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UNITED
NATIONS
E

        Economic and Social Council
Distr.
GENERAL
E/CN.4/2005/NGO/346
18 March 2005

ENGLISH ONLY

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Sixty-first session
Item 5 of the agenda




THE RIGHT OF PEOPLES TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND ITS APPLICATION TO PEOPLES UNDER COLONIAL OR ALIEN DOMINATION OR FOREIGN OCCUPATION
Joint written statement* submitted by the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations (CBJO), a non-governmental organization in special consultative status and B'nai B'rith,
a non-governmental organization on the Roster

The Secretary-General has received the following written statement which is circulated in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.


[16 February 2005]






________________
* This written statement is issued, unedited, in the language(s) received from the submitting non-governmental organization(s).


As the world marks the 60th anniversaries of the end of the Holocaust and the creation of the United Nations this year, we in the human rights community have the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the principles contained in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other foundation documents of the international human rights regime. One of the most fundamental of these rights is that of self-determination. This right guarantees other human rights, such as the right to life, liberty and security of person, preservation of honor, equality under the law.

The events revealed sixty years ago when Allied forces entered and liberated the Nazi concentration camps could have been prevented if only the Jewish people’s right to self-determination had been protected and fostered.

In response to anti-Jewish pogroms in the 1880sin Czarist Russia, a movement for Jewish “auto-emancipation” was born among Jewish intellectuals. After witnessing the trial of Alfred Dreyfus in France, the Viennese journalist Theodore Herzl wrote a pamphlet, “ Der Judenstaat ,” advancing the notion that only a state for the Jewish people would guarantee their security. These beginnings of the political movement to fulfill the Jewish people’s basic human right of self-determination – the Zionist movement – brought together intellectuals and activists who sought to create a Jewish State in the ancient homeland of the Jewish people – the land of Israel. However, this movement did not gain worldwide support until after six million European Jews were murdered.

Tha Nazis’ first concern was to cleanse the Third Reich of Jews. They marginalized the Jews from German society through the discriminatory Nuremberg Laws, followed by massive arrests of Jews in conjunction with the wholesale burning of synagogues in November 1938. Jews were still allowed to leave Germany and its annexed territories until the outbreak of World War II, but few countries in the world would allow them to resettle. There were no takers. After socially and economically isolating the Jews, Tha Nazis’ first concern was to cleanse the Third Reich of Jews. They marginalized the Jews from German society through the discriminatory Nuremberg Laws, followed by massive arrests of Jews in conjunction with the wholesale burning of synagogues in November 1938. Jews were still allowed to leave Germany and its annexed territories until the outbreak of World War II, but few countries in the world would allow them to resettle. There were no takers. After socially and economically isolating the Jews, the Nazis then physically isolated them in ghettoes, which were rife with famine and disease. There was no Commission on Human Rights to speak out against the mistreatment and extermination of Jews, Roma, gays and mentally handicapped persons and there was no United Nations to enact sanctions against the Third Reich as a means of enforcing a humane treatment of the victims.

During this era, the Jewish people did not have a refuge. They did not have a State that would take them in at any cost. They did not have an entity that would guarantee their security. The Jewish people were adrift, subject to the whims of governments and their leaders, only benefiting from benevolent actions of individuals or private institutions.

The years 1933-1941 demonstrate the need for protecting and advancing the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. While the Zionist movement advocated for the relocation of the Jews to their ancient homeland, there was no international body in which they could advance their idea and garner support for it. The refugee conference of Evian in July 1938 only produced words, but no succor for those in mortal danger. Even when some Jews fled, such as those on board the boat St. Louis , no country would allow them entry as refugees. These passengers were turned back from possible safe haven in the Western Hemisphere and forced to return to Europe – many to the gas chambers.

As the history of the Jewish people in the 20th century demonstrates, without a State of their own – the fulfillment of the right to self-determination – the Jewish people were at risk of discrimination, isolation, and ultimately, extermination.

As we reflect on this history, we must note the resurgence of anti-Semitism, and its new manifestation – anti-Zionism. In various intellectual circles, on university campuses and in the media, the Jewish people’s basic human right to self-determination is being eroded on a daily basis through misrepresentations and false equations. These anti-Zionists portray the Jewish people’s self-determination as excluding Palestinian self-determination. Some wish to turn back the clock of history by advancing a “one-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a proposal that was rejected by the General Assembly in 1947 precisely because it would have denied the Jewish people their right of self-determination.

Anti-Zionism is a dangerous path, for it hinges on the destruction of the Jewish State. As such it runs counter to the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and UNSC Resolution 1515, which codifies the Road Map that envisions two States, one for the Jewish people and one for the Palestinian people. The UN itself is committed to supporting the Road Map as part of the Quartet.

Today, we see remarkable progress in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian people have elected a government – one that has pledged to reject terrorism as a political weapon in favor of democracy and peace. This path of promoting peaceful co-existence with the Jewish people marks an important turning point from the Palestinian policy of violence. Therefore, at this historical juncture, the Commission should not reopen wounds that are just beginning to heal. Rather, the Commission should be part of the healing process by reinforcing the new hope of peace in the region.

All resolutions passed by this body under this agenda item should seek to affirm the right to self-determination for the Jewish people alongside that of other peoples. Only then will the Commission on Human Rights be true to its founding principles. Only then will the CHR be part of the solution, instead of exacerbating the problem. Only then will this body demonstrate that it has retained the lessons that should have been learned 60 years ago, upholding and defending the basic right of the Jewish people to self-determination alongside a democratic Palestinian State.


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