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Israeli bigwigs demand sacking of Palestinian human rights worker

For previous story on this see War through social media now main role of Israeli agencies

Where is UN employee Khulood Badawi?

Michael Warschawski, AIC

The telephone is not answered, there is no reply to emails and at her office, I receive the laconic reply that Khulood Badawi is on vacation.

Has our friend Khulood Badawi been kidnapped like Mordechai Vanunu way back when? Is she locked in some dark cell block like the third man or has she been banished to Devil’s Island like Captain Dreyfus?

Investigators from the Alternative Information Center set out to find Khulood and following a long and arduous effort, we found her. The good news: Khulood is alive and even if her mood is quite low, she has not given up and is acting to restore her reputation and return to work at the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). However, her story is amazing and should be told in some detective story or perhaps, in a pulp fiction novel built on conspiracy theories.

Khulood Badawi

As you recall, it all began with a photograph that Khulood uploaded on her private twitter account. The caption was incorrect, and she quickly amended this. From this moment, the craziness began. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Ivet Lieberman (the great democrat) and the Israeli UN representation demanded an investigation and her firing from OCHA; even prior to conclusion of the investigation they succeeded that Khulood be suspended from her position pending conclusion of the investigation. Indeed, since the beginning of this “affair”, Khulood has been sitting at home, in a sort of administrative detention, and from time to time is required to turn up for an “investigation” by her supervisors in New York. On the face of it, this appears a grotesque farce: a large and important institution such as the United Nations is occupied for several months already with a photo uploaded by one of its workers on her private account, and is enlisting huge resources in personnel and money in this effort? We knew the UN was a wasteful organization, but to this extent?!?

Even worse: the treatment of Khulood exhibits clear characteristics of a political investigation, as if she is accused of an attack or theft! The question, of course, is asked: about what is all the fuss, and why are they abusing an employee who for years has faithfully fulfilled her position and brought great honour to OCHA? And the response, to my sorrow, is simple: the government of Israel and the pro-Israel lobby admittedly hate the UN, but they also wish to manipulate it for their public relations needs. The existence of OCHA, which amongst other things is supposed to document human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory, is not to its liking, and the crusade against Khulood Badawi is nothing more than a means to eat away at the credibility of OCHA…and to bring about the termination of Arab workers.

In our modest search for Khulood, we discovered that Arab workers in the UN institutions are maintaining the lowest possible profile, out of fear that they will be treated the same way as Khulood.

They have never searched the twitter accounts or even the public appearances of the Jewish UN workers in Jerusalem! I personally have been present at lectures and seminars in which some of the non-Arab UN workers took part, and no one ever thought to suspend them for participation. However, somewhere in New York they are shaking in fear from the pro-Israeli lobby – which is unconditionally supported by the United States – and sacrificing a Palestinian worker is a not very expensive payment vis-a-vis American threats to reduce its contribution to the UN budget.

Who will be surprised, therefore, if behind the curtains comes completely unhealthy whispering about the Jewish lobby which has its hand in everything, and which is essentially controlling the UN…and American politics? While Khulood has dedicated her life, ever since she was a student leader at Haifa University and to this very day, to ending racism and promoting Arab-Jewish partnership, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pouring oil on the fire of anti-Semitism and then bragging about its “ability to influence” decision makers in the United Nations. Disgusting!

Israel, UN Legitimacy and Khulood Badawi

Michael Warschawski, AIC

Khulood Badawi versus Israeli Ambassador the UN Ron Prosor – our choice is obvious, and so should be the choice of every decent woman and man: to side with the human right defender against the advocate of Israeli war crimes on international platforms.

Um Shmum (free translation: ‘UN my ass’) is what former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir used to say, stressing the hostility of the Israeli establishment to the organisation that rendered the very existence of Israel possible. For the Israeli propaganda apparatus, all means are legitimate to delegitimize the UN. All means are also legitimate to manipulate international public opinion away from Israel’s ongoing violations of International law, like the most recent massacre in Gaza.

Let’s take the latest “Khulood Badawi” affair. This is a non-event cynically exploited by Israel in order to divert public opinion from the real crimes committed by the Israeli army in Gaza. Last week Khulood Badawi, a UN employee, illustrated her private twitter post with a picture of a dead Gazan child. By mistake the picture was attributed to Israel’s most recent massacre, though in fact it was a picture from a 2006 car accident which Reuters also erroneously published. Needless to say that after having been informed of her error, Khulood immediately removed the picture from her private twitter post.

The mistaken picture now serves as the trigger and pretext for an overall offensive against Khulood Badawi, as well as against the UN. Ron Prosor, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, is demanding that Badawi be fired from OCHA. The Israeli military spokesperson has made the same demand. Can one imagine more cynical behavior from two men at the forefront of the Israeli propaganda machine which justified Israel’s massacre in Gaza three years ago?

Let’s put things right: innocent people, including children, have lost their lives in Israel’s most recent bombardments of the Gaza Strip. Khulood Badawi did not invent this unacceptable reality, and her indignation is a testimony to her humanity. Khulood Badawi deserves our support and respect for what she has been consistently doing, as an outstanding activist, in support of human rights and human dignity.

Whether she violated her employment contract with a UN agency is a matter for her supervisors, not our problem as activists engaged in the defense of Palestinian human and national rights. And for those (few) activists who claim that Khulood’s (tiny) mistake – not “lie”, as some of them hastily and irresponsibly wrote – is harming the credibility of the United Nations, let’s remember that since the war in Korea (1950) and intervention in Congo (1960), to name but a few, the UN has lost both credibility and moral legitimacy. much before Khulood Badawi was born.

Khulood Badawi versus Ron Prosor – our choice is obvious, and so should be the choice of every decent woman and man: to side with the human right defender against the advocate of Israeli war crimes on international platforms. Khulood Badawi should not be fired from her job in OCHA but, instead, should receive an award for her consistent defense of human dignity and rights.

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