Several years ago when the notoriously anti-Israel U.N. Human Rights Committee was replaced by the Human Rights Council there were some who actually harbored hopes that the Jewish state might get a bit more of a fair shake. That that was just wishful naiveté became painfully evident last week when the “human rights” apparatus in Turtle Bay and its Geneva outpost (where the Council sits) revealed its true colors by selecting two outspoken Israel bashers to serve in significant positions.
Richard Falk, a Jewish international law professor from Princeton, has made headlines over the years by unabashedly condemning Israel, going so far as repeating a favorite line of the hate Israel crowd that equates Israeli treatment of the Palestinians with Nazi atrocities. Can there be any doubt where he’s coming from and why he was so eager to join his ideological comrades at the U.N.? Despite loud, and clearly justified, protests from the Jewish community, the U.N. announced that Falk will be the next Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories, with the specific charge of documenting Israel’s violations of international law. Since Palestinian offences are beyond its mandate, and there is no comparable council or committee to report on those crimes, there is a built in noxious bias to anything emanating from the rapporteur. Falk won’t disappoint his benefactors.
To bestow this position upon a man as plainly - indeed, proudly -biased as Falk is to add insult to injury, making it clear that the U.N. has no interest in creating even the appearance of objectivity. The sole intent is to give the Arabists cover by cloaking their hostility towards Israel with the imprimatur of a “scholar” from a prestigious institution (thankfully, Princeton has Bernard Lewis, from whom its students can get thoughtful and documented insights into the Middle East).
It was quite a day for Israel haters: at the same time that the Human Rights Council voted in Falk, it announced that Jean Ziegler, from Switzerland, had been elected to its advisory committee. Ziegler is on record for, among other things: claiming members of the IDF are no different than concentration camp guards; embracing a discredited Holocaust denier; rejecting the notion that Hizbullah engages in terrorism; and justifying the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. It’s not difficult to imagine the type of “advice” he will give to the Council.
The Falk and Zeigler appointments are all the more troublesome because their bigoted were well known to those on the Council. Pro-Israel activists strongly protested, urging members of the Council to reject their appointments. Despite – or more likely because - of their anti-Zionist positions, they were welcomed with open arms. In the end, however, the prospect of further reinforcing the U.N.’s animus towards Israel was just too delicious to pass up. It is hard to interpret the Council’s actions as anything other than an endorsement of noxious views which in any civilized and objective forum would be rejected out of hand.
Moreover, the Falk and Ziegler appointments are but the tip of the iceberg. Recently, I wrote on the bias and hypocrisy of Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who thankfully has announced she will not seek re-appointment. Ms. Arbour ignored international law and the facts to allege that: Israel acted illegally in responding to Hizbollah terror during the 2006 Lebanon war; engages in improper “collective punishment” in Gaza as it seeks to quell indiscriminate Hamas rocket fire into southern Israel; and praised the oxymoronic Arab Charter on Human Rights which trumpets the discredited canard that Zionism is racism.
Let’s give credit, however, where credit is due: one certainly cannot accuse the U.N. of being inconsistent. Whenever there’s a chance to stick it to Israel, rest assured that leading the charge will be bureaucrats from the U.N.
The U.N’s attitude and behavior towards Israel is sure an issue that deserves the attention of the 3 presidential candidates; surely, the Jewish community has a legitimate right to know where they stand. Are they prepared to make it clear to the U.N. and its “human rights” subsidiaries that by peddling anti-Zionist views and appointing representatives who embrace them, they are engaging in anti-Semitism, pure and simple. And, will they state for the record what concrete steps they will take to effectuate change in that “august” body?
The hostile gang at the U.N. probably won’t care; most anti-Semites don’t. But at least they will be branded with the ignoble title they have earned.
Neal M. Sher, a New York attorney, has served as executive director of AIPAC and director of the Office of Special Investigations in the Justice Department. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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