The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) today appointed a commission to investigate the commission of war crimes during Operation Protective Edge. Many of the commission’s members have a history of flagrantly anti-Israel statements.
In a statement released this afternoon, the Council’s President, Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella (Gabon), announced that the human rights body appointed Amal Alamuddin (United Kingdom), Doudou Diène (Senegal) and William Schabas (Canada) to serve as members on the international Commission. Mr. Schabas will also serve as the Commission’s Chair.
The Commission aims to establish the facts and circumstances of violations and crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible. It will also make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways to protect civilians against any further assaults.
At least 1,948 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict, along with 67 Israelis, according to figures cited by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, questioned the objectivity of this investigative team. Schabas, in particular, has a long record of anti-Israel bias, including stating last year, “[m]y favorite would be Netanyahu within the dock of the International Criminal Court.” (The statement is at 12:29 in this video.) UN Watch compiled a list of more troubling statements and actions by Schabas, including:
– Schabas was an active participant before a pro-Palestinian “tribunal” that, according to a New York Times op-ed by Judge Richard Goldstone, consisted of one-sided evidence and a jury composed of “critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.” …
– A few years earlier, Schabas called for “going after” Israeli president Shimon Peres in the ICC, saying, “Why are we going after the president of Sudan for Darfur and not the president of Israel for Gaza?”
– In a 2009 blog post about the UN’s infamous Durban II conference on racism, Schabas urged the world not only to “ignore” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements, but to stop “exaggerating” them. According to Schabas, those who “deserve the blame” are “Israel and its friends, who have manipulated the truth about the nature of the work of the United Nations by gross exaggeration of the role and intervention of certain fanatics.” Schabas described Ahmadinejad as nothing more than a “provocative politician,” and not a torturer of dissidents, inciter of genocidal anti-Semitism, and arch-sponsor of terrorism.
– In 2011, Schabas went to Iran to co-sponsor conferences with the Tehran-based “Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity,” despite its intimate ties with the fundamentalist regime, and avowed propaganda agenda. The center’s director, Kamran Hashemi, a former political officer with Iran’s foreign ministry, wrote his Ph.D under Schabas at the Irish Center for Human Rights.
Given that Schabas has demonstrated a clear bias against Israel, Neuer observed, “Under international law, William Schabas is obliged to recuse himself because his repeated calls to indict Israeli leaders obviously gives rise to actual bias or the appearance thereof.” This is not likely to dissuade the compromised UNHRC from pursuing the investigation against Israel. The UNHRC has a standing “agenda item” about Israel, the only country so designated. The discredited Goldstone report, the result of a UNHRC “investigation” launched into Israel’s Operation Cast Lead—which was later disavowed by its principal author, Judge Richard Goldstone—was composed of four investigators who had made up their minds about Israel’s guilt prior to the investigation.
UN Watch also noted that in 2012, after Goldstone recanted, Schabas accused his friend of being “certainly more indulgent towards Israel.”
Neuer also noted that there is no specific mention of Hamas or the rockets it fired into Israel in the UN’s announcement.
In The Deep UN: Inside the Secret Infrastructure of Hate, which appeared in the May 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, Ben Cohen observed that the United Nations is “a network of extremely well-funded UN structures and offices” that “continue operating as the engine of the effort to delegitimize the Jewish state.”
[Photo: Deep Dish / YouTube ]