Zion told the BBC,
The pigs work and understand very quickly, maybe half of the time of the dogs. Dogs must be trained when they are puppies, with the pigs we don’t need it, because they like to eat and they like to dig.
Of course, deploying bomb-sniffing pigs in Israel might pose a problem due to religious taboos related to pigs.
Israel’s ‘bomb squad pigs’. The BBC, October 2, 2003.
Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled on August 11 that the force feeding of geese and ducks in the production of foie gras violates that country’s Animal Welfare Law.
A group called Concern for Helping Animals in Israel filed a lawsuit in 2001 against foie gras producers in Israel claiming that the force feeding of approximately 800,000 animals each year violated the Animal Welfare Law.
Israel is the world’s third largest producer of foie gras, and the industry employs about 600 people. There are about 100 farms producing foie gras, with about 45 percent of those using force feeding.
Those currently using force feeding will have until at least March 2005 to develop alternatives.
Israel court cans foie gras farms. BBC, August 13, 2003.
High Court rules against force-feeding geese. Stuart Winer, The Jerusalem Post, August 13, 2003.
Court bans fattening of geese for foie gras. National Post (Canada), August 12, 2003.