In this week’s UpFront, we talk to Dore Gold, the former Israeli ambassdor to the United Nations (UN) and a close adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, about the political stalemate with the Palestinians and Israel’s controversial nation-state law.
In the Arena, we debate the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uighur Muslim community in the country.
Headliner: Netanyahu ally: Israel is not an apartheid state
Since United States President Donald Trump took office in 2017, his administration has been criticised for various measures seemingly taken against the Palestinians and in favour of Israel, including the recent decision to close the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)’s diplomatic mission in Washington, DC.
When asked about the negative effect such actions might have on future peace negotiations, Gold said Trump was trying to introduce “realism” to the debate.
“Let us get to a table and let us put those ideas out, and let’s try to resolve this once and for all,” said Gold. “In one very important sense, what President Trump is doing, he’s trying to introduce realism.”
The former director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry also defended Israel’s controversial nation-state law, which says self-determination is unique to the Jewish people and that Israel is their historical homeland.
Asked if the law undermines the self-determination of Israeli-Palestinians, Gold responded: “I think that the law is there to make clear that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people.”
“I would say I would deny the rights of Canadians to have self-determination inside the United States,” he added.
Arena: Has China detained a million Uighur Muslims?
China has been accused of allegedly detaining up to one million Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region under what UN experts have called the “pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism”.
Over the past decade, human rights groups have documented widespread repression of this Turkic ethnic minority, from banning religious customs, to forcing many Uighurs to change their names and attend Communist party rallies.
Beijing, however, denies allegations of mass detentions and discrimination. It says the strict security measures in Xinjiang are aimed at “preserving stability” and preventing deadly attacks.
For Nury Turkel, chairman of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, China’s actions are very questionable.
“Locking up a few million people in concentration camps under the claim of achieving social stability and national security … doesn’t make any sense,” said Turkel.
However, Victor Gao, vice president of the Center for China and Globalization, said Xinjiang is being threatened by “terrorism and extremism and separatism”.
“I think the authorities have the right to make sure that the innocent people are not harmed, and that extreme version[s] of religion of all kinds [are] not penetrating through the population.”
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